Filmmaker Richard Kelly

The Talkies at Sun-Ray Cinema


This month, filmmaker Richard Kelly is coming to Sun-Ray Cinema in Five Points to screen his film Donnie Darko and provide live commentary as part of the Talkies. The two-night event will take place on October 11th and 12th.

Tim Massett is the brains behind the Talkies. He launched the groundbreaking film series in 2006 while running the San Marco Theatre and has brought it along with him to each of his subsequent undertakings, including a brief relocation to Minneapolis a few years back. Naturally, the Talkies returned to Jax when Tim took the helm of Sun-Ray Cinema in 2011.

“I’m always on the hunt for ways patrons can engage with film in a slightly different manner, and it seemed like a no-brainer to take what you normally find as an extra on a DVD but bring it to the theater LIVE,” Massett explains. “John Waters said I created a new art-form, but we all know how hyperbolic he can be.”

Waters is one of the many top-notch directors to take Tim up on his offer to provide live commentary to their most influential work. The star-studded list includes Herschell Gordon Lewis, George Romero, John Cameron Mitchell, Guy Maddin and, most recently, Alex Cox. Joining these ranks this month is Richard Kelly, writer and director of 2001 drama Donnie Darko.

Starring a pre-A-list Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko is the story of a troubled teen who, upon narrowly escaping death, begins having visions of the end of the world. These revelations are often accompanied by a man-sized rabbit named Frank, who urges Donnie to commit seemingly random acts of vandalism and makes mention of things like portals, regrets and time travel. The film’s first theatrical release was something of a flop, but thanks to midnight screenings and positive word of mouth from confused yet intrigued cinephiles, Darko built a massive cult following. This lead to a rare second theatrical release in 2004 of the film’s director’s cut.

Though you may have already seen the film and heard the DVD commentary, you’ll likely glean some new insights from the Talkies. “[Kelly will] provide live off-the-cuff and, most importantly, un-moderated commentary throughout the screening. We drop the level of the film to a volume where the audience can both follow along with the film and the director’s ruminations,” Massett says. “It’s interesting from filmmaker to filmmaker how they handle this because it’s really up to them. They are not being prodded down a particular road. They are solely jumping off scenes that are rolling before everyone’s eyes. It really provides for one of the most intimate viewing experiences one can have with a film’s director.”

Tickets for the Talkies are $29.50, which includes entrance to both the Friday night screening sans commentary and the Saturday night event featuring Kelly himself. Separate tickets for the Friday screening may be purchased at the door depending on availability. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call 359-4164.