Movie theaters have been among the businesses hardest hit from the coronavirus shutdown. It has taken a considerable amount of planning and retooling for them to reopen safely. This past weekend The Neon, downtown’s only cinema, opened its doors and welcomed in patrons for a soft reopening.
“Our soft opening went well,” Jonathan McNeal told us. “We learned a lot in the process, and customers loved Miss Juneteenth. Our safety protocols were embraced, and I'm eager to see how we do with two new films this weekend!”
The new Sundance hit Miss Juneteenth will continue to have showings through July 2, along with the highly acclaimed documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, about the life and work of Fred Rogers. Each film will play twice per day for one week.
On July 3, The Neon is bringing in two new films. First is John Lewis: Good Trouble, the documentary about a living legend and current U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district. The film documents his activism for civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform and immigration.
The theater also plans to debut The Truth on July 3, which stars legends of French cinema Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, along with Ethan Hawke and is directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. This all-star cast offers a sharp, witty and relatable look at human relationships.
For patrons who are not quite ready to go back to in-person screenings, The Neon is still hosting virtual engagements as well.
- Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things — available now
"Ella Fitzgerald was a 15-year-old street kid when she won a talent contest in 1934 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Within months she was a star. Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things follows her extraordinary journey over six decades as her sublime voice transforms the tragedies of her own life and the troubles of her times into joy.” Click title hyperlink to access 72 hour access to the film for $12.
- Sometimes Always Never — available now
"Alan (Bill Nighy) is a stylish tailor with moves as sharp as his suits. However, he’s spent years searching for his missing son Michael, who stormed out over a game of Scrabble and hasn’t been seen since. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair his relationship with his youngest son. Worst of all, he must solve the mystery of an online player who might just be Michael — and find the right words before it’s too late." Click title hyperlink to access 72 hour access to the film for $12.
- Quarantine Cat Film Fest — available now
"Quarantine Cat Film Fest is a compilation reel that brings together the cutest, funniest, bravest, and most loving cat videos from more than 1,200 submissions filmed during the COVID-19 Quarantines. Created by Row House Cinema in Pittsburgh. Your ticket purchase will help support independent cinemas across the country, so you can watch some cute cats and feel good about helping to keep indie cinemas alive!" Click title hyperlink to access 72 hour access to the film for $12.
- The Surrogate — available now
Wright State University graduate Jasmine Batchelor stars in this incredible new film that was initially scheduled to premiere at SXSW. "Jess is thrilled to be the surrogate for her best friend and his husband, but when a prenatal test comes back positive, it creates a moral dilemma that threatens their friendship." (Monument Releasing) The Playlist says that the film is "One of the most thought-provoking movies centered about parenting released in recent memory — bar none." Click title hyperlink to access 72 hour access to the film for $12.
- Miss Juneteenth — available now
"Turquoise Jones is a single mom who holds down a household, a rebellious teenager, and pretty much everything that goes down at Wayman’s BBQ & Lounge. Turquoise is also a bona fide beauty queen — she was once crowned Miss Juneteenth, a title commemorating the day slaves in Texas were freed – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Life didn’t turn out as beautifully as the title promised, but Turquoise, determined to right her wrongs, is cultivating her daughter, Kai, to become Miss Juneteenth, even if Kai wants something else." Click title hyperlink to access 72 hour access to the film for $6.99.
- The Last Tree — opens virtually on July 1
"THE LAST TREE is the semi-autobiographical story of Femi (as a child played by newcomer Tai Golding), a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after being fostered in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner-city London to live with his birth mother. In his teens, Femi (Sam Adewunmi) is struggling with the culture and values of his new environment. Femi must decide which path to adulthood he wants to take, and what it means to be a young black man in London during the early 00s.” Click title hyperlink to access film starting on July 1.
130 E. 5th St., Dayton