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Stories by Scott Marks

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 ...

Paul Espinosa Film Festival makes a homecoming

Kensington filmmaker honored with month-long retrospective

Perhaps it was the decade-long absence, but Paul Espinosa is one of those local treasures we don’t hear enough about. The award­-winning writer, producer, director, social activist, and Kensington resident is currently being honored with ...

German Currents Film Festival descends on Balboa Park

We Are Young, We Are Strong and About a Girl among the offerings

The 5th Annual German Currents Film Festival adds a new, somewhat surprising name to this year’s roster of theaters. Jack kicks things off on Saturday night at Balboa Park’s Natural History Museum, while across the ...

Angelika Film Center debuts in Carmel Mountain

The carpet was red, the crowd awash with anticipation...

For those who don’t relish the thought of paying upwards of $22 for the privilege of having theater mates pierce the darkness by phoning in mid-movie drink orders, there’s the Angelika Film Center. The carpet ...

Before Neverland

Pan: Peter’s prequel

If the names Mary Martin and Walt Disney top the Peter Pan pantheon, and if Hook — Spielberg’s nadir — remains forever anchored at the bottom of Mermaid Lagoon, then Joe Wright’s Pan ranks somewhere ...

Monthlong series showcases local filmmaker

Paul Espinosa Film Series kicks off October 10

The Paul Espinosa Film Series kicks off Saturday, October 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., with an opening night reception at the Seuss Room of UC San Diego’s Geisel Library. The award-winning independent filmmaker’s personal ...

Little Birds' Elgin James’s personal appearance benefits Digital Gym

Get your Q's A'd

Join Reader film-critic Scott Marks at the Digital Gym, Friday, October 9, at 9 p.m. for a screening of Little Birds, followed by a Q&A with writer-director Elgin James. The autobiographical tale, James’s debut, stars ...

Susan Sarandon on social justice

Through homeless eyes at the San Diego Film Festival

As much as I would have loved to spend our limited time together talking about Joe, Atlantic City, Light Sleeper, The Last Robin Hood, and many other Susan Sarandon performances I’m ga-ga over, the timing ...

San Diego Public Library calls Cut! on Film Forum

31-year-old film-screening series ends

The new Central Library opened its doors on September 30, 2013, with what appeared to be a commitment to the Film Forum screening series. The morning email brought dire tidings for one of our town’s ...

Free night of Stooges & Marx Brothers on October 1

Punch Drunks and Pop Goes the Easel topped by Duck Soup

“Do you really want to spend your 60th birthday showing movies?” inquires a concerned Jo Ellen Brantferger, regional publicity director for the Angelika Film Center. You ask me that? The idea has been growing in ...

Hollywood, please call us

Why won’t Hollywood look to San Diego as its backlot?

Though it served as a major filming hub during the silent era, of late our town can’t buy a decent production. Anchorman was 2004. Before that, Traffic and Titanic. The statute of limitations has long ...

Marx Madness

Bests (and worsts) from the frontlines of cinema

With something like 30,000 shorts and features at my back and a 60-candle birthday cake just weeks in the offing, the time seemed right to gift my audience with this ruminative list of personal bests ...

Striking gold with Digging for Fire director Joe Swanberg

With almost 20 films to his credit, you’ll be surprised to learn that Digging for Fire, currently playing at the Gaslamp, is only the second one of Joe Swanberg’s films to land a commercial release ...

Helena Bonham Carter on being young, prodigious, and T.S. Spivet

We caught up with “corset queen” Helena Bonham Carter in London via phone while she was out promoting The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, currently playing at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15. Known for such period ...

What Evel lurks...

In the span of seven years, daredevil stunt cyclist Evel Knievel — the subject of the History Channel doc Being Evel, opening Friday at the Digital Gym — became one of the most recognizable figures, ...

The Gift keeps on giving

No need to ask the delivery man from whence the square turquoise package hailed. The wrapping paper was identical to that of a similar-sized box of goodies found resting on every reclining seat at the ...

Joel Edgerton talks about The Gift

The best thing about this movie-lover’s job is one morning I’m in a theatre watching a picture, the next I’m speaking with its director and star. In this case, Joel Edgerton. The Gift, opening wide ...

Kensington Video prepares to enter the digital age

Keeping up with the Hanfords

The sign on the front window now reads, “Kensington Video and Vidajuice Smoothie Bar,” as our town’s august video store inches one step closer to its projected October 1 grand reopening. If things go as ...

The Look of Silence makes it personal

The past isn’t

There’s a quote from Jean­-Luc Godard — the source of which has escaped me — in which the greatest living filmmaker suggests that the future of well-­balanced cinema is subject to a need for documentary ...

Full disclosure

Brace yourself for a gratuitous personal plug. With all due respect to my esteemed colleague, Jeff Smith, I thought my “review” of Kiss Me, Kate would mark a first and last move away from cinema. ...

Battle of the bulges

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but does the same hold true for movies and their posters? One look at the accompanying image gives pause for reflection (and gales of unexpected chuckles). Was ...

Take a ride on the Reading hard hat tour

The newly affixed Angelika Film Center sign is visible from the 15. It’s the tour guides who are nowhere in sight. A padlock and cyclone fence bar an entryway sealed tighter than Xanadu during Charlie ...

David Thorpe finds his voice with Do I Sound Gay?

Title tells all in David Thorpe’s highly personal and frequently hilarious digital confessional, Do I Sound Gay?, opening July 24 at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. To flame-down one’s voice or proudly reclaim the sibilant “s”? — ...

Kiss Me, Kates

Screen and stage

The Con is on, the one week of the summer where Hollywood backs away from a major release to play wet nurse to a bunch of duded-up fanboys in celebration of everything that’s wrong with ...

Yellow bricks and rain-slicked asphalt

Tired of fireworks and the ever-looming promise of spending a lifetime using three fingers to order five beers they bring? Do you moan at the thought of having your Doodle yanked by another look at ...

Jason Schwartzman uncut

We caught up with Jason Schwartzman en route to a doctor’s visit. Our talk was frequently (and amusingly) interrupted by a confused driver unable to locate the office. Here’s our conversation, minus the directions. Jason ...

David Gordon Green on the greening of Manglehorn

Bonus: see the short that inspired the feature

By the time I’m fortunate enough to get a shot at interviewing a director whose work I admire, their finest output is generally two, three, sometimes eight films behind them. It’s unheard of for me ...

Reel Kids series offers big-screen fun at rock-bottom prices

There’s a good chance your children have never left the house to visit the Emerald City

Looking for a low cost way to engage the kids and beat the summer heat? Reading Cinema’s Reel Kids Summer Movie Festival may be the ticket. Starting June 17 and continuing for nine weeks, Reading’s ...

Kensington Video will reopen in September

You can’t keep a good Winnie down. “Mom was bored to death,” laughs Guy Hanford, soon-to-be sole owner and operator of Kensington Video. “Retirement didn’t meet well with her.” That’s just one of the reasons ...

My LaserDisc collection numbered exactly one

Thinking back on visiting Burbank over the 2000 Thanksgiving break, a time when no trek up the 5 would be complete without a holiday visit to Dave’s Video, the Laser Place in Studio City. Oddly ...

Selma + gospel at the Central Library

It’s being heralded as the biggest movie event the San Diego Public Library has put together since moving to its expanded 350-seat digs at 330 Park Boulevard. Ralph DeLauro has for years been heading up ...

Misunderstood pup

Humanity's best friend

How much is that doggie, Belle and Sébastien, at the Digital Gym? Once upon a time, way back in 1943, in a small village located just the other side of the Swiss Alps, there lived ...

Dig a hole: Landmark La Jolla Village

Another temple of cinema bites the dust. It’s with a great deal of both frustration and consternation that I bring news of the pending demolition of the Landmark La Jolla Village to make way for ...

Fault-filled cinema

Through no fault of our own, San Andreas wasn’t screened in time to make the Reader's print edition. For those eager to rumble, why not seek out two of Hollywood’s most popular disaster flicks (and ...

Ride wild surf movies at San Diego Surf Film Fest 4

It appears as if the San Diego Surf Film Festival has hit a happy reef. The annual event has become so popular that, after three years of calling Bird’s Surf Shed their home base, SDFF ...

Angelik changes coming to Carmel Mountain

Your humble critic made the move to Escondido in February. I was just getting accustomed to calling Reading Cinema’s Carmel Mountain my new base of operation, when last week’s check for showtimes (I needed a ...

Gangsterland

Interview with Black Souls director Francesco Munzi

Last March — and with one foot out the door to catch a screening of The Gunman — a call comes in from Reading Cinema’s Jo Brantferger. They’re opening something in two months called Black ...

Jazz speak with Miles Away star and co-writer Sid Burston

The request to review the Saturday premiere of Miles Away didn’t arrive until late Thursday afternoon. I’m never one to scramble, but there was something about the tone of the email and subsequent voicemail that ...

Double-features from hell!

WARNING! The double-features you are about to see are real! No titles were Photoshopped during the making of this post! It began as a hunt to find proof of what has to be the craziest ...

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