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Watch the ‘Star Trek’ Episode With a Plot Similar to ‘The Purge’

people_festival_3This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. I’m taking a couple liberties with this week’s Short Starts. For one thing, the video I’m sharing is not a short film, although it’s one of the original Star Trek episodes that has that one-off feeling of being based on a short story. The other main liberty is that this 1967 episode, “The Return of the Archons,” is not officially related in any way to the movie I’m tying it to. But many people see the plot of the new thriller The Purge as being similar to that of “Archons.” As the imaginary judge inside my brain said in response to the idea, “I’ll allow it.” The sci-fi concept of The Purge is that in ten years time the U.S. has developed a bonkers strategy for dealing with crime. One day each year Americans are allowed to commit any crime they like without consequence, and their victims are allotted no help of any kind. Illogically, the existence of this “purge” has drastically reduced the crime rate for the rest of the year. In this Star Trek story, the Enterprise crew visit a planet in which there is constant peace except during the “Red Hour” of a Festival period, when citizens are given free will and allowed to be as bad as they wish. The episode is said to be inspired by Philip Jose Farmer’s novel “Night of

Hot Button Misdirection: ‘After Earth’ and ‘Now You See Me’ Faked Us Out on the Issues

now you see me 05This weekend’s two major openers had something in common: each deceived us as far as being relevant to current hot-button issues. It’s a strange thing to fake, I know. Marketing mainstream Hollywood fare as having political messages would seem to be misguided. And the fact that both were sort of a misdirection anyway, that probably annoyed anyone who would go to see After Earth or Now You See Me because of the promise of substantial contemporary context. I can’t be the only person who is more interested in studio pictures when they at least address if not also deal with real world problems. I even went to see the Fright Night remake specifically because it incorporated some commentary on the housing crisis and its significance in Las Vegas. Now You See Me sold me similarly on its consideration of the Great Recession and banking crisis. I thought this could be the most timely heist/con-artist film since Nine Queens, which is brilliantly set on the eve of a catastrophic bank collapse (interestingly, while filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky was merely dealing with fears of the times in Argentina, an actual national bank run did occur in a year after it debuted). In the trailer for the new movie, after we see a trick involving a bank robbery we hear the magician characters played by Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson mention their audience has experienced hard times, losing their homes and cars. It appears as though the movie is about Robin Hood-like illusionists stealing

Movie House of Worship: Chicago’s Central Park Theatre, the First Air-Conditioned Cinema in the World

Central_Park_Theater_(House_of_Prayer_Church_of_God_In_Christ)“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we highlight one theater that is actually a church. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Central Park Theatre Location: 3535 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL Opened: October 27, 1917 (reopened as a church in 1971) No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: none The purpose of our Movie Houses of Worship column is to showcase our and your favorite cinemas, the places we worship movies. But in this edition I’m spotlighting an actual house of religious worship. For more than 40 years, Chicago’s Central Park Theatre has been a church rather than a place exhibiting films. Specifically it has been the home of the House of Prayer, Church of God in Christ. Until earlier this year, when it closed because of 105 building code violations. Why am I devoting this post to a place that no longer has anything to do with movies? Will I start giving attention to the super churches that take over abandoned multiplex buildings, as well? Probably not. The thing is that the Central Park Theatre does have something to do with movies. It always will. It was the first movie palace for the city and of united legendary cinema partners Balaban & Katz. It’s a historical landmark, though not officially. Although it is on the

Fund This Film: ‘Air Sex’ Doc to Finally Bring Mimed Fornication to the Big Screen

air sex kickstarterGiven that the Air Sex World Championships were co-founded by Alamo Drafthouse head Tim League and have been produced for many years by the cinema chain, it is only fair that the event is finally being turned into a movie. Titled Air Sex: Making Love Out of Nothing At All, the documentary will follow this year’s tour around the U.S. and ultimately cover the ASWC Finals in New Orleans. Shooting is actually beginning very soon, as the first stop of the East Coast leg of the tour is in Tampa on Thursday. While that month-long segment commences (see the dates here if you’d like to attend), the film’s production is raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign. And if you act fast enough with your pledge, you have a chance to be a judge at one of the scheduled competitions. So what is air sex? Basically just what it sounds like, a pantomime act similar to air guitar but involving totally different kinds of instruments. Although sometimes the authorities are confused about what goes on and whether or not its legal, there is no nudity and no physical interaction between two or more people. Sometimes costumes and props are involved, but otherwise it appears to be all in the make believe performance by the competitors. This is actually the first I’m hearing about it, so I’m particularly intrigued by the film project at least. Even if it doesn’t wind up being a particularly well-made documentary I’d like to check it out

‘The East’ Filmmakers Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij: How to Put One Foot In Front of the Other

brit 2Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij left a positive impression on me a few years ago at South by Southwest. Not only with Sound of My Voice, their first full-length feature film together, but also in person during the brief time I spent sitting down with them. That is a movie that raises quite a few questions, and it was obvious they had every possible answer to these questions in mind. Both on screen and off, the two filmmakers displayed between them a clear confidence and shared interests. With their second collaboration, ”the eco-terrorist” thriller The East, the two came to town for a press day near their old stomping ground, Georgetown University. Marling and Batmanglij met for the first time there, and it was fitting interviewing them close to the campus after having discussed their college and city experience a few years ago in Austin. Despite having found a nice little home with Fox Searchlight and having more money to work with now, the duo remain the same, sharing a similar interest in certain themes and the type of stories they want to tell. Here’s what The East co-writer/star Brit Marling and co-writer/director Zal Batmanaglij had to say about their latest film and their collaborative process: Structurally, both Sound of My Voice and The East are fairly similar in how they follow characters who infiltrate a group and get more involved than they expected. Was that connection between the two intentional? Batmanglij: I think they’re sister films. We wrote this movie before we made Sound of My Voice. They’re ideas that were