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Stories by Scott Marks

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 ...

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, ...

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