July is a perfect time to bask under the stars at one of Denver's many outdoor screenings or to cuddle up in an air-conditioned theater and get out of the heat. This month's picks for movie events include throw-back classics, one queer festival and two killer new releases.
10) Velvet Goldmine July 24 Alamo Drafthouse In a tip of the hat to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Todd Haynes's Velvet Goldmine tells the story of a reporter digging up dirt on a bisexual glam-rock singer. The character, loosely based on David Bowie, falls from the heights of fame. The film is a scathing critique of star culture, a desperate romance and a visual extravaganza. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at the Alamo website.
9) Gimme Shelter July 14 Alamo Drafthouse The 1969 Rolling Stones' concert at the Altamont Speedway began with chaos and ended in disaster when Hell's Angels, who were hired to protect the stage, beat a fan to death. Direct cinema masters, the Maysles Brothers, chronicled the concert and Mick Jagger's response in Gimme Shelter, a documentary exploring the madness of an era through one tragic incident. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at the Alamo website.
8) The Black Pirate July 16 Chautauqua Auditorium Swashbuckler extraordinaire Douglas Fairbanks plays a nobleman sworn to avenge his father's death at the hands of pirates. To enact his plan, Fairbanks transforms himself into The Black Pirate and infiltrates his enemies' ranks. Just as the plan appears to be working, he falls in love, which complicates his scheme. The Silent Film Trio will provide the score. The event starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets cost $12 and can be purchased here.
Continue on for more of July's best movie events.
7) Go West July 23 Chautauqua Auditorium No stuntman has been more daring than Buster Keaton, cinema's master of physical comedy, whose deadpan expressions and sympathetic characters are as poignant as they are gut-bustingly hilarious. In Go West, Keaton stars as Friendless, a train-hopping adventurer who journeys west and finds himself crushed by city life, overwhelmed by farm life and enamored of a cow. Veteran silent-film accompanist Hank Troy will provide a live score. The film starts at 7:30. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased here.
6) Aliens July 26 Boulder Outdoor Cinema Bring your own lawn chair and settle in for James Cameron's 1986 film Aliens. When Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, wakes up after surviving a horrible clash with an alien on a distant colony, she finds herself back on Earth, where nobody believes her story. A menacing corporation hires her to return to the colony. When she arrives, all communication is lost, and she and her crew are forced to fight a massive alien infestation. Bands start at 7:30 p.m.; movies play at dusk.
5) WR Mysteries of the Organism July 6 SIE FilmCenter
Dušan Makavejev produced epic cinematic experiments merging fiction and documentary forms, exploring the edges of sexual taboo and utopian left politics and forging a style as erotic as it was critical. Makavejev's WR Mysteries of the Organism explores the political philosophy and life of Wilhelm Reich, the communist psychotherapist who believed cancer, fascism and totalitarian rule were spawned from sexual repression. The film plays at 2 p.m.. Tickets cost $1 and are available at the FilmCenter website.
Read on for more of the top ten July movie events.
4) Fight Church July 10 Sie FilmCenter Local Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Daniel Junge and his partner Bryan Storkle tackle the intersection of mixed-martial arts and evangelical Christianity in Fight Church. The filmmakers invite audiences to wrangle with the question: How do pastors and fighters understand blood sports in service of a religion that promotes peace and goodwill? The film plays at 7. Tickets cost $15 and are available here.
3) Cinema Q July 24-27 SIE FilmCenter In one of the year's last LGBTQ pride events, the SIE FilmCenter will host the CinemaQ film festival, which features a cornucopia of fiction and documentary films. The festival includes movies about Christians kidnapping gay youth, life on the gay rodeo circuit, the quest for love and the impulse of LGBT filmmakers to create web series in lieu of funded, mainstream TV and film. For tickets and more information, go to the festival website.
2) Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater July 21 SIE FilmCenter Richard Linklater movies portray long-winded characters in loose narratives that ramble yet charm; James Benning's structurally rigorous experimental films explore place through silent, stoic long takes of landscapes, often without dialog. Filmmaker Gabe Klinger has produced a documentary about the seemingly unlikely friendship between these two filmmakers. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $7.
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1) Hedwig and the Angry Inch July 23 Alamo Drafthouse Diehard fans of Hedwig and the Angry Inch know every note and lyric of John Cameron Mitchell's gender-bending, rock and roll musical by heart. For the uninitiated, Hedwig follows a DIY band as it travels from small town buffet to hole-in-the-wall bar trying to build an audience and wrangling with issues of shifting identity, love and jealousy. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at the Alamo website.