SCREEN TIME: Time to go

The Tara Theatre is, well, gone with the wind

Regal Tara Cinema Copy
Photo credit: Michael Cole/
THREE STRIKES: Lowe's Tara, Left Tara, Regal Tara.

The Atlanta film community suffered a blow on November 10 with the closure of the Regal Tara on Cheshire Bridge. One of the city’s last remaining art-house cinemas (along with the Plaza Theatre and Landmark Midtown Art Cinema), the Tara had been a bastion of films that take audiences and the craft of moviemaking seriously.

The Loew’s Theater chain opened the Tara as a single-screen cinema in 1968. The Tara changed hands several times over half a century, with George Lefont’s ownership of the theater in the 1980s showcasing the best of American independent and foreign language film. By the time of its closure it had four screens, but for decades it retained its art-house ethos and old-fashioned interior design. The Tara never looked or felt like a generic 21st century chain cineplex.

The Tara was often a reliable place for indie or international fare, but not exclusively so. Many of my most vivid Tara memories include prestigious Oscar contenders, like Warren Beatty’s Reds, Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July and Clint Eastwood’s Bird. It reflects the changing cinematic landscape that these were mainstream movies on release, but would probably be much more marginal if released in today’s climate that favors IP-driven franchise films.

Incidentally, decades ago Loew’s also opened a sister cinema to the Tara, the Twelve Oaks, near the intersection of Buford Highway and Clairmont Road. Both theaters were named after plantations in Gone With the Wind, so the name “Tara” will not be missed, even though the theater most definitely will.

Wed., Nov. 30

The Great Beauty, Emory Cinematheque — Emory Cinematheque’s “Federico Fellini: A Centennial Celebration” series concludes with Paolo Sorrentino’s sumptuous exploration of the luxe life, a knowing homage to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Winner of the Academy Award for Best International Feature. — Curt Holman
Free. Wed., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m. Emory University, Room 208, White Hall, 301 Dowman Drive, Atlanta. 30322.

Thu., Dec. 1

There Will Be Blood, Plaza Theatre — Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! is an iconic portrayal of American capitalism, embodied in Daniel Day-Lewis’ towering, Oscar-winning performance as ruthless oil magnate Daniel Plainview. Presented in 35mm with Wax & Wane Films and sponsored by the Little Tart Bake Shop.
7 p.m. Thu., Dec. 1. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, 30306.

Thu., Dec. 8

Elf, Colony Square Outdoors — One of the first Christmas classics of the 21st century, Jon Favreau’s genial comedy follows adopted elf Buddy (Will Ferrell) and his fish-out-of-water adventures as he leaves the North Pole for New York City to visit his birth father (the late James Caan). Part of Colony Square’s outdoor “Holiday Movies on the Square” series. — Curt Holman
$40 per pass (valid for up to four people). 7 p.m., Thu., Dec. 8. Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. NE Atlanta, GA 30361.

Wed., Dec. 14

Pink Flamingos, Plaza Theatre — Wussy Mag presents a 50th anniversary screening of John Waters’ infamous satirical comedy about rival Baltimore families (including screen diva Divine) competing to be the filthiest people alive. Waters’ softened his genuinely transgressive perspective in future projects like Hairspray, but Pink Flamingos remains an uncomfortably fascinating artifact of underground cinema. — Curt Holman
7 p.m. Thu., Dec. 14. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, 30306.

Fri., Dec. 16

Avatar: The Way of Water Years in the making, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to his 3-D blockbuster Avatar finally sees the light of day. More than a decade after the events of the first film, Sully and Neytiri (Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana) seek sanctuary in the oceans of the planet Pandora. If nothing else, the underwater special effects should be impressive. — Curt Holman
Opens Dec. 16 at area theaters.

Mon., Dec. 19, and Wed., Dec. 21

It’s a Wonderful Life Turner Classic Movies presents a 75th anniversary screening of the Frank Capra heart-warmer, which had a muted response on initial release but fell into the public domain and became recognized as a holiday classic thanks to constant TV broadcasts. Jimmy Stewart plays an upstanding small-town bank officer who contemplates suicide until an angel intervenes. Hot take: Pottersville seems kind of fun. — Curt Holman
Mon., Dec. 19, and Wed., Dec. 21. Atlanta area theaters.