Spokane movie fans looking to get in on the indie film scene generally get left out of the loop in a major way. Most of what falls under the “indie” tag finds a very limited release, opening only on a few screens in select major cities, such as Seattle, New York, or Los Angeles. In other words, not here in Spokane.
It’s largely a money issue; theater owners don’t want to “waste” a screen on a little-known movie that won’t have a big financial pull, when they know demand is high for something more mainstream.
This means that while Spokanites can choose to see the newest Transformers flick or The Hangover Part II on any of a half-dozen screens, they’re left in the cold when it comes to foreign, art house, documentaries, low-budget, or offerings from new directors.
Luckily, here in Spokane, we have The Magic Lantern Theatre, located at 25 W. Main Ste. 150. They offer all of the above types of films for a bargain price of just $7 per ticket; currently, they’re screening six films, including two just released on DVD: 13 Assassins and Hobo With a Shotgun. (Why the double exposure? Well, both films released in larger cities back in May, and are just now arriving in Spokane, which happens to be the same time the rest of the country is seeing them on DVD.)
13 Assassins (R) is based on a true story of events in 1800s Japan, when a group of unemployed samurai attempted to take down a wicked ruler who was oppressing the local populace. Cult director Takashi Miike is better known for having his graphic horror films heavily cut, censored, or banned in different countries, so this history-inspired, bravado-filled action flick is a bit of a departure for him.
Still, it has its fair share of gory violence, so don’t expect a tame foreign-language art flick. There are swordsmen involved, after all; one look at the trailer makes it evident those swords will be put to good use, in a blood-letting sense. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)
Hobo With a Shotgun (R) has a pretty self-explanatory title: a hobo who moves into a crime-filled city decides to pick up his shotgun and take down the vicious local crime boss. The origin of this little film is actually pretty interesting: began as a “fake” trailer for the “Grindhouse Trailer” competition at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival.
Rutger Hauer plays the title hobo in this ultra-violent flick. It’s gotten some mixed reviews, but it’s probably better suited to fans of the Grindhouse films than to most mainstream critics, anyway.
If you’re looking to rent one of these films, they’re available through major rental chains like Blockbuster. But if you’d like an alternative to the mainstream multiplex, and want to support a great local establishment at the same time, treat yourself to the full indie theater experience. Head over to The Magic Lantern Theatre to catch one or more of their current offerings!
Other films currently screening are the western Meek’s Cutoff, the comedy Rubber, the drama Incendies, and the documentary Happy.
Check out the website for The Magic Lantern for showtimes and more, or call them at (509) 209-2383. And be sure to “Like” them on Facebook to stay updated on upcoming films, since they usually don’t run for very long!