Welcome to Cinema Showdown, a new column spotlighting cinematic special events, reparatory screenings and other miscellaneous film presentations around town and under the radar.
If you’re a Rolling Stones fan, prepare to get yer ya-yas out on Thursday, Dec. 5. The Rolling Stones Sweet Summer Sun — Hyde Park Live is playing one night only at Crossroads Cinema, 4811. E. Grant Rd, at 7 p.m. Filmed at a Stones concert at Hyde Park this past summer, this documentary showcases the seasoned veterans playing the hits in front of 100,000 rabid rock ’n’ roll fans. A big draw here is a special appearance by ex-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who joins the boys on a few numbers. Taylor debuted with the band at Hyde Park back in 1969, so it’s a full circle affair. Ticket prices are $8.50. For more info check movievalue.com or call 327-7067.
It’s December, and that can only mean one thing — Christmas Movie Overdrive. If you’re having a hard time getting into the spirit, might I suggest you spend some time with the Griswold family. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is playing at Century Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd, and Century 20 El Con, 3601 E. Broadway Blvd, on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 2 and 7 p.m. More information can be found at cinemark.com. Tell Uncle Eddie I said season’s greetings.
"Mad" Max Rockatansky hasn't braved the Australian wastelands since 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but that's about to change in 2015. Sort of.
George Miller, the filmmaker from down under who created the Mad Max trilogy, is back in the director's chair for the fourth film in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road. Not returning, however, is the man who was Max. That's right, actor/rogue of ill repute/anger management candidate Mel Gibson won't be donning Max's dusty leathers or loading his trademark sawn-off, double barrel shotgun. This time around, ass-kicking duty is going to the more-than-capable actor Tom Hardy.
The film finally has a release date. Mad Max: Fury Road is opening on May 15, 2015. That's 20 long years after Thunderdome. The Warner Brothers film has been in various forms of production since 2003, but financial turmoil, the Iraq War, weather disasters, and more recently, additional shooting has kept pushing the film's opening date back. Hell, I even remember a time when it was almost certain that Fury Road would be animated. So, is all this development hell worth it? Is this entry necessary?
Will I be there on opening day? Probably, although I don't have high hopes. From glancing at the lone production still and various behind-the-scenes photos of the latest freaked-out hybrid cars/killing machines, I'm not very impressed. Max looks too clean, the cars look like the parking lot at Burning Man. I'm always weary of once-strong directors returning to the films that made their careers. Just look at Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Bleahhh.
Alex Winter, best known as Bill S. Preston, Esq. from the cult classic Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, is working on a new documentary about the dark underbelly of the Internet, and he wants you to help out via Kickstarter. Winter has skewered sideshow entertainment with his debut film Freaked, turned MTV culture upside down with the beloved and much-missed series The Idiot Box, and most recently made a documentary on Napster and the P2P revolution called Downloaded.
Deep Web: The Untold Story of BitCoin and the Silk Road will be a full-length doc exploring the side of the Internet that's recently been making some interesting headlines. From their Kickstarter page:
In the last ten years, the digital revolution has swept like a brushfire into every corner of modern life. The world we now live in bears little resemblance to even the recent past. And the changes that are coming will disrupt our lives in even greater ways, some good and some harmful. But this tidal wave cannot be stopped, and its path can best be charted by examining the Deep Web; the vast unseen world that lies at the heart of the Internet and is the engine for the entire technological era.
Amazingly, the story of the Deep Web has never been told on film. Until now.
The Deep Web on one level simply represents the 96% of the World Wide Web that is unseen by the average citizen and not indexed by standard search engines. But more significantly, the Deep Web is a movement, a philosophy, a tool for revolution, and its foundation was built long before Napster and the iPod, WikiLeaks, The Arab Spring and the revelations of widespread NSA surveillance.
It is a long and winding road that has brought us to today's landscape of crypto-currency, Internet-fueled revolution and dangerous online black markets. And to explore this world is to better understand the full implications of where we now find ourselves and what may be the best way forward.
Some of the benefits of throwing Winter some scratch are most excellent indeed. For a $100 pledge you can have a private Skype session with Winter and talk about whatever you'd like. I'd like to ask him if he was his own stylist on the set of Lost Boys. $200 gets you a private screening party of Bill and Ted's in a SoHo apartment in New York City with Winter. For all you high rollers, you might want to consider the "Russian Oligarch" pledge level, where $10,000 gets you a screening of Bill and Ted's with Winter on a yacht in the city of your choice, plus an air guitar session. To quote Keanu Reves, "whoa."
Loft Staff Selects is a new series kicking off tonight at the Loft Cinema. They're handing over the wheel to the staff for one night a month, letting them program the movie of their choice. The series starts with Tobe Hooper's (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) 1986 action-packed remake of Invaders From Mars, starring Louise Fletcher, Hunter Carson, and the recently deceased cult actress Karen Black. Trust me, any movie that features Louise Fletcher in full Nurse Ratched mode gulping down a living, breathing, squirming frog is worth watching.
Scarlett Johansson has a very distinctive voice. Some might call it smoky, sexy or sultry. I think she sounds like she needs a glass of milk to wash down the peanut butter lodged in her throat, but that's just me.
Apparently the Rome Film Festival doesn't care about my opinion. Last night they awarded her the Best Actress prize for Her, the new Spike Jonze film also starring Joaquin Phoenix. Johansson plays Samantha, the voice of an artificial operating system that Phoenix falls in love with. Paul Reubens, Kevin Spacey and Peter Saarsgard could not be reached for comment.
Risky Business, the 1983 film that skyrocketed Tom Cruise to stardom and made everybody rush out to purchase Ray-Ban Wayfarers, is playing at Cinemark El Con tomorrow afternoon and evening. It’s part of Cinemark’s Classic Series, a weekly series of digitally cleaned up versions of your favorite older films.
This was the first film I remember my mom renting at the local video store. When I was supposed to be asleep, I sneaked out to living room where she was watching the flick with friends, and I lingered around as long as I could without being caught. Because…Rebecca De Mornay.
Margaret O'Connell discusses and demonstrates her book Sharing Time With Nana, an easy "how-to" guide for creating… More