SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: The Cinema, Inc. Offers 12 Classic Films for Just $20, Starting Sept. 9th

The 47th season of The Cinema, Inc. will begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9th, with In the Loop, the 2009 satirical film on the politics behind an elective war, directed by Armando Iannucci. The Raleigh, NC-based nonprofit film society will screen 12 full-length feature films — and assorted short subjects, as time permits — for just $1.67 per movie. That’s almost free, and only two cents more than the average movie ticket price in 1971. For “Sunday Night at the Movies'” bargain season ticket rate of $20, 2012-13 Cinema subscribers will enjoy the Triangle’s biggest entertainment bargain: an international array of cinematic masterpieces, chosen for their intellectual substance, aesthetic appeal, and ability to stimulate lively discussions.

Founded in 1966, The Cinema, Inc. is the oldest continuously operating nonprofit film society in the Triangle — and probably the entire State of North Carolina. The group screens 12 movies annually — at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month — at The Rialto Theatre, 1620 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27608 (near Five Points). Admission is by season ticket only.

In addition to In the Loop (Sept. 9th), the 2012-13 season of The Cinema, Inc. will include: Let the Right One In (Oct. 14th); Airplane! (Nov. 11th); Mon Oncle (Dec. 9th); Winter’s Bone (Jan. 13th); The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Feb. 10th); M (March 10th); Throne of Blood (April 14th); Bachelor Mother (May 12th); Wings of Desire (June 9th); Avalon (July 14th); and The African Queen (Aug. 11th).

To join The Cinema, Inc., please fill in the order form at the bottom of page three of this year’s season-ticket brochure and mail the form and a check or money order (not cash) for $20 a ticket to:

The Cinema, Inc.
Dept. M
Post Office Box 20835
Raleigh, NC 27619

Details about this year’s film selections are listed below. Click here to view a season-ticket brochure. To ask for more information, telephone (919) 787-7611, e-mail, or visit

The Cinema, Inc.’s 2012-13 Season


September 9, 2012 — In the Loop

UK, 2009, Color, Not Rated, 106 Minutes.

Directed by Armando Iannucci. Starring Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Mimi Kennedy.

In the Loop is a mordantly funny satire about the political maneuvering behind the run-up to elective war. Both the U.S. President and U.K. Prime Minister fancy the war. American diplomat Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) and General Miller (James Gandolfini) do not; nor does British Secretary of State for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander). But when Simon accidentally supports military action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends across the pond. If Simon can get into the right meeting, if his entourage of one can sleep with the right intern, if either can outwit the Prime Minister’s volcanic spin-doctor, Malcolm Tucker (a sublime Peter Capaldi), they may be able to stop the war.


 October 14, 2012 — Let the Right One In

Sweden, 2008, Color, Rated R, 115 Minutes, Subtitled.

Directed by Thomas Alfredson. Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson.

Pre-adolescent angst has rarely been as eerie or unsettlingly honest as in this stylish, psychologically complex tale of friendship between a tormented schoolboy (Kåre Hedebrant) and his new neighbor (Lina Leandersson), a reclusive 12-year-old girl who isn’t exactly what she seems. Adapted from the popular novel by author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In is the rare genre film that explores sophisticated issues and themes with an intensity that can be hard to achieve within the bounds of realism. The result is a thoughtfully plotted adult fable that builds quiet momentum toward a thrilling climax.


November 11, 2012 — Airplane!

USA, 1980, Color, Rated PG, 88 Minutes.

Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker. Starring Robert Hayes, Julie Hagarty, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Ted Knight, Leslie Nielsen.

This spoof of the Airport disaster movies combined sight gags, deadpan dialogue and a cavalcade of clichés to form a broad comedic style that would dominate Hollywood for the next 20 years. Aerophobic former pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) boards a passenger jet to woo back his stewardess girlfriend (Julie Hagerty). When food poisoning overtakes the crew, Striker must land the plane, aided by a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges) and Striker’s former captain (Robert Stack). The trio of directors would go on to make Top Secret! and Ruthless People before launching successful solo careers.


December 9, 2012 — Mon Oncle

France, 1958,Color, Not Rated, 117 Minutes. Subtitled.

Directed by Jacques Tati. Starring Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie.

Jacques Tati’s beloved Monsieur Hulot is a bumbling innocent at sea in the vagaries of the modern world. Like Chaplin and Keaton before him, Tati uses his character’s inherent mildness and some wonderfully choreographed slapstick comedy to underscore his commentary on humanity versus the changes of modern life. A film set along the dividing line between Paris’ past and its future, Mon Oncle was awarded the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar in 1958, as well as a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

January 13, 2013 — Winter’s Bone

USA, 2010, Color, Rated R, 100 Minutes.

Directed by Debra Granik. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes.

Her family home in danger of being repossessed after her meth-cooking dad skips bail and disappears, Ozark teen Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) breaks the local code of conduct by confronting her kin about their conspiracy of silence. If she fails to track down her father, Ree, her younger siblings, and their disabled mother will soon be homeless. A thriller as bleak as its hardscrabble landscape, Winter’s Bone earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Lawrence) and Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes).


February 10, 2013 — The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

France/Italy/Spain, 1972, Color, Rated PG, 102 Minutes, Subtitled.

Directed by Luis Buñuel. Starring Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur.

Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Luis Buñuel’s surrealist comedy skewers social conventions through the conceit of a dinner party that cannot be consummated. Interweaving flashbacks and dreams-within-dreams, Buñuel interrogates the absurdities of bourgeois ceremony and hypocrisy as two well-heeled couples and their friends are vexed by such obstructions as botched scheduling, sexual desire, a theater audience, an untimely funeral, and armed revolutionaries. Their inability to eat increasingly suggests a manifestation of their innermost fears, but the film resists such straightforward interpretations.


March 10, 2013 — M

Germany, 1931, B&W, Not Rated, 99 Minutes. Subtitled.

Directed by Fritz Lang. Starring Peter Lorre.

Inspired by the Dusseldorf child murders, Fritz Lang’s classic early talkie was a profound influence on Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles (among others) and a touchstone for 1940s American film noir. In 1931 Berlin police are rounding up the city’s criminals in their search for a child murderer. With the heat threatening their livelihood, underworld leaders decide to take matters into their own hands. Though filmed in Weimar Germany, the technically dazzling M solidified Lang’s reputation with American audiences and made an international star out of Peter Lorre.


April 14, 2013 — Throne of Blood

Japan, 1961, B&W, Not Rated, 110 Minutes. Subtitled.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Starring Toshirô Mifune, Akira Kubo, Isuzu Yamada.

Kurosawa does Macbeth in medieval Japan. After a military victory, Lords Washizu (Toshirô Mifune) and Miki (Akira Kubo) wander lost in the Cobweb Forest, where they meet a mysterious old woman who predicts great things for Washizu and greater things for Miki’s descendants. Washizu and Miki are soon promoted by the Emperor. Goaded by his wife, the ambitious Lady Washizu (Isuzu Yamada), Lord Washizu plots to make more of the prophecy come true, even if it means killing the Emperor.

May 12, 2013 — Bachelor Mother

USA, 1939, B&W, Not Rated, 82 Minutes.

Directed by Garson Kanin. Starring Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson, E.E. Clive.

In one of her great comic roles, Ginger Rogers plays Polly Parish, a salesgirl in a large department store. Single and without a steady beau, the unassuming Polly discovers a foundling and assumes care of the child. Polly’s co-workers raise their eyebrows at her new ward, believing the baby is actually hers. The store’s owner, J.B. Merlin (Charles Coburn), is likewise taken aback and dispatches his son, David (David Niven), to lead Polly back to the straight-and-narrow.


June 9, 2013 — Wings of Desire

France/Germany, 1987, Color and B&W, Not Rated, 128 Minutes. Subtitled.

Directed by Wim Wenders. Starring Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk.

In Wim Wenders’ lyrical romantic fantasy, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are angels passing unseen through West Berlin, listening to people’s thoughts and studying their lives. Though able to make their presence felt in small ways, angels are ultimately observers, unable to interact with people or to experience the joys and suffering of being alive. But when Damiel falls in love with circus acrobat Marion (Solveig Dommartin), he wishes to leave his celestial existence and become human. Wings of Desire features memorable cameos by Peter Falk (as himself) and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

July 14, 2013 — Avalon

USA, 1990, Color, Rated PG, 126 Minutes.

Directed by Barry Levinson. Starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Lou Jacobi, Leo L. Fuchs, Joan Plowright, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins.

A moving family saga, Avalon is a fitting capstone to Barry Levinson’s Baltimore Trilogy. In 1914 Sam Krichinsky (Armin Mueller-Stahl) emigrates to Baltimore to join his three brothers. Sam’s son, Jules (Aidan Quinn), spurns his father’s life as a laborer and becomes a salesman, eventually opening Baltimore’s first TV store. Mueller-Stahl is a superb embodiment of the immigrant generation, capturing the melancholy of the diaspora of the family from city to suburbs after WWII.


August 11, 2013 — The African Queen

UK/USA, 1951, Color, Not Rated, 105 Minutes.

Directed by John Huston. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn.

Gin-soaked and unshaven, Humphrey Bogart plays a river rat who trades cargo on the Congo River during WWI. When Katherine Hepburn’s prim middle-class missionary comes into play, the two of them are thrown into a race for their lives, floating down the Congo to escape the German officers who had held them as prisoners of war. One of Hollywood’s crown jewels, The African Queen received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay, with Bogart winning the Oscar.

* * * * *

DISCLAIMER: Although The Cinema, Inc. has located a distributor for, and confirmed the availability of, all of its 2012-13 film selections, a film may become unavailable due to a poor-quality print, copyright negotiations, or withdrawal from the market by the distributor. In this case, The Cinema, Inc. will substitute a film of similar content and quality.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).