Each spring since 2014, the Cinedelphia Film Festival has crammed a ton of offbeat programming into two glorious weeks at its home venue, PhilaMOCA. This year, some 30 selections will screen from April 13 to 29. I’m particularly excited for a double feature on April 15. First up at 7pm: Tombstone Rashomon, the latest film by British director Alex Cox. Based on a conceit first used in Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, this new Western shows the same event — the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral — from six differing perspectives, playing with and subverting the audience’s sense of the truth. Cox himself will do a Q&A before the film.
The night will close with Repo Man (10pm), Cox’s 1984 sci-fi masterpiece and his best-known film. The plot follows Emilio Estevez as a young punk who joins up with one of the titular repo men (Harry Dean Stanton) as they tear across a Southern California full of conspiracies. Tickets to Tombstone Rashomon cost $12, while Repo Man costs $15.
There’s more to eco-conscious cinema than An Inconvenient Truth. For three days starting on April 21, the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival will make that abundantly clear when it brings more than two dozen features, shorts, and documentaries to the Prince Theater. While the lineup includes some low-hanging fruit (James Cameron’s Avatar), it also offers up meditations on water scarcity in the American West (Killing the Colorado), whale hunting off the coast of Iceland (The Island and the Whales), and a threatened species of bird that migrates 19,000 miles each year (Birds of May). Single tickets cost $11, weekend passes $30.
Stuff your teenage cousins like
Remember the first art house film you ever saw? For me and thousands of other high schoolers in the mid-2000s, that film was Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko. It stars perennial Hollywood weird guy Jake Gyllenhaal, who spends most of the plot deadpanning lines that come off as way too clever for their own good. (“I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.”) Yet it deserves its status a cult classic, as it has become a foundational viewing for so many young people interested in what indie filmmaking can be. The Philadelphia Film Society will screen a restored version of Donnie Darko at the Prince on, appropriately, April 20. Tickets cost $13.
Quoted by dads everywhere, 1980’s Caddyshack is an essential goofball comedy that, along with Airplane!, helped to define the genre. It also brought together different generations of standup and improv legends, including Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and a young Bill Murray. Add their enduring one-liners to your repertoire when The Trocadero screens Caddyshack on April 17 as part of its Movie Monday series. As usual, admission costs a lean $3.
Perhaps Hollywood’s biggest controversy this year centered on the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead in Ghost in the Shell, a live-action take on the Japanese manga series. The role, critics argue, ought to have gone to an actor of Asian descent, and the studio’s decision was held up as the latest example of Hollywood whitewashing. If you seek a corrective, CineMug will host a screening of the original 1995 Ghost in the Shell anime, which has characters more along the lines of what the books portray. Admission costs $5, but you can BYOB.