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This Week at the JCC

April 16, 2016 at 6:29 pm
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We have a big week coming at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

ERNIE CLINE will be here tomorrow (Sunday) for an interview and booksigning. He’ll be talking about the film adaptation of READY PLAYER ONE, and signing copies of ARMADA, his new one… and READY PLAYER ONE as well, of course. For more details, see Jenni’s post below.

The next day, Monday night, we’ll show the last two hours in our season five marathon of GAME OF THRONES. That’s “Hardhome” and “Mother’s Mercy,” two huge episodes. If you haven’t seen “Hardhome” on the big (well, medium sized) screen, you haven’t seen it at all. And best of all, admission is FREE. First come, first seated. Don’t be late.

And we another special event scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. For TWO DAYS ONLY, we will be screening the new Project Itoh anime blockbuster out of Japan, EMPIRE OF CORPSES.

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Only a few selected theatres in the US will be showing EMPIRE OF CORPSES. We’re very pleased that the JCC will be one of them. Come join us — and remember, this special screening is for two nights only.

Then, come Saturday, we’re thrilled to announced that our midnight movies are returning. First up will be FLASH GORDON. No, not the old Buster Crabbe serial (and not FLESH GORDON either), but the Sam Jones version from 1980. Brian Blessed and Ming the Merciless, what more could you want?

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Come in costume, you pathetic earthlings.

See you at the movies.

The Hateful 8 Are Coming

December 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm
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I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino (and not just because he owns a movie theatre too), so I’m thrilled and delight that we’ve been able to book his long-awaited 8th film at the Cocteau.

Looks great, too. Here’s the trailer.

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THE HATEFUL EIGHT opens at the Jean Cocteau on December 30.

Advance tickets are available via the Cocteau website.

See you at the movies!

The Iron Giant Is Coming

December 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm
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We’re going to have a special guest at the Jean Cocteau next week.

A big BIG guest: the Iron Giant himself.

Yes indeed. Starting on Friday, December 11, for one week only, we will be screening the newly restored and remastered “signature edition” of Brad Bird’s animated classic, THE IRON GIANT.

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If you haven’t seen THE IRON GIANT… or even if you have… you don’t want to miss this. If you’ve only seen it on the small screen at home, you don’t want to miss this. And even if you’ve seen the movie in a theatre, you don’t want to miss this, since the signature editions includes some new scenes never before shown.

In honor of the occasion, the Iron Giant his own self will be on hand to say hi. You don’t want to miss him either. Come see the movie, and have your picture taken with the Giant. Advance tickets can be reserved at the JCC website.

Coming to the Cocteau

September 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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For all you New Mexican out there… and for travellers passing through the Land of Enchantment… we have lots of cool stuff coming to the Jean Cocteau Cinema these next couple of months, starting this Friday when we open EVEREST.

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We also have some cool special events and booksignings coming up.

On October 6, WILLIAM GIBSON, the father of cyberpunk, will be here for an interview and Q&A, and to sign copies of new novel THE PERIPHERAL. Reserve your copies early; we expect a sellout, as with many of our author events.

From October 9 through October 14, we’ll be hosting a WES CRAVEN RETROSPECTIVE, to honor the late great director whose death on August 30 saddened millions of his fans. I had the honor of working with Wes once — he directed one of my TWILIGHT ZONE episodes, though sadly the episode was gutted by CBS before broadcast. A great guy, and an immense talent. We’ll be showing several of his best known films, and hope to bring in some special guests via Skype.

On November 8, another author event. This time we are bringing in bestselling author DEBORAH HARKNESS. Harkness was originally scheduled a few months ago, but flight delays forced a cancellation… but this time we hope the airlines will be more helpful, and get her to Santa Fe on time.

We had sold-out houses for our burlesque performances earlier this month, so we’re going to do it again… this time with the SUICIDE GIRLS!

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Alas, our small (very small) stage at the JCC isn’t big enough to accomodate all the Suicide Girls, so we’ll be offering a somewhat downscaled version of their usual show… but that should still be pretty kickass, and there is something to be said for an intimate setting. And as everyone who has seen them knows, the Suicide Girls never disappoint.

That one should be a sellout too. Tickets are $35 (18 and over, please) and can be bought on the JCC website at http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/event/suicide-girls-blackheart-burlesque/?instance_id=36360 . A portion of every ticket will be donated to our friends at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary down in Candy Kitchen.

See you at the show!

In the Wind

July 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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The sharks are coming.

Lots of them.

Tonight on SyFy… and next month at the Jean Cocteau.

Check it out. Next year’s Hugo favorite, for sure.

Me and Ant-Man

July 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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Speaking of movies…

… I saw ANT-MAN last night at the Violet Crown down the street from the Cocteau, and loved it.

(It’s not playing at the JCC, though I wish it was. Alas, we have only the one screen).

Now, I have to confess, as an old — VERY old — Marvel fanboy (I was once a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society), I was a little disappointed going in when I heard that this would be the Scott Lang Ant-Man and not the original Hank Pym Ant-Man of my youth. Scott Lang came in just about the time when my regular comics reading was falling off, so I did not know the character very well, whereas I knew and loved Hank and Janet, Ant-Man and his winsome Wasp. I was there at the dawn of time when they first started adventuring through the pages of TALES TO ASTONISH, after all. They were never as popular as the other heroes that Stan Lee created back then — Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, and such — but Lee always seemed to have a soft spot for Ant-Man, and I did too. Ant-Man was the ultimate underdog, after all, the little guy in a very literal sense who somehow held his own with gods and monsters whose powers dwarfed his own. The ants were cool too, and gave him a definite edge in my mind over his rival itty-bitty hero over at DC, the Atom.

And I loved his partnership with the Wasp. At a time when every other comic was playing the endless “romantic tension” card, or the older and hoarier “I must hide my secret from my girlfriend” trope, here was a man and a woman who adventured together, who loved each other without question, who even helped found the Avengers together… that was revolutionary in the early 1960s, like much of what Stan Lee did… (and sad to say, it would even be sort of revolutionary today).

The original Ant-Man had a short run compared to the other first generation Marvel heroes like Thor and Iron Man. In an effort to make the character more popular, Lee and his successors began to fiddle with the concept, giving Hank Pym the power to grow as well as shrink. Ant-Man became Giant-Man became Goliath (same powers, different costumes) became Yellowjacket became “Hank Pym, Scientific Adventurer” (I did you not). Truth be told, I never liked any of those revamps half as well as I liked the original Ant-Man, and when the writers (not Lee, new people had come on board by then) decided to make Hank mentally unstable and then turned him into a wife-beater… well, I really hated that. (I did, however, like some of what happened subsequently, when the Wasp came into her own and became the leader of the Avengers). After that was the Scott Lang era, I guess… and then a couple more Ant-Men after him… none of which I followed, or gave a damn about.

Given all this history, I had a lot of trepidation when this movie was announced. Would they do it right, would they capture the original Ant-Man from TALES TO ASTONISH and AVENGERS #1, the character I’d loved… or would they fuck it up?? I was eager for the film, but apprehensive about it as well, especially when I heard it would be about Scott Lang, not Hank Pym.

I am relieved and delighted to report that they did it right.

Scott Lang is the featured Ant-Man, yes, and Paul Rudd makes him a sympathetic and engaging protagonist, but due honor is done to Hank and his own career as the first Ant-Man as well, with Michael Douglas turning in a fine performance as Pym. There’s a lot of humor in this film, but it is not a farce, as I feared it might be. There’s a lot of action too, but not so much that it overwhelms the plot and characters, which was my problem with the last AVENGERS film… and the one before it, to think of it. A superhero movie needs a fair share of smashing and bashing and stuff blowing up, of course, but IMNSHO that stuff works best when it is happening to people we actually know and care about, and if you jam in too many characters and don’t take time to develop any of them properly, well…

ANT-MAN has a proper balance of story, character, humor, and action, I think. A couple reviewers are calling it the best Marvel movie ever. I won’t go that far, but it’s right up there, maybe second only to the second Sam Raimi/ Tobey McGuire Spider-Man film, the one with Doc Ock. I’ve liked most of the Marvel movies, to be sure, I’m still a Marvel fanboy at heart (Excelsior!), but I liked this one more than the first AVENGERS and a lot more than the second, more than either THOR, more than the second and third IRON MAN and maybe just a smidge more than the first (though I liked that one a lot too).

Oh, and I loved the ants!

Quibbles? Yeah, a few. Where was the Wasp? We got a few glimpses, and a set up for the next film. But I wanted more Wasp, and I loved the old original Hank/ Janet dynamic (before they got to the wife-beating stuff). Also, while Yellowjacket makes a decent villain here (in the comics, of course, he was actually one of Hank’s later identities, after Giant-Man and Goliath), I am tired of this Marvel movie trope where the bad guy has the same powers as the hero. The Hulk fought the Abomination, who is just a bad Hulk. Spider-Man fights Venom, who is just a bad Spider-Man. Iron Man fights Ironmonger, a bad Iron Man. Yawn. I want more films where the hero and the villain have wildly different powers. That makes the action much more interesting).

But those are quibbles, as I said.

Overall, I had a swell time. For a few hours I was thirteen years old again.

And did I mention that I loved the ants?

Coming…

July 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm
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… to the Jean Cocteau.<br/><br/>Opening this Friday, July 24, we have PIXELS, for all of you who remember the videogames of your youth.<br/><br/>&lt;lj-embed id=”577″/&gt;<br/><br/>Adam Sandler. Peter Dinklage. PacMan. Looks like a hoot and a half.<br/><br/>See you at the movies.

Fury Road

May 16, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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FURY ROAD is doing great business at the Cocteau… and, indeed, all over Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the country. I saw it myself last night. It has got to be one of the most relentless action movies ever made, if not THE most intense. Pretty much non-stop from beginning to end.

I’ve often said that the climatic chase sequence at the end of THE ROAD WARRIOR was the best car chase scene ever put on film (it’s what DAMNATION ALLEY should have been, as I once told Roger Zelazny — who agreed). Well, FURY ROAD is the ROAR WARRIOR chase sequence with the dial turned up… not just to 11, but to 47 or some such.

Truth be told, I sometimes get bored during car chases. Not this one. It has a human context that gives it a power lacking in FAST & FURIOUS and TRANSFORMERS movies.

So, yes, I liked this one. A lot.

One thing I did miss, however. THE ROAD WARRIOR (a great film) and BEYOND THUNDERDOME (a good film with flaws) both ended with wonderful, moving, elegiac voice overs. The one from THUNDERDOME always brings a tear to my eye.

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FURY ROAD has no similar elegy at the end. I missed that… the poetry of it, and the sense of triumph and tragedy that it left me with, a feeling that elevated the movie into myth.

Even so, it’s a helluva movie.

See it at the Cocteau, if you can. (We’ll be showing it for two more weeks, at least). But see it somewhere, regardless.

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Mad Max in Santa Fe!

May 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm
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Mad Max is coming to Santa Fe this weekend.

The long awaited fourth movie, MAD MAX:FURY ROAD, opens this weekend in hundreds of theatres acrpss the nation. One of them is our own Jean Cocteau Cinema.

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Most places will open the film on Friday, but we’re getting a jump of them with two Thursday night sneaks, one at 7:30 and one at 10:00 pm. As an extra added attraction, we will have Max’s car, the last of the V8 Interceptors, on hand outside the Cocteau THURSDAY and FRIDAY only.

Max himself may also be on hand, along with his old buddy the Gyro Captain (who isn’t in the new movie, I realize, but what the hell, he’s my favorite character).

You can buy advance tickets on line at the Cocteau website: http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/buy-tickets/

And with every advance ticket, you get a FREE POPCORN!

We have the best popcorn in town, by the way. Organic, popped in suower oil, real melted butter, and a cool assortment of free toppings, salty, savory, spicy, and sweet.

So come see Max at the Jean Cocteau. I’ll see you there.

This Week at the Cocteau

March 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm
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A  cool new documentary opening tonight at the Cocteau: THE WRECKING CREW.

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Now that's MY kind of music.

See you at the movies.

LATER:  Just got back from THE WRECKING CREW.  Great, just great.  Made me want to put on my old albums.

Say what you want, old codgers from the Greatest Gen.  Say what you want, Generation Xers and Millenials.  The truth cannot be denied.  Us Boomers had the best music.