The Grand Budapest Hotel is at the Esquire

grand-budapest-hotelThe 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:


Great Beauty at The Esquire

great-beauty-3Playing now at the Esquire Theatre, The Great Beauty (La Grande Belleza) features 2 hours and 17 minutes of beautiful camera work and quite often stunning scenery. Appropriately enough it focuses on “the beautiful people” in the social and artistic circles in contemporary Rome. The camera work, symbolism, decadence, grotesques, bold juxtapositions between the ancient and the present, and many other details call to mind films by another Italian director, Frederico Fellini. The moral of the story—for what starts out seeming like more like an impressionistic portrait ends up unveiling a narrative that makes a point—might also have been at home in a movie by Fellini. What the main character, Jep Gambardella, learns is that being at the social epicenter of one of Europe’s most glamorous cities doesn’t add up to much in the end.

There are two ways he envisions escaping from the emptiness he’s beginning to feel. One is to finally enter into a relationship with a woman; the other is to write his second novel. As a young man he had published a novel that, while it seems unlikely that he put his heart and soul into it (or anything else for that matter), was probably better than he realized, and in any case it received enough attention to give him a toehold into elite social circles. Quickly he turned to a less demanding and more socially rewarding brand of journalism that had him rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people and leading a life that would be the envy of many of us. So why does it all feel so hollow in the end? In part, perhaps, because many times “the art world” has so little to do with art and in fact has little substance.

A Hilarious New Movie Comes to The Esquire

There was good-sized crowd at The Esquire Theatre Saturday for the 10pm showing of Edgar Wright’s new film The World’s End, and people laughed out loud from the beginning to end. The premise is simple enough: five guys who failed to finish a pub crawl twenty years earlier give it another try. This time, however, things are more complicated, partly because their lives are more complicated, and also because an ominous extra-terrestrial conspiracy weaves its way into the plot. The ability of the movie to keep adding a layer of absurdity when you thought it had reached its limit reminded me of Being John Malkovich. I won’t give away the ending of The World’s End, but I will say that during the film many a pint gets consumed, and by the time the film was over I was more than ready to quaff a cold pint at Arlin’s. The movie is number three of director Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  Continue reading “A Hilarious New Movie Comes to The Esquire”

New Movies at The Esquire Theatre

When the Esquire Theatre reopened a couple decades ago, many of us hoped it would show a healthy percentage of experimental or “art” movies from around the world, and fortunately it has. Because of the historic Clifton theatre, we have a place to see movies by directors like Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, whose Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is probably his most famous film. His 2011 film, The Skin I’m In, was a brilliant and spine-chilling study of gender and identity. For reasons that do not need explaining if you saw the film (and would spoil the film if you haven’t), I felt serious non-comfort while watching the film, but I walked away knowing that I had undergone a unique and intense film experience.

Almodovar’s new film, I’m So Excited, is night-and-day different from its predecessor, to the point where I wouldn’t have known it was the same director…except both films are miles from mainstream cinema. In fact, one of the intriguing things about I’m So Excited is how this silly, wacked-out and absurd flick references conventional movies and TV shows while turning them on their head. Continue reading “New Movies at The Esquire Theatre”

At the Esquire, Care Package Collection for Our Troops This Sunday


This Sunday promises to be a big day at the Esquire Theatre. As part of Cincinnati’s newest holiday tradition, the Second Annual Interactive White Christmas event will be taking place. Both screenings of the classic movie White Christmas starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney have already sold out, but you can still celebrate the spirit of Christmas by showing some love for military personnel currently assigned overseas.

To go along with their White Christmas theme, the Esquire Theatre is working with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center to collect items and send care packages to our troops. If you’d like to help, you’re welcome to bring cards, letters and much-appreciated items for Active Duty Military Personnel this Sunday, December 16, from 12:30 pm to 9 pm.

The items to donate include: Continue reading “At the Esquire, Care Package Collection for Our Troops This Sunday”

Five Reasons to See Redlegs at the Esquire Theatre This Weekend

This weekend the Esquire Theatre will host  the Cincinnati premier of Redlegs, a locally-shot film by a Cincinnati native, Brandon Harris. Showtimes are 1:15, 3:00, 5:00, 7:10, 9:10, and tickets can be purchased either online or at the door. It’s running for at least a week,  but here are 5 reasons to see it this weekend:

  • You can meet the director. According to a Facebook post by the director Brandon Harris, “I’ll be on hand for Q&As after Friday and Saturday’s 7:10 shows and Sunday’s 3:00. Hope to see you all there!”
  • Redlegs has lots of locally-shot scenes with iconic settings. Per a City Beat blurb, the film includes “vanilla shakes from UDF; the Ohio River; an argument in Northside Tavern’s restroom; fisticuffs with a West Side redneck; a trip to Great American Ball Park; the WEBN fireworks.” Continue reading “Five Reasons to See Redlegs at the Esquire Theatre This Weekend”

Esquire Theatre’s Art House Jamboree: A Chance to Show Some Love


What were you doing in 1911? Not much, you say? Yeah, me too. But I know something about what other people were doing, and that happened to be the year the Esquire Theatre on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton opened its doors. To celebrate the fact that The Esquire not only survived 101 years but expanded, the folks at the Esquire are hosting The Art House Jamboree Saturday, November 10 at 8 pm. The evening will feature none other than Jerry Springer, who’ll show some love by hosting what has been billed as a “whimsical evening of time travel, stories & celebration.” Proceeds from the event will benefit the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

Other highlights of the evening include: Continue reading “Esquire Theatre’s Art House Jamboree: A Chance to Show Some Love”

Vertigo on the Big Screen This Friday, October 19

It has reached the point where we can see almost any movie we want in the comfort of our own home. At the same time, because we have the history of cinema at our fingertips opportunities to watch classic films on the big screen are increasingly rare—and you’d be hard-pressed to find a film more worthy of such a viewing than Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 masterpiece, Vertigo, which will be showing at the Esquire Theatre this Friday, October 19, at 10:30 p.m. Among the reasons Vertigo belongs on the big screen:

  • Because fate has it in for him the character James Stewart plays, John “Scottie” Ferguson, who suffers from vertigo, ends up facing not one but two situations where his fear of heights gets tested. The use of the dolly zoom in order to convey the disorientation Scottie experiences needs to be seen on the full screen to be fully appreciated.
  • Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack to the film is legendary, and it will sound great on the Esquire’s sound system.
  • The opening sequence, featuring Herrmmann’s score, the most memorable eyeball shot since Un Chien Andalou, and colorful graphics is more intense on the big screen.
  • Vertigo is a classic film in a classic theatre that’s been around 100 years, showing many Hitchcock movies during their first go-round.

‘Newport: Gangsters, Gambling, Girls’ at the Esquire Theatre


It’s turning out to be a highly competitive week for this year’s Cincinnati Film Festival when it comes to bragging rights for neighboring cities. Sure, Cincinnati can boast about its beer history in The Cincinnati Beer Story, which played at the Emery Thursday night, but the folks living right across the river in Newport, Kentucky weren’t goody two shoeing their way through life, if  the sneak preview of Newport: Gambling, Gangsters and Girls (showing at the Esquire Monday, September 10 at 9 pm) is to be believed.

And who, I ask you, is really going to dispute that image when Jerry Springer‘s checkbook provided recent-enough smoking gun evidence of the fading embers of Newport’s golden days? If Cincinnati was the beer mecca of this region, Newport was the mecca of…well, every other vice. Maybe the beer  they served in the gambling joints and strip clubs wasn’t local or even in-state, but if the brewer was two miles away, wasn’t that close enough? And besides, do you really think the craps player really gave a hoot where the beer he slurped down between throws came from? I doubt that at the blackjack tables anyone was turning down a cold one because it wasn’t a craft beer brewed by his favorite micro-brewery. If I’m wrong, though, I’m sure Newport: Gambling, Gangsters and Girls will set me straight.