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Houston's bastion for fans of indie and foreign films, Landmark River Oaks Theatre's vintage facilities aren't top of the line, but the movies they show usually can't be seen anywhere else in town. There's also a full bar upstairs - midnight showings on Fridays and Saturdays can get raucous.
Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance makes a concerted stab at the epic with this two-and-a-half-hour roundelay of failed fathers and unloved sons trapped in a vicious cycle of emasculated rage. Ryan Gosling (and his chiseled abdomen) stars... More »
Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance makes a concerted stab at the epic with this two-and-a-half-hour roundelay of failed fathers and unloved sons trapped in a vicious cycle of emasculated rage. Ryan Gosling (and his chiseled abdomen) stars as a motorcycle stunt driver in a traveling carnival who, upon learning he's fathered an infant son, puts down roots in upstate New York and becomes an armed bank robber instead. He eventually crosses paths with a rookie cop (a terrific Bradley Cooper), who becomes the central figure of the movie’s second act, a charismatic climber in a precinct full of dirty cops (one played—in a folly of typecasting—by Ray Liotta). Finally, it's 15 years later, and the sons of both cop and robber (excellent newcomers Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan) find themselves sorting out their entwined destinies. Cianfrance's third feature has a go-for-broke, everything-I-ever-wanted-to-put-into-a-movie quality to it; it seems to have been conceived in a dazed rush after marathon readings of Aeschylus, Hemingway and Larry Brown. But while the acting is excellent, the metaphors are heavy, the plotting thin and repetitive. Sure to inspire indifference and cultish admiration in nearly equal measure, this extravagant mess may someday be reevaluated as a misunderstood masterpiece. « Less
A charming display of auto-critique, In the House is a cocktail of one part Shadow of a Doubt, one part Rear Window, and two parts Jacques Derrida: It's not so much a thriller as a playful deconstruction thereof, allowing characters to comment on... More »
A charming display of auto-critique, In the House is a cocktail of one part Shadow of a Doubt, one part Rear Window, and two parts Jacques Derrida: It's not so much a thriller as a playful deconstruction thereof, allowing characters to comment on their own roles in the narrative. Most of the commentary comes from Germain (Fabrice Luchini), who teaches literature at a suburban French high school, where his students might be characterized as barely sentient. But one, Claude (Ernst Umhauer), has a gift for storytelling. Claude's writings detail his increasingly creepy involvement with his friend Rapha's (Bastien Ughetto) family. Claude spies on Rapha's gorgeous mom (Emmanuelle Seigner) and as his behavior approaches stalking, Germain thrills at Claude’s account of all this, urging him to proceed with his story-- and, by proxy, his behavior toward Rapha's family. "It lacks a conflict," Germain tells Claude, sounding like an exasperated filmmaker. In the House creates something far more original than the same old heart-pounding. Germain's meta-narrative commentary ensures an alienating effect, and therein lies the refreshing uniqueness: Since Hitchcock's films are perpetually analyzed by film theorists, why not provide the space for such analysis within a thriller itself? As the narrative gamesmanship ramps up—Germain becomes the audience’s surrogate and advocate, demanding more conflict; Claude begins to criticize Germain's criticism from within the stories themselves-- In the House investigates a far tougher riddle than what makes Claude tick-- it's trying to figure out why, exactly, voyeurism and mystery delight us so. In the process, it delights. « Less
Would you sign on for three months in shark-infested waters on a tippy raft under a captain who can't swim? The shrewdest joke in the surefire Kon-Tiki-- a film about Thor Heyerdahl's 4,000-mile South Pacific expedition to prove that ocean-faring... More »
Would you sign on for three months in shark-infested waters on a tippy raft under a captain who can't swim? The shrewdest joke in the surefire Kon-Tiki-- a film about Thor Heyerdahl's 4,000-mile South Pacific expedition to prove that ocean-faring Incans could have settled Tahiti-- is that practically every character Heyerdahl meets can't wait to join his suicide trip. Co-directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have scared up the kroner to make a handsome Norwegian feature about Heyerdahl's 1947 journey-- and, rather than risk a redubbing, they shot this English-language twin at the same time, with the same actors. As passive drift gives way to seasonal currents, Kon-Tiki works up a nice head of storytelling steam. Still, exciting as they are, we've sailed these sea lanes before. Anybody who owed as much to a loan shark as these filmmakers owe to Steven Spielberg would be dead by now. Tick 'em off as they go by: the shooting star against an inky sky, the claustrophobic shark cage, plus more bristling dorsal fins than your average stegosaurus. Without conspicuously meaning to, Kon-Tiki raises a question that remains ticklish among explorers and filmmakers both: Who, finally, gets the credit? At the climax, the hero galumphs proudly ashore in Polynesia-- with the sailors who risked their lives staggering along behind. Does heroism always have to mean hogging the frame once within reach of the loving cup? As usual, posterity gets the last laugh: Most anthropologists today think Heyerdahl was wrong about the settlement of Polynesia. Won an Oscar, though. « Less
Before we start the list, we want to make a few things clear. Our concept of "best" isn't just the fanciest or the most plush. We're evaluating the overall movie-going experience, not the building. We... More »
This Friday and Saturday night, River Oaks' Midnight Movie Classic is screening everyone's favorite Christmas-gone-awry flick, Gremlins. Gremlins is one of those '80s movies that remain unparalleled. ... More »
As noted in Craig Hlavaty's salute to classic midnight movies, this Friday and Saturday at around midnight, the River Oaks Theatre will be screening the cult classic film Dazed and Confused. The movie... More »
The River Oaks Theatre screens Quentin Tarantino’s cult hit Pulp Fiction this weekend. This wildly irreverent black comedy weaves together three vivid, sometimes shocking plots involving petty Hollywood criminals. Drawing inspiration from popular... More »
Gene Kelly completely dominates An American in Paris, the story of a Yank painter living in the City of Light. With assistance from the wizards of the effects department, director Vincente Minnelli’s cinematic love letter to Paris was shot on the... More »
Went to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show here with some friends last May and we had a BLAST. I didn't dress up like a lot of others did, but I want to go again and have us all dress up. The shadow cast "Beautiful Creatures" were great and even though I didn't know all the stuff to shout out and all the things to do, I still had a lot of fun. There is a bar located in the theater so my friends got a little tipsy before the show started, which made for an even more interesting time. The theater itself is old and sort of small on the inside, but it's all part of the indie charm.
Moviegoers with savoir-faire can catch an independent or foreign flick at this theater, built in 1939. The downstairs theater is grandiose and baroque, all heavy red-velvet curtains, patterned carpet and ornate carvings, with moderately comfortable seats. The two upstairs screening rooms are tiny and cramped; even the most diminutive person will want for more space. Two concession stands carry standard fare, as well as herbal teas, gourmet coffee, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, high-end candies and vegan cookies. A funky cafe-like hangout next to the upstairs concession is painted in folk-art style and includes all sorts of alternative reading material. Tip: Catch special midnight movies on Friday and Saturday nights.
The River Oaks Theatre is one of a kind in Houston. Built in 1939 in ornate Art Deco style, it's the only movie palace left in the city. Of course, the films shown now are slightly racier than the theater's inaugural screening, Bachelor Mother with David Niven and Ginger Rogers. Today there are regular showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other cult classics during the theater's popular midnight movie series. Recent features include documentaries (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson), dramas (Brick Lane), comedies (Animal House in a midnight screening) and thrillers (Roman de Gare). A repeat Best Movie Theater winner, the River Oaks is currently the focus of a heated preservation fight. Its prime location may prove too tempting to local developers before long, but for now, it's still the best theater experience in the city.
The midnight film series at the Landmark River Oaks edged out the competition for Best Film Series earlier this year with a screening of the horror film The Human Centipede, First Sequence, a delightfully horrific and gruesome tale by writer/director Tom Six. (We won't go into the details here, but suffice it to say, potential viewers always say, "Oh, that is sick!" followed by a quick, "When's the next showing?") Regular midnight screenings run the gamut, with action flicks, classics,... More »
Built in 1939, this historic jewel has so far escaped the clutches of townhouse development that first threatened to destroy it in 2006. The idea was blasphemy to preservationists and folks who just think it's a damn cool theater. And it is -- both aesthetically, and by the selection of indie, foreign and "midnight movies" that don't make it to every hulking 500-screen multiplex. So next time you feel like going to the movies, check to see if the flick's playing at River Oaks, grab your... More »
The River Oaks Theatre is one of a kind in Houston. Built in 1939 in ornate Art Deco style, it's the only movie palace left in the city. Of course, the films shown now are slightly racier than the theater's inaugural screening, Bachelor Mother with David Niven and Ginger Rogers. Today there are regular showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other cult classics during the theater's popular midnight movie series. Recent features include documentaries (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr.... More »
Landmark River Oaks If you want stadium-style seating, 24 screens and convenient parking, this is not your movie theater. But if you care about the movies -- if you actually go to watch the show, not to swivel back in your seat while the special effects whiz by -- then your best bet is the Landmark River Oaks theater. Built in 1939, it has a seedy elegance you won't find in the too-bright, mallish cineplexes that line the interstate. There are only three screens here, but they're usually... More »
This lovely movie palace -- really, it has to be described that way -- is an antique in a city that doesn't normally cherish old things. Built in 1939, it's the only theater in town that's gotten its very own mayoral proclamation. (River Oaks Theatre Day was March 26, 2000, in case you forgot to celebrate.) Its memorable red art deco marquee lights up the West Gray strip, and its three theaters show the current hits as well as underground art-house features and foreign films you won't find... More »
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