Few people who follow cinema would argue against the statement that Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the finest screen actors of his generation.
Coming of age (and earning raves) at Laurence Olivier's famed Bristol Old Vic Theatre in Bristol, England, the 56-year-old thespian has enjoyed an enviable track record over the course of his 42-year career in film.
His outstanding ratio of home runs to foul balls is most surely due in part to what can only be described as an almost fanatical choosiness when it comes to accepting roles. He has appeared in only 11 films since 1989.
In fact, the fiercely private Day-Lewis has often taken years between jobs, fleeing the flashbulbs of celebrity for lengthy bouts of "semi-retirement," during which he's preoccupied himself with family and diving into such unexpected pursuits as learning the fine craft of Italian shoemaking.
Now, for my money, one of his crowning achievements must surely be "Stars And Bars," a forgotten 1988 comedy wherein he stars as preternaturally flustered Brit "Henderson Dores," a fish-out-of-water art expert who finds himself sent unceremoniously to rural Georgia in hopes of talking an eccentric deep Southern patriarch (played to the hilt by the always wondrous Harry Dean Stanton) out of a priceless Renoir painting that's been in his hillbilly family for decades.
However, despite the fact that it's an unmitigated hoot, that "lost" gem - which has never been released on DVD, and which Day-Lewis is rumored to contractually forbid interviewers from even mentioning - was a titanic flop at the box office.
Its leaden thud seems to have sworn the actor off comedies forevermore.
That's a real shame, because he's clearly gifted in the ways of slapstick and farce.
He's clearly subjugated that talent for slapstick into a devotion to altering his physicality for each role.
This, coupled with his rigid, unrelenting, "method" approach to character development, has resulted in such iconic roles as Christy Brown, the Irishman in 1989's "My Left Foot" who was afflicted with cerebral palsy and incapable of controlling any other part of his body than the titular appendage, Daniel Plainview, the duplicitous gold miner-turned-oilman at the heart of 2007's "There Will Be Blood" and President Abraham Lincoln in 2012's "Lincoln," each of which earned him scores of awards, including three Oscars for Best Actor.
Still, it's his turn as Nathaniel Hawkeye, the adopted white son of Mohican Indian Chingachgook in director Michael Mann's sprawling adaptation of the classic James Fenimore Cooper historic novel "The Last of the Mohicans," for which many remember him best.
Set during the French and Indian war of 1757, this 1992 box office smash made Day-Lewis a matinee idol, and briefly contributed to his onscreen love interest Madeline Stowe (Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," TV's "Revenge") being viewed as a rising A-list star in her own right.
The Lucas Theatre screens "The Last of the Mohicans" on Aug. 3. No word on which version they'll show (there are at least four significantly different edits of this romantic action-adventure known to exist, which frustrates diehard fans).
The movie is rated R and is suitable for mature audiences. 7 p.m. showtime, $8 admission ($5 for students/seniors with ID).
As amazing as Day-Lewis is, he simply can't hold a candle to James Randi, aka "The Amazing Randi." He's known worldwide as one of the foremost illusionists of his time (with Guinness World Records both for staying underwater in a sealed casket and being encased in a block of ice longer than anyone else).
For decades, Randi has used his encyclopedic knowledge of magic tricks and con-artist deceptions to investigate and then publicly expose those who falsely claim to have supernatural or psychic powers.
Penn & Teller have publicly claimed that "Randi created us," noting their snarky attitude and approach to using the art of magic "to tell the truth" came from their love of Randi's principled skepticism.
Early on, Randi took the duo under his wing and mentored them. They would later return the favor by featuring him prominently on their acclaimed cable TV series "Bullsh!t!"
Few people know that popular show was based closely on a little-seen British TV series Randi himself hosted in the early '90s.
So on Aug. 7, in honor of Randi's 85th birthday, the Psychotronic Film Society will screen three complete half-hour episodes of that series in which he invites all manner of supposed psychics and mediums to display their "gifts," only to summarily disprove their claims through rigorous scientific examination.
These shows have never been broadcast in the U.S. or released on home video in any form, and this is likely the only chance many will ever have to view them. 8 p.m. showtime, $5 admission for inquisitive viewers aged 15 and older.
See you at the movies, stop rubbing those spoons - and don't forget to turn off thatcell phone.
Jim Reed directs the award-winning Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah - presenting indie, foreign, classic and cult cinema year-round. Read more from Jim on Savannah's film scene at filmsavannah.com.
What: 'The Last of the Mohicans'
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 3
Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
Cost: $8, $5 for students/seniors with ID; mature audiences only
What: The Amazing Randi birthday tribute
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 7
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
Cost: $5; ages 15 and older