The Picture Palace

Journalist and film critic Charlie Gates has discovered that the only cure for an addiction to movies is more movies - movies, movies, movies. Arthouse, blockbuster, action, musicals, horror, western - his appetite knows no bounds.

The End

08:00am 26 Sep 2013

This is the end, my only friend, the end.


That's right, movie fans, this is my final blog here at The Picture Palace. The curtain is coming down, the shutters are going up on the door and the organ player has been fired.

So, to celebrate, I'm going to write about movie endings. Pulling off the perfect ending is a very fine art that many movies fail to master. Considering we are talking about endings here, there may be a few spoilers ahead, so be warned.

I think British film critic Mark Kermode nailed it when he said the perfect ending should be downbeat with a slight sense of hope.

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Bad behaviour revisited

12:30pm 28 Aug 2013

It's astonishing what people get up to in the cinema. The other week I asked for your horror stories about bad behaviour in the cinema. You responded with many shocking examples of what people get up to in the cinema when they should be watching a movie instead.


I thought it would be worth compiling a list of some of the worst examples of cinema behaviour that people posted in the comments section. When you see all these examples together it makes you wonder where we are heading as a civilisation.

So, here is The Picture Palace List of Shame:

1. A lady was in her dressing gown.

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All blockbustered out

08:30am 26 Aug 2013

This week I saw my first daffodil of the season. That means only one thing - the blockbuster movie season is over.

And thank goodness for that. It will be nice to take a breather and prepare for the worthy weight of Oscar season.

As I blogged the other week, it has been a blockbuster season full of apocalyptic visions.

But here are my favourite movies of the blockbuster season:


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Behaviour I'd ban from the cinema

10:20am 16 Aug 2013

The other day I was at the cinema when I heard a strange sound to my left. I looked across at the headrest of the chair next to me and saw a pair of dirty bare feet.


The person in the row behind me had decided to slip off their jandals and put their bare feet up on the chair in front. They were large, grubby feet with sooty marks and that white line of dead skin around the edge of the sole.

Instinctively, I turned in my seat and glowered at the owner of the feet. Then I stared at his feet with a "WTF?" expression before glowering back at him again. To his credit, the foot owner's response was instantaneous. His feet were swiftly removed from the headrest and put back on the floor. I turned back in my seat and watched the rest of the film.

I had shamed the foot owner into behaving like a civilised human being. In what world is it acceptable to put your bare, grubby feet up on a headrest in a cinema?

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Why I love Hitchcock

08:00am 14 Aug 2013


I was a primary school student when I first realised that movies, a childhood and lifelong fascination, were actually directed by a person. There was a book in the library called Masters of Cinema or something like that. There was a double-page spread on Alfred Hitchcock with pictures of his classic movies. I could feel my mind expanding - "You mean one guy directed The Birds and North by Northwest and Rear Window?!?"

These were films that seemed to be shown on television every Christmas and had already become favourites on faded and wrinkled Betamax recordings.

I would return to that book again and again, leafing through all the other directors. But Hitchcock fascinated me the most. I once showed the Hitchcok pages to a friend. He took one look at the photo of Alfred and asked: "Why do you like that fat bastard?" I say that not to mock my friend, but because it's quite funny.

Over the next few years I slowly recorded every Hitchcock movie screened on television, editing out the ads with careful application of the pause button, until I had all his films on VHS.

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