reckoning fantasia movie news
A scene from the recent Fantasia film The Reckoning

In today’s Movie News Rundown: Fantasia Fest will open with a plague-related film, California theaters lay out new guidelines for reopening as early as next week; and will everyone please stop hanging out at the fax machine.

Fantasia: The online Fantasia Festival just announced that it will open Aug. 20 with Neil Marshall’s The Reckoning, which will be, judging from the photo above, terrifying. The film stars Charlotte Kirk and is set in 1665 against the backdrop of the Great Plague and the subsequent witch hunts in England. Fantastia is on our list of the best online film festivals, which you can check out here.

OK, That Picture Though: Per Wikipedia, the world’s most reliable source of information, the “plague doctor” masks held herbs in the “beak” that were supposed to ward off the evil smells of the plague. Let’s not be too judgmental, given that our top elected official was just telling us to drink bleach.

Theaters Reopening: Sorry, Californians. The golden days of swaggering into a movie theater, taking a drooling swig from the water fountain, and flopping down in a filthy seat next to a stranger are over. The state Department of Public Health may allow theaters to reopen next week, but only under new COVID-19 standards that include theaters limiting capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever is lower; creating a reservation system that staggers entry times; dedicating staff to ensuring social distancing; disposal or washable seat covers; shutting off water fountains; and holding doors open at beak — sorry, peak times.

I’m All for These Regulations, But: As a veteran of going to WalMart a month ago, I can promise that at least one idiot will insist that he can sit wherever he wants, because America. Theaters will need to either hire good security guards or let us bring in medieval weapons.

Good Ideas: Here are some guidelines around shooting submitted by IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild, to ensure COVID-19-safe sets. These get very specific around the use of trucks, limiting the number of people at rehearsals, and cutting down the use of fax machines.

Terrific: There goes half the script for my ’90s workplace romance, Faxual Attraction.

Excellent: Bill and Ted are back.

And now, don your scented masks for yesterday’s movie news.