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Stories by Scott Marks

More Katherine Heigl?

For what it’s worth, the performance is easily her finest movie work to date

Halfway through the trailer for Unforgettable, a warning voice began yelling in my ear: Oh no... it can’t be... SOMEONE WENT AND BUDGETED ANOTHER KATHERINE HEIGL PICTURE! It’s been two years since Heigl’s appeared in ...

Storied Streets brings tales of homelessness to local students

The San Diego Film Foundation brings documentary producer to five high schools

The San Diego Film Foundation, best known for putting on the San Diego Film Festival, will present special screenings of Storied Streets at five area schools. Documentarian Jack Henry Robbins’s Storied Streets explores homelessness through ...

James Cromwell on The Promise and the hoops of Hollywood

He once kicked dirt on a director

This was the first time James Cromwell and I have spoken, but it wasn’t the first time I was in his presence. Starting at age 13, my family began making semi-regular visits to Los Angeles ...

San Diego Asian Film Festival hosts 20 films

April 20-27 at UltraStar Hazard Center

In spring, a San Diego cinephile’s fancy turns to the Asian cinema. With its 20 film schedule, this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival’s Spring Showcase is the biggest in its seven-year history. The festival ...

Werner Herzog and Nicole Kidman partner on a Florence of Arabia

Director’s first story to unfold from a woman’s point-of-view

Unlike most purveyors of based-on-a-true-story biopics, Werner Herzog didn’t wait until the closing crawl to reveal a snapshot of his real life Queen of the Desert. Even before the opening credits announce that the part ...

Singin’ the praises of Gene Kelly

Patricia Ward Kelly brings her one-woman show to Balboa Theatre on April 15

She was 26 when first they met, he was 73. He just happened to be showbiz royalty, one of the most recognizable hoofers on the planet. The ten years Patricia Ward Kelly spent with her ...

Steamboy returns to the Ken April 1

Midnight Saturday and Sunday morning screenings

Released in 2004, Steamboy examines the subject of technology and the modern world through a paucity of plot and an overabundance of vision. It demands a big-screen visit, which is exactly what you’ll get this ...

Thora Birch or Scarlett Johansson?

Daniel Clowes on Wilson and inklings of Scarlett

Graphic novelist and occasional scenarist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World, Art School Confidential) returns to the screen after an 11- year absence. His latest big screen adaptation, Wilson, directed by Craig Johnson, opens Friday at Landmark’s ...

A gutsy role for Kristen Stewart

Director Olivier Assayas on his Personal Shopper

Olivier Assayas is far from his twilight years. Assayas and I were both born in 1955. That comes as kind of a surprise when one considers how steadily the director’s films radiate the mood and ...

Beauty and the beastiality

Alabama drive-in boycotts Beauty and the Beast?

It would be one thing if Alabama drive-in theatre owner Carol Laney had refused to book Disney’s latest retread of Beauty and the Beast (Lickona liked the sets) based solely on a perceived lack of ...

San Diego Latino Film Fest returns

Festival runs Thursday, March 16, through Sunday, March 26

It’s that time of year when one of San Diego’s top-tier cinematic showcases comes to town. The 24th San Diego Latino Film Festival brings with it, among other things, a return visit from the reigning ...

It’s a movie theater, not a McDonald’s Playland

Cinépolis brings “kid-friendly” auditorium to Vista

It is the sworn duty of parents to instill within a child the three golden rules of moviegoing: Sit down, shut up, and enjoy the picture. Little more than a restaurant that shows movies, the ...

Week of film classics returns to the Ken March 10

See McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Reservoir Dogs, Princess Mononoke, and more

For those whose knowledge of Warren Beatty doesn’t extend much beyond last week’s unparalleled round of egg on Oscar’s face, it’s time to put in an appearance at Landmark’s Ken Cinema for their latest installment ...

Trump orders review for Soviet hacking at Oscars

Warren Beatty folds under pressure to ad lib

As pressure from Congress grows for greater public understanding of exactly what Russia did to touch off this year’s Best Picture brouhaha, the White House and President Donald J. Trump have today ordered a full ...

Amma Asante just says yes to A United Kingdom

The romance of President of Botswana Seretse Khama and British bride Ruth Williams

Narrative cinema rarely unearths heretofore overlooked historical truth, but three of least year’s releases — Denial, Hidden Figures, and now A United Kingdom — have their heart set on proving that adage wrong. Filmmaker Amma ...

Female-fashioned frights

XX: A killer quartet

"Four deadly tales directed by four killer women.” That’s the tagline for XX, the new horror anthology opening Friday at the Digital Gym. This type of press agent math never adds up. Has there ever ...

Nine films, two Saturdays, twelve Excedrin

AMC Best Picture Showcase kicks off February 18

She pulled within a seat of me and couldn’t wait to inquire about the open notepad on my lap. “You a critic?” she asked. “Nah,” I deadpanned, “if the movie stinks I’ll doodle.” “Seriously,” she ...

San Diego Film Week showcases a vast menu of local cinema

Festival runs Friday, February 10 to Sunday, February 19

Following the the footsteps of San Diego Restaurant Week (or Beer Week) comes San Diego Film Week: 7 days, 7 festivals, 7 workshops, 100 shorts and features, and thankfully only 2 parties. The project is ...

Is indoor drive-in the next big thing?

No. No, it’s not.

The Variety headline read, “Dine-In Cinema Gets Immersive: Indoor Drive-In to Open in Nashville.” An indoor drive-in offering an immersive dining experience translates to Carbon Monoxide Cocktails on sale at the concession stand and a ...

Three films to see at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Seventh annual festival at MOPA through Sunday

The Museum of Photographic Arts Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre once again plays home to the Human Rights Watch Film Festival which runs Thursday, February 2 through Sunday, February 5. For more information and a ...

Marx Brothers ballyhoo

Majestic the cat helps find some hidden gems

Return to a time when movie promotion meant something more than web page banners or a lone poster fastened before an auditorium door. It began by googling “Mary Tyler Moore” in search of a memorial ...

Paterson’s hometown pride

Life surrounds us with poetry

Paterson refers both to the film’s New Jersey locale and lead character (Adam Driver), a married bus driver who fancies himself a poet. Imagine The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden as the Bard of Bensonhurst: Cook me ...

Paul W.S. Anderson puts an end to Resident Evil

3D or not 3D: that is the question!

I became aware of Paul W.S. Anderson while teaching film classes at Chicago’s Columbia College. It was around the time Anderson’s Mortal Kombat was released on home video and one of my students couldn’t wait ...

Glasses aren’t just for drinking

“You say ‘Asante,’ I read ‘Assante.’ Asante, Assante…”

The email subject heading read: “A United Kingtdom Press Screening and Phoners.” Great! And who is Fox Searchlight pitching for a possible phone interview? None other than durable leading man Armand Assante who, according to ...

That ’70s movie

Life in Santa Barbara, 1979, “the time before America lost its individuality”

The characters in Mike Mills’s third feature, 20th Century Women, can’t wait to share their writer-director’s sketchy reminiscences of life in Santa Barbara, 1979. Mills calls it “the time before America lost its individuality,” but ...

They don’t care if their picture sucks

2016, the year in review

Critics and fans alike are calling 2016 a terrible year for movies. That would be the case if all one took in were the blockbusters and the well-intentioned message pictures that round out the list ...

Digital Gym and the NAT team for Reel Science

All four Saturdays in January

The little theater that could and the best screening venue in Balboa Park — sorry, MoPA, you’ve been outclassed — and a group known only as Film Geeks SD are joining together for a month-long ...

Boresese

Scorsese’s painful piety

Silence isn’t golden. He may not be the hardest working man in show business — not with just one theatrical release every two years — but at 74, and with almost 60 features, shorts, and ...

Ten minutes with Debbie Reynolds

She did it Debbie’s Way

“Hi, this is Debbie. If you are over 30 and have been inactive or have any ankle, knee, or back problems, you should have a medical checkup before starting any exercise program.” The preceding disclaimer ...

Scorsese turns his back on contemporary cinema

But the 15% justify the trek through the sludge

Martin Scorsese claims to have stopped watching most contemporary films. “Cinema is gone,” he told the Associated Press. At a New York press conference Scorsese admitted, “I don’t see that many new ones over the ...

Must-see movies of 2016

Top ten of the last year

10) Hirokazu Koreeda’s Our Little Sister At their estranged father’s funeral, the oldest of three sisters takes it upon herself to ask her little-known teenage half-sister — the product of an adulterous relationship that “crushed ...

Lion doesn’t roar

But Nicole Kidman delivers one of her finest performances

“‘Based on a True Story” has replaced “The Adventure Continues” as Hollywood’s most cringeworthy coming attraction tagline. Just because a narrative is rooted in reality doesn’t mean that its chronicler isn’t going to lie, cheat, ...

Talking “twilight time” with La La Land’s director of photography

Cinematographer Linus Sandgren racking up a bushel of awards nominations

When was the last time you saw an expressionistic use of color in a trailer, let alone a feature? There was more color in the preview for La La Land than a box of 120 ...

Eight minutes with Pablo Larraín

Not enough time with the director of Jackie

I owe my love of Pablo Larraín to the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Their programming of Tony Manero and Post Mortem was tantamount to extracting a giant thorn from this reporter’s paw. Tony Manero ...

The emotional wallop of Jackie

Natalie Portman takes us through a cauterized grieving process

Individuals who have history thrust upon them frequently make the best movie subjects. Lawrence of Arabia, Melvin and Howard, The Last Emperor, Vera Drake, and many other cinematic profiles have done wonders with a passive ...

Ring in the season with The Bells of St. Mary’s

Christmas at the movies with Ing and Bing

When asked to name a sequel that surpasses its original, The Godfather, Part II and The Bells of St. Mary’s are always the first to come to mind. (Exorcist II: The Heretic runs a close ...

The perfect Christmas present for the avid film goer

We be jammin’

A few weeks ago, a story appeared on The Big Screen about a “critic” who couldn’t manage to make it through a screening without texting. It was greeted with a tidal wave of sympathetic comments ...

Tour the Academy Film Archive with MoPA

Shuttle departs Friday, December 16

The Museum of Photographic Arts invites you to spend a day in Hollywood walking through the extensive picture collections at the Academy Film Archive. Established in 1991, the Archive currently houses 190,000 items including an ...

Sarsgaard gets stood up

On playing RFK in Jackie and how to be a convincing sheriff

Why would anyone cancel a phoner with Peter Sarsgaard? The next critic in line did just that, leaving twice the normal allotted time for your Big Screen correspondent. Our talk was meant to promote Sarsgaard’s ...

Warren Beatty’s latest film in ten years is not totally void of charm

Rules Don’t Apply to this guy

The trailer for Rules Don’t Apply, with its promise of one notorious playboy starring as another equally profligate real-life womanizer, set the bar high. You see, rules don’t apply to Warren Beatty. They never have. ...

Free advance screening of Sing on Saturday, November 26

Shake off Black Friday by taking the kids to a movie

There will be a free screening of the upcoming Universal Studios release this Saturday morning at 10 am. Here's the catch: you have to be one of the first 200 patrons in line at either ...

Critic trades in cell phone for a padded cell

Critic-call behavior

What’s the textbook definition of stupid? Anyone — “critic” or pass-whore — who sits in the same row as I and proceeds to text during a movie. Believe it or don’t, that's exactly what one ...

Two films on photography and more this week at MoPA

"Something old, something twisted, something new, and something experimental"

It’s always nice to welcome an old friend back to town, particularly one who is as bright and talented a filmmaker as Wolfgang Hastert. After years spent studying and getting his graduate degree from Duke ...

Trump on film

All brilliant performances. Believe me! Believe me!

President-elect Donald Trump — it feels dirty just writing it — could have been the next Clark Gable. Just ask him. Before the shortchanging, meow-meow-grabbing real estate tycoon transformed New York City into a garish ...

Munsters Marineland redux

Watch an hour-long TV special not seen in over 50 years

November 2, 2016 will go down as a good day. The Cubs won the World Series, this proud papa’s built-tough 1994 Ford Ranger, for five years the apple of my eye, studied hard and passed ...

San Diego Asian Film Festival returns

New director, same good quality

The Pacific Arts Movement’s San Diego Asian Film Festival breezes through town this week and for the first time in its 17-year history, festival founder Lee Ann Kim will not be in the driver’s seat. ...

When it’s sports vs. movies, sports always wins

Take me out to the movies

Martin Scorsese was once asked his opinion of professional sports. “Sports?” he scowled. “Anything with a ball, no good!” Forgive me Marty, for I have sinned. True, there is no bigger waste of time than ...

Aquarius appears to direct itself

A fully realized family melodrama, not a chick flick

Every year around award season, a cry goes out bemoaning the lack of quality female parts in movies today. For those not allergic to subtitles or a 142-minute running time, there’s Aquarius — a gleaming, ...

Kelly Reichardt on the minds of Mary Tyler Moore and Kristen Stewart

Email exchange with Certain Women's writer-director

Seconds after the email offering an interview with Kelly Reichardt crossed my desk, a reply in the affirmative was sent. Hopefully I made the best of our brief time together. Scott Marks: Can you give ...

German Currents Film Festival returns on October 22

Scott Marks hosts post-show Q&A with director Wolfgang Becker

The sixth annual German Currents Film Festival returns to Balboa Park this weekend, and with it comes the usual fine array of five films you’re not likely to find anywhere else in town. The call ...

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