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Stories by Scott Marks

An hour of Christmas movie music awaits

They say you haven’t made it until you’ve played Fort Wayne. Get ready world, for I am about to “arrive” thanks to the diligent efforts of a former student (and lifelong friend), Rob Martinez. Regular ...

Meester moonlight

Two lifelong friends begin to drift apart when one grows to dislike the other’s taste in boyfriends. That’s the premise of Life Partners, a new romantic comedy opening Friday at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. Leighton Meester, ...

Ghosts of Christmas movie ads past

"You know what my Uncle Roy says Jews do on Christmas?" my ten-year-old, pillow-headed, goyisha-kop friend, Timmy Murphy asked. Instead of, "What we don't do is sit alone in our basements like Roy, drinking ourselves ...

Latino Film Festival finds a new home in Fashion Valley

Hazard Center out, Fashion Valley in

Over the years, UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center has played host to just about every film festival in town. This week one of its loyalist sublessees, the San Diego Latino Film Festival, announced it ...

For your inconsideration

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a month when studios, eager to rack up as many awards and nominations as possible, fill critics’ yuletide stockings (and inboxes) with dozens of “for your consideration” ...

Dig a hole: Ken “Pugsley” Weatherwax

Ken Weatherwax, TV’s jocund and rotund Pugsley Addams on the beloved series The Addams Family, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack in his California home. He was 59. Weatherwax was a descendant of showbiz ...

Hollywood pursues Brian Regan

San Diegans love Brian Regan. It’s not often that a major comic works the same town twice in one year, but just a few months ago — Valentine’s Day, to be exact — Regan packed ...

Dave Boyle’s Man from Reno receives Independent Spirit Awards nomination

“Nobody,” came Dave Boyle’s response when asked who he was wearing this morning when news arrived that his latest film was recognized by the Independent Spirit Awards. Man from Reno was nominated for the John ...

My first brush with celebrity: Flipper...sort of

“I took you to see Filpper yesterday, didn’t I?” That was Larry’s subtle way of saying there wasn’t a chance in hell we were going to spend Independence Day “meeting” Jerry Lewis in person. Chicago ...

MoPA welcomes Arab Film Festival for third year

It’s our town’s other SDAFF. This year’s Third Annual San Diego Arab Film Festival promises three nights featuring seven films from seven countries. The festival runs November 20–22 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in ...

Talking movies with Pepe Serna and Dave Boyle

For too long I’ve been giving Lee Ann Kim and the gang at the San Diego Asian Film Festival grief for not bringing enough name talent to their annual event. Every year finds me on ...

You are my density

Based on what little I know of Stephen Hawking’s private and personal life, the man has never given the impression of one prone to wresting pity from gawkers. Then why rely on The Theory of ...

Groucho goes La Jolla

While continuing my never-ending search for all things Marx, I stumbled across this photo of Grouch and Greg Peck that appeared in the October 1950 edition of Screen. According to the La Jolla Playhouse website’s ...

SDAFF 2014: A few pics

The Pacific Arts Movements’ 15th Annual San Diego Film Festival kicks into full gear this week with ten days (November 6–15) of seemingly nonstop movies. Artistic director Brian Hu and his team have once again ...

KUSI anchor Lisa Remillard covers the Nightcrawler

KUSI anchor Lisa Remillard didn’t know she made the final cut until I tweeted the info her way. “I thought for sure they would cut my scene,” Remillard laughs. “Even though they were so nice, ...

Interview with Nightcrawler cinematographer Robert Elswit

You’re probably going to need a shave by the time you finish reading this lengthy interview with cinematographer Robert Elswit, so let’s keep the intro brief. Paris Trout, Boogie Nights, Heist, Good Night, and Good ...

Basest instinct

Gyllenhaal delivers genuinely unnerving performance in Nightcrawler

Don’t let his unblinking doe-eyes, hands-in-pockets demeanor, and proverbial gift of gab fool you. Within ten minutes of meeting Nightcrawler protagonist Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), screenwriter and first-time director Dan Gilroy casts a purposeful light ...

Dial M for Murder screens at Town Square 14 on Thursday, October 30

One night only: Hitchcock in 3D

It’s dial R for Reading Cinemas this erev Halloween when Clairemont’s Town Square 14 screens Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D! By the time Hitchcock got around to shooting in 3D, the fad ...

Landmark revives two classic films not on AFI Top 100

Tommy Wiseau will not be on hand to introduce, nor will there be a live RiffTrax commentary track to help make guests feel even more superior to the slop on screen than they already do. ...

George Clooney coming to Coronado?

It’s the summer of ’69, and a Spanish teacher/swim instructor at Coronado High School masterminds what would come to be the West Coast’s most enterprising and successful marijuana-smuggling operation. All it took was a handful ...

Jack Benny in Casablanca? Well!

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Benny walks into Rick’s.

There's not a doubt in my mind that the body hanging from a tree in the background of The Wizard of Oz is that of Don Wilson. But Jack Benny in Casablanca? It all began, ...

Insert Michelle Monaghan interview here

This space was originally slated for a 750-word interview with Michelle Monaghan, star of The Best of Me, the new Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker opening wide this weekend. We met last month when Michelle was in ...

Remembering my first, “Hey! Shut up and watch the movie!”

You never forget your first time. The week after Christmas, 1970. Friend Beyda and I hopped the Howard El to go watch Jennie die. This was before the multiplexing of America, a time when major ...

Michael Cuesta on his Messenger of doom

At their best, the films of Michael Cuesta raise awareness. His debut feature, L.I.E., was a daring attempt to show the human side of a child molester. His latest film, Kill the Messenger, is based ...

German Currents flow back to Balboa Park

The German Currents Film Festival returns this weekend to Balboa Park for its fourth annual two-day, four-film celebration. This year, the festival doubled its venues by holding its opening-night gala at the Natural History Museum, ...

Enjoy the next five months

Kensington Video closes February 28, 2015

“Where’s my movie?” the voice on the phone demanded. It was Kensington Video’s Winnie Hanford calling to remind delinquent me to return a ridiculously past-due rental. “And by the way,” she added in the same ...

Kensington Video is closing!

Winnie Hanford, Kensington Video’s Rock of Gibraltar, just delivered a heaping dose of terrible news. After 30 years in business, the world-class video store will be closing shop in February, 2015. Apart from helping them ...

Leftover Arkinisms

Forty minutes on the phone with Alan Arkin equals a wealth of material. On The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming: “I just got a call from Carl Reiner yesterday after he watched it ...

Ballyhoo

Five days and 100 films. That’s the promise made by this year’s San Diego Film Festival. The festival runs September 24–28, with the lion’s share of the screenings to be held at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp ...

You do realize that you’re Alan Arkin?

His career sparked amid the dying embers of the studio system.

Butterfly wings had been whacking away at my stomach wall for days before the scheduled interview.

Editor’s choice: David Bowie Is, Tuesday, September 23

It’s not often my editor puts in a request to use The Big Screen as a promotional tool for a personal deity. Since Mr. Nutting is kind enough to take his golden machete to my ...

Everything is nothing

The Zero Theorem runs in a counter-parallel universe to Terry Gilliam’s masterwork, Brazil, a film he’s dedicated a career to remaking. The setting looks the same. The church that computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) ...

Kelp, not Klump!

The Nutty Professor, digitally restored

The Jerry Lewis original didn’t make it to DVD until almost six years after the Eddie Murphy remake hit store shelves in 1998. For years I dragged the remainder bins in search of Kelp, when ...

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation from filmmaking

The perfect summer rental for the last vacation you’ll ever want to take!

It’s a film once held in the highest esteem, one I proudly proclaimed the best picture of 1962! I was six at the time. Things might have been different had my parents dragged me to ...

New David Lynch film opens (and closes) Wednesday, September 10

Honest to Pete, there are days when even I get tired of bitching and moaning, but living in a culturally deprived cow town where art is measured by the number of costumed mental patients who ...

Dig a hole: Joan Rivers

Ten years ago, I could have rattled off the names of the four funniest people on the planet without taking a breath. Today, Jerry Lewis has been vanquished from the Telethon that bore his name, ...

Interview with Robin Hood’s merriest men, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland

Wash Westmoreland had to laugh when asked how he and Richard Glatzer went from writing and directing their debut film The Fluffer to The Last of Robin Hood, a biopic about Hollywood’s most insatiable fluffee, ...

What becomes a legend

Swashes, buckled, in The Last of Robin Hood

“They’re real sticklers for the rules these days, not like in my time,” says Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) while effortlessly trying to put across Hollywood’s attitude toward May/December romances to star-struck Florence Aadland (Susan Sarandon), ...

California Center for the Arts becomes a veritable Disneyland

A talk with documentarian Ted Thomas and Disneyana collector David Yaruss

Ted Thomas describes his latest work, the 30-minute documentary Growing Up with 9 Old Men, as “a road trip to catch up with my cohorts, the other children of the 9 Old Men.” The nonet ...

Bonding with The November Man, Pierce Brosnan

I hopped a Trailways bus to the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills recently, where I teamed with CraveOnLine’s Fred Topel for a rousing chat with Pierce Brosnan on his latest action thriller, The November Man. ...

Happy 9 Old Men doc won’t leave you sleepy

To those familiar with the term, “9 Old Men” hearkens back to the Golden Age of studio animation. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers, this elite corps of Disney animations — ...

Steve-O confesses to pranking jackass SeaWorld

Even a jackass knows SeaWorld’s got to go. Steve-O (Jackass 1-3) had been called many things — daring, stupid, dipped in poo — but never an animal rights activist. That changed yesterday after O admitted ...

Leslie Zemeckis on Siamese twins, life on the midway, and directing Bound by Flesh

I’m old enough to have had a chance to witness an actual “freak show.” Chicago’s legendary Riverview Amusement Park played home to one such production right up until their gates were shuttered in 1967. At ...

Dig a hole: the Merrie side of Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall, who died this week at the age of 89, was one of the few movie stars to be twice immortalized in Warner Bros. “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, one of which bore her name in ...

Saved by the unauthorized Bell clip

New Lifetime “movie” goes behind-the-scenes at Bayside High

If confession is good for the soul, here’s a blast of Multidimensional Cellular Healing (MCh): I’ve yet to make it through a Satyajit Ray film, but I’ve seen and own DVD copies of all seven ...

Jewel Robbery tops list of pre-code curios this month on TCM

It was a period of virtuous depravity, where sin and salvation giddily intertwined. Suicide was a viable out (Three on a Match), crime did pay in the end (Trouble in Paradise), and a gal’s road ...

Get On Up makes Little Richard’s hair look super bad

It’s a Penniman’s world

Chadwick Boseman had the gargled speaking voice, foot slides, lip synching, and scrotum-smooshing splits down cold, but director Tate Taylor (The Help) countered by keeping his camera close and the unfeigned emotion at arm’s length ...

Very, very good?

Meaningful ménage

The PR slaves at Tribeca Films want potential viewers to believe their latest release, Very Good Girls, spotlights a pact between two high school virgins, Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen, to enter college unchaste. All ...

A snippet of a swatch of Fifty Shades

A trailer for a trailer?

Sexually frustrated yentas of America have been heard. The movie adaptation of E L James’s S&M manual for bored middle-class housewives, Fifty Shades of Grey, is set to arrive on Valentine’s Day, 2015, and Hollywood ...

Anything but a fluff-ball interview

Gabriel Iglesias promotes his not so down and dirty Fluffy Movie

Occasionally one comes to an interview over-prepared. Such was the case with Gabriel Iglesias, the comedian who recently visited San Diego on a leg of the promotional tour for his first big screen comedy concert, ...

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