As the summer heat continues, one of the most effective ways to stay cool is to make a mad dash from the AC in your house to the AC in your car to the AC in one of Tucson's indie movie theaters for a film screening.
Ghost Story, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, begins showing at the Loft Friday, July 28. The haunting story of a dead man who returns —as a white-sheeted ghost reminiscent of your second grade Halloween costume, but somehow much scarier—to the home he shared with his wife explores themes of love, loss and impermanence.
The Loft Kids Fest continues into this week, with a showing of The Sandlot Thursday, July 27 at 10 a.m. and Looney Tunes on the Big Screen at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 28. Weekend showings of Ponyo on Saturday, July 29 and Ice Age on Sunday, July 30 take place at both 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The free screenings include popcorn, an animated short and pre-gaming (well, a kid-friendly version) hosted by Mildred & Dildred Toy Store.
The Loft's Cult Classics features weekend showings of some of cinema's most niche-y hits. This weekend, Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys is showing at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29. Bruce Willis stars as a time traveler trying to save the world from imminent destruction, and himself from being sent to the loony bin. Next up is Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, showing at 10 p.m. on Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5. Join Post-it note inventors Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Phoebe, er, Michele (Lisa Kudrow) as they attempt to make good impressions on their old classmates in Tucson after 10 years.
This week's Mondo Monday pick is the 1981 slasher Madman, showing Monday, July 31 at 8 p.m. If all these monsoons have you prematurely getting into the spooky Halloween spirit, this apogee of cheesy, blood-spattered '80s horror make up should hold you over until it's time to trick-or treat again.
The 4th Friday Films at MOCA, features movies about artists and their work, screened under the stars in the Cox Plaza at MOCA Tucson. This month's pick, The Salt of the Earth, follows the life and work of internationally acclaimed photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, and is showing at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 28. As always, Bella's Gelato food truck will be serving up scoops and cooling down crowds.
Local film Fractured, directed by Nathan O. Miller, premieres at The Loft on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 9:30 p.m. It follows a private investigator as he attempts to track down a serial killer while maintaining a work-life balance. (Safe to say we've all faced at least half of the same struggle.)
The Empire Ranch Foundation is showing Ride the High Country at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at its seventh annual Summer Western Movie at The Loft. Like any good Western, the 1962 film features gunfights, gold shipments and getting the girl.
For more info, visit loftcinema.org
Cinema La Placita
The Cinema La Placita outdoor film series conducts screenings in the plaza of the Tucson Museum of Art. $3 gets you a movie under the stars and some popcorn to go with it. Dirty Dancing, featuring Baby and Johnny having the time of their lives, is showing Thursday, July 27.
Spike Lee's critically acclaimed Do the Right Thing is showing on Thursday, Aug. 3. Follow Mookie, Radio Raheem, Mother Sister and Da Mayor as tensions and temperatures rise over the course of a summer in Brooklyn.
See cinemalaplacita.com for more information.
Cactus Drive-In Theatre
The Cactus Drive-In is on a mission to bring back the cinema experience of yesteryear by showing drive-in films on Thursdays at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. At the Thursday, July 27 showing of Grease the atmosphere will get meta when Danny and Sandy make their own trip to the drive-in. Visit cactusdriveintheatre.com to learn more.
Cox Communications Movies in the Park
Cox Communications sponsors its screenings at the Reid Park DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center on first Fridays from May to September. Zootopia, showing Friday, Aug. 4, follows rookie cop Judy Hopps and cunning fox Nick Wilde as they attempt to solve the disappearances of a group of animals in Zootopia (populated, obviously, only by animals). The film uses a fun cast of characters and a bright, cheerful art style to drive home an important lesson about the harms of prejudice.
For more information, visit saaca.org/moviespark.
Arizona Theatre Company
The Arizona Theatre Company is screening classic films at the Temple of Music and Art for $10 (including popcorn and a beverage!) The Marx Brothers' comedy A Night at the Opera is showing at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. If you can find room in the stateroom, join the brothers as their patronage of the opera quickly dissolves into chaos.
Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean as Jim Stark, is showing Sunday, Aug. 6. Re-immerse yourself in your angstiest teenage years in the Academy-award winning landmark.
Visit arizonatheatre.org to learn more.
The Screening Room
The downtown movie house hosts the Arizona Sunburn Film Festival from July 27 to 29.
Michael Jason Allen's psychological suspense film An Idle Mind is the Devil's Playground is showing at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27. Retired film critic Spats White, a friend and student of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, momentarily came out of retirement to review the film, saying, "The film successfully reeks of (Serling's) era and style and, knowing him as well as I did, I think I can safely assume and assert here that Mr. Serling would have totally appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed this motion picture."
The action short Doherty, from director Luke Malone, is showing Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m. The film features a protagonist's struggle over where to place his loyalty, a double-crossing agent and two hit men facing off.
Three films will be showing on Saturday, July 29:
Detroit under S.T.R.E.S.S., a documentary about the Detroit Police Department's STRESS (Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets) unit in the 1970s, will be showing at 5 p.m. STRESS officers, historians and civil rights leaders speak about the origins of the ongoing battle between civil rights and law and order.
Garrett Moldrem's McBride, a western shot at Gammons Gulch, will be showing at 7 p.m. This town may not have enough room for the two of us, but the 31-minute film has plenty of room for the adventures of a U.S. Marshall and a showdown with a ghost from his past.
Johann Karlo's Gun Driver, a post-apocalyptic science fiction film, will be showing at 9 p.m. In it, a world-class drag racer and a talented mechanic team up against their evil overlord to save themselves and their families, finding romance along the way.
See more at screeningroomtucson.com
Summer Movie Night Hosted by Chaco
Chaco is screening two free movies at the Speedway Summit Hut on Saturday, July 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. The short documentary The Time Travelers, from filmmakers Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard, is playing first. The film follows the USA whitewater rafting team's attempt, just earlier this year, to break the speed record for a 277-mile journey down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It will be followed by a screening of Valley Uprising, which tells the story of generations worth of bold, bohemian rock climbers in Yosemite National Park. ■