Plenty to see and do at The Colonial Theatre this winter!
CONCERTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS ERIC JOHNSON WITH SPECIAL GUEST ANDY MCKEE
$19.50 - $36.50.
Sat, Jan 7 @ 8:00 pm
Known as one of the premier guitar players in contemporary music, Eric Johnson's list of awards and accolades are impressive. A Grammy award winner and a five time Grammy nominee, he was named one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century by Musician Magazine, and is enshrined in Guitar Player's Gallery of Greats. He has a platinum selling album while his Top 10 hit "Cliffs Of Dover," is featured in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and boasts both a signature model Fender Stratocaster electric and Martin MC-40 acoustic guitar. Praised by his peers and critics alike, we're excited to welcome Eric back to the Colonial along with Andy McKee! Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
5TH ANNUAL ROBERT BURNS MEMORIAL WHISKY TASTING
Fri, Jan 27 @ 6:00 pm
Riannon Walsh, a world-renowned single malt whisky expert, returns to bring us exceptional single malts from around the world that shewill speak about in terms of their qualities, taste and cultural influences. Paired with wonderful cheeses and outrageous chocolates, this great experience will open your eyes and your palates! Please consider supporting this event, which in turn supports the Classic Film Series at the Colonial. Providing auction items allows your generosity to go further - and adds even more excitement to the night! If you have items of interest or wish to be a sponsor, please email Mary Foote for more information.
- Master Distiller: $1,000 (includes 4 tickets)
- Head Stillman: $500 (includes 2 tickets)
- Bottle Supporter: $125 (includes 1 ticket)
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS AN EVENING WITH STEVE EARLE: SOLO & ACOUSTIC
$29.50 - $44.50
Sun, Jan 29 @ 8:00 pm
Having spent his early career as a protégé of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle has become a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS MARC BROUSSARD
$20 - $33.50
Sat, Feb 4 @ 8:00 pm
WXPN welcomes Marc Broussard! Rooted in the strong currents of R&B, sanctified church and the many other flavors of his Louisiana bayou home, Broussard achieves a depth in all aspects of his writing and singing through his love for and mastery of tradition. Great music, pulled from theheart, crafted impeccably and delivered with deep emotion, with the goal ofevery live performance "to make my audience cry, laugh, dance, and walk away emotionally spent." Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS AN EVENING WITH GEORGE WINSTON
$24.50 - $34.50
Thu, Mar 22 @ 8:00 pm
George Winston's melodic folk-style piano, as reflected in his seasonal albums like Autumn, December and Summer (to name a few), has been his signature sound for years. But he is also a renowned New Orleans R&B and stride piano player. His live performances encompass all of that and more, and we're trilled to have him back at the Colonial. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS LEON REDBONE
$24.50 - $34.50
Fri, Mar 30 @ 8:00 pm
Leon Redbone returns to the Colonial with his special bled of jazz, ragtime and blues. He's known for his eccentric sense of humor, skilled instrumental talent, and recurrent gags involve the influence of alcohol and claiming to have written works originating well before his time. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS LEO KOTTKE
$24.50 - $38.50
Fri, Apr 13 @ 8:00 pm
"Amazing" and "incredible" are words often used to describe Leo Kottke's show. Internationally recognized as a master of both the 6 and 12-string guitar, he is widely known for his innovative finger-picking style which draws on influences from blues, jazz, and folk; and his syncopated, polyphonic melodies. Fans of Tommy Emmanuel and Jorma Kaukonen will love Leo Kottke. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS SUZANNE WESTENHOEFER
$20 - $35
Sat, Apr 14 @ 8:00 pm
This show is a crazy, heart-pumping, mind-bending, hilarious romp through heartbreak, comedy, life, love, and everything about couples un-coupling in the modern world. Expect non-stop inappropriate comedy from the woman Curve magazine voted "America's Funniest Lesbian." Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
POINT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS
$25 - $30
Sat, Apr 28 @ 8:00 pm
Listeners to Sports Radio WIP are no strangers to these two funny Philly guys. On the morning show, Joe Conklin, the man of "a thousand" voices, does uncanny impressions of Harry Kalas and Charles Barkley, to Bill Clinton and Ed Rendell. Big Daddy Graham, who hosts the overnight shift, originally started out as a musical comedian opening for rock shows, now focuses on what he calls observational comedy, telling stories about living in Philadelphia. Ticket prices do not include the $2 per ticket Restoration Fee or the $1.50 per ticket Service Fee. Tickets available with cash, check or credit card at the Colonial Box Office, or online.
CLASSICS ON SUNDAYS
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Norman Jewison. US. 1971. G. 181 min. MGM. Blu ray.
Sponsored by Congregation B'nai Jacob
Sun, Jan 8 @ 2:00 pm
Based upon the wonderful stories of Shalom Aleichem and the long-running hit Broadway show, this is the heartening story of Tevye (played by Oscar-nominated Israeli actor, Topol), the milkman in a small 1900 village in the Ukraine who is committed to preserving Jewish heritage (as beautifully expressed in his song "Tradition") in the face of increasingly frustrating odds. Filled with memorable hit songs ("Sunrise, Sunset;" "If I Were a Rich Man;" "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"), this is a film, and a story, to be cherished and enjoyed for generations to come. Famed classical violinist Isaac Stern was the one who did the actual fiddling on the soundtrack of this film. Topol was on active duty with the Israeli army when he was nominated for an Oscar for Fiddler on the Roof in early 1972. He was granted leave so he could attend the ceremony in LA that year. (Bill Roth)
CLASSICS ON SUNDAYS: THE MAN WITH NO NAME
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
Sergio Leone. Italy. 1964. R. 99 min. MGM. 35mm.
Sun, Jan 15 @ 2:00 pm
This is it. The story that began the cycle of Italian Spaghetti Westerns, and established the film career (and long-term film persona) of Clint Eastwood, who plays the taciturn, resourceful, deadly ManWith No Name. Based upon Akira Kurasawa's classic samurai "Eastern," Yojimbo, this is the simple story of a savvy gunfighter who plays both sides against the middle in a town riven by two feuding families. Because of his original andoften startling variations on Western themes, and his ability to lend wit and surprise to what could have been a clichéd story-line, Leone with this movie set a new standard (and rejuvenated the genre) for western films. (Bill Roth)
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE
Sergio Leone. Italy. 1965. R. 132 min. MGM. 35mm.
Sun, Jan 22 @ 2:00 pm
This sequel to the immensely popular A Fistful of Dollars again features Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name. In this outing (considered by many to be superior to its predecessor, with tighter direction and better production values), Clint vies with that long-standing "squinty-eyed devil," Lee Van Cleef, a rival bounty hunter, to track down a particularly evil bad guy. Interestingly, in contrast with Eastwood's cold, amoral gun- fighter, Van Cleef is actually a man with a past and a moral purpose, but one that is only revealed through flashbacks at the end of the tale. Filmed with wit and increased assurance by Leone, For a Few Dollars More again features a haunting soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, and a strong sense of irony, as it deconstructs the traditional cowboy clichés. (Bill Roth)
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
Sergio Leone. Italy. 1966. R. 161 min. MGM. 35mm.
Sun, Jan 29 @ 2:00 pm
The third and, many feel, the best of the Eastwood/Leone Dollars trilogy, features not only Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef, but also the great Eli Wallach. Considered "the ultimate spaghetti western" (CineBooks Movie Guide), this concluding chapter provides an exceptionally fine-tuned and complex scenario within a deceptively simple storyline: the three main characters are each, independently, out to find a hidden fortune that has been buried in an unmarked grave. However, their search is complicated by the fact that it is taking place within the context of the Civil War, the tragedy and bloody futility of which can be seen to dwarf their own individual acts of violence. Indeed, this setting brings out complex and often startling reactions from each of the main characters, taking the film well beyond the boundaries of the standard action film. Despite the seriousness of this theme, Leone provides his usual elements of humor and irony, particularly with the character played by Wallach, and makes for a terrific finale to the saga of The Man With No Name. (Bill Roth)
CLASSICS ON SUNDAYS: NAMELY, BEST ACTRESSES
George Cukor. US. 1936. NR. 108 min. Warner Bros. DVD.
Sun, Feb 5 @ 2:00 pm
Though nominated for this, one of the seminal roles in her career, Greta Garbo did not receive an Oscar for this stunning exercise in romantic melodrama. (Hard to believe that this uber-star never received an Academy Awards for her acting, though she did get a career award many yearsafter she retired.) This beautifully and luxuriantly photographed film shows MGM at its most glamorous, and Garbo at her most radiant, as she portrays a"courtesan" who sacrifices her all for love. (Her final scene, and how expressively she uses her eyes to convey what is going on for her, is still considered to be one of the most moving pieces of acting in film history.) With a supportingcast that includes a young Robert Taylor (almost as beautiful as Garbo!), Lionel Barrymore, and Henry Daniell, this film deserves its status as one of the most romantic movies ever made. (Bill Roth)
William Wyler. US. 1942. NR. 134 min. Warner Bros. DVD.
Sun, Feb 12 @ 2:00 pm
This winner of six Academy Awards (including Best Film, Best Director and - of course - Best Actress) played a major role in rousing the American public to an awareness of what "our British cousins" had been enduring, prior to our entry into World War II. It beautifully and powerfully conveys the British people's will and dignity, as they tried to maintain an air of normalcy on the home front while facing daily bombing raids and other threats. Greer Garson is most affecting as she and her film husband, Walter Pidgeon, seek to deal with deprivations and danger, and conveying a wholesome and happy home environment in the midst of it all. After seeing this rousing and influential film, Winston Churchill was heard to say it was "more valuable to the war effort than the combined efforts of six army divisions." (Bill Roth)
Morton DaCosta. US. 1958. NR. 143 min. Warner Bros. 35mm.
Sun, Feb 19 @ 2:00 pm
Oscar-nominated Rosalind Russell turns in a rollicking performance as the title character, whose philosophy is simply summed up as"life is a banquet, and most suckers are starving to death," in this award-winning adaptation of the novel and stage play by Patrick Dennis. Herrole as young Dennis's eccentric and free-wheeling aunt, who takes the boy under her wing and helps him to fly, is one of the best of her long career. As reviewer Steven H. Scheuer has stated, "Russell's comic cyclone of a performance supplies enough centrifugal force to keep a dozen comedies in motion." If the story and some of the hilarious incidents portrayed seem a bit familiar, this is probably because Auntie Mame was converted, some years later, into Mame, the hit 70s musical comedy of stage and screen. (Bill Roth)
Woody Allen. US. 1977. PG. 93 min. MGM. 35mm.
Sun, Feb 26 @ 2:00 pm
This is considered by many to be Woody Allen's "breakthrough film," in that it took him beyond the mere comedy tropes and funny one-liners of his earlier films into the domain of true romantic comedy and social insight. In so doing, Allen received Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Screenplay, and Diane Keaton won a well-deserved Best Actress award for bringing life (and joy) to the title role (which many folks who know her contend is based upon her own real-life personality and style.) Allen and Keaton are supported by a splendid cast, which includes Tony Roberts, Paul Simon, Colleen Dewhurst and such future stars as Carol Kane, Christopher Walken and Shelley Duval, and the scenes of New York City are rendered as lovingly as Allen has ever done. So, if you are in the mood for some mid-winter laughter, and a glowing performance by one of America's most delightful female stars at her finest and most natural, come fall in love with Annie Hall. (Bill Roth)
CLASSICS ON SUNDAYS: MICHAEL CAINE
THE IPCRESS FILE
Sidney Furie. UK. 1965. NR. 109 min. Universal. 35mm.
Sun, Mar 4 @ 2:00 pm
Early in his screen career (even before his breakout role as Alfie in 1966), Michael Caine was becoming quite a well-known actor in his native Britain. One of his most highly regarded performances from that period was as star of this tense and complex spy thriller. At a time when "spy thriller" generally referred to the wild, over-the- top shenanigans of the James Bond films, this was an exciting, often droll exercise in intelligent intelligence work, based upon the bestseller by Len Deighton. Caine plays the bespectacled Harry Palmer, a somewhat shifty cockney British army sergeant who is caught dealing in the black market and is forced to do penance by serving as a counterintelligence agent in cold-war Berlin. Rather that being a Bondian super-spy, he is more of a regular bloke, thrust into dangerous situations that build tension and rely on his resourcefulness and wit. The success of this film led to two sequels, Funeral in Berlin and Billion Dollar Brain, both starring Caine; however, this is roundly regarded as being the best of the bunch. Watch it and find out why. (Bill Roth)
Mike Hodges. UK. 1970. R. 112 min. Warner Bros. DVD.
Sun, Mar 11 @ 2:00 pm
One would generally never think of calm, impassive Michael Caine as being the hero (antihero?) of a brutal thriller - a grim, amoral killer, bent on revenge. But, then again, one could be wrong. In this exciting, sometimes stunning movie, Caine plays Jack Carter (no relation - whatsoever - to the American funny-man of the 1950s and 60s), a small-time hood from London who goes home to the north of England to attend his brother's funeral. The more he learns, the more Carter becomes obsessed with finding out the reasons for his brother's death and with getting revenge. Brilliantly directed by then-newcomer to the screen, Mike Hodges, this is a violent and stylish film, with touches of both modern realism and classic hard-boiled detection, a la Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Please, please don't mistake this modern noir classic for the 2000 remake of the same name, starring Sylvester Stallone. The two are as different as…well…as different as Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. (Bill Roth)
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
John Huston. UK. 1975. PG. 129 min. Warner Bros. 35mm.
Sun, Mar 18 @ 2:00 pm
Famed director and writer John Huston dreamed of bringing Rudyard Kipling's thrilling adventure story about India in the 1880s to the screen for many years, but he was never quite able to find the right cast or the right amount of funding for the project. Then in 1975 he was able to secure the services of Michael Caine and Sean Connery, both at the height of theirpopularity and charisma and, as the saying goes, the rest is cinematic history. In a film filled with brave derring-do, witty banter and fanciful skullduggery, Caine and Connery, as two British army pals, set about bamboozling the people of Kafiristan (an erstwhile province of Afghanistan) into believing that Connery is a god, there to lead that nation into glory, as they scheme to indulge their own greed. However, much to their dismay, and to our entertainment, their best laid plans end up going wildly astray. If you enjoy films of wit and high adventure, along the lines of Gunga Din and Beau Geste, and thrill to clever dialogue and a sense of everyone involved having a jolly-good time, then this is the film for you! (Bill Roth)
PROGRAMS FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
SHORTS FOR KIDS
4+. 60 min.
Sat, Jan 14 @ 2:00 pm
A selection of short films just for kids.
$8.50. All ages. 60 min.
Sat, Jan 21 @ 2:00 pm
Randy Kaplan's second not-JUST-for-kids CD, Loquat Rooftop, appeared on numerous national Top Ten lists in 2008, notably NPR's. The single "No Nothing" became a Sirius-XM Radio hit and was nominated for Best Children's Song of the year by Just Plain Folks. Mindsmack TV created an animated video for the CD's second single, "The Ladybug Without Spots," which can be viewed on Randy's YouTube channel. "Randy Kaplan is one of those happy-they-exist people you can't quite tell is playing kids' music. And yet he is… He'll introduce kids to authentic-sounding originals as well as Tin Pan Alley numbers, Broadway showstoppers, and Delta blues" (New York Magazine). Randy's first family CD, Five Cent Piece, was called a "masterwork" by The Brooklyn Paper and "as vital a part of your child's proper development as milk, sunshine and challenging established orthodoxies."
THE IRON GIANT
Brad Bird. US. 1999. 6+. 86 min. Warner Bros. DVD.
Sat, Jan 28 @ 2:00 pm
"…at its core, The Iron Giant is basically E.T. in reverse: same starry-eyed story of a boy befriending an alien, only here, it's the boy's simple wisdom that makes an impression on the alien, not the other way around. And while there's no single image in The Iron Giant to match the iconic shot of children cycling in silhouette under the moonlight, there isn't much difference between that flight and a young boy cradled into the palm of a 100-foot-tall robot, catching a bird's-eye view of a seaside town in New England. The bond between boy and alien may just transcend the bond between boy and dog." (Scott Tobias, The Onion A.V. Club)
TWO OF A KIND AND THE GIVE 'EM A HAND BAND
$8.50. 4+. 60 min.
Sat, Feb 4 @ 2:00 pm
Two of a Kind and the Give 'em a Hand Band presents an interactive family concert and album-release event, celebrating the release of their 8th CD, "Sing Me Your Story." Two of a Kind is David & Jenny Heitler-Klevans, an award winning, nationally touring husband and wife duo based in the Philadelphia area. David and Jenny will be joined by "The Give 'em a Hand Band" featuring Chico Huff (bass), Grant MacAvoy (drums), Hope Wesley Harrison (vocals), and David & Jenny's identical twin sons Ari (French horn, vocals) & Jason (trombone, vocals).
THE SECRET OF MOONACRE
Gabor Csupo. UK. 2008. 8+. 103 min. eOne. Blu ray.
Sat, Feb 18 @ 2:00 pm
Based on the book The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (JK Rowling's favorite childhood book!) When 13 year old MariaMerryweather's father dies, leaving her orphaned and homeless, she is forced to leave her luxurious London life to go and live with Sir Benjamin, an eccentric uncle she didn't know she had, at the mysterious Moonacre Manor. Soon Maria finds herself in a crumbling moonlit world torn apart by the hatred of an ancient feud with the dark and sinister De Noir family. Maria discovers that she is the last Moon Princess and, guided by an unlikely mix of allies, shemust overcome her family's pride in order to unearth the secrets of the past before the 5000th moon rises and Moonacre disappears into the sea forever.
TURTLES CAN FLY
Bahman Ghobadi. Iran. 2005. 12+. 98 min. IFC Films. DVD.
Sat, Feb 25 @ 2:00 pm
"In the makeshift refugee villages of northern Iraq shortly before 2003′s U.S.-led invasion, parentless children spend their days collecting landmines and awaiting information on the impending war. With noresponsible adults to guide or shelter them, the kids—led by a precocious boy named Satellite (Soran Ebrahim), whose skill with technology makes him a vital member of the temporary community—toil and suffer in quiet, resigned to their bleak fate as dispossessed orphans in a land bereft of familial and national unity, and Turtles Can Fly focuses its even-keeled gaze on these lost, physically and emotionally crippled youngsters with understated sympathy.
BALLOON FREAK JOHN CASSIDY
Sat, Mar 3 @ 2:00 pm
John Cassidy, our most popular kids performer at the Colonial, is an eccentric comedian whose bizarre antics have earned him widespread acclaim as one of the most original and unique performers today. He has also made numerous television appearances having appeared on such popular shows as Live with Regis and Kelly, NBC's Today Show and Martha Stewart Living and regularly plays Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City and his native Philadelphia. John also holds several Guinness World Records for speed in balloon sculpting. You can learn more about John and check out some amazing videos and photos online at johncassidy.com.
6+. Approx. 75 min. 35mm.
Sat, Mar 10 @ 2:00 pm
Selected cartoons from the Warner Brothers catalog featuring Bugs Bunny.
DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE
Robert Stevenson. US. 1959. 6+. 93 min. Buena Vista. 35mm.
Sat, Mar 17 @ 2:00 pm
Albert Sharpe is an Irish caretaker whose tendency to spin the blarney causes no one to believe him when he becomes the guest of the Leprechauns in their underground home. Great special effects create a timeless atmosphere of charm and fantasy. Also starring Sean Connery. (TLA Film & Video Guide 2002-03)
Richard Donner. US. 1978. PG. 143 min. WB. 35mm.
Sat, Mar 24, @ 2:00 pm
"Superman was an extraordinarily expensive film, and on the whole the money was well spent. Perfect casting and stunning specialeffects combine to relate the origins of the famous DC Comics here. Superman's father (Marlon Brando) jettisons his child into space to save him from the death of planet Krypton. Christopher Reeve plays the adult Superman, who, as Clark Kent, gets a job at The Daily Planet where he meets Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). Lex Luther (Gene Hackman) tries to take advantage of the weaknesses he learns about Superman. This 2.5-hour film is well-paced and spawned three sequels.With dazzling effects and spectacular music by John Williams, Superman was able to boast the longest credits sequence of the time. It was also themeasuring stick to which most films about comic book heroes were calibrated." (Nathan Jensen, The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide)
SHINE AND THE MOONBEAMS
Tickets: $8.50. 60 min.
Sat, Mar 31 @ 2:00 pm
Take five outstanding NYC musicians with eclectic musical tastes and influences, combine their unique perspectives, add a backing band, and witness the result: a soulful, groove-heavy R&B musical extravaganza in a rock and roll package, capturing the sweetness, uncertainty, and simplicity of youth. Shine and the Moonbeams is family music's first soul band. "There was something in the performance touched folks emotionally." Out with the Kids raved that Shine and the Moonbeams' songs were "heartfelt, insightful and emotional, with brilliant musicianship to boot."
DOCUMENTARIES: OSCAR CONTENDERS
HELL AND BACK AGAIN
Danfung Dennis. US. 2011. NR. 88 min. Blu ray.
Sun, Jan 15 @ 4:30 pm
"There have been plenty of combat documentaries over the last 10 years, but photojournalist Danfung Dennis' Hell and Back Again adopts an original conceit. Dennis follows Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris, a gruff 25-year-old who was stationed in Afghanistan, during two seminal moments in his life. During an assault on a Taliban stronghold, Harris received a bullet wound in his rear that prematurely sent him home. Back in North Carolina with hiswife, temporarily unable to walk and unsure of his military future, Harris drifts through his mundane life dealing with echoes of the past. Rather than letting his subject attempt to explain the trauma, Dennis shows it, repeatedly cutting between the two periods. The events speak for themselves." (Eric Kohn, Indiewire.com)
Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz. US. 2011. NR. 125 min. Cinema Guild. Blu ray.
Sun, Jan 22 @ 4:30 pm
"No concept in the critical lexicon has been more devalued and debased than "inspirational." The term has been so misused, it's just about lost all meaning. A film that makes that word real and vital has to be special. The Interrupters is such a film. A surprisingly moving documentary collaboration between producer-director Steve James and producer Alex Kotlowitz, The Interrupters paradoxically succeeds because it refuses to soften reality. A look at people trying at the ground level to stop street violence in Chicago, it tears at your heart with its depiction of the intractability of the problem. But it simultaneously insists, and makes youbelieve, that change is possible one person at a time." (Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times)
DOCUMENTARIES: OSCAR WINNING DIRECTOR ERROL MORRIS
THE THIN BLUE LINE
Errol Morris. US. 1988. 14+. 103 min. IFC. DVD.
Sun, Feb 5 @ 4:30 pm
One dark night in 1976, a Dallas police officer named Robert Wood was shot dead by someone inside a car he had stopped for a minor traffic violation. The man who was convicted of that murder, a young drifter named Randall Adams, is currently serving the 11th year of a life sentence. The chief witness against him, David Harris, has been sentenced to death for another murder. In the tense last moments of The Thin Blue Line, Harris confesses to the murder of Wood. Those moments are the result of a 30-month investigation by Errol Morris, one of America's strangest and most brilliant documentary filmmakers, who sometimes jokes that he is not a "producer-director" but a "detective-director."
THE FOG OF WAR
Errol Morris. US. 2003. PG-13. 95 min. Sony. 35mm.
Sun, Feb 12 @ 4:30 pm
Winner of the 2004 Best Documentary Oscar. "Errol Morris may have been put on earth to make The Fog of War, a stunning portrait of Robert S. McNamara that closes a year of outstanding nonfiction movies on ahigh note. Morris, after all, is a filmmaker whose tolerance of moral inconsistency — indeed, his empathy with flawed men — is a strength quite apart from his talent as a craftsman of meticulously collaged documentaries like The Thin Blue Line and Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. Former secretary of defense McNamara was involved in the firebombing of Japan in 1945 during World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and the escalation of the Vietnam War into the cleaving tragedy it became. Yet in his 80s, with commanding access to facts and dates, the old technocrat once reviled for hawkishness and arrogance speaks with an affecting plainness, one man goingeyeball-to-eyeball with the media age. And his answers to questions about war and peace build, via Morris' compositional artistry, to an exquisite peak of ambiguity and remorse. McNamara always retained the look of a gray company man. But the filmmaker interweaves talking-head footage of his subject (his knobby fingers ticking off bloodless stats about lives lost in Japanese cities andlives saved by car seat belts) with graceful images, including dominoes falling and reels spinning over chilling audiotaped conversation between McNamara, who wanted to get out of Vietnam early on, and Lyndon Johnson, who wanted to get deeper in. Backed by musical semaphore from composer Philip Glass, the film is a warning beacon about fog conditions that never subside but only shift to American military involvement in other parts of the world." (Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)
Errol Morris. US. 2010. R. 87 min. IFC Films. 35mm.
Sun, Feb 19 @ 4:30 pm
"Timed serendipitously with the sudden collapse of Britain's 168-year-old gossip rag News Of The World, Errol Morris' Tabloid reveals, among many other things, the fierce, unscrupulous reporting that goes on at competing publications—in this case, Britain's Daily Mirror and Daily Express. In spite of its title, this gossip war isn't Tabloid's subject, but it does underline a long-running theme in Morris' work about the elusive, subjective, sometimes unknowable nature of the truth. In response to Joyce McKinney and the "case of the manacled Mormon," a sensational story that gripped the country in the late '70s, the Mirror and the Express took vastly different tacks on the same story, informed entirely by their access to McKinney. When the dust settled, some sordid truths about McKinney's bizarre story were uncovered, but other, essential details remained in dispute, with the net effect of journalism confusing and obfuscating much more than it revealed. A departure, at least superficially, from the somber political inquiry of Morris' last two documentaries, The Fog Of War and Standard Operating Procedure, Tabloid spins one hell of a yarn, following the twists and turns of a story that understandably captivated a nation." (Scott Tobias, The Onion A.V. Club)
DOCUMENTARIES: LOCAL DIRECTORS
RESURRECT DEAD: THE MYSTERY OF THE TOYNBEE TILES
John Foy. US. NR. 88 min. Argot Pictures. DVD.
Sun, Mar 4 @ 4:30 pm
Q&A with director and Philly native John Foy immediately following the screening.
"Alien to the street yet embedded within it, easy to read but impossible to decipher, the Toynbee Tiles are an internationally enigmatic, handcrafted phenomenon. First discovered in the early 1980s, these crudely tiled signs have appeared in pavements all over the world, each uniquely made yet all expressing an identical message: Toynbee Idea, In Kubrick's 2001, Resurrect Dead. On Planet Jupiter. The words seem deliberately, outlandishly cryptic. But as Jon Foy's appropriately DIY, remarkably sincere documentary debut reveals, the truth is both stranger and more straightforward than that.
Since no one has ever come forward to claim authorship of the tiles, the mystery of the "Toynbee Tiler" has been irresistible to all manner of amateur sleuths. One of them is Foy's main subject and collaborator, Philadelphia outsider artist and musician Justin Duerr. The kind of gawky, high school oddball who grows up to be the most interesting and upstanding person you know, Duerr has been tracking the Tiler since he was a teenaged squatter in 1994. As told to Foy, his first Internet search, conducted in a Philadelphia library reading room, was for information on the Toynbee Tiles (it yielded zero results). Later employed as a courier, he found tiles all over the city, and soon satisfied his hobbyist curiosity with tile-centric bus trips to Baltimore, New York, Boston and beyond.
…The film's investigation is two-fold: to discover the identity of the tiler, and to understand the meaning of his message. Assisted by cub sleuths Steve Weinik and Colin Smith, Foy and Duerr follow leads from the Northeast corridor to Buenos Aires, from Internet chat rooms to shortwave radio conventions, and from cockamamie conspiracy theorists to playwright David Mamet, before spiraling back eerily close to where they started: the working class streets of south Philadelphia.
Resurrect Dead works splendidly as a threadbare urban mystery, teasing out details and complications without withholding too much information. Duerr interprets each line of the tile's text individually, then pieces them back together to understand the tiler's evident message—an eccentric death-defying plea that grows more poignant, if no less disorienting, the closer our sleuths come to identifying the tiler. As Duerr and his associates narrow in on the likeliest suspect, they're inclined to stop short ofdisclosure. After more than a decade of seeking, they understand all too well what drives a man to hide. Turned on by a mystery, they start to turn off when faced with an understandable, intimately relatable need to maintain it." (Eric Hynes, The Village Voice)
MISTER ROGERS & ME
Benjamin and Christofer Wagner. US. 2010. NR. 79 min. Wagner Bros. DVD.
Sun, Mar 11 @ 4:30 pm
Q&A with filmmakers and former Berwyn residents Benjamin and Christofer Wagner following the screening.
"Unlike almost everyone on TV who's invented a persona, Mr. Rogers was the same person off screen. His life and his work touched children, politicians, celebrities and religious leaders. He did it in a way that wasboth humble and authentic. I learned this watching a profoundly moving film - Mr. Rogers and Me by Benjamin and Christofer Wagner. I've known both Ben and Chris for more than ten years, and always thought of them as a rare combination of storytelling and creative talent. The film took me on a journey along with Benjamin, as he met, and was befriended by Fred Rogers when his he and his mother rented a house on Nantucket, next to Mr. Roger's summer cottage. It has to have been an awkward moment when Rogers told Ben -- who was then a rising star at MTV, "I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than complex." After his death in 2003, Ben and Chris struck out to understand the Mr. Rogers message, and to follow the simple request that Rogers had made of Ben: "spread the word."
The journey is a surprising one -- as I learned Mr. Rogers's impact reached far beyond children. From NBC's Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert, to NPR's Susan Stanberg, Nickelodeon's Linda Ellerbee, children's author Marc Brown. In each case, their connections with Fred Rogers are deeply personal and profound. But Ben and Chris don't just interview famous folks -- and in fact Tim Madigan's connection with Mr. Rogers is perhaps the most moving of the film. Madigan, deeply depressed and in need of a human connection, asks Mr. Rogers to be proud of him. The letter Rogers sent back may have saved Tim's life.
…Mr. Rogers and Me is a gem of a film. Nostalgic and relevant. A revealing personal journey that asks important questions about our human connections. And important questions about how media connect with ourchildren today." (Steve Rosenbaum, The Huffington Post)
THE ART OF THE STEAL
Don Argott. US. 2009. NR. 101 min. IFC Films. 35mm.
Sun, Mar 18 @ 4:30 pm
Sponsored by Miller DesignWorks
"As a forward-thinking art collector in the 1920s, Dr. Albert Barnes snapped up an extraordinary wealth of post-impressionist and modernist paintings from the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and Cezanne; though dismissed by tastemakers at the time, his collection is now valued in the tens of billions. In his will, Barnes was specific about what the trustees were to do with his assets: He wanted them to remain housed in his small, meticulously conceived institution in the Philadelphia suburb of Merion, never to be loaned out or sold to other museums. He wanted the Barnes trustees tocontinue his educational mission. And most of all, he wanted to make sure the corporate foundations and politicians in Philly didn't get their grubby paws on it. Don Argott's gripping documentary The Art Of The Steal is about how Barnes' seemingly ironclad wishes were withered away by unscrupulous trustees, coffer-draining legal battles, and the overwhelming force of a city looking to bring in the tourist dollar. There are two sides of the story—the other being that the Barnes Foundation simply didn't have the capital to be a sustainable entity—but the film makes its allegiances clear. And that isn't a bad thing: In this David-and-Goliath story, Goliath kicks the ever-loving shit out of David, and the film is convincing and righteous in its advocacy. It also leaves behind some troubling questions about the runaway commoditization of art, the extent to which it does or does not belong the public, and just how much power theindividual really has in society. Argott (Rock School) doesn't add much new information to a story that's played out in headlines and editorial pages for decades, but The Art Of The Steal consolidates it into a damningexample of justice bending toward those who can most afford to buy it." (Scott Tobias, The Onion A.V. Club)
FIRST FRIDAY FRIGHT NIGHT
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII
John Carl Buechler. US. 1986. R. 88 min. Paramount. 35mm.
Sponsored by EB Art Guide
Fri, Jan 13 @ 9:45 pm
"I have a special place in my heart for Friday the 13th: A New Blood because I snuck into the film with a friend in a theater inHoboken when I was 12. It didn't hold up at the time, and though it still seems to be stealing in distracting measures from both Carrie and Firestarter, director John Carl Buechler has a strong visual style, and the anxieties suffered by Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln) throughout the film are well thought-out by the franchise's typically one-dimensional standards." (Ed Gonzalez, SlantMagazine.com)
MY BLOODY VALENTINE
George Mihalka. Canada. 1981. R. 90 min. Private Collector. 35mm.
Sponsored by EB Art Guide
Fri, Feb 3 @ 9:45 pm
"My Bloody Valentine opens promisingly, with a sexy blonde (sporting a red heart tattoo above her breast) sensually stroking the tube on a miner's gas mask mere moments before the gentleman hacks her to pieces. After this instance of perverted pre-coital murder, however, GeorgeMihalka's slasher film quickly devolves into a piece of hackwork, aping Halloween with every POV shot from its seemingly indestructible killer. A group of rowdy young mine workers (including two doofuses fighting over the same bland woman) and their ditzy girlfriends become axe fodder for a deranged lunatic named Harry Warden who wears a sinister gas mask and holds a grudge against his hometown and its Valentine's Day festivities. That said celebrations include little more than a dance attended by 15 drunken idiots doesn't diminish the fiend's bloodlust, who offs his prey without an ounce of inventiveness and then sends his victims' hearts - along with ridiculous "roses are red, violets are blue"-style notes - to the wholly ineffective local mayor and police chief. In the end, the only sweet thing about the surprisingly bloodless film (which was heavily slashed of gore at the MPAA's urging) is the crazy old bartending coot who, like a latter-day Nostradamus, barks dire warnings about death and dismemberment to the town's young punks." (Nick Schager)
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
Fred Dekker. US. 1986. R. 88 min. Sony. 35mm.
Sponsored by EB Art Guide
Fri, Mar 2 @ 9:45 pm
"Fred Dekker's 1986 horror-comedy Night Of The Creeps had the curious distinction of being simultaneously anachronistic and ahead of its time. By the mid-'80s, the heyday of campy, drive-in-ready B-movies about square young men battling creepy-crawlies from another world while trying to muster up the courage to ask their gals to the big dance had long passed. But the winking meta-commentary of Scream and Hot Fuzz wasn't yet in vogue. Like Dekker's simpatico next film, The Monster Squad, Creeps picked up a cult following, but that must be cold comfort to its writer-director, who hasn't made a film since 1993's RoboCop 3. Fresh off the success of European Vacation, the blandly affable Jason Lively plays a geeky college student who pledges to a frat in a desperate attempt to impress dreamy Jill Whitlow. In the process, Lively and sidekick Steve Marshall end up unleashing a sinister entity that transforms people into incubators for sinister slug-like creatures from outer space. Veteran character actor Tom Atkins receives the full iconic treatment as a hard-drinking, memory-haunted detective with a personal connection to the alien invaders. (Nathan Rabin, The Onion A.V. Club)
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
Joel and Ethan Cohen. US. 1998. R. 117 min. Universal. 35mm.
Fri, Jan 20 @ 10:00 pm
Costume Contest! Live DJ spinning Lebowski-inspired music at 9:30!
"With The Big Lebowski, among the most quotable movies this side of Double Indemnity or Sweet Smell Of Success, perhaps the best place to start is a quote. This one comes from "The Stranger," Sam Elliott's sarsaparilla-drinking cowboy narrator, about Jeffrey Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude," the ill-kempt hippie burnout, bowling enthusiast, and accidental detective played by Jeff Bridges: "Sometimes there's a man… I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero? Sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about The Dude here, The Dude from Los Angeles. Sometimes, there's a man…well…he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's The Dude. The Dude from Los Angeles." As the narration rolls out, we see The Dude in all his majesty, skulking around the dairy aisle at a grocery store, sniffing through the cartons to find half & half to stir into his beloved White Russians. Streaked with the blond highlights of a California surfer gone toseed, his shaggy hair spills over into an ensemble that includes an open gray robe, a dingy white V-neck that barely contains his billowing paunch, blue plaid shorts, and a pair of open-toed jellies that seem custom-designed forambling. Upon reaching the checkout line, he pays with a check for $.69. From this brief snapshot, the Coens very nearly reveal the whole picture." (Scott Tobias, The Onion A.V. Club)
MST3K: TIME CHASERS
David Giancola. US. 1994. PG-13. 89 min. Rhino. DVD.
Fri, Feb 17 @ 9:45 pm
If you studied the greatest time travel tales in history, Time Chasers would surely be the weakest. It's got a guy and some other guy in it. They use a biplane to fly back in time and do stuff. If it all sounds like so much enchantment - it isn't. It does, however, setup up our intrepid movie riffing trio (Mike, Crow and Servo) with a veritable feast on which to heap scorn! Join us once again for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowd experience unlike most others!
BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Stephen Herek. US. 1989. PG. 90 min. MGM. 35mm.
Fri, Mar 16 @ 9:45 pm
"Just stupid enough to be endearing." (Rob Thomas, Capital Times)
"The boys are back in town - and back in the telephone-booth time machine. As these high school goofballs travel back in time
to score some heavy dudes like Napoleon, Socrates, and Billy the Kid for their history presentation, they wrote themselves into the teen-movie pantheon. Everything Reeves has done since always has the whiff of "Ted" about it. Party on, dudes." (Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle)
Andrew McLaglen. US. 1975. R. 97 min. Rhino. DVD.
Fri, Apr 20 @ 9:45 pm
Joe Don Baker is unappealing, doughy and alcoholic cop Mitchell who gets caught up in political intrigue and the local mafia drug trade after he's called in to investigate the murder of a prowler by a local embezzler (played by John Saxton). This is the first of two Joe Don Baker films that the Satellite of love crew lambaste- the other being "Final Justice" (Mitchell in Italy), which we featured at the Colonial for out Cult Cinema show back in May '11. Not only is this episode one of the absolute best that the gang has to offer, it's also historically important in the MST3K realm as it is the parting episode of much loved series creator and host, Joel Hodgson. Mike Nelson would take over hosting duties in the following episode. Come out and count how many times Joel and the Bots can say "Mitchell" in an hour and a half with us. We dare you! (Chuck Francisco)
Tommy Wiseau. US. 2003. R. 99 min. Wiseau Films. 35mm.
Fri, May 18 @ 9:45 pm
"Tommy Wiseau's The Room may be the first true successor to the Rocky Horror [midnight movie] throne. Since ending a two-week run at Laemmle's Sunset 5 theater in Los Angeles in 2003, Wiseau's self-distributed anti-gem has nurtured a cult following through once-a-month midnight screenings. And in the time since, as devotees continue to plumb the mysteries of its mesmerizing inanity, the audience has taken ownership of it: They throw spoons. They shout a repertoire of canned and spontaneous zingers at the screen. They reenact whole scenes in front of the theater. They toss the ol' pigskin around. Thanks mainly to an excellent Entertainment Weekly piece by Clark Collis, what was once a well-kept L.A.-only secret—or as secret as anything promoted by a bizarre billboard could be—has recently been spreading throughout the country, popping up in sold-out shows in New York and other cities, and on a recent episode of Tim And Eric Awesome Show Awesome Show, Great Job! Approaching the film as a Chicago-based outsider, with a healthy skepticism of L.A. phenomena of any stripe, I'm now convinced that it's the real deal. It may not have the staying power of a Rocky Horror, if only because midnight-movie culture justisn't as sustainable as it once was, but in the annals of bad cinema, The Room deserves shelf-space next to Ed Wood's Glen Or Glenda? Both are personal and shockingly amateurish laughers that put their directors in front of the camera and are all too revealing of their odd peccadilloes. Wood has a thing for angora sweaters; Wiseau has a thing for pillow fights, red roses, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Who are we not to luxuriate in their fetishes?" (Scott Tobias, read the full review at The Onion A.V. Club.com)