Best Movies for Spanish Speakers 2004 | Cinema Latino Aurora 8 | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
That the metro area's Spanish-speaking Hispanic population continues to grow didn't escape local entrepreneur, state school-board member, politico and all-around rich guy Jared Polis. Seeing an untapped market, the man with the means opened Cinema Latino in the Aurora Plaza mall's former dollar theater. The eight-screen movie house features new Hollywood releases that are dubbed or subtitled in Spanish, and movie-goers munch on Mexican and Central American-style treats such as palomitas con salsa (popcorn with hot sauce). Polis hopes to eventually spread his vision to thirty or forty other cities. Que bueno!

Best Feature Shot (Partially) in Colorado


The early sequences of Gavin O'Connor's deft, exciting re-creation of a great moment in American sports history -- the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team's 1980 victory over the seemingly invincible Soviets -- are set at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and in the rickety old Broadmoor Arena, where the blood feud between the University of Denver and Colorado College is so often renewed. In the film, we revisit the Springs as the driven U.S. coach Herb Brooks (authentically played by Kurt Russell) selects his team of lovable underdogs and tells the Olympic powers-that-be that their antique ideas about hockey (and losing) stink on ice. The film then moves on to Minnesota, Norway and Lake Placid, but Colorado gets first crack at the implacable Brooks.
Last fall, the Cinderella Twin, one of the city's last two drive-in theaters, was supposed to bite the dust to make way for new development. But the plans were put on hold, so there's at least one more season in the sun. The double-screen drive-in is already open on weekend evenings, and it plans to have a full schedule beginning later this spring. How appropriate that one of its first offerings of the year is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
There's no getting around it: Babies kill the movie experience. Rather than become the pariah in the last row, most parents of newborns opt to simply give up on going out to the movies. But now they don't have to: Moms and dads can take their babies and wee ones to Madstone Theaters on Tuesday mornings, where the grownups can choose from up to six films for their viewing pleasure. And if the kid cries, so what? So will everyone else's, at some point. Stinky diaper? Relax -- you're among friends. In addition to other parent-friendly amenities, a free, pre-show activity hosted by Gymboree will wear toddlers out before the film begins. Sweet screens.
No question about it: Flicks are for kids on Saturdays at Starz. The usual Saturday-matinee fare is absolutely abysmal, but at Starz the shows are hand-picked for children in varying age groups. Naturally, the movies fall on the indie side of the spectrum, but there are also kid-lit-to-screen titles, as well as the occasional big-screen nod, such as a Spanish-language screening of Ice Age.
Most adults instinctively know that when the kids come along, they'll spend the next eighteen years reclaiming their cultural lives, inch by wretched inch. Happily, the Denver Center Theatre Company found a way to slow parents' march of Sisyphus: While adults take in a matinee, Familes@Play entertains their kids with a mixture of drama classes and activities. There's life after children after all.
You have to hand it to creative guide Douglas Love and the Walden Family Playhouse. The exclusive Colorado Mills children's theater, which debuted just over a year ago, really does what it set out to do: provide the same kind of experience for children that the Denver Center Theatre Company provides for grownups. Walden dishes up world-class theater with top-notch costumes and set design in a fine-looking venue, which in turn raises general interest in the theater among its young constituents. That alone is evidence of a job well done. Shine on.
Annie Dwyer must have spent every waking hour for many, many months playing with bubble gum before appearing in Heritage Square's production of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The woman can blow a bubble the size of a basketball and then retract it slowly, with perfect control, back into her mouth. She can let a deflated bubble dangle from her lips like a used condom, create an inverse bubble or pull the gum into a sheet and make patterns on it with her lips. She can also stretch it into a lasso several feet long and swing it out over the audience. As gangster moll Rose Louise Romberg, Dwyer was all over the stage, whining, seducing, twitching, mugging and waving her hands about. She went too far, and then went further still. Her recklessness was magnificent.
The popular Buntport Theater, with its adventurous comedy troupe, has an abundance of hilarious regulars. None, however, are as side-splitting as Erin Rollman. Her characters are so funny, because although they're impossibly overblown and shamelessly ridiculous, Rollman herself completely believes in them. And you almost believe in them, too. She fills them with feeling and life; she is these people, and they're always complete originals. The monstrous adolescent she played in this season's Idiot Box took the cake: The girl, who had just won a science fair with her world-conquering board game "Monopolize Your Risk," was a bullying, self-satisfied, evil, lisping, megalomaniacal danger to both her little brother and the world -- but you couldn't take your eyes off her. No matter whom she's playing, Rollman comes up with a winner every time.
In the Denver Center Theatre Company's Lobby Hero, Bill Christ played a cop who seemed to have no insides, a kind of parody of a cop. He mouthed the heroic, tough-guy lines you so often hear in television dramas, bullying and prevaricating, and fluidly took on whatever persona suited his needs at any particular moment. Christ's character was both goofy and vicious, but he did have his own code of honor that he believed in with all his heart -- until that code of honor became inconvenient. The brilliance of Christ's performance was his ability to give this squirrelly character a real core, showing the mix of insecurity and arrogance that animated him. It was a stellar performance in a bright spot among this season's theatrical offerings.

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