The Ten Best Movie Events in Denver in September

Penelope Spheeris's The Decline of Western Civilization trilogy finally hits the big screen for the first time this month.
Penelope Spheeris's The Decline of Western Civilization trilogy finally hits the big screen for the first time this month.
Shout Factory

With the cooling of the season comes the cooling of hot properties at the ol' cineplex. But fear not, because Denver is ripe with plenty of alternative cinema fun, and the city's best non-blockbuster venues have this month's movie treats on lockdown. It's time to harvest, so grab a basket and let's go! Here are our ten best movie events in September, presented in chronological order:  

10) Internet Cat Video Festival
Sie FilmCenter - September 1 at 7 p.m. and September 5 at 2 and 9:30 p.m.

Started in 2013 by some cat lovers at the acclaimed Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this curated feline film festival has taken the word by storm — just like many of the cat celebrities that it celebrates. The first go-round whittled over 7,000 entries down to a paw-full of 65 selections, but this second touring chapter is teeming with over 100 (!) cat videos in a seventy-minute run time. They were voted on by the public across a spread of seven categories for maximum cat-itude: comedy, drama, animated, musical, action, vintage and documentary. Will we meet another Lil Bub? A new Grumpy Cat? And which one of them will inevitably become our new leader? Tickets are $11, or $8 for Denver Film Society Members, and available at denverfilm.org.

9) Elitch Theatre Classic Indoor Film Series
Historic Elitch Theatre - September 4, 11 and 18, at 7 p.m.

The Classic Film Series at the Historic Elitch Theatre, which kicked off in August, is a big deal because it is the first time in decades that an audience has been allowed inside the storied venue to take in a movie; the theater was the first one west of the Mississippi to show film, in 1897, so bringing the format back home is a cause for celebration. Also being celebrated is the legendary cast of actors who learned their craft in its halls and who are featured in the actual title selections: The Miracle Worker (starring alum Patty Duke), Some LIke it Hot (featuring alum Joe E. Brown), and The Best Years of Our LIves (with alums Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and Fredrich March). The screen lights up the next three Fridays in September with the promise of more movies to come, along with more restorations and new memories to be made. Tickets are $10 and available at historicelitchtheatre.org.

8) Septemberg
Alamo Drafthouse - Starts September 4

It's been three years since Steven Spielberg released a movie, but his newest, Bridge of Spies, comes out in October. Add that to the fevered buzz over his next project, an adaptation of cult novel Ready Player One, and the time is ripe to celebrate the work of one of Hollywood’s true heroes. The Alamo Drafthouse has a month-long tribute all ready for the watching. Jaws, Poltergeist, Sugarland Express, The Color Purple, Catch Me If You Can, Saving Private Ryan and A.I. are all on tap for regular screenings (although Duel and Close Encounters are sadly absent). In addition, the Alamo will serve up super-sized events for a Jurassic Park Trilogy marathon, E.T. Craft Dinner with New Belgium, an Indiana Jones Trilogy marathon  and a special Hook Quote-Along/Dinner party with a fun never-grow-up menu. Come pray at the altar of the ‘Berg all month long. Tickets and showtimes available at Drafthouse.com.

7) The Decline of Western Civilization Trilogy Marathon
Alamo Drafthouse - September 13 at 1 p.m.

Before she directed the one-two punch of Wayne’s World I & II in the ‘90s, Penelope Spheeris was known for a passion project that had never really gotten to see the big screen and had long been relegated to bootleg VHS copies and secret screenings. Starting in 1979, Spheeris began documenting the rising punk-rock scene that was blowing through her home town of Los Angeles and changing the way music sounded and looked. “Released” in 1981, Decline suffered from what most music films suffer from; an inability to secure all music rights — and so the film was secretly seen and not heard. Spheeris continued documenting the evolution of punk which lead to Decline II: The Heavy Metal Years and, twenty years after the original a Part III that focused on the fans of Hardcore. Now, in 2015, the trilogy has been remastered and all music accounted, so that the entire trio can be seen on screen. The Alamo will show all three for one special marathon — safety pins and mohawks not included. For tickets and showtimes go to drafthouse.com.

6) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films
Mayan Theater - September 17 at 7 p.m.

Hollywood is filled with countless stories of meteoric rises and devastating falls, but none of those tales has quite the entertainment value as the one about Cannon Films, the crazy movie house that, during its time being run by Israeli cousins and filmmakers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, filled theaters and video stores with countless B-movie titles that were often aping bigger budget fare at other studios but with more action, violence and sex. Golan & Globus took Cannon to heavenly heights but then built their own escalator to hell with bad business practices, inflated egos and no sense of taste whatsover. This documentary’s director, Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!), pulls no punches, gathering all of Cannon’s heavy hitters, friends and enemies to weave together a story that’s so crazy, you’d think they made it all up. Tickets are $15 and available at landmarktheaters.com.

5) From Hell Absinthe Dinner with Leopold Bros.
Alamo Drafthouse - Screens September 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The Hughes Brothers’ (Menace II Society) impressive 2001 adaptation of Alan Moore’s cult graphic novel, detailing the hunt for Jack The Ripper in the late 1800s, is a mood period piece with visuals and performances (from Johnny Depp and Heather Graham) that begs for some tastes and smells of Whitechapel. So, leave it to Alamo Drafthouse Executive Chef, Seth Rexroad and the spirits of Leopold Bros to fit the bill. A ticket to this dinner includes a three-course meal featuring classic British fare paired with three courses of special absinthe, that crazy drink that has been known to test the psyche of any man or woman. Beware your dinner seat mate. Tickets are $60 and can be acquired at drafthouse.com.

4) Adventures In Babysitting with Keith Coogan IN PERSON
Alamo Drafthouse - Screens September 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Director Chris Columbus’ (Home Alone) 1987 teen adventure is memorable for many things: Elizabeth Shue’s winning performance as a put-upon babysitter who grabs her charges for a quick jaunt into downtown Chicago that ends up with them getting caught in an auto-theft ring; a deep blues club; gang fights; truckers with hooks; Thor and the most perfect use of “fuck” that was ever allowed in a PG-13 film. Also super memorable is actor Keith Coogan as Brad, the lovestruck teen with eyes on Shue’s guardian; the actor will be in-person at the Alamo to celebrate the film and do a Q&A with its adoring audience. Grab a sitter and come revisit this beloved classic. Tickets at drafthouse.com.

3) Scream Screen: The Giallo Films of Dario Argento
Sie FilmCenter - Starts September 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Denver’s Best Bloodthirsty Film Host, Theresa Mercado, gave us a look at the modern age of horror with her last series on the French Extremes of the early 2000s. Now she’s going back to some blood-stained roots of the genre with an examination of the early films of one of its pioneers, Dario Argento. This fall’s four-film series looks at the director’s “giallo” greats, a term used to describe pulpy murder mysteries, with lotsa blood and psycho sexuality at the core — and, most often, a hooded figure running around slicing people up with razor blades and other cutlery. Choosing to omit Argento’s most popular and overseen classic, Suspiria, Scream Screen jumps right into his first big-screen foray, 1970’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (screening on an original 35mm print), and follows with Deep Red, Tenebrae and finally, one of his most brutal and under-appreciated gems, 1987’s Opera. Maybe coordinate your outfit with something crimson to go along with the red herrings and, well, the blood covering most everything onscreen. Tickets are $11 and $7 for Film Society Members at denverfilm.org.

2) Goodnight Mommy
Sie FilmCenter - Opens September 25

We’re going to keep this one simple so as not to ruin the exquisite surprises of this dark stunner that had viewers at this year’s Stanley Film Festival in Estes Park talking for days. Behold the trailer for the blueprint for your nightmares for some time to come, and then we dare you to get tickets at denverfilm.org.

1) Attack On Titan: The Movie (Part 1)
Alamo Drafthouse - Shows September 30 at 10 p.m.

When word spread this year that a live-action version of this beloved anime was hitting the big screen, it sent ripples through the fan stratosphere. That's because many people had been hoping and praying that that this story of a future where giants wander the earth looking for human survivors to snack on would be given some justice on the big screen. When the trailer hit just weeks ago, the worry seemed to turn into buzzworthy anticipation instead, so let’s hope these few minutes are but a trippy prelude to a great adaptation. Alamo has an encore screening on October 5 with the concluding Part 2 screening on October 20 and 22. Tickets are $11.25 on drafthouse.com.

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