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Stories by Scott Marks

Comic book classics on screen

Ten Con cures

The banners are down, the fanboys back in their parents’ basements, and the convention center no longer a giant roll of flypaper used by corporations to ensnare the costumed souls that make it through the ...

Branded cinema

Studio insiders, not critics, are the pirates

It was the part I was born to play. No, not Kristen Stewart, but the unenviable role of angry critic forced to endure the insidious brands studios impose on their “art” in the name of ...

Ghostbusters reboot scares up spin-off

Sequel to an inferior remake of a film that was lousy to begin with already in the works

I ain’t afraid of no sequels, so long as they are not sequels to inferior remakes of films that were lousy to begin with. The all-girl, effects-powered reboot of Ghostbusters cost producers — among them ...

Meet Damián 666 on July 15

Wrestler in town to promote Lucha Mexico

Believe it or don’t, I was once a big fan of wrestling. Larry used to take me to Chicago’s International Amphitheater to study the squared-circle wizardry of such giants as Bruiser & Crusher, Bob Brazil, ...

San Diego Women’s Film Network debuts July 19

ArcLight and San Diego Filmmakers join forces on new forum

ArcLight Cinemas and San Diego Filmmakers have joined forces to establish the San Diego Women’s Film Network, a new forum to support, inspire, and educate women working in the entertainment industry or looking to wedge ...

Hillcrest Cinema's summer remodel

Complete with electric leather recliners

Changes are in the offing at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas that include the addition of electronic seats, a lobby makeover, reserved seating, alcohol, and even newly designed finishes and fixtures to make every bathroom encounter feel ...

A week of classics at the Ken

Blue Velvet, A Streetcar Named Desire, Breakfast at Tiffany’s...

Far be it from me to deride any exhibition chain that’s okay with showcasing repertoire fare a few weeks out of the year, but have we not heard the chimes at midnight? The last time ...

Oceanside Film Festival announces 2016 schedule

Sixty films to screen August 7 to 14

It’s been five years since Dmitriy Demidov and the Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation revived the Oceanside International Film Festival. In that time it’s grown from a few-day gathering to a weeklong celebration that lays claim ...

Movie lover’s heaven: Rarefilmm

Over 1400 movies not available on DVD are available online

What has four Renoir’s, two Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s, a quartet by Max Ophüls, Tony Bennett’s one and only acting performance (watch and learn), an ace high Diamond straight flush from Preston Sturges, Buñuel leading Brontë to ...

Improv’s no joke

Comedian and director Mike Birbiglia talks about his latest, Don’t Think Twice

Don’t Think Twice, opening August 12 at Landmark’s Ken Cinema, is Mike Birbiglia’s second feature as a director. The comedy introduces us to a six-person improv troupe that dwindles in size as the top floaters ...

Dory goes to a Sausage Party

Inappropriate trailer opens Pixney’s latest

It could have been an ad for Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks. Instead, parents of California kiddies attending a screening of Finding Dory at the Brenden Concord 14 were in for a shock when the pre-show ...

I wanna Liv!

Where have you gone, Liv Tyler?

A promising young luminary beading together a string of pearly performances will gain my loyalty more effectively than yanking a thorn from my paw. After Little Murders and Elliott Gould’s first two pictures for Altman ...

Heeeere’s Johnny, Looking for Love

The King of the Night’s lone foray into cinema

Antenna TV began airing nightly reruns of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in January. Hour-long shows originally broadcast between 1980 and 1992 run Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. 90 minute ...

Lady Gaga, Born again?

Will the singer hold her own in ancestral remake?

She’s been praised for cutting-edge performances powered by an “assertion of total originality.” If that’s the case, why is Lady Gaga singing a familiar tune by entertaining a remake of the ancestral A Star Is ...

Talking Art Bastard

A Q&A with the film’s star and co-producer

You’ve heard of surrealism in the movies? Here’s a case of surrealism at the movies. Halfway to the lobby, with eyes half-adjusted to the light, you find the subject of the film you just exited ...

Michael Grandage recreates a grand age in Genius

Biopic of famed literary editor Maxwell Perkins opens June 17

For his first tour behind a camera, famed British stage director Michael Grandage chose as his subject nothing less than the Dean of American Literary Editors, Maxwell Perkins. The title Genius could have stood pluralizing ...

The Aristocrats puts funny under the microscope

It’ll put you in the mood for Mike Birbiglia’s upcoming Don’t Think Twice

Try analyzing comedy. The only thing more exasperating is sitting stone-faced through one. Discussing the evening’s drama consumes a drive home from the multiplex, but ask someone why a gag made them howl and all ...

Luis Guzmán will not be voting for Donald Trump

This and more from the star of Puerto Ricans in Paris

“I just got an email that Luis [Guzmán] has completely lost his voice so canceling all phoners and his NY press day for Puerto Ricans in Paris,” read the publicist’s note that arrived an hour ...

Robert Cenedella of Art Bastard comes to the Angelika

Subject of new documentary at a Q&A Sunday, June 19

He’s one of the sweetest, funniest “bastards,” art or otherwise, you’ll ever want to meet. And here’s your chance to do just that. Robert Cenedella, artist, social satirist, and subject of Victor Kanefsky’s moving and ...

“Knup’s” April Fools joyride to Texas

All roads lead to Aretha

The April Fools is one of those terribly mod (and borderline terrible) late ’60s romantic comedies that for reasons both numerous and peculiar, earned its unit of storage in my memory bank. The one-sheet took ...

Art Bastard’s Robert Cenedella talks with the Reader

What gets shown?

Meet Robert Cenedella: painter, pictorial satirist, art teacher, and all around swell guy who also happens to be the subject of a new documentary, Art Bastard, opening June 17 exclusively at the Angelika Film Center ...

A sneak peek at Monster Trucks

Reuse. Recycle. Reduce.

My buddy, John Albert, posted a link to the trailer for the inescapable Monster Trucks with the following comment on my Facebook wall: “Remember this, the next time anybody says that Hollywood ought to stop ...

Melissa McCarthy does Israel

The literary forger, not the country

Variety recently reported that Melissa McCarthy will star as celebrity-biographer-turned-literary-forger Lee Israel in Fox Searchlight’s upcoming biopic, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Israel had a knack for cranking out facsimile correspondences — numbering over 400 ...

The Original Spinner

As I AM: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM

Once upon a time, a little girl walked into her parents’ bedroom to find Daddy in bed with a guy. Mommy promptly retaliated by having an affair that left her expecting another child. Mommy eventually ...

Trailer for War Dogs could use a fleabath

Stoner comedy poised to give pot smokers a bad name

The unpleasantness began even before Neighbors 2 hit the screen. The trailer for War Dogs screamed, “From the Director of The Hangover Series!” My face grew cold, and I started bawling. When Jonah Hill’s traditionally ...

Francofonia, Hockney, The Lobster, X-Men: Apocalypse

All opening this week

Francofonia Credits normally withheld for a closing crawl open Aleksandr Sokurov’s (Russian Ark) latest self important hymn to the importance of art museums. Listen as the disembodied voice of the documentarian expresses disappointment over his ...

Hollywood hotheads compete in The Anger Games

Ten angry men: George C., Kirk, the Duke, Jack, Bobby D., Ray Burr, Robert Ryan, Clint, Lee Marvin, and Moe

From the mind of the working-class Chuck Workman comes another kaleidoscopic array of clips strung together as only this smart aleck can. The idea had been growing in my brain for some time. True farce. ...

Love & Friendship brings out anything but

Whit Stillman’s stillborn wit?

One film, two critics and a world of disagreement. Lickona hung on every turn of the page in Whit Stillman’s variation on Jane Austen, Love & Friendship, while Marks wanted to tear out a row ...

Fiddlesticks flips Flip in first color cartoon

No croaking over this animated delight

For those unaware, almost a decade of my life was spent teaching animation history, affectionately dubbed “cartoons for credit,” at Chicago’s Columbia College. It’s not unusual to find me popping in a thematically paired seven-minute ...

Dragon Inn, guaranteed to out-Marvel any of the major blockbusters

Eunuch vs. children

For the first 15 years or so of my life, I was weaned almost exclusively on English-language movies. At the time, a Taiwanese martial arts epic (badly dubbed or otherwise) would not have ranked high ...

Reel Kids Summer Movie Series returns

Three months of family films for a dollar a head

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Celebrities and their political candidates

A facetious look at how stars size up Decision 2016

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! You can’t choose a political candidate without first knowing which celebrities champion which cause. Here are a few of your favorite luminaries — and Stephen Baldwin — with their ...

You never forget your first

What was the first DVD you purchased?

Having resisted the costly conversion to higher-quality, dual-sided aluminum LaserDiscs, and with thousands of titles already committed to miles of polyethylene VHS ribbon taking up half the apartment, I was reluctant to make the switch ...

Movie Madness with Scott Marks

Kensington-Talmadge Community Association dinner May 19

Last year’s presentation at the presumptive Kensington Video farewell dinner met with such little negative response, the good folks at the Kensington-Talmadge Community Association have invited me back as their guest speaker at this year’s ...

Let’s talk movies

A pair of Hitchcocks highlight county-wide screening series

Ralph DeLauro, former curator of the Central Library’s long-running (31 year) and highly popular Film Forum screening program, returns with a series of Film Discussion classes. Times, locations, and admission prices vary. The (mostly) daytime ...

Robert Davi has a licence to croon

Benefit concert on May 7 on the USS Midway

He may be best known for his tough guy roles in (Licence to Kill and Showgirls), but as Robert Davi put it, when it comes to singing, he’s “not just your grandmother’s Oldsmobile.” This is ...

Marshall law rules in Mother’s Day

Box office skull-and-crossbones Jennifer Aniston stars

Garry Marshall got his start in television and hasn’t evolved one artistic iota since his days producing derivative spinoffs — a small-screen version of The Odd Couple and Happy Days, TV’s answer to American Graffiti. ...

A Filmless Festival comes highly recommended, but be warned

“More frightening than any horror I’ve seen come out of Hollywood in years.”

Fear no art! The shibboleth must not have made its way to Songzhuang, a suburb of Beijing and home to China’s largest “artists village.” One day before the curtain is scheduled to go up on ...

Playstation killed the arcade star in Kurt Vincent’s game doc

The Lost Arcade screens as part of the Asian Film Spring Showcase

An email arrived late Friday, asking that I consider reviewing a particular film at this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase, running April 28–May 5 at UltraStar Mission Valley. The subject matter held ...

Robert Davi takes to the Midway for an evening of Sinatra tunes

May 7 concert benefits veterans

Robert Davi, the menacing-mugged tough monkey we love to hate, will set aside the snarls and brass knuckles long enough to take center stage on The USS Midway to serenade an audience with an evening ...

Alia Shawkat is all that

Green Room opens Friday, April 29

Her name is as difficult to remember as her face is hard to forget. With more than 60 television and movie roles to her credit, 27-year-old Alia Shawkat is currently one of cinema’s most in-demand ...

Jordan Roberts leads panel of industry pros at Saturday's student Filmmaking Symposium

3, 2, 1...Encinitas go boom!

Jordan Roberts leads a lineup of industry pros scheduled to attend this Saturday's Encinitas Student Film Symposium. Roberts is the writer-director of two terrific family comedies (Around the Bend and 3, 2, 1… Frankie Go ...

Hospitality in the hills: You're invited

An interview with busy character actor, John Carroll Lynch

Too long since your gut’s had a good churning? The Invitation was sent out for a tight-knit group of friends (and a couple of hand-picked interlopers) to gather at a dinner party that initially had ...

AMC don't text

Chain backs down on lifting mobile-device ban

You can strike it from the record, but AMC honcho Adam Aaron’s suggestion that the world’s largest theatre chain allow texting in designated auditoriums will forever stick in this juror’s mind. It began on Wednesday ...

When you wish upon a store

Disney Store reopens Saturday, April 16

The Disney Store celebrates the grand opening of its new store at Westfield Plaza Bonita in National City on Saturday, April 16. A quick call to friend and unofficial Mayor of National City John Dacapias ...

Dig a hole: David Gest

And Happy Birthday Tiny Tim!

It’s only fitting that David Gest died on Tiny Tim’s birthday. Wedding bells between the concert promoter and Liza Minnelli amounted to the biggest Barnum & Bailey wedding of all time, a marriage made in ...

Encinitas Student Film Symposium

Industry pros come to town Saturday, April 23

There’s a new festival coming to town, this one brought to you the City of Encinitas and San Diego Filmmakers. I’m the first to grumble that art shouldn’t compete, but there’s more to the Encinitas ...

Weird, wonderful Weerasethakul

Cemetery of Splendour: The less we’re told, the more we’re sucked in

If there is indeed only one chance at making a good first impression, then an impeccable introductory shot is as essential to a film’s narrative as a lashed Windsor knot and highly reflective pair of ...

A Hush falls over San Diego

Michael Foster’s superb short one night only: Friday, April 8

It’s not often one finds a student film, for lack of a better term, covered in these pages. Call me snobby, but after 11 years spent teaching film (and a lifetime devoted to studying the ...

Celebrity Endorsements Vol. 1

Promotions from the vault

Be it at the studio’s behest or a simple desire to keep their famous faces in the public eye (while being handsomely compensated in the process), celebrities have long been known to lend their likenesses ...

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