Regent Square Theater Heads Into Deep Space With Sci-Fi Thriller ‘5th Passenger’

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On July 7, Pittsburgh sci-fi fans can expect a treat when the Regent Square Theater presents an exclusive, one-time screening of the original science fiction thriller 5th Passenger.

Set in 2151, after the Yellowstone Caldera volcano erupts throwing the Earth into chaos, 5th Passenger tells the story of a secretly pregnant female officer and her four-man crew adrift in deep space in an escape pod after their transport ship explodes before reaching the new home planet. They fight amongst themselves as they run low on air, but must work together to find a vicious alien hiding aboard their craft before it kills them all. The film features cast members from Star Trek, Stargate, and Pan’s Labyrinth, an Emmy award-winning crew, and an award-winning screenplay.

5th Passenger screens at 7 p.m. at the Regent Square Theater. Tickets cost $8.

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Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: July 2018 Edition

Sorry to Bother You – Manor Theatre

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In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe. Written/directed by Boots Riley, the film also stars Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Danny Glover, and Terry Crews. Sorry to Bother You opens on July 6 at the Manor Theatre.

Woman Walks Ahead – Harris Theater

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Based on true events, Woman Walks Ahead tells the story of Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a widowed artist from New York who, in the 1880s, traveled alone to North Dakota to paint a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). Her arrival at Standing Rock is met with open hostility by a US Army officer (Sam Rockwell), who has stationed troops around the Lakota reservation to undermine Native American claims to the land. As Catherine and Sitting Bull grow closer, and as their friendship—and his life—are threatened by government forces, Catherine must stand up and fight for what is most important to her. Woman Walks Ahead opens on July 7 at the Harris Theater.

Damsel – Harris Theater

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Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska). As Samuel traverses the Wild West with a drunkard named Parson Henry (David Zellner) and a miniature horse called Butterscotch, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. A loving reinvention of the western genre from the Zellner brothers (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter). Damsel opens on July 13 at the Harris Theater.

Former Hollywood Theater Group Debuts New Film Series And Venue

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After the Hollywood Theater in Dormont changed hands during a contentious buyout by the Theatre Historical Society of America, local film fans questioned what would happen to the dynamic programming offered by the theater’s former management, the Friends of the Hollywood Theater. Now known as Jump Cut Theater, the group will present Alternative Content, a brand new monthly screening series, at the site of their future theater at 241 East Main Street in Carnegie. Jump Cut Theater plans to temporarily transform the space – formerly the home of The Flying Squirrel – into an informal screening room to showcase 16mm film projections.

Debuting on June 9, the first Alternative Content includes selections from the personal 16mm film collections of creators Joseph Morrison, a Jump Cut Theater programmer, and Steven Haines of Flea Market Films.

The multimedia show will also feature a screening of the classic 1948 film noir He Walked By Night. When a Los Angeles police officer is savagely gunned down, a city-wide manhunt ensues for his cunning and ruthless killer. But finding the murderer, chillingly played by Richard Basehart, proves difficult for Detective Marty Brennan (Scott Brady) and his colleagues as Basehart’s Roy Morgan is always one step ahead of the law. Will modern police methods and sheer determination be enough to find the elusive cop-killer before he strikes again? Cinematographer John Alton’s brilliant use of light and shadows shine in this groundbreaking police procedural directed by Alfred L. Werker, along with an uncredited Anthony Mann. Co-written by John C. Higgins (Raw Deal) and Crane Wilbur (The Phenix City Story), it also features Jack Webb who went on to create and star in the aforementioned Dragnet. [Synopsis courtesy of Classic Flix]

Audiences will also get the chance to explore additional oddball formats of media, as stereo photography, vintage stereoviews, and film strips will all be on display before the scheduled screening.

Doors open at 7 p.m. at the 241 East Main Street location. Tickets cost $5-7.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: June 2018 Edition

Early Man – Row House Cinema

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Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures roamed the Earth, the latest stop-motion animated feature from Nick Park tells the story of courageous caveman hero Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his best friend, Hognob, as they unite their tribe against a mighty enemy — Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City — to save their home. Early Man opens on June 8 at Row House Cinema. The film is part of Row House’s New Animated Films week.

Hereditary – Manor Theatre

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When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. The horrific feature debut from writer-director Ari Aster stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro, with Ann Dowd and Gabriel ByrneHereditary opens on June 8 at the Manor Theatre.

Oh Lucy! – Harris Theater

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Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima), a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, is seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika (Shioli Kutsuna), to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named Lucy. The new identity awakens something dormant in Setsuko, and she quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears from class, Setsuko travels halfway around the world in search of him, and in the outskirts of Southern California, family ties and past lives are tested as she struggles to preserve the dream and promise of Lucy. Oh Lucy! opens on June 15 at the Harris Theater.

Film Pittsburgh Presents 2018 Robinson International Short Film Competition Gala

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On May 22, Film Pittsburgh presents the seventh annual Robinson International Short Film Competition Gala at the SouthSide Works Cinema. Open to independent filmmakers worldwide, the event showcases short works that contain an essence of Jewishness as represented by theme, history or culture. Film Pittsburgh received 108 entries from 13 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the UK, and the US.

See the featured films and their descriptions below:

116 Cameras (dir. Davina Pardo)

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A Holocaust survivor preserves her story interactively so that she will be able to tell it forever. (US, 16 minutes)

The Driver is Red (dir. Randall Christopher)

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Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. (US, 15 minutes)

Large Soldier (dir. Noa Gusakov)

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It’s 1973, wartime in Israel, and all that 15-year-old Sherry wants is a boyfriend. A letter exchange with an unknown soldier makes her believe that he’s going to be her first love. But what will happen when the imaginary soldier becomes real? (Israel, 23 minutes)

Life Will Smile (dir. Drey Kleanthous)

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Narrated by Haim Konstantini, this documentary relays not only his story of the dramatic events during WWII, but also the story of every one of the 275 Jews that evaded the Nazis on the island of Zakynthos. (Greece, UK, 35 minutes)

Wendy’s Shabbat (dir. Rachel Myers)

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This short documentary follows a group of Jewish senior citizens who celebrate their weekly Shabbat at the local Wendy’s fast food restaurant, with Hebrew blessings over burgers and fries. This is a story of rediscovering the joys of community again in older age, and in the longing for ritual, however unorthodox it may appear. (US, 10 minutes)

The gala begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the Pittsburgh premieres of all five films, an awards ceremony where three filmmakers will receive a total of $18,000 in cash prizes, and a catered reception. Tickets cost $12, $6 for students 26 and under with ID.

Row House Cinema Spotlights Music Pioneers With ‘Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits’

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In celebration of Ladyfest Pittsburgh, an annual three-day festival featuring all-female and female-fronted bands and acts, Row House Cinema will present a benefit screening of Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits, a documentary about the world’s first all-girl punk band.

Formed in London in 1976, The Slits are considered the pioneering godmothers of the musical movement known as  “Punky Reggae.” The film tells the story of the band and the lives of the women involved, from the band’s inception to its end in 2010 coinciding with the death of lead vocalist Ari Up. The documentary – originally a project started by Ari and Slits tour manager and friend Jennifer Shagawat – includes previously unseen footage of the band and interviews from Slits members Viv Albertine, Ari, Palmolive, Tessa Pollitt, Bruce Smith, and Hollie Cook, fellow musicians like Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and Raincoats bass played Gina Birch, and much more.

Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits screens at 6:30 p.m. on May 15 at Row House Cinema. The event includes an introduction from the film’s director, William Badgely, and a performance by Brazilian Wax. Tickets cost $13, $11 for Row House Film Club members. $3 from every ticket sold goes directly to Ladyfest Pittsburgh 2018, which will take place from June 15-17 at various venues.

Anime Film ‘Lu Over The Wall’ Dives Into AMC Loews Waterfront 22

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Lu Over the Wall/GKIDS

This month, GKIDS will bring an exclusive anime treat to Pittsburgh when they present their new film Lu Over the Wall at AMC Loews Waterfront 22.

From visionary anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby) comes a joyously hallucinogenic but family-friendly take on the classic fairy tale about a little mermaid who comes ashore to join a middle-school rock band and propel them to fame. Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. His only joy is uploading songs he writes to the internet. When his classmates invite him to play keyboard in their band, their practice sessions bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose fins turn to feet when she hears the beats, and whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance – whether they want to or not.

As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds he is able to tell her what he is really thinking, and a bond begins to form. But since ancient times, the people in the village have believed that mermaids bring disaster and soon there is trouble between Lu and the townspeople, putting the town in grave danger. Winner of the Grand Prize at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival and an official selection of Sundance 2018. [Synopsis courtesy of GKIDS]

Lu Over the Wall opens on May 11 at AMC Loews Waterfront 22.

Doc Explores Pittsburgh Museum With ‘Site-Specific: A History Of The Mattress Factory’

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Artist Yayoi Kusama in Site-Specific: A History Of The Mattress Factory

Not long after the Mattress Factory opened in 1977, it set out to provide an experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world. Now local documentarian David Bernabo will help mark the 40th anniversary of the contemporary art museum with the film Site-Specific: A History Of The Mattress Factory.

Through a mix of stories and anecdotes, archival installation footage, and interviews with artists and razor-sharp co-directors Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory presents an in-depth look at one of the first site-specific museums in the United States. Starting as a quirky, anything goes food co-op and artist studio space, the museum created a program of artist residencies in 1982 to focus on site-specific installation art and they never looked back.

The film parallels the installation of the museum’s 40th-anniversary exhibition with an in-depth, story-driven journey through the museum’s long history of exhibiting site-specific art. Through interviews with artists such as Ann Hamilton, Sarah Oppenheimer, Vanessa German, and Dennis Maher, the film provides an intimate, sometimes humorous, look at the indirect path a museum takes as it creates its identity.

By mining the museum’s extensive tape and video archive, the film unearths rare archival installation footage of James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Meg Webster, and David Ellis. Detailed discussions provide the history and context for John Cage’s changing installation, Allan Wexler’s Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence, and Dennis Maher’s three-story installation A Second Home, among other works. [Synopsis courtesy of David Bernabo]

Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory will premiere on May 3 at the Mattress Factory. A second screening public will take place on May 10 at the Melwood Screening Room. Tickets are free for the Mattress Factory screening and $8 for the Melwood event.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: May 2018 Edition

Zama – Harris Theater

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Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him a transfer from the town in which he is stagnating, to a better place. His situation is delicate. He must ensure that nothing overshadows his transfer. He is forced to accept submissively every task entrusted to him by successive Governors who come and go as he stays behind. The years go by and the letter from the King never arrives. When Zama notices everything is lost, he joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous bandit. Zama opens on May 4 at the Harris Theater.

Ismael’s Ghosts – Regent Square Theater

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Twenty-one years ago, she ran away. And twenty-one years later, Carlotta (Marion Cotillard) is back from the void. But Ismael (Mathieu Amalric) has been busy rebuilding a life for himself with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and working on his next feature film. As Ismael’s trials and tribulations unfurl, so too do those of his film’s protagonist: the idle, funny and reckless diplomat Ivan Dédalus (Louis Garrel). Written and directed by Arnaud DesplechinIsmael’s Ghosts opens on May 4 at the Regent Square Theater.

The Road Movie – Row House Cinema

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A mosaic of asphalt adventures, landscape photography, and some of the craziest shit you’ve ever seen, Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s The Road Movie is a stunning compilation of video footage shot exclusively via the deluge of dashboard cameras that populate Russian roads. The epitome of a you-have- to-see- it-to- believe-it documentary, it captures a wide range of spectacles through the windshield—including a comet crashing down to Earth, an epic forest fire, and no shortage of angry motorists taking road rage to wholly new and unexpected levels—all accompanied by bemused commentary from unseen and often stoic drivers and passengers. The Road Movie opens on May 11 at the Row House Cinema. This film is showing as part of Row House’s New Documentary Film Showcase.

Disobedience – Manor Theatre

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From a screenplay by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and based on Naomi Alderman’s book, the film follows a woman (Rachel Weisz) as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams). Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality. Disobedience opens on May 18 at the Manor Theatre.

Riverside Drive-In Pays Tribute To Tobe Hooper For April Ghouls Drive-In Monster-Rama

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Get ready for another weekend of horror under the stars when April Ghouls Drive-In Monster-Rama returns to the Riverside Drive-In Theatre. From April 2728, the event will offer a lineup of classic 1980s horror and science fiction movies, including a night dedicated to the legendary late filmmaker Tobe Hooper. See films and details below:

April 27

Poltergeist (1982)

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A suburban family joins forces with a team of paranormal experts when a malevolent force abducts their young daughter in this supernatural classic from Tobe Hooper and writer/producer Steven Spielberg.

Lifeforce (1985)

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Sexy space vampires invade London in this curious sci-fi selection from Tobe Hooper.

The Funhouse (1981)

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A deformed carnival worker terrorizes four teens in this early Tobe Hooper horror gem.

Invaders From Mars (1986)

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Karen Black stars in Tobe Hooper’s remake of a 1953 sci-fi film about a young boy who tries to stop aliens from taking over his small town.

April 28

Alligator (1980)

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Years after it’s flushed down the toilet as a baby, a giant sewer alligator with a taste for human flesh terrorizes Chicago.

The Boogens (1981)

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Subterranean monsters are unleashed on a small town after crews reopen an abandoned mine.

Critters (1986)

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Small, toothy aliens wreak havoc on a family farm in this cult sci-fi horror comedy that stars Dee Wallace and M. Emmet Walsh.

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

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A slug-like alien and its brood infest the basement of his house and begin eating anything in their path.

Admission is $10 per person each night, free for children 12 and under with an adult. Overnight camping is $10 a person each night and comes with breakfast each morning.