Cinema Showdown

If you were eating mashed potatoes in the early 1980s, it was almost de rigueur to act crazed and craft them into a mountain on your plate. It's one of Steven Spielberg's most iconic scenes, from his 1979 classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With equal parts suspense, sci-fi, drama and a load of syrup on top, Spielberg perfected his formula early on with this one. Richard Dreyfuss is a blue-collar family man who has a spectacular encounter with a UFO. The experience turns his world upside down, and by the end of the film he's climbing up the foreboding Devil's Tower, an ominous mountain in Wyoming where he finds out the mystery behind the phenomenon. Catch it at the Loft Cinema on Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. in illustrious 35mm.

"Spielberg Summer" continues this week with Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first film in the Indiana Jones trilogy (I'm not trifling with that Crystal Skull malarkey). It's as much of a George Lucas film as it is Spielberg's; like his Star Wars, he wanted to recreate the action-oriented serials of his youth. Lucas smartly conceded directorial duties to his friend and fellow beardsman. You know the story—Harrison Ford is a badass archeologist who battles Nazis and suffers from ophidiophobia (snakes wig him out). The Nazis want the famed Ark of the Covenant so Hitler can do Hitler things with it. It's up to Indy and his courageous cohorts to stop them and restore everything where it belongs—IN A MUSEUM! Check it out on Saturday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Tickets to both Spielberg films $8 for general admission, $6 for Loft members and children younger than 12.

If artier and headier sci-fi is your bag, you won't want to miss Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, playing Sunday, July 13 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. It's a sci-fi film noir, if you will, about a mean motor scooter named Lemmy Caution. Caution is a detective who travels to space by way of a bitchin' Ford Galaxie (why hasn't NASA figured that out yet?). His destination is Alphaville, a nexus of conformity ruled by Alpha 60, a soulless fascist computer. Godard regular and epitome of beauty Anna Karina pops up to bring Caution to his knees. This is part of the Loft's "Essential Cinema" series, and admission is free with a $5 suggested donation. 

Also playing on Sunday, July 13 at Cinemark El Con and Cinemark Park Place is the film that, for better or for worse, made Julia Roberts a household name. 1990's Pretty Woman is the film, and Roberts plays a hooker with a heart of gold. Richard Gere is the john, sorry—her suitor—who shows her what true love is. This film was huge, people. See it on Sunday at 2 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 and 7 p.m. For more info, visit