Art films, foreign-language pictures, offbeat independent productions - all are available in abundance in Salt Lake City these days, and it's easy enough to ferret them out. If you know where to look.
Movie pages in the newspapers are littered with ads for new films every week, but to find those out-of-the-mainstream "little" pictures you usually have to look at the smaller ads. Or at the calendars some of the theaters publish.At present there are four repertory houses in Salt Lake City, two that show art and foreign-language films and two that specialize in "golden oldies."
The Blue Mouse, 260 E. First South, has long been the art house among Salt Lake theaters, booking in prime foreign-language films (subtitled, of course), odd little independent pictures, cult films and concert movies. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has been playing every weekend for the past decade.
But The Mouse, as it is called with some affection, has some mean competition these days.
Cinema in Your Face!, 45 W. Third South, has been building its own audience, bidding in competition with The Mouse during the past year.
And Trolley Square Cinemas, along with other Cineplex Odeon theaters, has also been pulling in foreign films - and with the backing of a major theater chain, it has enough clout to often get first shot at most available art flicks.
Currently, the Blue Mouse is showing "The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years," a heavy metal "rockumentary." Wednesday it will bring back one of The Mouse's biggest hits ever, the Swedish coming-of-age picture, "My Life as a Dog."
Cinema in Your Face! is currently playing the bizarre "shockumentary" performance art film "Mondo New York," along with reprising the artsy "Unbearable Lightness of Being."
Cineplex Odeon, meanwhile, is playing the excellent British drama, "A Handful of Dust," at the Regency Theater, 2749 Parley's Way, as well as the Australian coming-of-age film "The Year My Voice Broke," the British thriller "The Deceivers" and the anti-apartheid "docudrama" "A World Apart" at Trolley Square Cinemas.
Cineplex Odeon is also giving competition for the first time to the Avalon Theater, 3605 S. State St., which has had the "golden oldie" market all to itself until recently.
The Avalon has been specializing in flavorful classics from the '30s and '40s for the past 25 years, earning a steady clientele. Now playing are the musicals "Show Boat" and "The Harvey Girls," and on Wednesday "Bambi" will open.
But for the past few weeks Cineplex has been devoting one screen at its Carriage Square Trolley Theaters, 1785 W. 4120 South, to older movies as well, such as its current show, "The Sting," and "Gigi," which begins next Friday.
In addition, there are often offbeat movie programs at the Utah Media Center and the public libraries.
Salt Lake City is suffering from movie theater overload, and there are more being built all the time. But if you're tired of Hollywood mainstream fare and want something that offers an alternative, just look around for it. You're bound to find something intriguing.