Inaugural ‘One Night’ series features rare film indies

By M.V. Moorhead

Like many other moviegoers in the Valley, Randy Montgomery mourned the recent passing of Chandler's Madstone Theater.

"I've always liked movies," says the twenty-something Kyrene Corridor resident, "but it was Madstone that got me into art house films. I'd go see every single thing they showed. It really got me hooked."

Such addiction is not always an easy one to feed. Even during Madstone's tenure, notes Montgomery, not every art house film would make it to a Valley screen.

"If you look, you'll see that only a fraction of them come here."

To combat this deficiency, Montgomery, a radio advertising sales rep who also runs a movie-review website, is launching One Night Cinema, a repertory-film subscription series based at Pollack Tempe Cinemas.

The series kicks off Aug. 20 and runs weekly, except for Labor Day weekend, through Oct. 1. Showtime throughout the series is 7:30 p.m.

Montgomery, who names legendary indie The Blair Witch Project as his favorite movie, offers the following mission statement for the series:

"To introduce film from around the country and around the world that might not have otherwise played in the Phoenix market. We support independent cinema of all types and encourage members of the community to check out the different options available in addition to seeing the biggest blockbusters at their local multiplex."

To that end, he has selected the following six films for the inaugural run:

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Aug. 20)—A Glasgow-set tragicomedy about the relationship between two brothers, directed by Dane Lone Scherfig, of the charming Italian for Beginners.   

James' Journey to Jerusalem (Aug. 27)—A young African man struggles with modern obstacles to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Manna from Heaven (Sept. 10)—Shelley Duvall, Louise Fletcher, Jill Eikenberry and Seymour Cassel are in the cast of this tale of a windfall in a Buffalo neighborhood.

Robot Stories (Sept. 17)—Greg Pak's anthology offers four riffs on that perennial sci-fi theme, the robot.

Hard Goodbyes: My Father (Sept. 24)—This Greek film concerns a boy's struggle to come to terms with the death of his father.

The Agronomist (Oct. 1)—Jonathan Demme directed this documentary portrait of the Haitian human-rights activist Jean Dominique.

Twenty-five dollars buys a pass for one person to each of these intriguing films, plus two passes to any regular show at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, a coupon for one medium popcorn and small soda, and invitations to at least two other additional free films in the future.

For details go to www.onenightcinema.com or visit the Tempe Cinema box office.