Monday, September 9, 2019

The 2019 Arizona Underground Film Festival in 10 Films

Posted By on Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 10:35 AM

Arizona's only premier underground cult film festival is returning to for the 12th year in a row! The Arizona Underground Film Festival is on a "sole mission to showcase the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions," ranging from documentaries to horror to experimental and more. The fest runs from Friday, Sept. 13 to Sunday, Sept. 22. Ahead of a week of cinematic goodness at The Screening Room, we asked AZUFF founder David Pike to share the 10 films he's most excited about this year. 

  • Credit AZUFF / Artik film
A critically acclaimed action horror film that takes the viewer into a world where a comic book obsessed serial killer clashes with a straight edge purist. The screening includes lead actor Jerry G. Angelo in attendance. (Screening at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13)

  • Credit AZUFF / Name film
A look at the significance of names, how they affect our lives and shape the world around us. (Screening at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14)
  • Credit AZUFF / Man in Camo film
Man in Camo
Critically acclaimed documentary about what it means to be a modern artist. (Screening at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15)
  • Credit AZUFF / Impossible Monsters film
Impossible Monsters
A fun and twisted story that has critics calling it a fantastic and unforgettable thriller. A film that is not to be missed. (Screening at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16)
  • Credit AZUFF / Mentally Al film
Mentally Al
A look at the life of one of the best comedians that no one has heard of, Al Lubel. (Screening at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18)
  • Credit AZUFF / The Phantom 52 film
Thursday night Shorts
Some of the best shorts on the festival circuit with many filmmakers in attendance. Shorts with Tom Skerritt, Jason Schwartzman, Jennifer Morrison and others. (Screening at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19)
  • Credit AZUFF / Foosballers film
A quirky and heartwarming story of a group of professional athletes the world doesn't know exists. Starring Tucson native Robert Mares, and directed by Tucson native and UA alumni Joe Heslinga, who will both be in attendance. (Screening at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20)
  • Credit AZUFF / Bronko film
Ascetic vision about a being who detests the dysfunctional social model that this society proposes and opts for the way of self-destruction. Spanish filmmakers will be in attendance. (Screening at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20)
  • Credit AZUFF / A Ship of Human Skin film
A Ship of Human Skin
A gothic tale of mysticism told like a true crime story. Filmmaker will be in attendance. (Screening at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21)
  • Credit AZUFF / The Duckpond film
The Duckpond
A wild and funny film that is not be missed from Sweden. (Screening at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22)

The Arizona Underground Film Festival runs from Friday, Sept. 13 to Sunday, Sept. 22 at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress Street.
 For more information, visit

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Monday, August 5, 2019

'Skin' Explores White Supremacy and Redemption

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 10:55 AM

White supremacist Bryon Widner (Jamie Bell), after being raised on a doctrine of hate within a skinhead camp, has a change of heart when he finds love with a single mother (Danielle Macdonald). Of course, putting a skinhead past behind you, especially when you’ve opted to tattoo your face with hate images, is not an easy thing.

Writer-director Guy Nattiv, basing his film on the true story of Bryon Widner, does a nice job of showing that redemption sometimes comes at a high price. Bell is great here as Widner, as is Macdonald as the woman who manages to love him even though he’s a complete asshole.

The film feels like a distant cousin of the Edward Norton-starring American History X, although it doesn’t have near the artistry of that movie. Still, the movie is a solid story, well-acted, and proof that Bell is perhaps a bigger actor than his resume has revealed. Supporting cast includes Bill Camp as the leader of the skinhead camp, and Vera Farmiga as his nurturing yet classless and evil wife. Blink and you’ll miss a quick appearance by Mary Stuart Masterson as Agent Jackie Marks. She acts that part like she’s in a different movie, but it’s fun to see her all the same. (Available to stream during a limited theatrical release).

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“Tucson Salvage” screening and reading coming soon to Dusenberry-River Library

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Cover art of "Tucson Salvage." - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Cover art of "Tucson Salvage."
Join Pima County Public Library for a screening of Maggie Smith’s award-winning short film Tucson Salvage The Documentary, inspired by the book "Tucson Salvage" by Brian Jabas Smith. Following the film, Brian will perform a reading from his book and host a discussion.

Dusenberry-River Library, 5605 E. River Rd.
Saturday, August 17 from 3–4 p.m.

Brian Jabas Smith is an award-winning journalist, editor and the author of "Spent Saints & Other Stories" and "Tucson Salvage: Tales and Recollections from La Frontera." 

Maggie Smith is a filmmaker, writer, mother and human rights activist. She has adapted, co-written and executive produced the web series Spent Saints and co-written and directed the festival-winning documentary Tucson Salvage.

Tucson Salvage is based on Smith’s columns for the Tucson Weekly. Offering sharp, empathic commentary on diverse subjects, Smith channels the people not usually seen or valued in society, and in doing so, holds a mirror to us all. The Asheville Scene called it “an artful collection that reads like the diary of an observant poet.”

Tucson Salvage the Documentary is a 30-minute meditation on five humans profiled in Smith’s columns. Forged by adversity and united by humanity, the people in this documentary allow us to witness those we might never approach and hear them tell their own life stories.

Brian and Maggie have traveled across the United States stunning audiences at such well-known places as The Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, Elliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle, Bookbeat in Detroit, and Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville.

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of "Tucson Salvage" will be available for sale. For more information visit or call Infoline at (520) 791-4010.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

'Maiden' Is a Voyage Worth Taking

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 1:15 PM

Alex Holmes delivers a solid documentary about Tracy Edwards, who started her sailing career as a cook and eventually found herself leading the first all-female crew to ever sail the Whitbread Round the World Race. Holmes uses archival footage, including some amazing sequences during the more perilous points of the journey, along with new interviews to tell the story. Simply put, Edwards is a charming and engaging storyteller whether it’s the new or old footage, and as the story unfolds, and the team’s accomplishments become more and more amazing, you find yourself rooting hard during an event that happened 30 years ago. Of course, the team took a lot of crap from their male counterparts, and the fact that they even competed is astonishing because most of the crew was fairly green. It’s a gripping underdog story that will surprise because you probably didn’t even know it ever happened.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

"You're Killin' Me, Smalls!" Watch The Sandlot in Himmel Park

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 2:39 PM

  • Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
The Loft Cinema hosts a free showing of The Sandlot this Friday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m on "Hippie Hill" in Himmel Park.

When shy Scotty Smalls is pulled in for a game of baseball by the local kids, he doesn't know that he's in for the summer of his childhood. He borrows his step-dad's ball signed by the legendary Babe Ruth for the game one day, and accidentally hits it in to scary Mr. Myrtle's yard. Scarier yet is his enormous dog, "The Beast," who the boys have to get the baseball from.

The Sandlot is the quintessential summer movie, about childhood, adventure and belonging.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on, and grab a Sonoran dog from You Sly Dog's food truck or some dessert from Sarge's Cheesecakes to snack on during the movie. (Directed by David M. Evans, 1993, 101 min. Rated PG so it's perfect for kids).

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

'Booksmart' Is Stylish, Playful, Funny and Fresh

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 12:43 PM

The day before graduation, best friends and academic overachievers Molly and Amy are struck by the devastating regret that they never partied during high school. Not once. With the same focus and follow-through that allowed them to ace their AP courses, they set out to make for all that lost time in just one epic night.

Directed by Olivia Wilde from a script penned by female screenwriters, Booksmart is stylish, colorful, playful, funny and fresher than fresh in its cultural references. It was a thrill for this female viewer to see girls in all the main roles, handling with aplomb the traditional responsibilities of the teen movie’s protagonist: taking the risk, making the first move, standing up and saving the day. The fact that one of the main characters (Amy) is a lesbian makes the film’s big step forward in diverse representation even bigger.

It’s true that Booksmart sometimes lingers in the shallows when you’d prefer it to dive deep. And some directorial flights of fancy fell flat for me. But in exploring the female friendship that is the heart of the story, this movie tracks satisfyingly. Molly and Amy’s relationship is the story’s engine, moving the two characters ever forward—sometimes very much against their wishes—into their dreams, fears, and futures.

All the actors, from newcomers Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein to pros veterans Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, turn in wonderful performances. Grab your BFF and go see it.

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Friday, May 24, 2019

The Loft Screening AZ Cult Classic 'Billy Jack'

Posted By on Fri, May 24, 2019 at 10:46 AM

Part Western, part martial arts, part experimental hippie freak-out film, The Loft Cinema is screening the 1971 cult classic Billy Jack. Its titular character is Navajo, Green Beret and Hapkido master all at the same time – fun for everyone!

This event is a rental of The Loft by The Prime Leaf, and benefits In the Arms of Angels dog and cat rescue. A pre-show reception will feature live music from local artists Van Christian and Declan Fine.


Partially shot in Prescott, Billy Jack was an unexpected box office hit, earning a combined $32.5 million on a $800,000 budget. But more importantly, the film captures "a unique moment in the end days of hippiedom in the Southwest" and went on to influence underground filmmaking in the U.S.

How can you dislike a movie with quotes like: “I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face, and you want to know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it."

Sunday, May 26. Reception at 1 p.m., film at 2 p.m. $10.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cox Announces Free Movies in Reid Park

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2019 at 2:18 PM

  • Courtesy Photo
Reid Park will host a series of free outdoor movie showings this summer. These family-friendly events start May 31 with the showing of The Incredibles 2 from 7:45 to 9 p.m. Bring a blanket to sit on and some popcorn, or enjoy snacks from the food trucks stationed at the park. There will be live music, arts and crafts, and other activities too, starting at 6 p.m. It's another way to make your Tucson summer memorable!

Future screenings include:
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 – Friday, June 14
  • Lego Movie 2 – Friday, June 28
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Friday, July 12
  • Aquaman – Friday, July 26
At Reid Park, DeMeester Outdoor Performance Theater 900 S. Randolph Way. Enter the park off South Country Club Road.

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2019 Chasing Rainbows Gala featuring LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes is an internationally multi-platinum selling acclaimed singer and ASCAP award-winning songwriter.… More

@ Fox Tucson Theatre Sun., Oct. 20, 7 p.m. 17 W. Congress St.

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