November 21, 2019
Downton AbbeyNovember 23, 2019
Drama / 2019 / 122 minutes
The Julian Fellowes' created British television show was a smash hit both in the US and Europe in the early half of the decade, but none one would have expected the phenomenon to translate as well to the big screen as it has with the Michael Engler directed feature version of Downton Abbey. The ongoing saga of highborn family and their dedicated staff as it relates to the upkeep of a historical and culturally significant Yorkshire County estate, Fellowes' beloved period drama deals class relations, British history, period romance and good old fashioned melodrama, managing to so in an utterly charming manner that somehow avoids the stuffiness of the great Masterpiece Theater dramas of old. A lot of this is due to the winning cast – most of whom feature prominently in the film – Fellowes' unerring ability to allow his characters relatable dimensions, positing that privilege need not always be villainous and that the treatment of the serving class need not be cruel nor contentious. With Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Imelda Staunton and the magnificent Maggie Grace as the pithy family matriarch.
Raising Arizona (35mm)November 23, 2019
Comedy / 1987 / 94 minutes
Though Blood Simple had put them on the map, it was with 1987's Raising Arizona that the Coen Brothers found some mainstream success and proved themselves as adept with comedy as they were with clever film noir. Following the rambunctious exploits of a dim yet philosophical ex-con (Nicolas Cage, in a career-defining performance) who returns to a life of crime in an effort to acquire a child for himself and his barren prison guard wife (Holly Hunter, also spectacular), Joel and Ethan Coen's second feature is a wildly delightful mash-up of Tex Avery cartoons, 1940's noir and screwball splatter, a veritable masterclass of perfectly-pitched comedy and old-fashioned filmmaking. A film that set the tone for much of the cinematic predilections of the 90s – including the meteoric rise of Nicolas Cage – Raising Arizona still possesses a timeless charm that lands it in the upper echelon of the Coen's celebrated filmography and now rates among most cinephiles as one of the greatest comedies of all time. With John Goodman, William Forsythe and Frances McDormand.
Bandwagon (35mm) Q&A with Kevin CorriganNovember 23, 2019
Comedy / 1997 / 103 minutes
The experience of forming a band and touring the country in a van was a relatable one to those who came of age in the 90s, and perhaps no film captures that more effectively than John Schultz's 1997 rock n’ roll comedy Bandwagon. The story of an indie rock band who, after some local mishaps, find themselves a manager (Doug MacMillan) and set out on a club tour across the American south, Schultz's low-key film manages to find both the drama and hilarity inherent in the scenario while maintaining an amiable attitude towards its flawed yet endearing characters. It helps that notable character actor Kevin Corrigan is along for the ride, who brings comedic chops and relatable humanity to the role of the band's perpetually stoned but brilliant guitarist. With Matthew Hennessy and Steve Parlavecchio and featuring convincing songs co-written by members of the cast.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (35mm)November 23, 2019
Comedy / 2019 / 161 minutes
The phrase “love letter to Hollywood” gets thrown around critical circles with obnoxious regularity, but if any film ever deserved the distinction it’s Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. A rose-tinted look back at Tinseltown circa 1969 that follows three primary characters – a fading TV star (Leonardo DiCaprio), his stunt double/best friend (Brad Pitt) and infamously doomed starlet Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) – Tarantino’s ninth and possibly penultimate film is less an attempt at historical documentation and more an effort of historical reclamation, a cinematic balm to pop culture’s darkest moment and a nostalgic longing for a time that never truly existed. As always Tarantino is at the top of his directorial game, and with the powerhouse trio of DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie dropping movie star charisma bombs into to every scene, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood lands as the auteur’s most purely enjoyable film, a world that film fans will cherish getting lost in.