Rare Opportunity: Classic Silent Films at AFI Silver Theatre

Promotional photo from Harold Lloyd's film Safety Last!, via Wikimedia Commons.

Promotional photo from Harold Lloyd’s film Safety Last!, via Wikimedia Commons.

This weekend the DC area’s finest movie palace, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, begins a Silent Cinema Showcase. Many of the films and shorts will feature live accompaniment. While you’ve probably seen the image above, you may not know anything about the film Safety Last! itself. Even Roger Ebert hadn’t seen it before he reviewed it in 2005!  He wrote:

It is by general agreement the most famous shot in silent comedy: a man in a straw hat and round horn-rim glasses, hanging from the minute hand of a clock 12 stories above the city street. Strange, that this shot occurs in a film few people have ever seen.

Your chance to be one of the few comes this weekend. A new 35mm print of Safety Last! will be presented Sunday at 7:30, with live musical accompaniment. Other films in the series include two feature films starring screen legend Mary Pickford, a collection of experimental shorts called Wild and Weird, and shorts by Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton (you get two chances for Keaton: one short is grouped with Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, and then three Keaton shorts will be presented together).

The series starts this weekend and runs through May 4.

Food and Drink, The Features

Food Films at the 10th Annual Silverdocs

Photo courtesy of Kevin H.
Silver Strollers
courtesy of Kevin H.

Want to eat with your eyes? The 10th Annual Silverdocs Festival has seven films about food that might make you think a little more about what you’re eating and the food industry.

While Silverdocs has already been in full swing since June 18th, below are the food-focused films and you’ll find the rest of the list after the jump. You can purchase tickets online or at the AFI Silver Theatre Box Office. General tickets are $13. Films are playing at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD) and Discovery HD Theater (One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD), so make sure you end up in the right place.

Betting The Farm by Cecily Pingree and Jason Mann
Showing: Friday, June 22, 6:45 PM and Sunday, June 24, 8:30 PM
Country: USA
What they say: “When a group of Maine dairy farmers are dropped by the national milk company that has been their bread and butter for years, their livelihood is in danger. Refusing to go down without a fight, the farmers take matters into their own hands, banding together to form their own organic milk company, MOO.”

Canned Dreams by Katja Gauriloff
Showing:  Friday, June 22, 12:15 PM and Saturday, June 23, 2:30 PM
Country: Finland
What they say: “What all goes into a can of ravioli on the supermarket shelf? The answer is more complicated than one might think. This fascinating film explores the inner workings of food production, as well as the blood, sweat and tears of the human laborers whose personal hardships have often stood in the way of a better future.”

I Kill by David White and Paul Wedel
Showing: Saturday, June 23, 10 AM and Sunday, June 24, 3:45 PM (As part of the Short Programs: Odd Jobs films)
Country: New Zealand
What they say: “Small farms need small solutions, and in rural New Zealand that is a “mobile slaughterman,” traveling from farm to farm, shooting, skinning and gutting cattle. The rich colors of the lush landscape reinforce the slaughterman’s belief that cattle meeting their end in familiar surroundings is more humane than in a factory slaughterhouse.”
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Special Events, The Daily Feed

Environmental Film Fest Starts with Party Tonight

Photo courtesy of
‘Bizarro Tulips’
courtesy of ‘theqspeaks’

Tonight marks the launch party for the 2011 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital; soon the lights will go down for 150 films from 40 countries that illustrate the connection between energy and the environment.

The festival runs from March 15-27 in various locations around the city, and it includes talks by 55 filmmakers and 94 special guests. Tonight’s kickoff starts at 6:30 in the Warner Building Atrium and features art, dance, and music.

Which of this year’s films are of local interest?
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The Daily Feed

West End Cinema Returns Next Weekend

Photo courtesy of
‘Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats’
courtesy of ‘atomicjeep’

As Samantha mentioned in July, there will once again be a movie theatre in the West End starting next weekend.  West End Cinema will be throwing it doors open next Friday, with four films on the docket: Howl, Budrus, Gerrymandering, and Let Me In.  The new theatre will be running primary first-run independent films, serving tasty cocktails, and running a sweet concession stand.  Look for more as we get closer to next Friday’s launch!

Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

National Geographic Live: April 2010

2501 Migrants: A Journey, courtesy of the filmmakers and National Geographic

The 2010 National Geographic Live series continues in April with a mix of music, movies, and food. The National Geographic Museum is offering up another two pairs of tickets for WeLoveDC readers, unless otherwise noted. Simply comment below (PLEASE use a legit email address and your first name) with what two events – in preferred order – you’d like to attend. We’ll do a random drawing on Wednesday, April 7 at 10 a.m. and get the winners set up with their first (or second, if your first choice is full) selection. Keep in mind that tickets are for single events only.

2501 Migrants: A Journey ($10)
April 7, 7 pm

This 2008 Mexican film documents Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago’s creative response to the impact of migration on rural Mexico. A discussion with the filmmaker, seven-time award-winning director Yolanda Cruz, will follow the film. Washington, D.C. premiere.

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We Green DC

From Waves to Grain: New Green Flicks

Photo courtesy of
‘Surfer Rides Wave Brought by Hurricane Bill’
courtesy of ‘michelemeek’

Take a break. Right now, really, and watch the lush, smooth, curling waves on this trailer from BlueGreen. Ahhh, the beach! I can even feel the sand between my toes.

BlueGreen, they say, is a documentary about the human connection to the ocean. That sounds wonderful, and I think I vaguely heard people saying as such on the trailer. But mostly I was mesmerized by the waves and the surfers sliding along them, including stars Keith Malloy, Layne Beachley, and Robert August. Robert “Wingnut” Weaver narrates.

BlueGreen is one of three summer movies with an earth-friendly bent that have screenings around town in the next few days. The next few hot, dog days of summer, that is — days perfect for slipping inside a chilly theater.
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Entertainment, The Features

We Love Independence Day Movies

Photo courtesy of
‘Tchotchke the Freedom Bulldog’
courtesy of ‘staceyviera’
With one day to go until July 4th, it’s time to marinate the chicken, clean the grill, set out the checkered table cloths, raise Old Glory and get pumped to celebrate the birth of our country.  And what better way to do that, than watch a kick ass, chest thumping USA! USA! movie tonight that will make you jump out of your recliner, scream “God Bless America!” and parade around your living room waving a small US flag.
Not surprisingly some of these movies were filmed in or are based in DC, which makes them all the more badass to watch for us DC lovers.  Of note:  this is only my personal shortlist of movies to get me in the Independance Day mood.  I’m sure there are a lot more out there that spark the same sense of pride, so leave a comment on what you’d add to the list.

  • In The Line Of Fire: Clint Eastwood as a secret service agent, nuff said. Oh, and the plot is awesome and John Malkovich is creepy (what’s new.)  A large portion of the movie takes place in DC, with the Lincoln Steps prominently featured.
  • Top Gun:The Kenny Loggins featured soundtrack to this movie alone will get you pumped up, but the F-14s,  shirtless volleyball, Tom Cruise/Val Kilmer tension and a good old fashion love story don’t hurt as well.
  • The Great Escape: If you’ve got time for this one watch it! Yeah, I know I’m recommending a movie with the Yanks working with the Limeys on Independence Day, but it’s a classic. Continue reading
Entertainment, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Celebrity Sweat on the Mall

Reese Witherspoon by UltimateGraphics

This just in!  Some website I’ve never heard of is reporting that Reese Witherspoon, a lucky member of my top 10 20 list, was spotted being all hot and sweaty on the Mall yesterday.  As you may or may not know, she’s in town filming How Do You Know with Owen Wilson who was nowhere to be seen.  It appears they have their product placement covered with her wearing a Nike top and Under Armour shorts (and I can only imagine what else).  Sources on the scene say that Reese was actually sprinting to my house.  How do I know?  She’s running north, that’s how.

If you spot Reese or any other celebs around town, be sure to let us know!  Or, you know, send them to my house.

The Daily Feed

Screen on the Green bailout in the works?

Photo courtesy of
‘Kennedy Center 2’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

The Kennedy Center is working on a plan to run a variation on “Screen on the Green” according to a source at the  National Journal’s Hotline. They reported today in their Wake Up Call! section (behind the paywall) that Kennedy Center officials are looking for a big sponsor to sign on before they’ll commit and there’s discussions already in progress with several possibles. The location is apparently not graven in stone, but it might be on the terrace overlooking the Potomac, which would be lovely.

[edited slightly to clarify attribution]