November will be film noir month at the Esquire Theatre, which means that, along with a half-dozen new films showing on a daily basis, the theater will be hosting a steady stream of special events with the majority focusing on classic film noir.
You could not plunge into the genre with a finer and more twisted film than Touch of Evil, a 1958 release that Orson Welles starred in and directed. This dark and thoroughly warped piece of cinema has become a cult classic. Tom Waits is a huge fan of it, and two of the scenes from it were mentioned in his list of all-time favorite movie scenes. For all the big names in the film – the actors include Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlena Dietrich, Dennis Weaver, and Orson Welles, and Henry Mancini recorded the soundtrack – it feels like a project where a B-movie script was handed to a film genius who both played by the rules and played with the rules, which is kind of what happened. Touch of Evil is playing November 1, 2, and 3; you do not want to miss it.
Wonderfully, Touch of Evil is paired on all three nights with Double Indemnity, a 1944 noir classic starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. The film was directed by Billy Wilder, and Raymond Chandler co-wrote the screenplay with Wilder. Fans of old-school TV shows will recognize MacMurray as the father on My Three Suns and Stanwyck as the grand matriarch on The Big Valley. Those are two very wholesome roles, but Double Indemnity reveals the real Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, back before TV came along and cleaned ’em up. In the black-and-white movie days they weren’t afraid to kill somebody for a little money, even if that somebody was a spouse. Again, Double Indemnity will be playing back to back with Touch of Evil on November 1, 2, and 3.
Other old-school noir classics showing in November include the original The Postman Always Rings Twice and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing. Nicely, the Esquire is also showing noir of more recent vintage, including Goodfellas, Mean Streets, and Body Heat. Also, two Coen Brothers films, Fargo and The Man Who Wasn’t There, will put their own particular spin on the genre much as Orson Welles did with Touch of Evil. The Esquire will also host some classic movies about elections, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Jimmy Stewart. To learn more about the upcoming special event films coming to the Esquire, click this link to the Special Event Calendar for the Esquire Theatre. We’ll see you at the movies!
It’s Science Fiction Month at the Esquire Theatre, with classic science fiction films showing almost every night. The special events calendar includes early classics like The Thing From Another World (1951) and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
The series will include some of the most well-known science-fiction films – 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example – but the Esquire will also be showing some lesser-known but equally interesting films like George Lucas’ directorial debut, THX-1138. That’s a great film that’s so striking visually, you really need to see it on the big screen.
Also, the series offers a rare chance to see the David Lynch film Dune, which is based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert.
The Esquire Theatre now posts online an events calendar you can click on the website’s home page; the events calendar is on the right side, near the top. Here’s the home page for the Esquire’s website: http://www.esquiretheatre.com/
The Esquire Theatre has long been one of the reasons Clifton is a great neighborhood to live in. Gaslight Property rents apartments all over the Gaslight District and Clifton in general. If you’d like to look at some rental options, call one of our leasing specialists at 513.861.6000. From studio apartments to 6 bedroom houses & everything in between, we’ve got exactly what you want and exactly what you need! Consider, for example, this apartment, which is located a block and a half from the Esquire…and is also within close walking distance of Ace Hardware, Gaslight Bar & Grill, the Ludlow Garage, Whole Bowl, two Indian restaurants, etc., etc. Take a look! https://gaslightproperty.com/property-listing/877176/14992217/451-310
The Esquire Theatre has been an integral part of Clifton since opening in 1911. It’s movie choices are better than ever now, with six screens and special events ranging from this week’s Indian Film Festival 2018 to classic old Hollywood movies. On top of that, the Esquire Theatre has weekly specials that movie lovers should know about. Here’s how you can save some money and see a movie during the weekdays: Mondays: Every Monday is boomer night, with tickets only $6 for customers 60 years of age and older.
Tuesdays: Every Tuesday is the perennially popular “Cheap Movie Night,” where tickets are only $6 for all customers.
Wednesdays: Every Wednesday the Esquire offers wine at half-price.
Thursdays: Also a weekly event, “Thirsty Thursday” offers $3 beers until 9pm.
Remember, if you’ve walked past the Equire and seen the movies on the marquee, you’re only getting part of the story, as the theatre has special events every week. To keep up with the Esquire, bookmark its website, www.esquiretheatre.com, and while you’re there take advantage of one other bargain: if you sign up for their weekly email address, you get free popcorn. See you at the movies!
The Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead opens at the Esquire Theatre on Friday, April 15. Cincinnati should feel privileged and proud that it’s the backdrop for the film, in large part because it built—and preserved, more than most cities–the classic architecture that has film makers lining up to shoot movies here. And the story should be as colorful as the threads that Miles sports as he hops around in a sports car trying to recover a purloined reel of tape, gun ready, dark shades covering his eyes. I don’t know that a movie could have picked a better period in the life of Miles Davis to examine. It was the one time he disappeared. No records, no concerts, and a whole lot of silence. Miles had entered that limbo where Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, and other great jazz musicians once resided, with drugs, drinking, artistic burnout, jail time, and asylum visits sometimes playing a role in such matters. What weighed down Miles was a combination of drugs, health problems that weren’t lifestyle related, and the fact that the music he was playing wasn’t connecting with an audiences because it was too far ahead of its time; now all people can do is rave about albums like Agharta and Dark Magus. So he disappeared. Away from the stage and the studio, a jazz musician who had been so busy reinventing himself and his music that reflecting on the past was not on his list of options looked back. Those flashbacks in the film seem like they’ll be more than a device, then: for once, during that period between 1975 and 1979, Miles could take stock of his life to date – and get that damn tape back.
Big doings on Ludlow Avenue last night, what with the premier of Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s tribute to Miles Davis that is based on a period when his career (and his life in general) were kind of in limbo. Folks were dressed in their finest, as only befits a film devoted to a musician who, no matter what decade you’re talking about, was known for his stylish threads. I haven’t seen the film yet, but when it opens on April 15th at the Esquire, I’ll forsurely check it out then, as I’ve got good feelings about this one. Shot in Cincinnati, it promises to be both a visual and musical delight.
The other day I arrived at the Esquire Theatre before the trailers had started for Only Yesterday, a Japanese animated film directed by Isao Takahata. At that point there were only two people in the room, and the person two rows in front of me asked if the movie was overdubbed or used subtitles. “You got me,” I said. “If there’s an animated movie on the big screen, that’s all I need to know.” He told that the movie was done with hand-drawn animation, which sounded even better. Only Yesterday has a simple and realistic plot wherein a vacation the main character, Taeko, launches a flood of memories…as well as some major life decisions. Visually a lovely film, Only Yesterday charms with its indoor school and family scenes and awes with its depictions of the woods and fields and the sky—this is definitely one for the big screen. Just as important, the story rings true. It’s fascinating how the tale unfolds piece by piece, leading we’re not sure where…but hang in there, because the ending is both subtle and powerful. I was glad to learn that the Esquire held this for another week, but it won’t be there forever—get there before it’s gone.
During the bitter cold winter weather seeing a good movie in a theater is one of the few recreational activities we all can enjoy, and there’s a great one at the Esquire. Leviathan is a Russian movie that won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film. The Russian have a flair for creating deeply depressing novels, movies, and even symphonies that make you feel the weight of history. Leviathan succeeded on those fronts and goes a step further, as there’s an element of the film that precedes recorded history—and that’s nature, red in tooth and claw (and, on the sea coast where the main character and his family live, gray and craggy and bleak, yet beautiful in its own haunting way). The story is set in the present, but by the time the first human appears—the main character walking out to his car, which makes that alien “beep-beep” sound that confirms we’re in the modern age—you already feel the tension between the present and the past and small and big. Too much plot analysis can ruin a film, so let me just say that the dark, depressing tone I hoped for when I walked in the theater was there in spades. During this Arctic-like weather, the longer the movie the better, and Leviathan clocks in at two hours and twenty minutes. On Sunday afternoon there was a decent-sized crowd, which leads me to suspect it’ll be around a little longer—but don’t lollygag, as there are no guarantees.
The new Richard Linklater movie is now at the Esquire Theatre. Boyhood has been getting press for a long time because Linklater used the same actors through a 12-year period for this story of a boy growing up. That strategy is more than a gimmick, and the movie is more than an interesting experiment; quite simply, the risk paid off. The main character, Mason, is likeable and believable. The movie feels like real life, and it really exposes what it the world is like in a child’s eyes. So what’s it like? Well, it’s uncomfortable. The trouble for children is that they’re surrounded by adults who see themselves as pillars of wisdom when actually they’re often kind of screwy. The children see this, but they can’t do much about it; much of their strategy is just finding a way to lay low.
There are some likable adults in the film, however. One is Mason’s mother, played brilliantly by Patricia Arquette. Abandoned by Mason’s biological father, she then marries and divorces two men who make Mason Sr. seem stellar in comparison. And while Mason Sr. makes his fair share of mistakes, he comes across eventually as a good guy who succeeds admirably—not at first, perhaps, but in the long run—in showing Mason Jr. that he loves him.
It’s the kind of movie that make you darn glad that the Esquire is still around. You might take it for granted, but there was a time when its future was a question mark. This link tells you more about the Esquire, including a period in the 1980s when some people in the Clifton community pitched in and, against great odds, helped save this historical theatre: Esquire History
In the next few days the Esquire Theatre will be hosting two special events in connection with the premier of Mistaken for Strangers, the new rockumentary about Cincinnati’s own The National. Subtitled “A year on tour with my brother’s band,” the movie had been referred to as a comedic documentary for reasons that – judging by the trailer – have to do with the tensions that result when one member of the band is a rock star (Tom Berninger) and one member isn’t (the film director, Matt Berninger). Both the rock star and his brother will discuss the outcome of their year on the road together during the Q&A events taking place at the Esquire this Friday, March 28th, and next Monday, March 31st.
Friday’s live Skype Q&A with Matt Berninger and Tom Berninger will take place after the 7:30pm screening. The event will be hosted by Jeff Thomas from the Jeff & Jen show on Q102. Tickets for the event can be purchased here or at the Esquire’s ticket office.
After Monday’s 7:30pm screening Jim Blase from Shake-It Records will host a live Q&A with Matt Berninger, Tom Berninger and the drummer for The National, Bryan Devendorf. Tickets for this event can be purchased here or at the Esquire ticket office.Both events are being presented in conjunction with Shake It Records. I should note here that Mistaken for Strangers will be a full-run movie at the Esquire, so if you can’t make it to one of the Q&A events, you’ll have plenty of other times to see it. Also, ticket’s for Monday’s event are going FAST, but there are still plenty of seats for Friday’s event. The trailer suggests the film will have plenty of backstage humor along with exciting live footage:
The new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is now showing at the Esquire Theatre. This highly anticipated film was packed on its first weekend, and it was clear from Friday night’s show that this new work by a unique director lived up to its expectations. There was plenty of laughter as well as the cries an audience makes when characters fall off cliffs or dodge bullets. What makes Wes Anderson such an interesting director is the fact that he can make an art film that after a half-hour of setting up some highly formalized frame narration turns out to be hilarious, fast-paced, and action-packed, complete with chase scenes, slapstick humor and bizarre visual effects that wouldn’t have been out of place in an old Buster Keaton silent film. Some wildly imaginative storytelling also gives the film an old-fashioned air (with, of course, a post-modernist spin). In summary, if you see The Grand Budapest Hotel, expect to be entertained. Due to demand it’s showing in two different rooms, and the times are 12:00. 12:40 1:10, 2:10 2:50 3;20, 4:20, 4:55. 5:30, 6:30, 7:10, 8:40, 9:20, and 9:50. Here’s the trailer: