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Fall Film Fest Encompasses David Bowie and an Inch-Tall Shell Named Marcel
Friday, September 30, 2022


The Magic Lantern Fall Film Festival is as much a part of the autumn season as the aspen turning yellow, orange and red out Greenhorn Gulch.

At least, it has been for most of 33 years. And, just like the autumn leaves, here it is again beginning today—Friday, Sept. 30—and running through Thursday, Oct. 13.

Magic Lantern owner and motion picture enthusiast Rick Kessler started the film festival 33 years ago in 1989 when film festivals were fewer and far between. It was a chance, he said, to give moviegoers who cared not for the baseball playoffs an opportunity to see films that were not necessarily part of the pop culture lineup.

“I select films based on critical reviews, and sometimes I’ll pick a movie based on just how different it is from mainstream films,” he said. “But many qualities go into consideration—character, story, emotion, reliability, direction, production design, acting and, of course, in the case of comedy—laughter.”

The films are like time machines that transport a viewer to other places—past, present and future, he said.

“I am very fortunate that this valley has a broad and sophisticated group of filmgoers,” he added. “They are passionate movie fans and realize the significance and importance of seeing their movies in a movie theater experience.

Here’s the 2022 Magic Lantern Fall Film Festival Line-up. For showtimes, visit https://mlcinemas.com.

“My Donkey, My Lover and I” (France, 97 min.)

A French rom-com about Antoinette, a schoolteacher, looking forward to her long-planned summer holiday with her married lover Vladimir, the father of one of her pupils. When she learns Vladimir must cancel because his wife organized a surprise hiking vacation, Antoinette decides to follow their tracks, accompanied by a protective donkey named Patrick.

“Confess Fletch” (90 min.)

The crime comedy “Confess Fletch” follows Fletch, now played by Jon Hamm with less slapstick but with every bit of snarkiness and wry humor. Fletch becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for a stolen art collection. The only way to prove his innocence? Find out which of the long list of suspects is the culprit—from the eccentric art dealer and a missing playboy to a crazy neighbor and Fletch’s Italian girlfriend. Crime has never been this disorganized. It co-stars John Slattery, Kyle MacLachlan, Marcia Gay Harden and Roy Wood Jr.

“Blonde” (166 min.)

Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, “Blonde,” a dramatic biography, boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood's most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, “Blonde” blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves. “Blonde” comments on exploitation while contributing to it, but Ana de Armas’ luminous performance makes it difficult to look away. Blonde is Rated NC17—it’s not for the kiddies.


“A Love Song” (81 min.) 

Faye is a lone traveler biding her time fishing, birding and stargazing at a rural Colorado campground as she awaits the arrival of Lito, a figure from her past who is navigating his own tentative and nomadic journey across the rugged West. Like the country music that has traditionally channeled the heartbreak and resilience of Americans in search of themselves and others, “A Love Song” weaves a lyrical and ultimately joyful refrain out of the transformative act of being alone—and reminds us that love can nourish and mystify at any age. The romantic drama stars Dale Dickey and Wes Studi.


“Emily the Criminal” (93 min.)

Emily is saddled with student debt and locked out of the job market due to a minor criminal record. Desperate for income, she takes a shady gig as a “dummy shopper,” buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a handsome and charismatic middleman. Faced with a series of dead-end job interviews, Emily soon finds herself seduced by the quick cash and illicit thrills of black-market capitalism and increasingly interested in her mentor. Together, they hatch a plan to bring their business to the next level in Los Angeles. A crime thriller, “Emily the Criminal” stars rising star Aubrey Plaza.


Phantom of the Open (106 min.)

Maurice Flitcroft, a dreamer and unrelenting optimist, managed to gain entry to The British Open Golf Championship Qualifying in 1976 and subsequently shot the worst round in Open history, becoming a folk hero in the process.  Starring Mark Rylance, Rhys Ifans and Sally Hawkins. “Variety” writes, “The jokes write themselves, though, in “The Phantom of the Open,” the screenwriters make them sweeter and spryer than they could have been, while a wide-eyed, bucket-hatted Mark Rylance plays Flitcroft with abundant generosity of spirit.”


“The Good House” (114 min.)

Hildy Good is a wry New England realtor and descendant of the Salem witches who loves her wine and secrets. Her compartmentalized life begins to unravel as she rekindles a romance with her old high school flame and becomes dangerously entwined in one person’s reckless behavior. Igniting long-buried emotions and family secrets, Hildy is propelled to reckoning with the one person she’s been avoiding for decades: herself. The comedy/drama starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.  Rated R


“God’s Country” (102, min.)

Sandra is very tired. It’s been years of trying (and failing) to please her recently deceased mother while navigating the challenging politics and power dynamics at the college where she teaches. And then there is the racism, sexism, and toxic masculinity she encounters wherever she goes. But it’s a confrontation with two hunters trespassing on her property that ultimately tests Sandra’s self-restraint, pushing her grief and mounting anger to their limits in this Western thriller starring Thandiwe Newton. 


“Moonage Daydream” (135 min.)

A documentary that is a cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie’s creative and musical journey. “The Los Angeles Times” writes, “Wielding chaos into cinema—rather than creating an accumulation of factoids and anecdotes told by those who knew the performer — Morgen manifests a sensorial invocation of Bowie’s spirit, suited to delight acolytes and nonbelievers alike, for a tribute worthy of his unclassifiable genius.”


“Marcel the Shell with Shoes” (89 min.)

Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans and unprecedented dangers and new hope at finding his long-lost family. This animated comedy has stolen the hearts of many. Rated PG

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