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Stories by Scott Marks

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 ...

The Big Parade marches through Carmel Valley

Catch it April 4 at the Angelika Film Center

“What a thing is patriotism! We go for years not knowing we have it. Suddenly...it becomes life’s greatest emotion.” The words ring as true today as when they did when they were written, over 90 ...

Mind kampf

Remember, the director has never made a bad movie

Remember, a genre mashup of four of contemporary cinema’s least desirable storylines, should represent everything we’ve spent the past three decades at the movies trying to forget. And yet... When was the last time you ...

Orson Welles, restored

A week of revivals at the Ken, April 1–7

To call Chimes at Midnight (aka Falstaff) Orson Welles’s crowning achievement is tantamount to naming it the greatest movie ever made. The film never found a home on DVD — there’s a dupe pressing in ...

Technicolor Munsters!

In celebration of “America’s First Family of Fright”

My first eyeballing of Munster, Go Home! came, as it did to many Mockingbird Heights mavens of a certain vintage, on the bottom half of a double-bill. The film had not performed as well as ...

Easter means movie time

Or so says this series of vintage seasonal ads

Quick: name an Easter movie. Ben-Hur? The Ten Commandments? Easter Parade? Yogi the Easter Bear? A few more spiritual-based titles come to mind, but for the most part, Easter at the movies is just another ...

Don’t forget Remember

A talk with the director, Atom Egoyan

Opening Remember opposite Batman vs. Superman appeared to be a brilliant stroke of counter-programming. Alas, a superhero-sized need for screen domination dictated otherwise, and the edge-of-your-seat modern-dress Holocaust thriller starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau ...

Your guide to movie theater parking

San Diego's prime cinema parking real estate

The impetus for this public service announcement began two weeks ago when I was trying to attend a 10:30 a.m. screening at Arclight La Jolla. A mall without a multiplex is as useless as a ...

Three chances to catch El Gran Noche

That and more at the Latino Film Festival

The 23rd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival runs March 10–20, and with it comes one of the biggest names in international cinema: Mexico’s incontrovertible auteur, Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson, La Tia Alejandra). Mr. Ripstein ...

Recapping the Oscars

Ali G should host next year

Oscar recap: And the dead frog goes to... It was almost the Oscars that weren’t, the first time since age seven where I couldn’t invite Hollywood’s elite into my living room for its annual epistle ...

Live Oscar blog

Sunday, February 28: Big Screen’s almost-annual event

While on my weekly charitable pilgrimage through local orphanages, a slight tug at my sleeve caused the cigarette ash to land at the feet of one of the younger foundlings. He was a ragged, dirty-faced ...

For your eyes only

The image of his wife wearing sunglasses burns bright to this day

Variety reports that a group of seven blind people filed a class action lawsuit last week against AMC Theatres, alleging the chain violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by “failing to provide properly functioning audio ...

Jimmy Choos now vacant

Pac-Arts’ Lee Ann Kim retires

On a sad note for local film-lovers, Lee Ann Kim, the founder and Queen Mother of the Pacific Arts Movement and the San Diego Asian Film Festival, has decided to “transition out” of her role ...

Joshua Oppenheimer brings The Look of Silence to SDSU

One-night screening on Tuesday, February 23

Award-winning documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer brings his Academy Award–nominated film The Look of Silence to the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre for a one-night screening on February 23. Oppenheimer was gracious enough to speak at ...

Better than Blu-ray

2K Christie Digital Cinema Package comes to Digital Gym

No one has wanted to see the Media Arts Center’s Digital Gym make a bigger name for itself than I. (It’s the only gym you’ll ever see me set foot in.) There’s not enough space ...

Club Mend

Sanctuary for sinners?

Film critic David Elliott introduced me to the Chilean original Pablo Larrain, now on his fifth feature, The Club, which opens Friday at Landmark Hillcrest. A Post-It affixed to a San Diego Film Festival screener ...

Gaslamp 15, we hardly knew ye

Downtown revelers will have to find another bathroom

How an art cinema situated in the land of drunken college kids and raucous conventioneers — who only stopped in to use the theater’s restrooms — lasted eight years is in and of itself a ...

The Jewish Film Festival has some winners

Remember, Natasha, Projections of America, Dealing With the Devil

Normally it takes eight to ten films to find the three or four needed to pad a film festival overview, but this year’s San Diego Jewish Film Festival hit me with four winners right out ...

Allow me to shed some light

I was born and raised in Chicago, but every movie theater is my home. Fifteen years and countless subleased seats after making the move to weatherless San Diego, my slippers click comfortably together and I ...

Rambling with Charlotte Rampling

Matrimonial melancholy

Ten minutes into Brooklyn convinced me that Sairose Ronan had a lock on this year’s best actress Oscar. That was before I saw Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years. Hot on the heels of taking home ...

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney say hello

On Straight Outta Cotton, Schitt’s Creek, and Martin Short

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney bring their off-Broadway success Oh, Hello! to the Balboa Theatre on January 21. Here’s a sample what the veteran comedy duo have in store. Scott Marks: Nick, you play a ...

On releasing a Mustang

Deniz Gamze Ergüven rides herd

France’s Oscar entry for best foreign-language film

2015 movies from top to bottom

Dopey Nazis, geezer porn, and all the moves you can do on a submarine

In a good year, I’ve been known to publish a top 20. This year’s standouts were as obvious as they were few and far between. As such, more thought went into selecting the bottom ten. ...

The odious 8.25

Tarantino goes West(ern)

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is being billed as the director’s eighth film. It appears as though QT, like most devoted cinephiles, has forgotten about his segment in Four Rooms. The addition brings the tally ...

Tarantino opens wide

Reading Cinemas projection guru John Sittig discusses what it took to bring The Hateful Eight to a theater near you

No sooner was it announced that 100 theaters across America would be screening Ultra Panavision 70mm prints of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight than images of a big hulking thingamajig from another era, lying dormant ...

Hitchcock/Truffaut is pure cinema

You won’t have a merrier time at the movies this holiday season

Once upon a time, a guy named Tony L. headed up the film department at Chicago’s Columbia College, an institution of higher learning where I would spend 11 years of my life teaching. I thought ...

Uncomfortable laughter: That’s Entertainment!

Director Rick Alverson on Neil Hamburger

Rick Alverson’s Entertainment not only elicits the same kind of uncomfortable laughter fans of comedian Gregg Turkington’s alter ego Neil Hamburger have long grown accustomed to, it does so in understated and sublimely subversive cinematic ...

Secret in Their Eyes dumbs down another foreign film

Who talks like this?

It’s no secret that Secret in Their Eyes is an English-language remake of Juan José Campanella’s far superior Argentinian thriller (and winner of 2010’s Best Foreign Film Oscar) of the same name. Frankly, we wouldn’t ...

John Crowley reimagines Brooklyn

A three Kleenex (boxes) little period melodrama

An Irish immigrant is set adrift in an impeccably reimagined 1950s New York.

Arab Film Festival 2016

Perspectives on people, culture, art, history, and politics

The Arab Film Festival returns to the Museum of Photographic Arts this week and with it a promise to “provide realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history, and politics.” The jury’s still out on ...

Conference call with cinematic deity Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Director’s first film in eight years opens November 13

“He’s really just a regular dude,” said Eugene, the interpreter trying to calm my nerves while waiting for cinematic deity Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Millennium Mambo, Flight of the Red Balloon) to finish his cigarette and join ...

Over 130 shorts and features from over 15 countries

Sixteenth annual San Diego Asian Film Festival returns to Mission Valley

The San Diego Asian Film Festival, now entering its 16th year, is nothing if not loyal. UltraStar Mission Valley has been their home base for as long as I can recall. In a city known ...

An ear-bleeding anthology of vintage horror film radio spots

Shhh! Do you hear that? It's an exculpatory aggregation of fear-drenched hoopla meant to shock and alarm. "You'll shiver as you ride the river of the dead!" "The ghoulish story of a wild motorcycle gang ...

Truth is, Oscar season is upon us

Do younger audiences remember who Dan Rather is?

Cate Blanchett is seated before a panel of aggressive, mostly male Republican types, being grilled about her involvement in a scandalous, headline-grabbing story. A quick-to-YouTube camcorder doc titled Hillary Goes Benghazi? Not yet. Truth is, ...

Servants of cinema

Film Forum curator and Ken Cinema manager move on

A little over a year after pouring wads of dough into building a new screening facility for the San Diego Central Library to ostensibly house their popular Film Forum program, Ralph DeLauro, series curator for ...

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