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Film Scene: Kids of all ages will find cinema delights this week

 

Film Scene: Kids of all ages will find cinema delights this week

05 Jul 2017

I’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to those Film Scene readers who came out to last week’s SCAD Cinema Circle screening of director Michael Anderson’s underrated 1976 sci-fi thriller “Logan’s Run” at Trustees Theater. The widescreen digital print looked and sounded wonderful — perhaps as close as one could hope to viewing a pristine 70mm film print from the film’s initial theatrical run.

It was a real treat for myself and co-presenter Professor David Stone to share and discuss this unique movie with an adventurous, inquisitive (and best of all, rapturously quiet) audience, and we both hope to see more Film Scene readers (and their friends — hint, hint) at future Cinema Circle events, including RKO’s original 1933 version of “King Kong,” which Trustees will show July 15.

Looking ahead to the next seven days’ worth of alternative cinema events in our area, there’s plenty of interesting, one- or two-day-only events on tap for both young and old alike. So, let’s dig in, shall we?

For the beach kids

The cozy Tybee Post Theater continues its summer series of popular, kid-friendly features with the latest adaptation of the timeless French fairy tale from the 1700s known as “Beauty and the Beast.” This time around, it’s a live-action 2017 remake of the animated Disney musical version from 1991. Directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”), it stars Emma Watson, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. So far, it’s made more than $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office, which means statistically speaking, you may have already seen it. Two shows each day (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) on both July 6 and July 13.

At 3 p.m. July 11, the Post will screen “Storks,” the 2016 animated comedy about baby creation from writer-director Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), and featuring the voice talents of Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and “Machete” himself, Danny Trejo.

Later that evening, at 7 p.m., the Post’s ongoing series of “Gray’s Reef Tuesdays” screens two compelling oceanographic documentaries: “Rare — Creatures of the Photo Ark” and “Ocean Frontiers III.”

The next day, July 12, they’ll show “The LEGO Batman Movie,” a CGI flick directed by Chris McKay (TV’s “Robot Chicken”) and starring the voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes. It screens twice, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. All of these Tybee Post Theater films cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and younger, except for the Gray’s Reef doc double-feature, which is free to all, with a suggested voluntary donation of $5 (which goes directly to the national marine sanctuary).

Trio at the Lucas

Meanwhile, the newly reinvigorated Lucas Theatre has three recently launched big-screen series in current rotation, and all three are represented over the next week.

First up is the digital streaming of HD-quality live stage performances from Britain’s National Theatre. At 7 p.m. July 7, the critically acclaimed revival of famed playwright Harold Pinter’s dark comedy “No Man’s Land” will be shown. Starring real-life best mates Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart (in roles originated in 1975 by Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud), it’s a portrait of two aging writers who attempt to anecdotally one-up each other over the course of a long and drunken evening and the following day. This engagement at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre follows a successful run with these same actors on Broadway, and will be followed with an onscreen Q&A featuring the play’s director, Sean Mathias. Admission ranges from $5 to $15.

On July 9, a special matinee of Walt Disney’s classic 1961 animated feature “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” will be shown at 3 p.m. One of the studio’s most successful and beloved animated films, it cost only $4 million, but has been re-released to theaters four times since and has to date grossed well over $200 million at the box office. The tale of a litter of hopelessly cute puppies who are kidnapped by a sadistic female villain for the purpose of having their lovely spotted fur turned into expensive coats for snooty humans features the voice of the great Aussie actor Rod Taylor (“The Birds”). This one is easily a must-see for anyone with dog-loving children (or merely fond memories of seeing this film in their own youth). Admission is $5-$8.

The Lucas’ Broadway HD series continues on July 12 with a newly staged production of James Ortiz’ 2012 play “The Woodsman,” based around the character of the Tin Man in L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Adored by critics and audiences alike, this unusual production utilizes music and elaborate puppets in addition to live performers, and — relatively speaking — boasts very little dialogue. The version shown on the Lucas’ massive screen will be the same one broadcast late last year on some PBS stations, and should look and sound phenomenal. One show only, at 7 p.m., with admission from $5 to $15. All three of the aforementioned screenings are free with valid SCAD ID.

Make a ‘Splash’

Around the corner from the Lucas at Trustees Theater, SCAD Cinema Circle’s series of noteworthy feature films from the past screens director Ron Howard’s 1984 romantic fantasy-comedy “Splash” on July 8.

The film, which was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, also earned lead actress Daryl Hannah a Saturn Award for Best Actress. It stars Hannah as a secretive and peculiar woman who just happens to be a mermaid. Her perplexed and smitten love interest is played by a young Tom Hanks, and the ace cast is rounded out by “SCTV” stalwarts Eugene Levy and the late John Candy. As with all Cinema Circle screenings, an informative discussion will take place after the show, moderated by SCAD faculty and graduate students. 7 p.m. showtime, with $5-$8 admission or free with SCAD ID.

Elvis, cats and dogs

About 35 minutes from downtown Savannah, you’ll find the tiny city of Springfield, home of the restored, multi-use Mars Theatre. Similar in size and scope to Tybee Post Theater, the single-screen Mars offers a full schedule of current movies, older films and live concerts. At 3 p.m. July 9, their Classic Movie Matinee series showcases the 1957 musical “Jailhouse Rock,” starring Elvis Presley. It was Presley’s third film, but his first for MGM Pictures, and includes a sequence in which Elvis’ character dances to the title song of the soundtrack, which is generally considered to be the most defining onscreen moment of his film career.

To be honest, the film itself is fairly insipid and forgettable (as are all of Presley’s Hollywood vehicles); however, that’s not really why anyone watches them. They do so to catch compelling glimpses of Elvis in his prime, before sadness, confusion and the deadly combination of prescription drug abuse and his own manager’s avarice conspired to destroy this once great artist. If you’ve never seen this one on the big screen, consider doing so for just that reason. $7 admission.

A couple of days later on July 11, the Mars’ Two for Tuesday series of inexpensive family-oriented features continues with the 2001 Australian-American co-production “Cats and Dogs,” which mixes a live-action cast (including Jeff Goldblum and Elizabeth Perkins) with puppet characters (utilizing the voice talents of everyone from Charlton Heston to Jon Lovitz). It screens twice, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with admission only $2 for all ages.

Around the world

Fans of Fathom Events — a company that produces a wide variety of high-quality digital content that is beamed into movie theaters across the country — have two pieces of alternative cinema content to choose from over the next seven days, starting July 11 with a professionally shot and recorded concert by legendary songstress and pianist Carole King. “Tapestry: Live in London” finds the beloved singer-songwriter (responsible for such timeless gems as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Up on the Roof,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “[You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman”) performing her entire 1971 No. 1 record and Grammy Album of the Year “Tapestry” at last year’s British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park.

The show was sold out, with more than 65,000 fans in attendance (King has had 65 different compositions reach chart positions in the U.K., making her by far the most successful female songwriter on those singles charts between 1952 and 2005), and this presentation also features an exclusive interview with King herself. The entire show runs 100 minutes and screens at 7 p.m at both the Regal Savannah Stadium 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton. Admission is $16.05.

The next night, July 12, at those same two venues, Fathom offers an encore presentation of Verdi’s 1842 Italian-language opera “Nabucco” as part of its high-def series of productions from The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Based partially on the Bible’s books of Jeremiah and Daniel, “Nabucco” portrays the travails of the Jewish people as they are conquered and exiled from their homeland. It is generally acknowledged (even by Verdi himself) to be the work that finally established the composer’s worldwide reputation. This new production finds famed opera star Plácido Domingo playing the title character for the first time in his lengthy career, alongside soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska as Nabucco’s daughter Abigaille. 7 p.m. showtime, with $13.38 admission.

Psychotronic salute

And last, but certainly not least, on July 12, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly showcase of overlooked or marginalized feature films from around the world continues with a special 73rd birthday salute to hunky 1970s and 1980s leading man Jan-Michael Vincent. Best known for his starring role in the popular TV action series “Airwolf” (for which he received the highest per-episode salary ever given to an actor up till that point), Vincent starred in scores of motion pictures and TV shows and developed a loyal international fanbase. However, he has been retired for the past 15 years, owing to debilitating health issues complicated by his well-publicized, longtime battles with substance abuse and alcohol addiction.

In his honor, the PFS will screen one of his least-known movies, the 1989 straight-to-video supernatural thriller “Demonstone,” co-starring R. Lee Ermey (“Full Metal Jacket,” “Se7en,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and Nancy Everhard (“The Punisher,” “The Incredible Hulk”). A low-budget guilty pleasure shot on location in the Philippines, it’s the dark and rather silly tale of two U.S. Marines who are sent to investigate a series of gruesome murders in Manila, and discover a strange connection to a 400-year-old amulet cursed by supernatural forces. Unfortunately for Everhard’s character (a lovely TV reporter), she becomes the object of said curse, and it’s up to Vincent and Ermey to battle the ancient demon.

“Demonstone” was also released in some parts of the world under the title “Deathstone,” but it’s never been shown on the big screen. If this sounds like your kind of movie, then it probably is. Although it is surprisingly effective as a straightforward action flick, there are plenty of moments where its ridiculous plot and amateurish production value get the best of it. Which is to say, come prepared to chuckle at times. 8 p.m. showtime, with $7 admission and 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.

JIM’S NOTES

When Harold Pinter’s play “No Man’s Land” premiered on the London stage in spring 1975, Michael Billington, theater critic of the respected U.K. paper The Guardian, wrote, “The play is a masterly summation of all the themes that have long obsessed Pinter: the fallibility of memory, the co-existence in one man of brute strength and sensitivity, the ultimate unknowability of women, the notion that all human contact is a battle between who and whom … A living, theatrical experience full of rich comedy.”

Carole King has won four Grammys and also received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2013. That made her the first woman to be celebrated in that fashion. A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2015 she was named a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Jan-Michael Vincent’s alcohol abuse problems are sadly legendary. In one poignant interview in the mid-2000s, Vincent actually claimed he had absolutely no memory whatsoever of a drunken 1996 car crash in which he broke his neck and permanently damaged his vocal cords. Said Vincent to the dumbfounded reporter, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

IF YOU GO

What: “Beauty and the Beast”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 6 and 13

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

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

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: National Theatre Live: “No Man’s Land”

When: 7 p.m. July 7

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 military/seniors; $5 kids 15 and younger; free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Splash”

When: 7 p.m. July 8

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $8 adults; $5 seniors/military; free with SCAD ID

Info: trusteestheater.com

What: Disney Summer Classics: “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”

When: 3 p.m. July 9

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults, $5 seniors/military/kids younger than 15; free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Jailhouse Rock”

When: 3 p.m. July 9

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

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

What: “Storks”

When: 3 p.m. July 11

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

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

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: Gray’s Reef Tuesday: “Rare — Creatures of the Photo Ark” and “Ocean Frontiers III”

When: 7 p.m. July 11

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5 suggested donation

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “Cats and Dogs”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 11

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

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

What: “Carole King’s ‘Tapestry,’ Live in London”

When: 7 p.m. July 11

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $16.05

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 12

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

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

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: The Met: Live in HD “Nabucco”

When: 7 p.m. July 12

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: Broadway HD presents “The Woodsman”

When: 7 p.m. July 12

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 military/seniors; $5 kids 15 and younger; free with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “Demonstone”

When: 8 p.m. July 12

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

Cost: $7

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

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