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Film Scene: Savannah offers up dozens of great screenings this week

 

Film Scene: Savannah offers up dozens of great screenings this week

13 Jul 2017

Greetings, fellow movie lovers. This is another banner week for folks around these parts who appreciate special screenings of feature motion pictures, professionally filmed stage performances and documentaries, with more than a dozen such presentations taking place throughout the greater Savannah area over the next seven days. There’s plenty to be seen — from classic cinematic triumphs to disposable modern-day animated dross perfect for occupying wee eyeballs during the humid press of these summer days.

Tybee Roundup

We kick off our overview of such offerings with the historic Tybee Post Theater’s handful of attractions. On July 13, they’ll screen the latest adaptation of the European folk tale “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the recently released live-action remake of the 1993 animated Disney musical (directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson). Showtimes at 3 and 7 p.m.

Then, on July 18, the Post mixes it up with two different titles: 2016’s CGI deep-sea action-dramedy “Finding Dory,” featuring the voice talents of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy. A sequel/spinoff to the smash 2003 animated kid-flick “Finding Nemo,” this Pixar/Disney collaboration has grossed almost $1.3 billion to date. It screens once only, at 3 p.m., and is followed that night at 7 p.m. by the ocean documentary “Life on the Reef,” which is part of the venue’s “Gray’s Reef Tuesday” series of worthwhile nature docs focusing on undersea ecology.

The next day, July 19, the Post presents another modern CGI feature – 2016’s “Sing,” which features the voices of such celebrated comedic actors as Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, John C. Reilly, Scarlett Johansson and Seth MacFarlane. This lighthearted tale of a group of talking animals, who enter a vocal contest at a failing theater, boasts over 50 well-known pop songs on its soundtrack and was a major financial success. Two shows, at 3 and 7 p.m. (By the way, the very same film is being shown the day before in Springfield at the historic Mars Theatre. Two shows there as well at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with admission just $2 for all ages.)

And finally, on July 20, the Tybee Post will screen this spring’s hit animated comedy “The Boss Baby” at 3 and 7 p.m. The voice cast includes Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire and is led by Alec Baldwin in the title role as a brilliant infant employed as a secret agent. All of the aforementioned Tybee Post screenings cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and younger, save for the Gray’s Reef documentary, which is free with a suggested voluntary donation of $5 per person (It’s a direct donation to the national marine wildlife sanctuary of the same name).

Don’t forget about the Tybee Island’s free outdoor Movie in the Park series. It continues on July 15 with a one-time-only showing of the 2016 box-office flop “Monster Trucks,” which combines live-actors with computer-animated characters in a tale of — wait for it — a monster living in a truck. The cast of this youth-oriented sci-fi action comedy includes Rob Lowe, Danny Glover and Barry Pepper. It will be shown on an inflatable screen in Memorial Park as soon as the sky gets dark enough. Folding chairs, blankets and picnics are encouraged.

For the kids

Moving downtown, on July 14 the Lucas Theatre plays host to a special film screening organized by and benefiting the Girl Scouts of America. At 8 p.m., DreamWorks Animation’s Oscar-nominated 2016 romantic musical comedy “Trolls” will be shown, featuring the speaking and singing voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Russell Brand, James Corden and Zooey Deschanel. Admission: $11, with all proceeds going directly to the Girl Scouts.

Two days later, the Lucas continues its summer matinee series of classic Disney films with a rare public screening of the studio’s 1973 hand-drawn animation gem “Robin Hood.” Populated by anthropomorphic animals in all the major roles of the Robin Hood legend, it includes the voice talents of such beloved American and British film, TV and stage thespians and singers as Peter Ustinov, Roger Miller, Terry-Thomas, Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney on TV’s “Green Acres”), George Lindsay (Goober on TV’s “Andy Griffith Show”), Ken Curtis (Festus on TV’s “Gunsmoke”) and John Fiedler. An adorable and beautifully illustrated film, it’s a must-see for young children, adults who remember it from their youth, or even for those who simply appreciate old-fashioned animation skill. One show only at 3 p.m., with admission ranging from $5-$8 (or free with SCAD ID).

Theatre at the movies

Then, the Lucas continues one of its newly launched series of digitally simulcast staged dramatic performances. The National Theatre Live allows cinemagoers to experience the power of Britain’s top actors, directors and stage technicians through filmed performances direct from that country’s esteemed National Theatre. Streamed in high-definition video and audio onto the big screens of participating movie theaters worldwide, these special events are a most welcome addition to downtown Savannah’s cultural scene and are deserving of much larger crowds than they have drawn to date.

July 20’s National Theatre Live presentation is Part One of playwright Tony Kushner’s epic “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” which portrays New York City as it was in the mid-1980s: wrenched with both the onset of the AIDS crisis and the troubling, conservative domestic policies of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential administration. This newly staged production of the 1992 play stars (among others) Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane and was directed by Tony award winner Marianne Elliott (“War Horse”). Showtime for this three-and-a-half-hour drama is 7 p.m., and exactly one week later, on July 27, the final half of “Angels in America” (“Perestroika”) will be screened.

Now, dig it: at the very same time this play is being screened at the Lucas Theatre, the same high-definition simulcast can be seen at both the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall and the Cinemark in Bluffton, S.C. Those two corporate-owned multiplexes routinely offer this National Theatre Live series. Now, if you catch it at either of those venues, you’ll pay $25.68 admission, no matter how old you are. However, I am somewhat astonished to report that admission prices to NTL simulcasts at the Lucas are incredibly more affordable — just $15 for adults, $10 for military and seniors and merely $5 for kids under 15. In fact, anyone with a valid SCAD ID gets in completely free.

These are the lowest admission prices I am aware of anywhere in the country for this acclaimed series, and the ability to view it in such a majestic, restored 1923 movie palace makes the whole deal even sweeter. I encourage anyone interested in staged dramas to make plans to attend this or any of the other National Theatre Live performances being shown at the Lucas in the future. They’re simply too reasonably priced to ignore.

Action!

Around the corner from the Lucas at Trustees Theater, SCAD’s Cinema Circle will present the groundbreaking 1933 version of “King Kong” on July 15. If you are only familiar with the 1976 remake starring Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin – or the 2005 remake directed by Peter Jackson, you really need to see this original, black and white take on the tragic tale of a giant, misunderstood, prehistoric ape and his misplaced affection for a lithesome, blonde woman. A bona fide silver screen classic that still retains the power to unnerve and mesmerize audiences 85 years after it premiered, it features extremely impressive (for the time) special effects — including a pioneering use of stop-motion animation. Myself, along with Oscar-winning professor and film historian David Stone, will host this special screening and lead an informative post-show discussion on the movie’s backstory and legacy. Showtime is 7 p.m., $8 admission ($5 for military/seniors, or free with SCAD ID).

Documentary

At the same time that night, the Eisenhower Square 6 Cinemas offer an encore presentation of the locally-produced, award-winning documentary “Feed the Hungry: the Vision, the Outreach, the Community Changer,” which profiles the Rev. (and State Rep.) Carl Gilliard’s nonprofit charity Savannah Feed the Hungry, which has succeeded in providing much-needed assistance to our local homeless and low-income community through donated produce, clothing, hot meals and civic involvement.

Produced under the auspices of Savannah Technical College’s Georgia Film Academy program, the doc was produced and directed by graduates of that program. A portion of the $10 admission charge will go to Gilliard’s charity, and there will be a Q&A afterwards with the filmmakers. Showtime is 7 p.m. July 15 and 4 p.m. July 16.

On July 18, at both the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall and the Cinemark in Bluffton, Fathom Events offers a one-time-only showing of “Discovery Channel’s Shark Week at the Movies,” a double-feature consisting of one of the best-loved 2016 episodes of the cable network’s highly rated series of shark-themed TV specials along with a sneak preview of a 2017 episode (before it hits the airwaves). It’s a chance to view stunning, high-def footage of real-life sharks in action on a huge screen. Plus, until they run out, everyone in attendance will receive a free foam “shark hat.” Seriously. Showtime 7:30 p.m. with $16.05 admission.

The next night at those same two venues, The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series offers an encore presentation of Sir Richard Eyre’s new production of Bizet’s shocking 1875 “Carmen.” Look for mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as the doomed gypsy, Tenor Roberto Alagna as her lover, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the bullfighter who complicates their relationship. This is a replay of a simulcast previously streamed live. Admission discounted to $13.38 for all ages. Showtime is 7 p.m.

The Hoff

And finally, on July 19 at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly showcase of overlooked or marginalized feature films from around the world continues with a special 65th birthday salute to the Knight Rider himself, international camp icon of both acting and pop music David Hasselhoff. In his honor, the PFS will screen the forgotten 1985 made-for-TV thriller “Terror at London Bridge,” which stars the Hoff as an unorthodox Arizona policeman who becomes convinced that a series of unsolved killings in his sleepy little tourist town of Lake Havasu are actually being committed by the reincarnation of famed British serial murderer Jack the Ripper, whose soul has been released from a stone in which it had been imprisoned for almost 100 years.

Co-starring Adrienne Barbeau (“Creepshow”), Rose Marie (TV’s “The Dick Van Dyke Show”) and the criminally under-appreciated Randolph Mantooth (TV’s “Emergency”), this surprisingly entertaining obscurity was written by William F. Nolan, the same man who peened the screenplays for Dan Curtis’ way-cool 1970s horror pilot “The Norliss Tapes,” as well as co-wrote the original novel on which the film and TV series “Logan’s Run” were based. Legitimately creepy at times, yet endearingly cheesy throughout, “Terror at London Bridge” aka “Bridge Across Time” is something of a Hasselhoff rarity which should be a treat for fans of his unique approach to the dramatic arts. Showtime 8 p.m. with $8 admission; discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the screening.

Until next issue, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don’t forget to turn off that cell phone.

Jim Reed directs Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email psychotronicfilms@hotmail.com.

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JIM’S NOTES

Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” has won not only the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Tony Award for Best Play. It was since adapted into both a highly regarded HBO miniseries in 2003 and an opera in 2004.

Musical prodigy Max Steiner, who composed the original score for 1933’s “King Kong,” was one of the first people to write complete musical scores for films. Of more than 300 film scores he wrote for both RKO Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios, the 24-time Oscar nominee’s oeuvre include such timeless classics as “Little Women,” “Jezebel,” “Casablanca,” “The Searchers” and “Gone with the Wind.”

The very same night in 1994 that O.J. Simpson was involved in his legendary slow-speed police car chase, David Hasselhoff performed a heavily advertised pay-per-view concert from Atlantic City meant to boost his floundering musical career in the USA. Because of Simpson’s chase, hardly anyone watched the Hoff’s gig, and the production lost close to $2 million.

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IF YOU GO:

What: “Beauty and the Beast”

When: 3 & 7 p.m. July 13

Where: Tybee Post Theater,10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults; $5 kids 12 and under

Info: TybeePostTheater.org

What: “Trolls”

When: 8 p.m. July 14

Where: Lucas Theatre

Cost: $11 (proceeds benefit Girl Scouts of America)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Monster Trucks”

When: Outdoors at dark July 15

Where: Tybee Island’s Memorial Park (between the gym and library)

Cost: Free

Info: Tybeeisland.com

What: “Feed the Hungry”

When: 7 p.m. July 15, 4 p.m. July 16

Where: Eisenhower Square 6 Cinemas

Cost: $10 (proceeds to Savannah Feed the Hungry)

Info: savannahfeedthehungry.org

What: “King Kong (1933 version)”

When: 7 p.m. July 15

Where: Trustees Theater

Cost: $8 Adults; $5 Seniors/Military (Free with SCAD ID)

Info: trusteestheater.com

What: “Robin Hood”

When: 3 p.m. July 16

Where: The Lucas Theatre

Cost: $5-$8, free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Sing!”

When: 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. July 18

Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield

Cost: $2

Info: Marstheatre.com

What: “Finding Dory”

When: 3 p.m. July 18

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and under

Info: TybeePostTheater.org

What: Gray’s Reef Tuesday “Life on the Reef”

When: 7 p.m. July 18

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5 donation

Info: TybeePostTheater.org

What: “Discovery’s Shark Week at the Movies”

When: 7:30 p.m. July 18

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132-34 Shawnee Ave.; Cinemark, Bluffton

Cost: $16.05

Info: Fathomevents.com

What: “Sing!”

When: 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. July 19

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults; $5 kids 12 and under

Info: TybeePostTheater.org

What: The Met: Live in HD “Carmen”

When: 7 p.m. July 19

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132-34 Shawnee Ave.; Cinemark, Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: Fathomevents.com

What: “Terror at London Bridge”

When: 8 p.m. July 19

Where: The Sentient Bean Coffeehouse, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

What: “The Boss Baby”

When: 3 & 7 p.m. July 20

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults; $5 kids 12 and under

Info: TybeePostTheater.org

What: National Theatre Live “Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches”

When: 7 p.m. July 20

Where: Lucas Theatre

Cost: $5-$15, free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

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