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Alternate Movie Venues for the Summer

If You Don’t Want to See Another Blockbuster, Here Are Some Choices

Audrey Hepburn looking regal in Roman Holiday, one of the classics kicking of...

Credit: Paramount

Above: Audrey Hepburn looking regal in Roman Holiday, one of the classics kicking off the Topps Presents Cinema Under the Stars.


KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando talks about alternate movie venues and film programs available this summer.


If you're not interested in "Transformers 2" or the next Sandra Bullock romantic comedy, then I've got some options for you beginning with "Evil Dead II" with drinks tonight under the stars at Stone Brewing Co., and vintage movie classics outdoors at Topps Presents Cinema Under the Stars. Listen to my KPBS Film Chat about alternate movie venues or read on for an extended list of films and venues.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Anchor Bay

Bruce Campbell takes on all comers in "Evil Dead II" at Stone Brewing, Co. June 10. Groovy!

First of all, "Evil Dead II" out in the Gardens at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido with some drinks is my idea of a perfect date. Watching Bruce Campbell fight off supernatural forces under the stars of a summer night makes the film all the more fun. Mike Palmer at Stone Brewing Co. chooses crowd pleasers like "Evil Dead II" (June 10 at 9pm) and "Office Space" (June 17 at 9pm). He also like screening recent popular films and tweaking them with the addition of a Rifftrax. A Rifftrax is a downloadable audio commentary track by Michael J. Nelson, one of the head writers of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." On June 24, "Iron Man" will be the film up for comic ridicule.

But if you don't like your films tampered with, Palmer all screens some in their original form. This Monday the San Diego Mountain Bike Association will host two documentaries: "Freedom Riders," about the evolution of mountain bike trails, and "Klunkerz," an entertaining story of Bay Area "crazed hippies" pioneering the manufacture of mountain bikes.

Also returning under the stars is Topps Presents Cinema Under the Stars. Doug Yeagley and Ralph DeLaurio are back with classic American films after having had to overcome some zoning issues. In order to offset their costs of renovation, they are holding a fundraiser Thursday, June 11 beginning at 6:30 at their outdoor venue at 4040 Goldfinch. Their summer season then kicks off with a pair of classics next week – Roman Holiday and Casablanca.

Photo caption:

Photo by Eric Rife

Cinema Under the Stars before the renovations.

According to programmer DeLaurio, "The Cinema Under The Stars has always been about offering up an oasis of creativity, community and comfort. We attempt to positively stimulate the senses in an environment where our patrons' comfort level is a primary consideration. The uniqueness of the design; the intimacy of the space; the all-digital picture and sound; being under the stars on a balmy night; the personal interaction with our audience; being the only place to see American classics on the big screen -- the theater has always struck me as being an outdoor nightclub."

Doors open at 6, films start at 8:30pm and there's a good time to be had by all. Plus it's one of the few venues showing American classics on the big screen. So go and enjoy Bogie, Audrey, Hitchcock and much more.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Warner Brothers

The Goonies with Josh Brolin (center back) is the next 80s film in Landmark's Midnight Madness Film Series at the Ken Cinema.

If you want something that might skew a little younger you can enjoy the midnight movies at Landmark's Ken Cinema (please note I made a mistake in my radio feature and said the films were at the La Jolla Village Theaters). The summer program definitely aims at people who grew up in the 80s with offerings like "The Muppet Movie," "Ghostbusters," and "Back to the Future." Unlike the other venues, Landmark runs 35mm prints of all their titles. This Saturday at midnight you can catch "The Goonies." I was never a fan of "The Goonies," but it is worth seeing to catch early roles for Josh Brolin ("Milk," "No Country for Old Men") and Sean Astin (Sam in the "Lord of the Rings"). Check out the bad eighties hair and clothes too.

For more sophisticated film tastes, there's the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. On Thursday, June 18 at 7 pm, the museum will be showing "Women Without Men" (a work in progress) along with select short films by Iranian-American visual artist/filmmaker Shirin Neshat. Ms. Neshat will partake in a Q&A session with MCASD Film Curator Neil Kendricks following the screening.

Forcing you to make a choice on June 18, Cinema Italiana will present Lina Wertmuller's "Love and Anarchy" at the Museum of Photographic Arts. This isn't Wertmuller's best but she's a provocative, passionate filmmaker who's always willing to tackle issues. Later this summer, MoPA will host what looks to be a fun series of bug related films to tie in with the exhibition Jo Whaley: The Theater of Insects. I highly recommend David Cronenberg's "The Fly" (August 6) and Japan's giant monster movie "Mothra" (August 13). Both will be awesome in the gorgeous Joan and Irwin Theater at MoPA.

If you are on a budget and still want to head out to see some films, the Media Arts Center San Diego has some options for you. Its Teen Producers Project is proud to present its latest documentaries on Saturday, June 13 at 6:30PM at Colina Del Sol Park, 5200 Orange Ave, San Diego CA 92115 (next to the basketball courts) during Sol Summer Nights, a fun evening filled with free food. MACSD is also involved with the San Diego Central Library's Digital Film Showcase with Mike Leigh's Oscar-nominated Happy-Go-Lucky. The film will show at the Downtown Library at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 21 in the 3rd Floor Auditorium. I'll be introducing the film and hosting a discussion afterward. Plus it's free!

So if you want to stay out of the mall multiplexes for a few months, these are just a few of your film going options.

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