Category Archives: Film

Tomorrow: Found Footage Festival @ Creative Alliance

What could Mr. T’s mother, toilet training for cats, herpes, and puppet aerobics all possibly have in common? Only the fact that someone thought they were not worth watching, and so they all ended up in some thrift shop or garage sale or flea market or video-outlet bargain bin, where Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher decided that they were worth watching.

Pickett and Prueher are the founders and coordinators of the Found Footage Festival, a collection of old, odd and obscure videos which have all become entirely divorced from their original context, and have been sewn together as a sort of patchwork quilt of the VHS era. Now in its fifth series, the Festival will come to the Creative Alliance tomorrow as part of a 75 city US tour.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot screens with the FFF at Creative Alliance tomorrow.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Pfft, I got Youtube… why do I need to go to the Patterson just to see assholes make assholes of themselves?’ Because it would take you weeks and months to navigate among the billions of videos out there on Youtube, and even when you find something on the order of the Video Guide to Successful Seduction it will not have been edited, and it would be a full time job just to watch this much 80’s camp on your own. Prueher and Pickett know from comedy, having worked for the Onion and the Colbert Report respectively, and they’ve done all the work for you with the FFF, as well as added some of their own insights into this particular corner of the culture, having viewed about a million hours of footage between them.

But that’s not all… They’re also presenting John Heyn and Jeff Krulik’s cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Shot in the early days of personal camcorders in Landover, MD, the short was dubbed and passed hand-to-hand for years, and has rarely been shown on a theater screen.

But this is where the Creative Alliance excels, in showing things that you can’t possibly see anywhere else. Everything looks just a little better on the silver screen, especially things like the Found Footage Festival, which is solid video gold.

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Creative Alliance at the Patterson is located at 3134 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown. Tomorrow’s showtime is 8 pm.

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Not Just a Game Screening @ 2640 Space Tonight

The Chop is not a lawyer. We’re not a banker, a military officer, or a city councilman either. Somehow though, we ended up as one of these people for whom everything has political overtones. We make no bones about being a labor-loving, Secularist, pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-war Lefty. It’s a worldview that informs everything we do, and every decision we make, from the place we choose to live to what we read, watch and listen to, and even to what we eat. You can believe that those Few who have money and power approach everything politically, and until the rest of us begin to do so as well, nothing will ever change.

Not Just a Game will screen at 2640 tonight. 7:30 pm.

Dave Zirin realizes this as well. Zirin is sports editor at The Nation, and also the host of an XM radio show, columnist for other publications, and author of several books. He’s dedicated his career to the the coverage, study and understanding of sports. Zirin is nearly alone among sportswriters in comprehending that the games we watch and play inform every aspect of our social structure and interaction. From the ongoing NFL lockout to Luke Scott’s absurd love of guns and Orly Taitz, to whether your kid ends up playing basketball or lacrosse, politics is pervasive on every level of sports.

We say that Zirin is nearly alone in that world, because the increasingly-popular Deadspin will never hesitate to jump on a story with deep sociopolitical overtones. From Ben Roethlisberger’s alleged sexual misconduct to racism and gender bias on the PGA tour, Deadspin seems to understand that racism, sexism, homophobia and class warfare drives page views much harder than mere box scores. Zirin though is the polar opposite of Deadspin. Where the latter represents the worst in muckraking and questionable reporting reminiscent of the early days of the Hearst papers, Zirin is a sort of HL Mencken of the sports world, reminding us that the final score is irrelevant, not because we’re playing for fun, but because the only victories that matter are won away from the field of play.

Tonight the Red Emma’s collective will host Zirin at the 2640 Space for a Screening of Not Just a Game, which is based on his 2008 book A People’s History of Sports in the United States. The film explores the history of sport running head-to-head against politics in our culture, and Dave Zirin will be available for discussion and Questions afterward.

Even your mere attendance tonight is an overtly political act, as your $10 admission will go to benefit both the Baltimore Algebra Project and the United Workers, two local organizations which focus on social justice in Baltimore.

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Further reading: Bret McCabe interviewed Dave Zirin in this week’s edition of City Paper.

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City Paper’s Free Movie Night @ Charles Theater Tonight

The good news? It’s movie night. The bad news? There is no bad news. We all get to go to the movies for free. What could be bad about that?

The City Paper loves and appreciates its readers so much that they’ve decided to partner with the Charles Theater to treat us all to a free movie tonight. And not just like “Oh look, Sony Pictures gave us 200 promo passes to that crappy Green Hornet movie, so go see that.” No, not like that at all. They’re doing it open house style, and letting everyone choose what they’d like to see from among the Charles’ current selection of movies. First come, first served.

A visual approximation of the Chop at the movies.

For our money (or in this case, for free) we’d recommend snagging a seat in the theater for Casino Jack. The Jack Abramoff scandal was big. It was huge. It was so big that we should still be talking about it today- big enough that Abramoff should still be in jail for a long time yet, instead of making pizzas in Park Heights. At least Kevin Spacey is one of a very few actors you can point to in Hollywood and say “That guy’s a good actor. If he’s in a movie, it’s probably a good movie.” And since Oliver Stone was nowhere near this one, we’re betting we’ll be able to stay awake the whole time.

Your other choices tonight are:

Rabbit Hole, a boring movie about old people feeling feelings. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Oh. Yawn.

Blue Valentine, a boring movie about slightly younger people feeling feelings. Sundance may like it, but we’re betting there’s not enough sex and nudity to keep us interested.

The Fighter is all about loudmouth assholes from Boston running around acting like loudmouth assholes from Boston. It’s got Marky Mark in it, and Conan O’Brien’s sister, who is now in jail.

The movie Somewhere is directed by spoiled Hollywood brat Sofia Coppola, and is about a spoiled Hollywood brat. Very meta. Bill Murray isn’t in it though, so to hell with it.

As we said, it’s first come-first served, with about 800 seats available total. All screenings start at 7 pm, with doors opening at 6 pm. We say get there at 5:45, bring a flask and tweet about it in real-time while you wait.

Also: let’s get this on record Baltimore… One (1) person may save one (1) seat at the movies. This business of one guy trying to save 4 or 5 seats in a theater is bullshit. It’s got to stop. If you try to save 4 seats by yourself, you’re being rude. Even if you say “Oh sorry. SORRRRREEYYYY. These are saved.” in your most conciliatory and saccharine tones, you’re still being an asshole. We will call you out on it, especially if there’s 2 minutes to showtime and the place is full.

2011 is the year of not taking any shit off of people who are pretending to be nice but actually being rude.
Fair warning.

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Bob Ray’s Down and Dirty Austin Film Tour @ Creative Alliance Tonight

We’ve never been to Austin, TX.

We suspect we’d like it very much if we ever had been. We like Baltimore very much, after all. We like New Orleans and Richmond and Charleston, and even liked Galveston when we went there. So we have reason to believe that we’d get along just fine in Austin, and that when Austin filmmaker Bob Ray brings his Down and Dirty Film Tour to the Creative Alliance tonight he’ll feel right at home.

Total Badass screens at Creative Alliance tonight. 7:30.

The Chop can’t sell you on this. Much like Kesey and the Pranksters, you’re either on the bus, or off the bus. There’s no middle ground here. Just take one quick look at the movie posters and you’ll know right away that this is something in which you either have no interest at all, or something for which you absolutely need to clear your calendar and go see right now!

Hell on Wheels is the second half of tonight's double feature. 9:30.

For those of you who are on the bus, here are the details. Doors and drink specials start at 6:30 (and show up on time, because the CA screening theater is of modest proportions) and Total Badass begins at 7:30, followed by a Q and A with Bob Ray and Chad Holt.

The Charm City Roller Girls will then host the second half of the double feature, Hell on Wheels with another Q and A after featuring Ray as well as some of the finest real life bruisers in Baltimore.

If your lame schedule and crappy life don’t permit you to see both films for a paltry $10, you can check out either one for $7 at the door. We say watch them both. You’ll be glad you did. Now get on the goddamn bus and hang on for dear life.

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Creative Alliance is located at 3134 Eastern Ave in Highlandtown. 410-276-1651. info@creativealliance.org

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Tomorrow: On The Block Screening @ Windup Space

Okay, okay. Simmer down a little. We know you’re excited because you feel like it’s Friday, even though it’s only Tuesday, and instead of spending the rest of the week at work you get to spend it stuffing your maw with turkey or tofurkey, or good tawny port, and starting your Christmas shopping and laying around in sweatpants watching movies.

All of that is preferable to your job where you’re underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated. We get it. We know. But come tomorrow when it’s time to wash away the cares of the workweek with whiskey and gin, you’re not going to want to do it in just any bar. You’ll want to do it at the Windup Space.

On The Block screens at the Windup Space tomorrow night. 9 pm.

You already know that the Windup Space is the go-to spot for the very best in awful movies, and tonight the crew from Gutter Magazine has dug up a true cinematic gem for your viewing pleasure.

They managed to track down a VHS copy of On The Block, shot and released right here in Baltimore 20 years ago, and largely forgotten since. One look at this incredible trailer will convince you that this is something you need to see. Sex, drugs, vice, cops, drama, politics, depravity; On the Block gives the whole family something to be thankful for.

And that’s not all. Poppin’ Pietro spins for happy hour before Nikki Le Faye heats up the crowd with a burlesque routine from 8 o’clock until the feature begins at 9. Throw in drink specials and no cover for the night, and this is bound to go down as one of the highlights of the entire holiday season.

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Windup Space is located at 12 W. North Ave. in Station North.

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Mondo Balto Presents Blood Freak @ Windup Space Tonight

What? You haven’t been to Mondo Baltimore at the Windup Space yet? What’s the matter? You don’t like blood and guts and dick jokes and film freaks and beer? What are you? A Communist? This is some real, genuine first amendment stuff right here, baby. It’s also free. Nothing says freedom like free.

What could be more American than Thanksgiving, the spirit of the open American road and the pastoral surroundings of a simple country turkey farm?

Mondo Baltimore screens Blood Freak at the Windup Space tonight. 7 pm Doors.

That’s the setting for tonight’s feature, Blood Freak. We’re not really sure how Blood Freak fits into the Mondo series though. So far Mondo has highlighted the weird and the bizarre, but Blood Freak seems perfectly logical and sensible to us. If you were a biker in the 70’s, wouldn’t you dig drugs and chicks? If you were a turkey farming mad scientist and some drugged up biker tried to bang your daughter, wouldn’t you turn him into a giant turkey? If you were just transformed into a turkey, you’d probably want to go on a homicidal rampage, wouldn’t you? See? It all makes perfect sense.

After all, what was the first Thanksgiving about? It was basically just the meal before the massacre.

Tonight’s feature will also be preceded by a short on Thanksgiving table manners, presented by Gutter Magazine’s resident Gore Whore, who knows way more about this sort of thing than you do, and is basically the Emily Post of Mondo manners.

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Competition is still very tight in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies contest, and the Baltimore Chop is still looking for your votes. We put a lot of time into writing this thing every day on a crummy old computer that freezes up constantly, but you can click over there now and vote very quickly. Look for the Chop in the Personal, Music/Nightlife, and Misfits categories, and don’t forget to vote for best overall.

As an anonymous blog, we can’t exactly bug our real life friends for votes every day, so it’s up to you, the readers, to put the Chop on top.

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New Age of Wal-Mart @ Howl Tonight

It’s the first weekend of Summer Baltimore! Or, as it were, the first weekend after the first weekend of unofficial summer. However you count it, outdoor movie season has officially arrived, and there are almost as many choices for free outdoor movies as there are for bar trivia.

We were going to round them up for you, but Citypaper saved us the trouble. We recommend you go bookmark their 2010 list of outdoor film screenings and get your lawn chairs and half-pints ready like we are.

Bmore Local hosts a New Age of Wal-Mart screening at Howl tonight. 7:30.

Whether or not tonight is the first weekend of Summer, it is the kickoff of the Chop’s outdoor movie watching season, and we’re getting it started in an interesting way with a screening of The New Age of Wal-Mart hosted by Bmore Local.

We know quite well that proper nightlife isn’t getting started until later anyway, so this is the perfect chance to come out and pre-game a little, meet your neighbors, and do something good for your community. And it’s also free, of course.

A discussion with Wake Up Wal-Mart gets underway at 7:30 (and don’t miss it, because that’s the most important part) in the lot behind Howl, and the movie will begin at dusk.

Bring your lawn chairs, bottles and coolers, and most importantly, your desire to stop Wal-Mart from invading North Baltimore.

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Howl (nee Chow, Baby) is located at 3531 Chestnut Ave in Hampden.

If you can’t make it tonight, you can also stream the movie on Hulu for free anytime.

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