M.V. Moorhead, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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At West Wind Glendale Drive-In: Sonic the Hedgehog—At this writing, it is still possible to go out to the movies here in the Valley, if you really want it; the West Wind Drive-In on 55th Avenue in Glendale is still open for business. Even though some of the fonder memories of my childhood and youth involve seeing stuff like The Valley of Gwangi and Food of the Gods and The Giant Spider Invasion and Horror Hospital and The Concrete Jungle at drive-ins back in my beloved...

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On VOD: Emma—This adaptation of the Jane Austen classic was released to the multiplexes in mid-February, and then to on-demand services when the theaters were closed in response to the current pandemic. It’s an idyllic deadpan comedy that might pass two hours of “shelter in place” quite agreeably. Austen’s “handsome, clever and rich” title heroine fancies herself a superb matchmaker, and amuses herself with meddling in the engagements of others. Most recklessly, she encourages her...

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At this writing, movie theaters are closed across the Valley. Time for what may prove a long season of movie nights on the couch. I wanted to make some video suggestions, but my overarching suggestion: Watch your favorites. Watch movies that make you happy. For me, these include the original Psycho, Sunset Boulevard, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Them!, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (despite the “Bring out yer dead!”...

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Opening wide this weekend: The Hunt—There’s been a fair amount of huffy fake outrage in conservative media over this shocker, in which vile liberal elites kidnap patriotic ‘Muricans and hunt them like animals. It’s roughly the zillionth variation on The Most Dangerous Game, and it may be the most imbecilic. “Snowflakes” caricatured with the subtlety of a Taki rack up a body count of “deplorables” only slightly less stereotypical. The truth, of course, is the movie...

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This week at FilmBar, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Chandler and Harkins Tempe Marketplace: Extra Ordinary—The adorable Maeve Higgins is Rose, a driving instructor who used to be a psychically talented investigator and exorcist. She meets Martin Martin (Barry Ward), who is still haunted by helpful reminders from the ghost of his naggy wife. Initially posing, unconvincingly, as a driving student, Martin persuades Rose, very reluctantly, to come out of psychic retirement, partly because she’s a lonely...

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If they weren’t over already, the days of Arizona being remotely regarded as a culinary backwater are demonstrably in the past. Or should be, at least. Don’t believe me? Check out the semifinalists for this year’s James Beard Awards. There’s at least one Arizona nominee in every delicious category (not counting the regional categories, obviously). Check them out, then make reservations: Best New Restaurant: Vecina, Phoenix Outstanding Baker: Don Guerra; Barrio Bread, Tucson Outstanding Bar...

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In wide release: The Invisible Man—After the dispiriting Tom Cruise version of The Mummy in 2017, Universal turned to Blumhouse Productions for their next monster reboot. Good move, as it turned out. This new version of the story of a see-through madman has little in common with the 1897 H. G. Wells yarn, or the classic 1933 James Whale film adaptation, beyond the name of the title character: Griffin. Played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, he’s a...

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January and February tend to be the doldrums of the moviegoing year, full of titles that the studios want to unload with a quick release before blockbuster season, and don’t care if they’re forgotten by awards season. One remedy for this drought is to catch up on the high-profile stuff from last year you may have missed; FilmBar, for instance, is showing Bong Joon Ho’s horrifying, hilarious, wildly original surprise Best Picture winner Parasite, the...

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Carrie: The Musical—One of the most celebrated flops in Broadway history was this staging of Stephen King’s novel about a teenage misfit who takes psychic revenge on her high school when she’s the victim of an ugly prank at prom. Expensive and technically complicated, it closed after just sixteen previews and five official performances in 1988. But it has refused to die. Several marginally more successful revivals, including an Off-Broadway run in 2012, as well...

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Playing at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 15, at several Harkins Theatres Valleywide: Spartacus (1960)—One of the last great leading men of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Kirk Douglas, departed last week at the age of 103. In his honor, Harkins Theatres is showing one of the best and most famous Douglas films, Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic Spartacus. If you haven’t seen the movie, or not in a long time, or if you’re a benighted post-Boomer who doesn’t...

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Opening this weekend: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)—Armed with a broad Gotham accent, Margot Robbie is endearingly crazy-eyed, manic and girlishly bouncy as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s jilted, heartsick ex, in this newest DC free-for-all. When she’s not dodging old enemies who bear her any number of murderous grudges, she’s helping super-anti-heroine team Birds of Prey defend an adolescent (Ella Jay Basco) from a scuzzy, sadistic gangster whose alter...

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Opening this weekend at Harkins Metrocenter 12, AMC Westgate 20 and Cinemark Mesa 16: Quezon’s Game—Directed by veteran cinematographer Matthew Rosen, this historical epic from the Philippines is sort of Schindler’s List, Manila-style. It’s about the efforts, in the late ‘30s, by Filipino President Manuel Quezon to bring more than a thousand German Jews to his country — then still a U.S. commonwealth — to rescue them from the rising threat of the Nazis. According...

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