Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Legend of Cao Cao's Tomb

The dreaded warlord villain of Red Cliff, Cao Cao, was a real-life dude at one point, and Chinese officials claim to have uncovered his tomb. News of the find broke yesterday. Thanks to our buddy Mitch for the tip! Read more about it here.

Red Cliff continues through January 7th, and maybe longer!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Highway to Hell (1991)

It seems reasonable that if Dante Alighieri went into hell by foot in the 14th century, hundreds of years later that road would be littered with cars. Charles Sykes (Chad Lowe) and his girlfriend Rachel Clark (Kristy Swanson) race through the desert on their way to Las Vegas to get married. Along the way, Kristy is kidnapped by a demon cop who is outfitted with pentagrams instead of badges and severed demon hands chained together instead of handcuffs. Desperate to get her back, Charles seeks out Sam (Richard Farnsworth), a gas station attendant who had warned him earlier about driving that stretch of highway at night. When asked to use his phone, Sam emphatically informs Charles that “you can’t phone hell, boy. You can drive there, but you can’t phone hell.” Fortunately, Sam has a hot rod ready to loan that will get Charles there. There is nothing subtle about Highway to Hell, but it is good fun in the vein of Beeltlejuice (1988) with its contemplations on who will be doing what in the afterlife and the parallels of hell as a highway. Hell proper is actually a city where all roads on this plane lead, but most of the fun is getting there by way of a diner where cops exist in anguish in the absence of coffee and a strip club owned by Jimmy Hoffa. The strip club comes complete with a card game between Hitler (Gilbert Gottfried) and Attila the Hun (Ben Stiller). After seeing this, I think someone should have further explored Gottfried as Hitler; it works on a lot of levels. My favorite moment is a scene where Charles comes across the Good Intentions Paving Company. Director Ate de Jong’s English language directorial credits include Drop Dead Fred (1991) featuring Rik Mayall of The Young Ones and a 1987 episode of Miami Vice that featured James Brown. Highway to Hell fits well into that canon. The humor in Highway to Hell is bludgeoning, but smart enough to be engaging and the action is low budget, but contained enough in the restraints of late 80s- early 90s special effects to be enjoyable. -Billups Allen

It's MONDO MONDAYS at The Loft, celebrating weird, wild and wonderful flicks from the Mondo side of the silver screen! Admission is only $2.00, and don't forget to check out our yummy "Mondo Munchies" snack bucket ... fill a cup for a buck!

Billups Allen's interest in writing began composing lyrics for the band Shoutbus and later for the band Corn on Macabre. Lyrical duties led to writing poetry and short stories. Several of his short stories were published in a book entitled Unfurnished published by Florida’s now defunct Schematics Records. Allen currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes Cramhole comic zine, writes reviews for Razorcake Magazine and the Tucson Citizen and hosts a radio show called The Groove Tomb. www.billupsallen.com

Monday, December 21, 2009


I have heard on more than one occasion that people who like David Lynch’s Wild at Heart are particularly fond of a scene where Laura Dern describes her demented cousin’s obsession with Christmas. If I could have one question with David Lynch, I would like to know if he had seen this movie. Christmas Evil is the It’s a Wonderful Life for horror fanatics and film buffs. Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) becomes obsessed with Christmas after seeing mommy and Santa Claus in the beginnings of having a “not-so-holy” night. Thirty-three years later, Stalding works in a toy factory and spends his spare time skulking around his neighborhood keeping up with who is naughty and who is nice. While the pace of the film can be a bit slow at times, the genius of the film comes into play with regards to how much time the movie spends with Harry without letting the audience in on what he is thinking. There is not so much open violence as there is a fear of not being able to follow his train of thought. The fun here is seeing his bizarre behavior and not knowing at any given time what he is capable of. This movie relies heavily on Maggart’s acting and he delivers a slow burn that predates the influx of quiet man psycho killers made popular by Hannibal Lecter. If the story had gone into full slasher mode, it would not be nearly as scary. More than just a slasher film, Evil is an awesome portrayal of an already unstable man coming apart at the seams. -Billups Allen

Monday, December 21st at 8:00 p.m.

It's MONDO MONDAYS at The Loft, celebrating weird, wild and wonderful flicks from the Mondo side of the silver screen! Admission is only $2.00, and don't forget to check out our yummy "Mondo Munchies" snack bucket ... fill a cup for a buck!

Billups Allen's interest in writing began composing lyrics for the band Shoutbus and later for the band Corn on Macabre. Lyrical duties led to writing poetry and short stories. Several of his short stories were published in a book entitled Unfurnished published by Florida’s now defunct Schematics Records. Allen currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes Cramhole comic zine, writes reviews for Razorcake Magazine and the Tucson Citizen and hosts a radio show called The Groove Tomb. www.billupsallen.com

RED CLIFF - Billups Allen

The world will never be in short supply of mediocre action films. But whenever a chiseled, shirtless man is shown diving in slow motion simultaneously firing an automatic pistol in each hand, John Woo’s influence on the film world is felt. While Woo’s influence has spawned some awful imitators, his attention to aesthetics and dramatic depictions of excessive violence has made him one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. In spite of not becoming a household name in America, his style is celebrated by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and John McTiernen whose seminal American action film Die Hard (1988) is latent with Woo’s stylistic trademarks. Woo is largely responsible for bringing Hong Kong cinema to the attention of the world. A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989), and Hard Boiled (1992) have become the core of a cannon of films unofficially known as “Gun-Fu” and have instilled distinct qualities to the action genre.

Woo’s recent film, Red Cliff, is a fantastic example of an artist evolving his already well-honed craft into uncharted territory. Woo has woven his unique brand of action to a film steeped in epic conventions. Red Cliff is based on an actual 3rd century battle that took place at the end of China’s Han Dynasty. Cao Cao was a northern warlord who amassed enough of an army to envision a shot at usurping the crown. Cao was challenged by a group of southern warlords led primarily by Sun Quan and Liu Bei whose armies all totaled numbered only a fraction of Cao’s. Quan and Bei made their stand at Red Cliff, and Woo has masterfully shaped this battle into an epic film worthy of a place among the ranks of iconic epic films. Woo’s portrait of the battle of Red Cliff fills the screen with colossal amounts arrow fire, swordplay and flying spears. The exposition sections of the film focus on Bei (You Yong) and Quan (Chang Chen) and the psychology of battle the two employ in their campaign. Woo inserts tasteful bits of humor in the form of Quan and Bei generally staying a step ahead of Cao (Zhang Fengyi). Woo’s technique is impeccable on all counts and the breathing scenes between battles are compelling for their style as much as for their exposition. A particularly engrossing scene involves Woo crosscutting between the two camps, each in strategy meetings attempting to second-guess the other. The movie stays interesting, and with a two and a half hour running time and a complete lack of Caesarian intrigue, it is quite an accomplishment. Red Cliff works so well because it is a simple story; Cao, the seasoned northern warlord, wants the crown, and a ragtag band of southern warlords are determined to stop him. To project any complicated politics into the story would ruin it. The good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black. You might have a guess at the outcome, but you should not miss the ride. -Billups Allen

Billups Allen's interest in writing began composing lyrics for the band Shoutbus and later for the band Corn on Macabre. Lyrical duties led to writing poetry and short stories. Several of his short stories were published in a book entitled Unfurnished published by Florida’s now defunct Schematics Records. Allen currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes Cramhole comic zine, writes reviews for Razorcake Magazine and the Tucson Citizen and hosts a radio show called The Groove Tomb. www.billupsallen.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

Very Merry Holiday Sing-a-Long Recap

Last night was an absolute winter blast! Congrats to Gabby, who blew away the competition in the holiday sweater parade with her blinking sweater! Holiday cheer was spread through singing and egg nog all night long, and if you missed it, here's what you missed:

1. Holly Jolly Christmas

2. U2 – It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

3. Alvin and The Chipmunks / Christmas Time

4. Del Rubio Triplets / Winter Wonderland

5. John Denver and The Muppets / 12 Days of Christmas

6. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby / Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

7. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

8. Bon Jovi / Please Come Home for Christmas

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas/ What's This?

10. Paul McCartney / Wonderful Christmastime

11. John Lennon / Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

12. Oscar the Grouch / I Hate Christmas

13. Adam Sandler / Hanukkah Song

14. Frosty the Snowman

15. David Bowie and Bing Crosby / The Little Drummer Boy

16. Dolly Parton / Silent Night

17. The Grinch / You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

18. South Park / Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo

19. 'Nsync / Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

20. White Christmas

21. Elvis / Blue Christmas

22. Band Aid / Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?

23. Pee-Wee Herman / The Dreidel Song

24. Star Wars Christmas / Happy Life Day

25. Mariah Carey / All I Want for Christmas Is You

26. Charlie Brown / Hark the Herald Angels Sing

27. Run DMC / Christmas in Hollis

28. Wham / Last Christmas

29. Sonny and Cher / Jingle Bells

30. Charo / Feliz Navidad

31. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

32. Nat King Cole / The Christmas Song

33. It’s a Wonderful Life / Auld Lange Syne

34. South Park / Jesus' Birthday

Next up, All the Singin' Ladies:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


A benefit for MILES E.L.C. MUSIC AND ART PROGRAMS, featured the Tucson premiere of the acclaimed rockumentary 'SNO ANGEL WINGING IT, and a live performance from musician HOWE GELB and his MELTED WIRES (Thoger Lund/Bass, John Convertino/Drums and Jacob Valenzuela/Trumpet)!

More photos here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stuff We Like: Stingray Sam

Cory McAbee, the genius behind The American Astronaut (one of our favorite films of the decade) and The Billy Nayer Show, is giving you a gift: free art! Go to www.stingraysam.com, where you can download the first two episodes of this new six-episode marvel for $0.00. Hopefully you'll get hooked and want to buy the rest; you won't regret it if you do.

If you're still not convinced, here's one of our favorite scenes from The American Astronaut:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

November First Friday Shorts Review

by Shipherd Reed, via AZNightbuzz.com

Shout it from the rooftops, sing it in the streets, Max is back with a sly wise-crack and his hosting can’t be beat! At least that was my opinion, and many seemed to share it at intermission. Great appreciation to Mike Sterner for keeping the ship on course while Max was AWOL for two months. He’s just so good at this job. The theater was packed, the joint humming with conversation, the faces lit by smartphones texting. Max stepped to the stage, took the mic, and warmed up the crowd like he never left us. But that’s enough gushing. It was a very entertaining night, the films rocked, and it was a happy reminder that this event has a rare ability to surprise and delight.

Max kicked it off with a ringer, a mock preview titled “Poltergeist Activity” that shows a guy attempting to have sex with his girlfriend in the visual style of the indie horror hit “Paranormal Activity.” Way funny. Then Sarah Haber and Katie Gault kicked off the films in competition with “We Own The Sky” about a daughter who covers for her dad when he blasts off into space in a homemade rocket and the media hounds her for answers. Impressively well made with some strong acting.

Joshua Lamb’s “Snack Attack” followed, a man versus vending machine tale about a guy who takes a really long time to chose which candy bar he wants, and the other dude waiting for him to make a damn choice. It seemed promising, but had no twist or payoff in the end. After that Don Smith’s film, “Whatareyougonnado?,” featured a guy walking around the Princeton campus and musing on life. Rambling yet amusing, but the crowd needed to vent and GONG! no more to do.

An incomprehensible zombie movie came next, followed by another ringer, this one called “We Are Douchebags,” a hilarious mockumentary in which crass dudes stand up for their rights and dignity as douchebags. Catch it on the web. Next in competition came Zach Bloom’s “Mammal Mama,” a marvelously trippy strange primordial kaleidoscopic music video with chant music that I loved. So delightfully different. Mark Hanson’s “Shoes” about a bad date was apparently ingenious but I missed the visual punch line. Lots of other people laughed, however, so I’m getting slow.

Mike Williamson’s music video “Mindtrap” had some cool sfx (again with the kaleidoscopic) and it was followed by Eli Roth’s fabulous faux trailer for the grindhouse horror flick “Thanksgiving” (a ringer, if you’re familiar). See it on the web. As Max quipped “That puts the grim back in pilgrim.”

To keep the slasher vibe going, Josh Zientarski then screened his comic horror flick “The Cutting,” in which four happy campers trash-talk a machete wielding killer even as he chops them up. And to keep the blood flowing, Amber Welsh gave us “I spit your heart out” about two young women who kill a rapist, tear out his heart, and eat it. For a bit more levity, Buck & Steve brought us “A Bit of BS” in which one of three friends thinks that he has turned into a velociraptor, and it was funny. But not as funny as the ringer that followed, “One Dead Mule,” which is an art film version of a mega-store phone order for supplies to survive the apocalypse. Yes, hard to explain and it is ingenious. On the web, check it out.

That was followed by two teenage girls, one in drag, dancing to a “Nasty Bitch” rap song in their video “The Nasty Bitch” and it was weird and entertaining and I’m not sure what it says about the female libido. Stalwart experimentalilst Joe Carmonica and his trusty muse Diana Stapleton screened “Mischief Night at the Central Arts Collective,” which was hard to watch and mercifully roused the GONG! and we moved on. On to Tullar brother John whose James Bond spoof “Last Chance To Kill” featured cool opening titles, a full narrative with story arc, costumes, funny lines, the whole enchilada. The tale followed a pompous secret agent who has his license to kill revoked and trouble ensues. It killed. The crowd loved it. Robert Noble’s music video for the rap song “Hell House” closed the evening, and it worked okay.

So after a night with so many strong films in competition, plus an abundance of exceptional ringers, who took home the prize? John Tullar of course! “Last Chance to Kill” spun the applause meter and the Tullar brothers continue their dominance of 2009. Will they take December’s contest? I’ll see you at the Loft on Friday to find out and Happy Holidays to all!

One for the Road - STAFF ART!

Our resident theater staff photographer, Christian, has a show opening Saturday at T.A.C. Studio. You should go.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Staff Spotlight: Mike Wilkins

Name: Mike Wilkins, but I’m also known simply as “Pants”. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell ya.

LOFT Staff position: Projectionist/cashier/popcorn connoisseur

I have worked at THE LOFT since: I believe I first started here sometime in late 1999, so going on a decade now!

I grew up in: I was born and raised right here in T-town

Birthday/Age: Beware the ides of March, because I’ll be out celebrating. I’ll be turning 27 soon, and I’m already feeling it in my joints.

When I am not at THE LOFT I: Well, I like to wander aimlessly through the streets of downtown Tucson and peoplewatch a lot, or play music with my band “butterpump”. I like making claymation shorts too, but it requires a lot of free time I usually don’t have.

I work at THE LOFT because: I’ve always loved the loft in its various locations and reincarnations, and I guess just the fact that we show films you can’t see anywhere else in town keeps me excited. That, and the popcorn.

A few of my favorite films are: American Movie, Alice, The Last Waltz, Come and See, In the Realms of the Unreal, The Swimmer, Raising Arizona, Fantastic Planet, Paths of Glory, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, The Cable Guy, Walk Hard, and Allegro non troppo to name just a few.

My favorite directors are: Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, Jan Svankmejer, and Ben Stiller just for Cable Guy… Genius.

My favorite LOFT experience: I’ve had way too many to talk about here, but one of the funniest was the day that the only people to show up to see “Grateful Dawg” all day was the band “Phish” and their roadies. Go figure.

My favorite thing about the Loft: Aside from all the great films I get to see, it’s the customers and co-workers I really appreciate. I’ve met a lot of really awesome people while working here!

Make up your own question here: What’s your ideal night at the theatre? Well, I like to “Tea Off” with a nice Arnold Palmer, then get some Popcorn with Tapatio mixed in it, and watch whatever awesome new documentary is playing with my wife. Then I’ll probably have a PBR or three. What a night!

To get in touch with me send me an email at: wetbreadmusic@hotmail.com


Because LOFT STAFF love their jobs, opening are infrequent but when we do have something you can find it posted on our website at: http://www.loftcinema.com/employment

If you would like to join our volunteer team please visit our website: www.loftcinema.com

If you are a LOFT member & would like to be featured in our “spotlight” column please email Luanne@loftaz.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Education Staff Review

From the first bouncy notes of its opening credits, “An Education” springs onto the screen with all the energy and joie de vivre of a bevy of chattering schoolgirls, and maintains this breezy pace and an appropriately, refreshingly lighthearted tone through to the very last frame. Carey Mulligan, playing the luminous, precocious protagonist Jenny, has been repeatedly likened by critics to Audrey Hepburn — and while her charm and expressiveness are a little reminiscent of Hepburn in her breakout role in “Roman Holiday,” Mulligan is a delight as Jenny not because she is pretty and perfect, but because Jenny is naïve and arrogant, confused and disillusioned, just like so many other bright teenagers galloping headfirst toward the humbling place that is the real world.

The film, set in post-war, pre-Beatles Britain, centers upon Jenny’s budding relationship with David (Peter Sarsgaard), a charming thirtysomething man of questionable repute, who picks her up one rainy afternoon on the pretense of keeping her cello dry. One can almost read her mind as the two sit in David’s car chatting: This man is intoxicatingly sophisticated compared to the boys Jenny is used to — is the age difference simply what it takes to keep up with a sixteen-year-old girl praised by teachers for her cleverness and groomed for Oxford by her parents? It seems that way to Jenny, at least.

David’s courtship of Jenny, juxtaposed with the pitiable-yet-humorous efforts of one of her classmates, gradually progresses. His worldliness and affability help him win over Jenny’s well-intentioned petty bourgeois parents, played brilliantly by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour, who seem just as dazzled by his world of fine art, nightclubs, and spontaneous jaunts to Paris as Jenny is. All they want is for their little girl to have a more prosperous, more glamorous life than they’ve had, and David seems to be offering one — for free.

The story — criticized by some as “safe” and “predictable” — is admittedly a fairly straightforward coming-of-age tale. But the conventional plot is precisely what allows the rest of the film to shine: Mulligan and Molina are tender, humorous and wonderfully real, Olivia Williams (“Rushmore”) and Dominic Cooper (“The History Boys”) provide solid support, and Emma Thompson is hilarious and horrid as the cold-hearted headmistress. A dynamite soundtrack is present throughout — with the exception of a very out-of-place modern number during the final credits — featuring less predictable artists, like Mel Tormé instead of Frank Sinatra, for instance, who give the film a vibrant atmosphere without being so familiar as to distract viewers. The production design, costumes and makeup are slick and stylized without forfeiting accuracy, making pre-swinging London look as pristine and chilly as a glittering Swarovski figurine.

The unrelenting lightness of “An Education” is what makes the film truly great; director Lone Sherfig and writer Nick Hornby allow the darker moments to flit by in a way that creates a gripping sense of tension as the older and wiser audience realizes the dangers Jenny is dancing frightfully close to. Humorous moments, too, are peppered throughout, particularly whenever things threaten to take a turn for the sentimental. (“If it does happen, it will never happen again,” says Jenny before sleeping with David. Why? Well, she clarifies, the first time can only happen once, can’t it?) Though the resolution of this fairly brisk film is a bit rushed, not a minute of any of it is dull. “An Education” will be opening at The Loft this Friday.

Help the Loft get a $1,000,000 donation from Chase Bank!

* Round 1: From Nov. 15, 2009 to Dec. 11, 2009, Facebook users can vote for any Charity that is part of the Chase Community Giving application. The 100 eligible Charities receiving the most votes during this period will be considered the top vote-getters of Round 1.

* Round 2: Each of the 100 Charities that make it to Round 2 will have the opportunity to submit an explanation of how it would use a $1,000,000 donation from Chase. From Jan. 15, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2010, participants may vote for any of the eligible Round 2 Charities through the Chase Community Giving application. The eligible Charity receiving the most votes in Round 2 will be the Program's top vote-getter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Loft's Favorite Films of the '00s

Combined List:

1. tie Mulholland Dr. / George Washington
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Let the Right One In
4. Downfall
5. tie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind / Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
6. tie Grizzly Man / Mister Lonely
7. Moon
8. tie In the Mood for Love / The Pianist
9. tie Shaun of the Dead / Amélie / Amores Perros / Pan’s Labyrinth
10. tie Memories of Murder / Synecdoche, New York, / The Royal Tenenbaums

Jeff, Program Director

1. Mullholland Drive
2. George Washington
3. Waking Life
4. Far From Heaven
5. Mr. Lonely
6. Ghost World
7. Synecdoche, NY
8. Sexy Beast
9. Das Experiment
10. Ginger Snaps

Dave, Facilities Manager

1. Synecdoche, New York
2. The Fountain
3. Big Fish
4. A Scanner Darkly
5. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
6. Pan's Labyrinth
7. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
8. Amores Perros
9. Inland Empire
10. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

Dale, Projectionist

1. Downfall
2. Che
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Brick
5. City of God
6. Baader Meinhoff Komplex
7. 28 Days Later
8. The Aviator
9. Volver
10. Old Boy

Anthony, Floor Staff

1. Let The Right One In
2. Memories of Murder
3. There Will Be Blood
4. Grizzly Man
5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
6. Adaptation
7. The King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters
8. The Incredibles
9. A History of Violence
10. Kill Bill Vol. 1

Dan, Assistant Manager

Me and You and Everyone We Know
The Darjeeling Limited
Lost in Translation
The Royal Tenenbaums
A Very Long Engagement
Punch-Drunk Love

Tim, Floor Staff

A Girl Cut In Two
Bad Santa
Brokeback Mountain
Kill Bill 1
Kill Bill 2
Shaun of the Dead

Luanne, Membership Director

In the Mood for Love
49 Up
Afghan Star
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dancer in the Dark
Dead Snow
Donnie Darko
Frozen River
Gosford Park
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
House of Flying Daggers
Kill Bill
La Vie en Rose
Let the Right One in
Man on Wire
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Moulin Rouge
Mulholland Drive
Spirited Away
The National Parks: America's Best Idea
The Station Agent

Daniel, Projectionist

1. Shaun of the Dead
2. There Will Be Blood
3. No Country for Old Men
4. High Fidelity
5. The Wrestler
6. Snatch
7. 28 Days Later
8. Let The Right One In
9. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
10. Frailty

JJ, Operations Director

1. George Washington
2. Mister Lonely
3. Mulholland Dr.
4. Irreversible
5. American Astronaut
6. Gozu
7. Taxidermia
8. Grizzly Man
9. The Piano Teacher
10. Amores Perros

Zach, Director of Theater Operations

1. Mulholland Dr.
2. George Washington
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. In the Mood for Love
5. There Will Be Blood
6. Lord of the Rings
7. Grizzly Man
8. Memories of Murder
9. Amores Perros
10. Punch-Drunk Love

Amy, Development Director

1. Y Tu Mama Tambien
2. Departures
3. The Pianist
4. Gran Torino
5. Juno
6. The Kite Runner
7. Wanted
8. Elf
9. Best in Show
10. Traffic

Steve, Office Manager

1. Old Joy
2. Elephant
3. I’m Not There
5. Grizzly Man
6. In the Bathtub of the World
7. Trouble Every Day
8. The Piano Teacher
9. Mutual Appreciation
10. Punch-Drunk Love

Peggy, Executive Director

George Washington
Mr. Lonely
In the Mood for Love
Breath (Ki-Duk Kim)
Infernal Affairs Trilogy
Man Push Cart
Duck Season
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Pedro, Assistant Manager

1. Pan’s Labyrinth
2. Downfall
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Let The Right One In
5. Memento
6. No Country For Old Men
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
8. 28 Days Later
9. A History of Violence
10. The Aviator

Christian, Floor Staff

1. Amelie
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
3. There Will Be Blood
4. Moon
5. Mysterious Skin
6. Brick
7. Elephant
8. Ghost World
9. Secretary
10. Love, Actually

Alyson, Floor Staff

1. I Served the King of England
2. An Education
3. The Pianist
4. Almost Famous
5. Lost in Translation
6. Downfall
7. Ghost World
8. American Psycho
9. Moon
10. Love, Actually

Kyle, General Manager

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Amores Perros
3. Grizzly Man
4. Moon
5. Spirited Away
6. Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World
7. Station Agent
8. Dancer in the Dark
9. Memories of Murder
10. The Darjeeling Limited

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Baader-Meinhof Complex Staff Review

The Baader Meinhof Complex is a highly stylized and pretty well-paced film, clocking in at over 2 hours long. The film does not stray far from the facts, yet such a history lesson in late 60’s through the better parts of the 70’s West German socio/political upheaval never disappoints, except maybe in that it is missing some of this man’s favorites in the German acting world. But I do digress. The film starts out with the humble beginnings of what would later become the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader Meinhof gang.

We see the respected leftist journalist Ulrike Meinhof played by the stunning actress Martina Gedeck coming into her own as a politically active journalist when she takes the side of student demonstrators who, while peaceably protesting the visiting Shah of Iran, were attacked by the Shah’s entourage, then later the German police force. Her compassion for the students' and leftists' views were obviously not stomached well by the establishment’s right-wing eyes. But nonetheless Ulrike strikes a chord with the burgeoning student subversive groups. The political situation at this time in Germany was one of much suspicion towards those in political and economic power on both respective sides of Germany. Former Nazis still managed to find their way back into positions of power in the political and business sectors. And great suspicion of Nazism and/or American Imperialist influence did not sit well with the distrustful younger generation. Enter social unrest, the setting for the rest of our film.

Johanna Wokalek delivers a sexy and substantial breakout performance as Gudrun Ensslin, the other intellectual brain of the early RAF days. She drives the film and the newly born terrorist group like a jockey at the bridle. She also holds the bridle to the movie's other namesake, Andreas Baader, the psychopathic strong-arm of the RAF. Moritz Bleibtreu plays Andreas with a rageaholic’s vigor, both convincingly and fearfully. I cannot truly express the delivery these actors employ in their powerful roles as real life figures. Even after watching the film a second time I can’t with all honestly say I have seen any blatant over-acting, which one could expect from people who have the chance to play idealistic Marxist radicals (the vilified enemy of the Cold War generation) in a movie.

The first half plays like a youthful deviant’s joy ride in a stingray corvette of yesteryear. The last half is still a fever dream-paced ride, but in said stingray with blown struts and grinding gears as our proto-terrorist heroes begin their downward spiral in the same fashion of their fiery rise. Once again the film never strays far from fact; as the grueling trail and prison confinement grates on the souls and sanity of the group's incarcerated founding members, friendship and organizational dynamics take a boot to the head as solitary confinement and hunger strikes work chaos and ravage their respective psyches. The trailer does not lie about the birth of modern terrorism, as these influential but tragically egotistical miscreants help set off a tirade of international events in their wake, even after their capture. Excitement and a damn good history lesson is what one gets from The Baader Meinhof Complex.

Once again my only qualm with the film is that I would have loved Alexandra Maria Lara to have a speaking line and not just be gratuitous eye candy. And a bit more screen time for the ever-brilliant Bruno Ganz. But, none of this diminishes from the film itself. Hollywood should take note of Uli Edel’s direction and learn how one can make a film that is sexy, fast-paced and dripping with style that can somehow still contain substance. In closing, the film is more than worth seeing, not only for educational and entertainment value but also for its relevance to today’s trouble with terrorism and the consequences of free market capitalism. It brings food for thought to anyone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s seeing the fall of the great enemy of communism and its ideology, and forces you to wonder if both sides took their views too far in one direction. Which in the end was perhaps a loss to both sides. Come watch the film and take from it what you will. Love, D.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The All-Night Scream-o-Rama 2009!

The Loft Cinema's ALL-NITE SCREAM-O-RAMA returns with 12 hours of eye-popping, mind-blowing, stomach-churning horror movie classics, ghoulish guests, trashy trailers, scary shorts and spooky surprises ... it's a Dusk till Dawn nightmare you'll never forget!

Meet legendary Scream Queen BRINKE STEVENS, the sultry star of such clas-sicks as SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, NIGHTMARE SISTERS, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, HAUNTING FEAR, TEENAGE EXORCIST and many, many more (hundreds more, to be not-quite-exact)!

Below are trailers for the films with their VERY APPROXIMATE start times. Be there this FRIDAY THE 13TH or be DEAD!

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama with Special Guest Brikne Stevens in Person! 7:00PM:

John Carpenter's The Thing 9:30PM:

Pieces 11:00PM:

Hellraiser 1:00AM:

Fright Night 3:00AM:

City of the Walking Dead AKA Nightmare City 5:00AM:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grindhouse Movie Trailer Massacre Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners of The Loft's recent Grindhouse Movie Trailer Massacre, a 48 Hour Film Challenge.

BEST FILM: "Freak Mart" by Team A.L. Baer

AUDIENCE AWARD: "Kung Fu Killbots" by Team Grindhouse

BEST ACTING/PERFORMANCE: "Stumpy" in "They Called Her Stumpy" by Greenless Pictures

BEST SCREENPLAY/STORYLINE: "Arbor Day" by Red Productions

BEST EDITING: "Biker Babes from Beyond" by Tall Ship Productions

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "They Called Her Stumpy" by Greenless Pictures

Bonus Categories:

BEST GORE: "Freak Mart" by Team A.L. Baer

BEST NUDITY: "The Cheerleaders' Bloody Pom Poms" by Ninja Kill Squad

Now strap on your 3-D glasses for "They Called Her Stumpy," which has already been put up on Youtube by its web-savvy director.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Fan Gets Big Props

Big Fan's accolades continue to grow. In addition to being called "easily one of the best, and most creative, films of the year" by the Tucson Weekly's James DiGiovanna, Big Fan recently made a splash at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where it was nominated for Best Feature, as well as serving as the springboard for Robert Siegel's Breakthrough Director and Patton Oswalt's Breakthrough Actor nominations. Catch it at The Loft while you can.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Something to Do When You're Not at The Loft...

Some of our Loft staffers have lives outside The Loft, too! Christian would like to invite you here:

Vicki Ragan, this year's winner of the UA Harold Jones Distinguished Alumni Award, will be giving a lecture at the Center for Creative Photography Auditorium at 5:30. A reception will follow the lecture in the Todd Walker Gallery at 7:30. For more information, please visit uaphotoalum.com.

The Loft at Pride in the Desert

THANKS to all of our fabulous LGBTQ friends and allies who stopped by our booth at Pride in the Desert this past Saturday! We will be announcing the winners of our ENTER TO WIN sweepstakes next week! Look for the winners right here and check your email inbox too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Member Spotlight: Penelope Starr

Name: Penelope Starr

Hometown: Originally NY. I’ve been in AZ since ‘81 and happily in Tucson for 13 years.

Age: 64

Loft member since: 2007

Livelihood/occupation/background/job: Founder and producer of Odyssey Storytelling, a monthly event at Club Congress where 6 people share 10-minute personal stories based on a changing theme. I also teach storytelling at Pima College Continuing Education. You can see more at www.odysseystorytelling.com.

Favorite genres: Documentaries, classics, independents, foreign films

A few of my favorite films are… Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Women (the original not the horrible remake), Jules and Jim, Before Night Falls, Pricilla Queen of the Desert, Young at Heart, Grey Gardens, Short Bus, I’ve Loved You So Long, The Garden.

I fell in love with films… When I was a young teen and my parents wouldn’t let me see Psycho - so I saw it at least 10 times. I learned how to close my eyes at the scary parts and I didn’t actually watch the shower scene until I was in my 40s.

My favorite Loft memory/anecdote is… The Pricilla/ABBA Sing-a-Long featured my friends Oscar & Mad who got all dressed up - That costume contest was the silliest and most fun event.

My favorite person to go see a film with at The Loft: The Movie Starz, a group of women who have been meeting once a month for five years. We choose an early movie and then go out to dinner and discuss it (and everything else)

My favorite Loft concession/snack bar item/s: A bottle of beer. The added fun is hearing at least one bottle roll on the concrete floor towards the front during the movie.

My favorite thing about the Loft is…. That it’s in Tucson! We’re so lucky to have this amazing resource. I love hearing actors / directors talk about their work, I love the programming variety, I love that the air conditioning works! Plus being a member has so many great benefits, the free popcorn, monthly free movie, free popcorn, discounts at every show, free popcorn, and the knowledge that you’re supporting a Tucson treasure. And did I say free popcorn.

Get in touch with me: Penelope@odysseystorytelling.com

If you are not a member please consider joining us at: www.loftcinema.org

If you are a member or volunteer of The Loft Cinema & would like to be featured in our “member/volunteer spotlight” column please email Luanne@loftaz.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Member Spotlight: Jack Challem

Name: Jack Challem

Hometown: Montreal and Chicago, and several other major stops (e.g., Santa Fe and Portland) en route to Tucson!

Loft member since: at least 2006

Livelihood/occupation/background/job: nutrition and health writer

Favorite genre/s: foreign, indie, sci-fi

Favorite actor/s: Julie Delpy, Juliette Binoche, Frances McDormand, and so many little-knowns

Favorite director/s: Sigh, the late Francois Truffaut

A few of my/our favorite films are: I’ve Loved You So Long, Let the Right One in, After Life, Blue, Departures, Shaun of the Dead, Two Days in Paris (with Two Days being the funniest film I think I’ve ever seen)

I fell in love with films: in the late 1960s, at the Aardvark Cinema in Chicago’s Old Town.

My favorite person to see a film with at The Loft: She knows.

My favorite thing about the Loft: That Tucson just wouldn’t be the same without the Loft Cinema, especially foreign and indie, is probably the most creative of all creative media, a humbling statement coming from a writer and fine-art photographer

To get in touch with Jack: www.nutritionreporter.com

If you are not a member please consider joining us at: www.loftcinema.com

If you are a member or volunteer of The Loft Cinema & would like to be featured in our “member/volunteer spotlight” column please email Luanne@loftaz.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Late Thank You

We were remiss not to post this last week, but a big thank you to the readers of the Tucson Weekly, who voted us Best Movie Theater in Tucson for the seventh year in a row! Here's the blurb:
The Loft is more than a movie theater—it's a celebration of cinema in all its wonder. Besides the rotation of new art films, foreign movies and other top-grade releases, the Loft shows cult movies like The Big Lebowski and Planet of the Apes on weekends; wacky stuff like Plan 9 From Outer Space on Mondo Mondays; cinematic classics—for free!—on Sunday afternoons; and short films by local filmmakers on the first Friday of every month, in a mini-marathon hosted by local cartoonist Max Cannon. And that's not even mentioning the festivals, the contests and the best concession stand in town. What else can we say? Lights, camera, action!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Found Footage

In case you're not familiar with what the Found Footage guys do, here's a short video interview conducted when they were here before.

This Saturday at 8 and 10PM, they'll be back to present their treasures and film the show for their new DVD release. It's always a blast, and you're pretty much guaranteed to laugh harder and more often than you ever have or will again in a movie theater. For good measure, here's another interview.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rogue Film School

In the file under "insane weekend" department, Werner Herzog now has a film school, teaching such valuable lessons as "the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance." Sign us up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reasons for Optimism

Here's a great article from Sunday's New York Times. A roundtable discussion on the future of independent film.