Red Rocket is among the movies coming to the Civic Theatre. Photo: Submitted

Red Rocket is among the movies coming to the Civic Theatre. Photo: Submitted

LARGE POPCORN, EXTRA BUTTER: In the lull between blockbusters, consider A24’s offerings

Jason Asbell writes about the diverse slate of movies coming to the Civic Theatre

The winter blockbusters are winding down and many of the tentpoles slated for the early months of 2022 have moved their release dates down the road leaving cinemas like The Civic Theatre with few choices that will have broad appeal.

But if we look just a little to the left, we can see there are plenty of titles to program, and to be quite honest, they are often more riveting and watchable than most blockbusters designed for mass consumption. The issue is the box office income from these titles generally doesn’t hit the mark to meet many independent theatres’ budgetary needs.

That isn’t a problem in Nelson however, because we have an audience with diverse and discerning tastes who would rather read the subtitles of an excellent Japanese film or other subtler fare than keep playing recent past box office hits. This does describe you, doesn’t it? If so, you should rejoice for the content slated for The Civic screen over the next while. If it doesn’t quite capture your profile, please accept my invitation to continue supporting your local independent cinema and a chance to open yourself up to new theatrical experiences.

Starting this Friday, we return to the Gucci’s and the award-contending performance of Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci. We also return to Kenneth Branagh’s childhood in Belfast. And to complete the week, we introduce into the selection the artful Japanese anime take on Beauty and the Beast. Suzu is a shy high-school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U,” a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a globally beloved singer.

Now, you can’t talk about new exciting innovative independent cinema without visiting the library of films distributed by the young and fast growing distribution company A24. I started seeing a pattern of the films I have been most excited about over the past years when they all had that iconic A24 logo flash across the screen at the head of the movie. The list is exhaustive, but just a small sampling of highlights for me in order of recent to older have been: Minari, Uncut Gems, The Farewell, Midsommar, Mid90’s, Eighth Grade, Hereditary, The Witch, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Florida Project — I’ll stop before I bore you — and Moonlight. There are just so many great titles. In honour of our freedom to play with programming in Hollywood’s lull and the fact that the following programming week starts on Friday, Feb. 4, or 02/04, I was hoping you would indulge me with a week of recent releases from the A24 library.

You can look forward to an encore screening of Joel Coen’s, The Tragedy of Macbeth; Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon starring Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix; Red Rocket, from the amazing Sean Baker who brought us Tangerine and Florida Project mentioned above; and Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir: Part II, following up on her acclaimed film Souvenir, which played at The Civic in 2019.

So as you can see, we can deal with the content lull, but now we need your help to make sure the box office on these wonderful films matches that of your Bond, Spider-Man or Paul Atredies.

Thanks so much Nelson.

Jason Asbell is the programming director and A24 fan for The Civic Theatre