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Theater Review - Broadway Baby

Babyface brings Love Makes Things Happen to Atlanta

It's been years since Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds hung his hat in Atlanta, but fans of the producer, songwriter and LaFace Records co-founder will get the next best thing to a live Babyface visit with the Atlanta premiere of the musical Love Makes Things Happen.

Playing April 2-7 at the Atlanta Civic Center, Love Makes Things Happen features music and lyrics by the 10-time Grammy Award winner, with songs including "Superwoman," "Soon As I Get Home From Work," "Ready or Not" and the intriguingly titled "Whip Appeal."

Written and directed by David E. Talbert, Love Makes Things Happen depicts a star-crossed romance between a recently divorced dot-com executive (Dawn Robinson of En Vogue) and a minimum-wage mailroom clerk played by Kevon Edmonds, brother of Babyface and a music performer in his own right with such groups as After 7. The cast also includes Coko of the group SWV and Def Comedy Jam comedian Joe Torry for comic relief.

In the midst of its 22-city tour, Love Makes Things Happen is the first venture of Talbert's Urban Broadway Series, which develops and stages plays, musicals and gospel-themed theatrical events for urban audiences. Following his collaboration with Babyface, Talbert next teams up with actor-filmmaker Robert Townsend for the touring play If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time this fall.

Love Makes Things Happen plays April 2-7 at the Atlanta Civic Center, Tues.-Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. 7:30 p.m. $19.50-$34.50. 404-817-8700. www.urbanbroadway.com.??



More By This Writer

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  string(5469) "After months of pandemic, protests, and police brutality, some of us may find it hard to get in the festive spirit of the Fourth of July. Even in happier times, overtly patriotic American movies can lapse into flag-waving jingoism. While the United States seems to be going through a national identity crisis, re-watching Bill Pullman’s big speech in Independence Day, a usual tradition this time of year, may feel a little hollow.

Some of the richest and most satisfying movies about this country are unafraid to challenge what “America” actually means. Friday, July 3, two films are being released that celebrate the United States’ great strengths without glossing over its fallibility.

Available theatrically and on VOD, John Lewis: Good Trouble offers an in-depth profile of Atlanta’s near-legendary congressman. The documentary cuts back and forth between Lewis’ long career in the civil rights movement with the 2018 election that gives control of the House of Representatives to Lewis’ Democratic party.

Scenes feel shockingly timely, with footage of long lines at the Georgia polls in 2018 looking like dress rehearsals for this year’s June 9 primary. And archival footage of police beating African-American demonstrators 60 years ago proves depressingly familiar. At one moment, a victim complains, “You don’t have to beat us — arrest us!”

Filmmaker Dawn Porter depicts Lewis as a constant presence in various crusades for social justice over more than a half century, harking back to his experiences as a young man desegregating Nashville lunch counters and getting a fractured skull in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. Despite his age (he turned 80 this year and has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer), Lewis remains a forceful orator, repeatedly exhorting his audiences, “Get in trouble! Good trouble, necessary trouble — do what is right!”

John Lewis: Good Trouble accentuates the positives and occasionally plays like an official campaign biography, but at least it shows some self-awareness. Addressing a reunion party of staffers, Lewis is asked to tell his childhood “chicken story,” a go-to anecdote that his employees affectionately tell along with him. And Porter proves willing to bring up some awkward moments in Lewis’ political career, such as his contentious 1986 congressional campaign against his old friend and fellow activist, the late Julian Bond.

John Lewis: Good Trouble covers such a long career and touches on so many topics that it can sacrifice a little depth in the name of breadth. But it also serves as a moving tribute to the kind of longtime public servant that this country will probably always need.


 Also on July 3, Disney Plus offers a different kind of history lesson with Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is a recording of the blockbuster Broadway musical from June of 2016, made two weeks before the original cast ended their run, so it gives viewers nationwide the chance to see Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, and their now-famous cast mates. Originally planned for theatrical release in 2021, Disney rescheduled Hamilton to drop on its streaming service for July 4 weekend. (It feels like a consolation for the delay of the new film adaptation of Miranda’s In the Heights, which would have opened in June but was bumped by the coronavirus to next year.)


I haven’t seen Hamilton: An American Musical at press time, but I’m a huge fan of the show — and honestly, what else is there to say about Miranda’s acclaimed hip-hop take on the American Revolution? The show’s famous color-blind casting offers an ingenious metaphor for the U.S. melting pot and immigrant experience, while the intricate lyrics convey the complexities of history while giving the characters Shakespearean dimension. 

If the Hamilton musical and the John Lewis documentary have anything in common, it’s that the United States’ most triumphant moments never guarantee happy endings. In Hamilton, the United States secures independence with the show-stopping “Yorktown” number before the end of Act One. The second half explores the subsequent infighting between the Founding Fathers that culminates with the fatal Hamilton/Burr duel. John Lewis treats the 1965 Voting Rights Act as the landmark it was, but also tracks how it’s been challenged and undermined, especially over the past decade.

Arguably the most patriotic American films are the ones willing to challenge the country’s traditions and perceptions of itself, like the juror drama Twelve Angry Men or pro-union character study Norma Rae. Some of the best historical films tend to be the least sentimental about America’s past: Spielberg’s Lincoln, DuVernay’s Selma, and the musical 1776 aren’t shy about showing unsavory compromises in the name of political advancement.  

On the other hand, during such trying times, if you want to feel warm and nostalgic about America, a baseball movie like A League of Their Own or Field of Dreams can scratch that itch. And for pro-America optimism without jingoism, consider films about the U.S. space program, like The Right Stuff, Apollo 13 or Damien Chazelle’s underappreciated First Man. Sometimes America looks best from a little distance, historical or otherwise. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(5734) "After months of pandemic, protests, and police brutality, some of us may find it hard to get in the festive spirit of the Fourth of July. Even in happier times, overtly patriotic American movies can lapse into flag-waving jingoism. While the United States seems to be going through a national identity crisis, re-watching Bill Pullman’s big speech in ''Independence Day'', a usual tradition this time of year, may feel a little hollow.

Some of the richest and most satisfying movies about this country are unafraid to challenge what “America” actually means. Friday, July 3, two films are being released that celebrate the United States’ great strengths without glossing over its fallibility.

Available theatrically and on VOD, ''John Lewis: Good Trouble'' offers an in-depth profile of Atlanta’s near-legendary congressman. The documentary cuts back and forth between Lewis’ long career in the civil rights movement with the 2018 election that gives control of the House of Representatives to Lewis’ Democratic party.

Scenes feel shockingly timely, with footage of long lines at the Georgia polls in 2018 looking like dress rehearsals for this year’s June 9 primary. And archival footage of police beating African-American demonstrators 60 years ago proves depressingly familiar. At one moment, a victim complains, “You don’t have to beat us — arrest us!”

Filmmaker Dawn Porter depicts Lewis as a constant presence in various crusades for social justice over more than a half century, harking back to his experiences as a young man desegregating Nashville lunch counters and getting a fractured skull in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. Despite his age (he turned 80 this year and has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer), Lewis remains a forceful orator, repeatedly exhorting his audiences, “Get in trouble! Good trouble, necessary trouble — do what is right!”

''John Lewis: Good Trouble'' accentuates the positives and occasionally plays like an official campaign biography, but at least it shows some self-awareness. Addressing a reunion party of staffers, Lewis is asked to tell his childhood “chicken story,” a go-to anecdote that his employees affectionately tell along with him. And Porter proves willing to bring up some awkward moments in Lewis’ political career, such as his contentious 1986 congressional campaign against his old friend and fellow activist, the late Julian Bond.

''John Lewis: Good Trouble'' covers such a long career and touches on so many topics that it can sacrifice a little depth in the name of breadth. But it also serves as a moving tribute to the kind of longtime public servant that this country will probably always need.

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 Also on July 3, Disney Plus offers a different kind of history lesson with ''Hamilton: An American Musical'' by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is a recording of the blockbuster Broadway musical from June of 2016, made two weeks before the original cast ended their run, so it gives viewers nationwide the chance to see Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, and their now-famous cast mates. Originally planned for theatrical release in 2021, Disney rescheduled ''Hamilton'' to drop on its streaming service for July 4 weekend. (It feels like a consolation for the delay of the new film adaptation of Miranda’s ''In the Heights'', which would have opened in June but was bumped by the coronavirus to next year.)


I haven’t seen ''Hamilton: An American Musical'' at press time, but I’m a huge fan of the show — and honestly, what else is there to say about Miranda’s acclaimed hip-hop take on the American Revolution? The show’s famous color-blind casting offers an ingenious metaphor for the U.S. melting pot and immigrant experience, while the intricate lyrics convey the complexities of history while giving the characters Shakespearean dimension. 

If the Hamilton musical and the John Lewis documentary have anything in common, it’s that the United States’ most triumphant moments never guarantee happy endings. In ''Hamilton'', the United States secures independence with the show-stopping “Yorktown” number before the end of Act One. The second half explores the subsequent infighting between the Founding Fathers that culminates with the fatal Hamilton/Burr duel. ''John Lewis'' treats the 1965 Voting Rights Act as the landmark it was, but also tracks how it’s been challenged and undermined, especially over the past decade.

Arguably the most patriotic American films are the ones willing to challenge the country’s traditions and perceptions of itself, like the juror drama ''Twelve Angry Men'' or pro-union character study ''Norma Rae''. Some of the best historical films tend to be the least sentimental about America’s past: Spielberg’s ''Lincoln'', DuVernay’s ''Selma'', and the musical ''1776'' aren’t shy about showing unsavory compromises in the name of political advancement.  

On the other hand, during such trying times, if you want to feel warm and nostalgic about America, a baseball movie like ''A League of Their Own'' or ''Field of Dreams'' can scratch that itch. And for pro-America optimism without jingoism, consider films about the U.S. space program, like ''The Right Stuff, Apollo 13'' or Damien Chazelle’s underappreciated ''First Man''. Sometimes America looks best from a little distance, historical or otherwise. __—CL—__

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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Some of the richest and most satisfying movies about this country are unafraid to challenge what “America” actually means. Friday, July 3, two films are being released that celebrate the United States’ great strengths without glossing over its fallibility.

Available theatrically and on VOD, John Lewis: Good Trouble offers an in-depth profile of Atlanta’s near-legendary congressman. The documentary cuts back and forth between Lewis’ long career in the civil rights movement with the 2018 election that gives control of the House of Representatives to Lewis’ Democratic party.

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Filmmaker Dawn Porter depicts Lewis as a constant presence in various crusades for social justice over more than a half century, harking back to his experiences as a young man desegregating Nashville lunch counters and getting a fractured skull in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. Despite his age (he turned 80 this year and has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer), Lewis remains a forceful orator, repeatedly exhorting his audiences, “Get in trouble! Good trouble, necessary trouble — do what is right!”

John Lewis: Good Trouble accentuates the positives and occasionally plays like an official campaign biography, but at least it shows some self-awareness. Addressing a reunion party of staffers, Lewis is asked to tell his childhood “chicken story,” a go-to anecdote that his employees affectionately tell along with him. And Porter proves willing to bring up some awkward moments in Lewis’ political career, such as his contentious 1986 congressional campaign against his old friend and fellow activist, the late Julian Bond.

John Lewis: Good Trouble covers such a long career and touches on so many topics that it can sacrifice a little depth in the name of breadth. But it also serves as a moving tribute to the kind of longtime public servant that this country will probably always need.


 Also on July 3, Disney Plus offers a different kind of history lesson with Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is a recording of the blockbuster Broadway musical from June of 2016, made two weeks before the original cast ended their run, so it gives viewers nationwide the chance to see Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, and their now-famous cast mates. Originally planned for theatrical release in 2021, Disney rescheduled Hamilton to drop on its streaming service for July 4 weekend. (It feels like a consolation for the delay of the new film adaptation of Miranda’s In the Heights, which would have opened in June but was bumped by the coronavirus to next year.)


I haven’t seen Hamilton: An American Musical at press time, but I’m a huge fan of the show — and honestly, what else is there to say about Miranda’s acclaimed hip-hop take on the American Revolution? The show’s famous color-blind casting offers an ingenious metaphor for the U.S. melting pot and immigrant experience, while the intricate lyrics convey the complexities of history while giving the characters Shakespearean dimension. 

If the Hamilton musical and the John Lewis documentary have anything in common, it’s that the United States’ most triumphant moments never guarantee happy endings. In Hamilton, the United States secures independence with the show-stopping “Yorktown” number before the end of Act One. The second half explores the subsequent infighting between the Founding Fathers that culminates with the fatal Hamilton/Burr duel. John Lewis treats the 1965 Voting Rights Act as the landmark it was, but also tracks how it’s been challenged and undermined, especially over the past decade.

Arguably the most patriotic American films are the ones willing to challenge the country’s traditions and perceptions of itself, like the juror drama Twelve Angry Men or pro-union character study Norma Rae. Some of the best historical films tend to be the least sentimental about America’s past: Spielberg’s Lincoln, DuVernay’s Selma, and the musical 1776 aren’t shy about showing unsavory compromises in the name of political advancement.  

On the other hand, during such trying times, if you want to feel warm and nostalgic about America, a baseball movie like A League of Their Own or Field of Dreams can scratch that itch. And for pro-America optimism without jingoism, consider films about the U.S. space program, like The Right Stuff, Apollo 13 or Damien Chazelle’s underappreciated First Man. Sometimes America looks best from a little distance, historical or otherwise. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.    Magnolia Pictures TROUBLE IN MIND: Atlanta congressman Lewis in “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”  0,0,10    blacklivesmatter screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Cinema Americana "
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Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:52 am EDT
Celebrate July 4 with ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’ and more | more...
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  string(78) "Lockdown invites a closer look at 'Becky,' 'Shirley,' and other VOD releases"
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  string(6245) "If there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown, it may be the resurgence of interest in drive-in theaters. A venue like the Starlight Drive-In allows film fans to enjoy movies while social distancing. As of this writing, some of the Starlight’s fun qualities are still restricted: The concession stand is closed (but not the bathroom), and viewers are required to stay in their cars, as opposed to watching from lawn chairs.

The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like The Invisible Man. Hollywood is wondering whether Tenet, a new thriller from Inception director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of Hamilton debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

In May, The Vast of Night had preview screenings at drive-ins, with the justification that the venues’ retro vibe suited Andrew Patterson’s nostalgic sci-fi thriller. Released on Amazon Prime Video on May 28, The Vast of Night takes place in small-town New Mexico in the early 1950s, with a framing device presenting the story as an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-esque TV series.

While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, The Vast of Night delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While The Vast of Night feels like a cunning throwback, Becky refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with Becky is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

Becky’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama Reckoning. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, Becky effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in Home Alone, Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. Becky explores the dark implications of a similar situation.


 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s Shirley offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after The New Yorker publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, Shirley echoes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem Her Smell. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, Shirley is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of Hallowed Be Thy Name, a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by 10 Cloverfield Lane, the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services."
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The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like ''The Invisible Man''. Hollywood is wondering whether ''Tenet'', a new thriller from ''Inception'' director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s ''The King of Staten Island'' on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of ''Hamilton'' debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

In May, ''The Vast of Night'' had preview screenings at drive-ins, with the justification that the venues’ retro vibe suited Andrew Patterson’s nostalgic sci-fi thriller. Released on Amazon Prime Video on May 28, ''The Vast of Night'' takes place in small-town New Mexico in the early 1950s, with a framing device presenting the story as an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-esque TV series.

While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, ''The Vast of Night'' delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While ''The Vast of Night'' feels like a cunning throwback, ''Becky'' refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with ''Becky'' is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

''Becky''’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama ''Reckoning''. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, ''Becky'' effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in ''Home Alone'', Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. ''Becky'' explores the dark implications of a similar situation.

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 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s ''Shirley'' offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as ''The Haunting of Hill House''. ''Shirley'' steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after ''The New Yorker'' publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, ''Shirley'' echoes ''Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'', with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem ''Her Smell''. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, ''Shirley'' is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of ''Hallowed Be Thy Name'', a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by ''10 Cloverfield Lane'', the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. __—CL—__

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(6756) " SCREEN BECKY 3 Web  2020-06-03T20:37:38+00:00 SCREEN_BECKY_3_web.jpg    screentime Lockdown invites a closer look at 'Becky,' 'Shirley,' and other VOD releases 31423  2020-06-02T12:00:00+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Covideo on Demand? jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2020-06-02T12:00:00+00:00  If there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown, it may be the resurgence of interest in drive-in theaters. A venue like the Starlight Drive-In allows film fans to enjoy movies while social distancing. As of this writing, some of the Starlight’s fun qualities are still restricted: The concession stand is closed (but not the bathroom), and viewers are required to stay in their cars, as opposed to watching from lawn chairs.

The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like The Invisible Man. Hollywood is wondering whether Tenet, a new thriller from Inception director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of Hamilton debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

In May, The Vast of Night had preview screenings at drive-ins, with the justification that the venues’ retro vibe suited Andrew Patterson’s nostalgic sci-fi thriller. Released on Amazon Prime Video on May 28, The Vast of Night takes place in small-town New Mexico in the early 1950s, with a framing device presenting the story as an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-esque TV series.

While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, The Vast of Night delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While The Vast of Night feels like a cunning throwback, Becky refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with Becky is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

Becky’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama Reckoning. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, Becky effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in Home Alone, Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. Becky explores the dark implications of a similar situation.


 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s Shirley offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after The New Yorker publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, Shirley echoes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem Her Smell. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, Shirley is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of Hallowed Be Thy Name, a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by 10 Cloverfield Lane, the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.    Quiver Productions Lulu Wilson plays the title role in ‘Becky,’ co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye.  0,0,10    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Covideo on Demand? "
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Tuesday June 2, 2020 08:00 am EDT
Lockdown invites a closer look at 'Becky,' 'Shirley,' and other VOD releases | more...
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  string(8205) "The last movie I saw in a theater was The Invisible Man in late February, blissfully unaware that in a few weeks, the whole world would be worried about an invisible threat. After almost two months of sheltering in place due to the coronavirus, I’m wistfully remembering past times at the cinema. 

One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing Grindhouse with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western Bacurau and the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary featuring Will Forte.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of Grindhouse, “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 Double Up: The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to The Shining. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining followed by Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of Emma. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, Clueless, transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, That Thing You Do! (1996) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. —CL—"
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One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s ''Grindhouse'' at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ ''Planet Terror'' and Tarantino’s ''Death Proof'', as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing ''Grindhouse'' with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western ''Bacurau'' and the Irish supernatural comedy ''Extra Ordinary'' featuring Will Forte.

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''Capital in the Twenty-First Century'' opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of ''Grindhouse'', “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 ''Double Up'': The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in ''Doctor Sleep'', based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to ''The Shining''. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic ''The Shining'' followed by Mike Flanagan’s ''Doctor Sleep''? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of ''Emma''. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel ''Emma'' was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, ''Clueless'', transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of ''Emma'', starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, ''That Thing You Do!'' (1996) and ''Josie and the Pussycats'' (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. __—CL—__"
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  string(8676) " Plaza 02  2020-05-11T15:55:01+00:00 Plaza_02.jpg    screentime Saving a local landmark; screening double features at home 31006  2020-05-01T04:00:00+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Protect the Plaza jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2020-05-01T04:00:00+00:00  The last movie I saw in a theater was The Invisible Man in late February, blissfully unaware that in a few weeks, the whole world would be worried about an invisible threat. After almost two months of sheltering in place due to the coronavirus, I’m wistfully remembering past times at the cinema. 

One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing Grindhouse with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western Bacurau and the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary featuring Will Forte.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of Grindhouse, “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 Double Up: The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to The Shining. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining followed by Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of Emma. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, Clueless, transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, That Thing You Do! (1996) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. —CL—    Courtesy of the Plaza Theatre KEEP THE LIGHTS ON: The Plaza Theatre’s vintage marquee on Ponce de Leon.  0,0,10    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Protect the Plaza "
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Article

Friday May 1, 2020 12:00 am EDT
Saving a local landmark; screening double features at home | more...
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  string(6703) "The deadline for this column falls a couple of weeks before the publication date, so I can only speculate as to what the landscape for film and video will look like you read this. With Mayor Bottoms having closed down bars, restaurants, and theaters as of March 19, will delayed theatrical releases like The New Mutants debut online? Anything could happen.

Streaming services like Netflix are some of the few winners during the pandemic, since self-quarantining subscribers have more chance for viewing. But the increased scrutiny can also reveal some limitations.

Disney+ is a good example. If you’re cooped up with young children, its library of family classics and superhero films is a godsend. But if you’re an adult who already keeps up with the latest installments of the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar franchises, the deep cuts of the Disney Vault may not hold much interest. “The Mandalorian”’s first season offered an imaginative riff on Western tropes and America’s new sweetheart, Baby Yoda, but so far the rest of the original shows aren’t nearly as compelling. (Especially since Marvel shows like the Atlanta-shot “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will reportedly have delayed productions.)

At $6.99 a month, Disney+ is reasonably priced, but signing up for multiple services can add up, especially when some offer one or two must-see shows per year. Here are some thoughts about when it’s prime time to subscribe.

Netflix ($15.99/month): Last October through December saw Netflix’s ongoing investment in feature films come to fruition with the rollout of Oscar contenders like The Irishman and Marriage Story. But in early 2020, its original comedy and drama shows have seemed pretty thin, as if it lavished so much time and money on prestigious movies, there was little left over except reality shows like “Cheer.” 

Netflix clearly has an enormous amount of content, including the newly dropped third season of the Atlanta-shot “Ozark” and interesting acquisitions like the South Africa-set spy series “Queen Sono,” whose black female operative upends the tropes of James Bond. But with a thin catalog of classic movies, the end of “BoJack Horseman”’s run, and apparently no third season of “Mindhunter” to come, Netflix can seem hard to justify at almost $200 a year.

Hulu ($5.99/month with commercials): On the other hand, Hulu’s reasonable rate is even more appealing due to its new partnership with FX, which has quietly become one of most interesting producers of original series. “FX on Hulu” launched last month and in the upcoming weeks will roll out the second season of the vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” and the fourth of “Fargo” (with Chris Rock starring in a storyline about a Kansas City gang war in 1950). Both shows are movie spinoffs that do justice to their source material while building their own identities.

Alex Garland, director of Ex Machina and Annihilation, has created FX’s new miniseries “Devs,” which proves both remote and intriguing. Sonoya Mizuno plays a young coder who suspects her boyfriend’s disappearance is tied to a tech company’s secret project called “Devs” (for “developers”). Nick Offerman provides a knotty dramatic performance as Forest, the company’s obsessive owner, and the show features some haunting images: The company’s high-security lab looks like something out of “Blade Runner” while a colossal statue of Forest’s dead daughter literally looms over the corporate campus.

“Devs” might warm up as it goes along, as it promises to be a conspiracy thriller that questions our assumptions about reality, like the fiction of Philip K. Dick. It could just use more humanizing irony or quirks, like the way Garland’s Ex Machina had that meme-able moment of Oscar Isaac disco dancing with Mizuno.

Hulu also includes some surprisingly hip documentaries and indie films, with the Oscar winner Parasite debuting April 8. The show I may most recommend for the self-quarantined is “Travel Man,” hosted by “The IT Crowd”’s Richard Ayoade as a reluctant but wisecracking guide to short vacations. Each episode features a different guest, arch narration, and a snappy pace, leaving all other travel series in the dust.

HBO Max ($14.99 a month): The venerable cable channel is in a state of transition after the popular, divisive final season of “Game of Thrones,” but probably sustains TV’s strongest track record of original shows. Its streaming component is scheduled to relaunch in May as “HBO Max” and directly challenge Netflix, with the addition of films curated by Turner Classic Movies and the animated classics of Studio Ghibli. Major watches coming up include the third season of Bill Hader’s superb dramedy “Barry” and a documentary series, “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.” 

The Criterion Channel ($10.99): Not one of the cheaper services, but in the absence of the late Filmstruck, it may have the best selection of movies thanks to its voluminous catalog of U.S. and international classics and select recent releases. It’s smartly curated but can require close attention: February scheduled a great program of 1970s sci-fi, but most of them left the channel at the end of the month. Criterion offers a great chance to fill gaps in your film knowledge, as long as the movies don’t disappear on you.

With the likes of NBC’s Peacock still to come, there are too many choices to keep up with and not enough worth keeping year-round. Perhaps people will start subscriptions on a rotating basis: signing up for, say, CBS All Access for a month, catch up with “Star Trek: Picard,” then tapping out and taking up Netflix once “Stranger Things” returns for its fourth season, and so on. Someone should start a service just to help people manage all the other services.

The Show Must Go On-Line: For years, Dad’s Garage Theatre has maintained a YouTube Channel for its original video content, which has included comedy shorts, a backstage soap opera called “The Garage,” and more. Earlier this year, Kevin Gillese, director of Dad’s Garage TV, announced that the theater plans to produce its own Christmas movie, How to Ruin the Holidays, with a goal of releasing in 2021 (though it now seems the coronavirus has disrupted those plans Link: https://www.howtoruintheholidaysmovie.com/).

For home-grown viewing now that large gatherings are discouraged, the playhouse has announced The Dad’s Social Distancing Spectacular, putting live shows, podcasts, improvised comedy and more on-line at dadssocialdistancing.com. —CL—"
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  string(6759) "The deadline for this column falls a couple of weeks before the publication date, so I can only speculate as to what the landscape for film and video will look like you read this. With Mayor Bottoms having closed down bars, restaurants, and theaters as of March 19, will delayed theatrical releases like ''The New Mutants'' debut online? Anything could happen.

Streaming services like Netflix are some of the few winners during the pandemic, since self-quarantining subscribers have more chance for viewing. But the increased scrutiny can also reveal some limitations.

Disney+ is a good example. If you’re cooped up with young children, its library of family classics and superhero films is a godsend. But if you’re an adult who already keeps up with the latest installments of the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar franchises, the deep cuts of the Disney Vault may not hold much interest. “The Mandalorian”’s first season offered an imaginative riff on Western tropes and America’s new sweetheart, Baby Yoda, but so far the rest of the original shows aren’t nearly as compelling. (Especially since Marvel shows like the Atlanta-shot “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will reportedly have delayed productions.)

At $6.99 a month, Disney+ is reasonably priced, but signing up for multiple services can add up, especially when some offer one or two must-see shows per year. Here are some thoughts about when it’s prime time to subscribe.

__Netflix__ ($15.99/month): Last October through December saw Netflix’s ongoing investment in feature films come to fruition with the rollout of Oscar contenders like ''The Irishman'' and ''Marriage Story''. But in early 2020, its original comedy and drama shows have seemed pretty thin, as if it lavished so much time and money on prestigious movies, there was little left over except reality shows like “Cheer.” 

Netflix clearly has an enormous amount of content, including the newly dropped third season of the Atlanta-shot “Ozark” and interesting acquisitions like the South Africa-set spy series “Queen Sono,” whose black female operative upends the tropes of James Bond. But with a thin catalog of classic movies, the end of “BoJack Horseman”’s run, and apparently no third season of “Mindhunter” to come, Netflix can seem hard to justify at almost $200 a year.

__Hulu__ ($5.99/month with commercials): On the other hand, Hulu’s reasonable rate is even more appealing due to its new partnership with FX, which has quietly become one of most interesting producers of original series. “FX on Hulu” launched last month and in the upcoming weeks will roll out the second season of the vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” and the fourth of “Fargo” (with Chris Rock starring in a storyline about a Kansas City gang war in 1950). Both shows are movie spinoffs that do justice to their source material while building their own identities.

Alex Garland, director of ''Ex Machina'' and ''Annihilation'', has created FX’s new miniseries “Devs,” which proves both remote and intriguing. Sonoya Mizuno plays a young coder who suspects her boyfriend’s disappearance is tied to a tech company’s secret project called “Devs” (for “developers”). Nick Offerman provides a knotty dramatic performance as Forest, the company’s obsessive owner, and the show features some haunting images: The company’s high-security lab looks like something out of “Blade Runner” while a colossal statue of Forest’s dead daughter literally looms over the corporate campus.

“Devs” might warm up as it goes along, as it promises to be a conspiracy thriller that questions our assumptions about reality, like the fiction of Philip K. Dick. It could just use more humanizing irony or quirks, like the way Garland’s ''Ex Machina'' had that meme-able moment of Oscar Isaac disco dancing with Mizuno.

Hulu also includes some surprisingly hip documentaries and indie films, with the Oscar winner ''Parasite'' debuting April 8. The show I may most recommend for the self-quarantined is “Travel Man,” hosted by “The IT Crowd”’s Richard Ayoade as a reluctant but wisecracking guide to short vacations. Each episode features a different guest, arch narration, and a snappy pace, leaving all other travel series in the dust.

__HBO Max__ ($14.99 a month): The venerable cable channel is in a state of transition after the popular, divisive final season of “Game of Thrones,” but probably sustains TV’s strongest track record of original shows. Its streaming component is scheduled to relaunch in May as “HBO Max” and directly challenge Netflix, with the addition of films curated by Turner Classic Movies and the animated classics of Studio Ghibli. Major watches coming up include the third season of Bill Hader’s superb dramedy “Barry” and a documentary series, “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.” 

__The Criterion Channel__ ($10.99): Not one of the cheaper services, but in the absence of the late Filmstruck, it may have the best selection of movies thanks to its voluminous catalog of U.S. and international classics and select recent releases. It’s smartly curated but can require close attention: February scheduled a great program of 1970s sci-fi, but most of them left the channel at the end of the month. Criterion offers a great chance to fill gaps in your film knowledge, as long as the movies don’t disappear on you.

With the likes of NBC’s Peacock still to come, there are too many choices to keep up with and not enough worth keeping year-round. Perhaps people will start subscriptions on a rotating basis: signing up for, say, CBS All Access for a month, catch up with “Star Trek: Picard,” then tapping out and taking up Netflix once “Stranger Things” returns for its fourth season, and so on. Someone should start a service just to help people manage all the other services.

__The Show Must Go On-Line:__ For years, Dad’s Garage Theatre has maintained a YouTube Channel for its original video content, which has included comedy shorts, a backstage soap opera called “The Garage,” and more. Earlier this year, Kevin Gillese, director of Dad’s Garage TV, announced that the theater plans to produce its own Christmas movie, ''How to Ruin the Holidays'', with a goal of releasing in 2021 (though it now seems the coronavirus has disrupted those plans Link: https://www.howtoruintheholidaysmovie.com/).

For home-grown viewing now that large gatherings are discouraged, the playhouse has announced The Dad’s Social Distancing Spectacular, putting live shows, podcasts, improvised comedy and more on-line at dadssocialdistancing.com. __—CL—__"
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  string(7208) " DEVS 108 0580 Copy  2020-04-06T15:28:23+00:00 DEVS_108_0580_copy.jpg    screentime Which streaming services are the best value in the days of social distancing? 30456  2020-04-06T15:25:48+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Streaming in the time of coronavirus jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris CURT HOLMAN  2020-04-06T15:25:48+00:00  The deadline for this column falls a couple of weeks before the publication date, so I can only speculate as to what the landscape for film and video will look like you read this. With Mayor Bottoms having closed down bars, restaurants, and theaters as of March 19, will delayed theatrical releases like The New Mutants debut online? Anything could happen.

Streaming services like Netflix are some of the few winners during the pandemic, since self-quarantining subscribers have more chance for viewing. But the increased scrutiny can also reveal some limitations.

Disney+ is a good example. If you’re cooped up with young children, its library of family classics and superhero films is a godsend. But if you’re an adult who already keeps up with the latest installments of the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar franchises, the deep cuts of the Disney Vault may not hold much interest. “The Mandalorian”’s first season offered an imaginative riff on Western tropes and America’s new sweetheart, Baby Yoda, but so far the rest of the original shows aren’t nearly as compelling. (Especially since Marvel shows like the Atlanta-shot “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will reportedly have delayed productions.)

At $6.99 a month, Disney+ is reasonably priced, but signing up for multiple services can add up, especially when some offer one or two must-see shows per year. Here are some thoughts about when it’s prime time to subscribe.

Netflix ($15.99/month): Last October through December saw Netflix’s ongoing investment in feature films come to fruition with the rollout of Oscar contenders like The Irishman and Marriage Story. But in early 2020, its original comedy and drama shows have seemed pretty thin, as if it lavished so much time and money on prestigious movies, there was little left over except reality shows like “Cheer.” 

Netflix clearly has an enormous amount of content, including the newly dropped third season of the Atlanta-shot “Ozark” and interesting acquisitions like the South Africa-set spy series “Queen Sono,” whose black female operative upends the tropes of James Bond. But with a thin catalog of classic movies, the end of “BoJack Horseman”’s run, and apparently no third season of “Mindhunter” to come, Netflix can seem hard to justify at almost $200 a year.

Hulu ($5.99/month with commercials): On the other hand, Hulu’s reasonable rate is even more appealing due to its new partnership with FX, which has quietly become one of most interesting producers of original series. “FX on Hulu” launched last month and in the upcoming weeks will roll out the second season of the vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” and the fourth of “Fargo” (with Chris Rock starring in a storyline about a Kansas City gang war in 1950). Both shows are movie spinoffs that do justice to their source material while building their own identities.

Alex Garland, director of Ex Machina and Annihilation, has created FX’s new miniseries “Devs,” which proves both remote and intriguing. Sonoya Mizuno plays a young coder who suspects her boyfriend’s disappearance is tied to a tech company’s secret project called “Devs” (for “developers”). Nick Offerman provides a knotty dramatic performance as Forest, the company’s obsessive owner, and the show features some haunting images: The company’s high-security lab looks like something out of “Blade Runner” while a colossal statue of Forest’s dead daughter literally looms over the corporate campus.

“Devs” might warm up as it goes along, as it promises to be a conspiracy thriller that questions our assumptions about reality, like the fiction of Philip K. Dick. It could just use more humanizing irony or quirks, like the way Garland’s Ex Machina had that meme-able moment of Oscar Isaac disco dancing with Mizuno.

Hulu also includes some surprisingly hip documentaries and indie films, with the Oscar winner Parasite debuting April 8. The show I may most recommend for the self-quarantined is “Travel Man,” hosted by “The IT Crowd”’s Richard Ayoade as a reluctant but wisecracking guide to short vacations. Each episode features a different guest, arch narration, and a snappy pace, leaving all other travel series in the dust.

HBO Max ($14.99 a month): The venerable cable channel is in a state of transition after the popular, divisive final season of “Game of Thrones,” but probably sustains TV’s strongest track record of original shows. Its streaming component is scheduled to relaunch in May as “HBO Max” and directly challenge Netflix, with the addition of films curated by Turner Classic Movies and the animated classics of Studio Ghibli. Major watches coming up include the third season of Bill Hader’s superb dramedy “Barry” and a documentary series, “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.” 

The Criterion Channel ($10.99): Not one of the cheaper services, but in the absence of the late Filmstruck, it may have the best selection of movies thanks to its voluminous catalog of U.S. and international classics and select recent releases. It’s smartly curated but can require close attention: February scheduled a great program of 1970s sci-fi, but most of them left the channel at the end of the month. Criterion offers a great chance to fill gaps in your film knowledge, as long as the movies don’t disappear on you.

With the likes of NBC’s Peacock still to come, there are too many choices to keep up with and not enough worth keeping year-round. Perhaps people will start subscriptions on a rotating basis: signing up for, say, CBS All Access for a month, catch up with “Star Trek: Picard,” then tapping out and taking up Netflix once “Stranger Things” returns for its fourth season, and so on. Someone should start a service just to help people manage all the other services.

The Show Must Go On-Line: For years, Dad’s Garage Theatre has maintained a YouTube Channel for its original video content, which has included comedy shorts, a backstage soap opera called “The Garage,” and more. Earlier this year, Kevin Gillese, director of Dad’s Garage TV, announced that the theater plans to produce its own Christmas movie, How to Ruin the Holidays, with a goal of releasing in 2021 (though it now seems the coronavirus has disrupted those plans Link: https://www.howtoruintheholidaysmovie.com/).

For home-grown viewing now that large gatherings are discouraged, the playhouse has announced The Dad’s Social Distancing Spectacular, putting live shows, podcasts, improvised comedy and more on-line at dadssocialdistancing.com. —CL—    Courtesy of FX KILLER APP: Nick Offerman and Sonoya Mizuno in “Devs.”  0,0,10    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Streaming in the time of coronavirus "
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Article

Monday April 6, 2020 11:25 am EDT
Which streaming services are the best value in the days of social distancing? | more...
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  string(71) "Low-budget, locally-filmed indie thrillers showcase female protagonists"
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  string(5856) "As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. Blood on Her Name was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while The Dark Red screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In Blood on Her Name, Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

The Dark Red’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film The Night House at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in The Dark Red switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

Blood on Her Name. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

The Dark Red. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

No Strings Attached: An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

Coming Attractions: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch Wanda, the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features Putney Swope, a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s Life of Brian offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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''Blood on Her Name'' and The ''Dark Red ''are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. ''Blood on Her Name'' was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while ''The Dark Red'' screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In ''Blood on Her Name'', Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

''The Dark Red''’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film ''The Night House'' at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in ''The Dark Red ''switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both ''Blood on Her Name'' and ''The Dark Red ''suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

__''Blood on Her Name''__. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

__''The Dark Red''__. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

__No Strings Attached:__ An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

__Coming Attractions__: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch ''Wanda'', the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features ''Putney Swope'', a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s ''Natural Born Killers'', a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s ''Life of Brian'' offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents ''Do the Right Thing'', Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s'' Bride of Frankenstein'', the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. __—CL—__

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6330) " SCREEN 5 BOHN Web  2020-03-02T19:44:09+00:00 SCREEN_5_BOHN_web.jpg    screentime Low-budget, locally-filmed indie thrillers showcase female protagonists 29607  2020-03-02T19:37:16+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Two tough mothers will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell Curt Holman  2020-03-02T19:37:16+00:00  As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. Blood on Her Name was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while The Dark Red screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In Blood on Her Name, Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

The Dark Red’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film The Night House at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in The Dark Red switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

Blood on Her Name. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

The Dark Red. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

No Strings Attached: An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

Coming Attractions: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch Wanda, the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features Putney Swope, a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s Life of Brian offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    ‘BLOOD ON HER NAME’ WHAT’S MY NAME? Bethany Anne Lind stars in “Blood on Her Name.”  0,0,1    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Two tough mothers "
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