Last night of “Tangerine” (7:30 pm) – a film that is grittier than most that we show, and that (frankly) may make some of our fans and friends uncomfortable. The movie details 24 hours in the life of two transgender prostitutes in Los Angeles. We decided to show it, knowing it might put some people off.

So why show it? We are committed to showing a broad range of films – docs, foreign, and independent, as well as the occasional “bigger” movie. Our mission is to entertain, educate, and challenge, and we think this movie does all three. “Tangerine” is truly “Independent” and it will make some feel uncomfortable. This director (Sean Baker) makes smaller films, often about people who are not mainstream. He does it in an authentic way that ignores cliches. The two lead roles are indeed played by transgender women, although they are definitely acting. This is not a documentary. The film portrays their characters as real people.

Much has been made of the fact that the film was shot on an iPhone 5 (albeit with a special lens attachment). Baker makes films that haven’t typically attracted the “big money” and that gives him and his collaborators editorial independence. He is definitely a rogue.

If you haven’t seen “Tangerine” yet, don’t download it online. This film deserves to be seen on a big screen – the super-saturated lighting really gives you the feel of Los Angeles in a way that a computer screen or TV can’t.

Here is an interesting article from The Guardian about “Tangerine”, if you’re curious.


Movie Reviews

An Elegant Tale of Terror

The Babadook… an elegant tale of terror for Friday the 13th

Yes, it’s that time again… one of THREE Friday the 13ths in 2015. And what better way to celebrate than with the film Variety called an “accomplished and imaginative psychological horror tale.” The Babadook debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where Criticwire said “sometimes, you get to be part of the first audience to see an unknown filmmaker (Australian director Jennifer Kent) make her debut with a flat-out masterpiece.” Join us this weekend when you, too, can share that magical discovery experience which makes independent film so special.

The plot? Six years ago Read More

Movie Reviews

The Pacific Crest Trail – Truly Wild

Wild depicts the 1000 mile Trek made by Sheryl Strayed, a woman at the end of her rope who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail is a truly monumental feat of nature and governmental cooperation. The Trail begins in Mexico, and runs all the way to Canada. The trail is billed as about 2600 miles long, but no one really knows for sure exactly – especially as the trail does shift and change with foot traffic and weather.

The photography is beautiful in this film, and easy to take for granted. But filming in this setting had to create its own set of challenges for the actor and crew. In California, there can easily be 25 – 30 miles between water stations. From top to bottom, the trail climbs nearly 60 major mountain passes, descends into 19 major canyons and moves past 1,000 lakes and tarns.

Let us know what you think. Should we show more hiking/outdoor sport films?



The Buzz on Pride

Dateline, 1984.  This is the Margaret Thatcher era in Great Britain, and for striking miners and gay activists, times are pretty rough.  But the miners in this true story are Welsh, rural, and culturally conservative. The London gays are urban, hip, and stylin.’  The two cadres would seem to have very little in common beyond their shared enmity for the Iron Lady, the police, and the mainstream press.  Is this enough to bear the weight of a sudden coalition?

Based on real events, the historical comic drama Pride tells the story of a group of gay rights activists who decide to take up the cause of striking workers in a struggling mining town in south Wales’ coal-seamed Dulais Valley.  The miners – no champions of gay rights themselves – never asked for this, and they’re not at all sure they want it.  So it’s up to the urbanites from London to persuade the dour labor leaders they can do some good, and that the two groups actually share authentic common ground.  And yes, those are the distant strains of The Full Monty and Made in Dagenham you’re picking up – Pride will ring some bells.  What keeps it fresh is less the plot than the film’s irrepressibly “infectious high spirits” (NPR) and its stunningly well- rounded performances by some of England’s best-loved actors, like Paddy Considine (as an embattled union leader), and Bill Nighy (as the union secretary) and Imelda Staunton (as a smalltown mother hen).  Relative newcomer, Ben Schnetzer, as the charismatic, ebullient gay leader Mark Ashton (yes, he was in The Book Thief, but you probably won’t recognize him), keeps us watching closely, too.  Is it director Matthew Warchus’s long career on Broadway and London’s West End that evokes these full-bore turns?  “It never feels like a canned, greatest-hits collection of news clippings, but a fiery, live performance,” offers the San Francisco Chronicle.

And yes, it happened.  A group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners once raised thousands of British pounds for rural communities whose working men had been on the picket line for months. This is one chapter in that much larger story, and “a funny, moving, audience-rousing experience” (The Boston Globe) it is.

And can you look forward to the obligatory bonding dance scene with some fabulous disco?

Oh, baby, you know it.