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Nostalgia hovers, but not heavily. Nat King Cole singing “Stardust” was a fine welcome as I entered the main hall. It felt spacious, with wide room between rows. I viewed a film in one of the mini-theaters tucked off the aisle that leads to the largest screen, and the beasts of Rise of the Planet of the Apes swung from the Golden Gate Bridge with engulfing power.

Fully digital projection was expertly handled by Jordan Steele, who manages the theater for L.A.-based Vintage Cinemas. Overall, the Village is like the radiant theater paintings of Davis Cone, but it also has a true neighborhood feeling. It is not just another plex-box.

A community labor of love (plus $3 million), the new venue is betting on safe, mainstream programming for the island’s families, tourists, retirees, and Navy personnel. It cannot show classic celluloid and may be too small for festivals. I hope there will be some older films, kids’ shows, senior matinees, even an occasional gamble on the arty-smarty (maybe in league with the Landmark or Reading chains across the bay?).

Joseph Ditler, who helped promote the June launch, is savvy about Coronado and the larger market potential. Such local enthusiasm matters. Inventive outreach could provide the crowning facet of what is already a well-cut jewel.

The Village is located at 820 Orange Avenue.


Newsreel: La Jolla-born film star Cliff Robertson died Saturday, one day after his 88th birthday. He was a gracious man, as I learned upon meeting him two years after 1968’s Charly brought him the actor Oscar. And a brave one: in 1977 he exposed the embezzlement schemes of top Hollywood agent and studio head David Begelman.

My favorite Robertson roles were two Joes and a J.W.: Joe Clay, the alcoholic loved by Piper Laurie in TV’s Days of Wine and Roses (1958); Senator Joe Cantwell, the most ruthless candidate in The Best Man (1964); and as the struggling rodeo rider J.W. in J.W.Coop (1971), which he also directed. It’s curious that his All-American image forged both a politician (Cantwell) based on Richard Nixon and war hero (later Nixon opponent) Jack Kennedy in 1963’s PT 109. See Scott Marks’s Robertson salute on the Reader’s movie blog The Big Screen.


Reviewed in the movie capsules: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Hedgehog, and Magic Trip.

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