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A Christmas comedy for all ages and a treat for Terminator fans

by Mark Burger

With the holiday season fast upon us, the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem has a production pending for the whole family: The Theatre IV presentation of The Shoemaker & The Christmas Elves, which opens Friday, Dec. 4 at the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem).

Based on the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, this rendition of the story incorporates music and mirth into the mix, in telling its tale of a poor shoemaker who is visited by magical elves and taught the true meaning of Christmas.

Based in Richmond, Va., Theatre IV is a professional touring children’s theater that has entertained millions of children throughout the United States since 1975. During the 2009-10 season alone, it is expected that attendance will surpass half a million. Theatre IV has also enjoyed a long and successful collaboration with the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem.

Showtimes are 10 a.m. Dec. 4 and 11 a.m. Dec. 5. Tickets are $8 (general admission) and $12 (premium seating; Saturday only), and reservations are strongly suggested. For tickets or more information, call 336.725.4531 or check out the theater’s official website: www. childrenstheatrews.org.

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Fans of the latest big-screen Terminator film, Terminator Salvation, are in for a unique, high-tech treat this holiday season — and it has nothing to do (we think) with Christian Bale’s much publicized on-set temper tantrum.

Next Saturday, Dec. 5, Warner Home Video will mark the first audioenabled Live Community Screening (LCS) of the film. Those fans who have purchased the Blu-ray (which is available Dec. 1) can participate in this unique, interactive experience and talk Terminator with the director.

The LCS is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (3 p.m. EST), live from Los Angeles, and will allow participants who own a BD-Live capable Blu-ray disc player the ability to watch the film at the same time as the film’s director, McG (AKA Joseph McGinty Nicol), and to participate in an interactive question-and-answer session in which they can submit questions directly via their internet-connected computer or mobile device.

Access to the audio LCS isn’t the only special feature of the BD-Live interactive feature: There’s also a compilation of 10 viral videos from the Resist or Be Terminated alternatereality game, the premiere episode of the “Terminator Salvation Machinima” series, and a digital version of the inaugural issue of the official Terminator Salvation movie prequel comic book.

Terminator Salvation marks the fourth in the successful big-screen sci-fi franchise, begun 25 years ago with James Cameron’s trend-setting original film, which propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger into stardom and offered him his most distinctive catchphrase: “I’ll be back.” (And so he was, in two sequels.)

Given his duties as governor of California — which even the most imaginative sci-fi writer couldn’t have dreamed up — Arnold’s not involved this time around.

The film is set in the midst of the global upheaval wrought by the ongoing battle between man and machine. Bale portrays John Connor, the leader of the human resistance, trying desperately to halt the relentless and destructive progress of technology. Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright, a mysterious drifter who unknowingly holds the key to what may be mankind’s salvation. (That must be where they got the title….)

The cast also includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Michael Ironside, Common, Helena Bonham Carter and Jane Alexander (who’s received four Academy Award nominations during her career and looks slightly disoriented in these surroundings). During its theatrical run this summer, Terminator Salvation scared up over $125 million at the box-office — a sizable sum… when you don’t take into account that the budget was reportedly close to $200 million.

It also marked one of the final projects of the great special-effects expert Stan Winston, who toiled on all four Terminator flicks, won a pair of Oscars for Terminator 2: Judgment Day and who died during pre-production of Terminator Salvation in 2008. Quite nicely (and rightly), the film is dedicated to him. Ask McG about Stan. I’ll bet he has nice things to say about him.

Members of the Warner Bros.

BD-Live community who register for this event will receive an e-mailed reminder. The first 100,000 members who RSVP will secure a spot for the screening. WB BD-Live registered users from the participating territories who own the Blu-ray disc and have signed up for the event need only to insert the disc, connect to WB BD-Live, and log on to the LCS at the designated time.

BD-Live is accessible only via a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray disc played on an internet-connected player with BD-Live capabilities and sufficient data storage. Consult your player manual or player support website for more details.

Given that the Terminator films are about technology gone haywire, is it any wonder that they now have the capability to do something like this? I get nervous when I have to use my toaster.

For more information, see wblive.warnerbros.com/privacy/terms.html.

The Shoemaker & the Christmas Elves, produced by the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem. (courtesy photo).

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