Ever since SCAD unexpectedly assumed control of the day-to-day programming and operations of downtown's beloved, historic and architecturally significant Lucas Theatre a few months back, I am pleased to say there has been a notable and impressive uptick in the frequency and variety of cinematic presentations on the giant screen.

Credit surely goes to the staff of the school's other large scale multi-purpose venue, Trustees Theater on Broughton Street, which sits just a few hundred feet away from the Lucas. While both venues already shared a box office staff before this transition, the two rooms now share management, programming and technical direction, as Trustees' employees were immediately put into service to not only oversee, but in fact boost the Lucas' profile as a destination for big screen events.

This has resulted in the launching of several new thematically curated series of classic and/or popular films from years past, as well as two new and most welcome additions to the venue's offerings: high-definition digital simulcasts of the Bolshoi Ballet, Britain's National Theatre Company and Broadway (and off-Broadway) productions.

There are plenty of great films and simulcast plays coming up there over the next seven days.

My Precious

First up is a two-day, triple-feature of all three of legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson's first stab at adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's written works for the cinema. It's been many years since his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was seen in theaters, so if you missed it then, or just relish a fresh look at how this truly epic fantasy saga was meant to be witnessed, consider attending Part One, "Fellowship of the Ring," on at 7 p.m. Aug. 4. That will be followed the very next day with both Part Two, "The Two Towers," at 2 p.m., and the final installment, "The Return of the King," at 7 p.m. Seen either alone or together, this trilogy of lengthy allegories detailing the trials and tribulations of a human-like "hobbit" and a ragtag team of intrepid men, dwarves, elves and wizards who seek to find and secure an all-powerful ring coveted by the incarnation of pure evil, are prime examples of visually stunning spectacle.

For The Kids

Then, at 3 p.m. Aug. 6, the Lucas' new summer series of classic Disney animated features continues with the 1986 comedy-mystery "The Great Mouse Detective," a hand-drawn, animal-led adventure tale led by the voice talent of the late, great actor and chef Vincent Price and directed by the same creative team who'd later helm such major Disney hits as "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin." This film is generally credited with helping to usher in a resurgence of interest in Disney's animation studio. However, it was only a minor success in its initial release and remains somewhat underappreciated, even by Disney fans. Don't miss a rare chance to see it in a theatrical environment.

Mozart vs. Salieri

At 7 p.m. Aug. 10, the Lucas will present a one-show-only engagement of the National Theatre's new stage production of Peter Shaffer's 1979 drama "Amadeus," which fictionalizes the rivalry between famed classical music composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Shaffer himself adapted the play into the script for director Miloš Forman's 1984 film of the same name, which wound up taking home the Academy Award for Best Picture. This new stage production stars Lucian Msamati (who may be recognized for his work on the television shows "Luther" and "Game of Thrones") as Salieri and includes live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

Kings of New York

Speaking of digital simulcasts, at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 5 and at 7 p.m. Aug. 9, both the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall and Bluffton, S.C.'s, Cinemark will screen an encore presentation of "Newsies: The Broadway Musical," the smash, family friendly Broadway adaptation of Disney's live-action 1992 feature film focused on NYC's real-life newsboy strike of 1899. That film was a massive flop when unveiled (despite an early role by later megastar Christian Bale), but went on to earn a small and loyal cult following - which led to it being retooled as a stage play by actor and scribe Harvey Fierstein. "Newsies: The Broadway Musical" debuted on Broadway in 2012 to positive reviews, and the cast of this version of the Tony Award-winning show includes star Jeremy Jordan, who nabbed a Tony nomination for this very role.


(Editor's Note: The Psychotronic Film Society's tribute to Martin Landau has been cancelled.)

Just three weeks after the death of actor, executive producer and artist Martin Landau (who, over the course of his 60-year career won not only an Academy Award, but a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award), the Psychotronic Film Society salutes the esteemed leading man and character actor known for such films and TV series as "North by Northwest," "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Mission: Impossible," "Space: 1999" and "Ed Wood," with a rare public showing of one of his most obscure, but highly entertaining motion pictures.

1976's "Strange Shadows in an Empty Room" is a truly international effort, as it was financed and made with an all-Italian crew (including Director Albert De Martino, known for being one of the all-time greatest directors of dialogue dubbing for European films), yet shot on location in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada. An unusual cross between gritty, "Dirty Harry"-esque Eurocrime films and the kind of tense murder mysteries popularized by Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento, it boasts a terrific ensemble cast of talented-yet-marginalized American actors, including Oscar-nominated Stuart Whitman ("The Mark"), John Saxon ("Enter the Dragon") and Mia Farrow's sister Tisa ("Fingers"). The PFS will screen the full, uncut version of the film (in spoken English), which has never been released in the USA, at 8 p.m. Aug. 9.

Baby In The Corner

On Aug. 10, the cozy Tybee Post Theater presents a one-show-only booking of the corny throwback love story "Dirty Dancing," starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick "Black Dog" Swayze. A fan favorite despite its somewhat inept and anachronistic script, this soundtrack-heavy tale of a teenage girl's affair with an older man employed at a posh mountain resort is set in 1963 in the Catskills and features veteran stage and screen actor Jerry Orbach (TV's "Law and Order") as the enraged father of Grey's character. A worldwide smash that has generated almost a quarter of a billion dollars at the box-office on just a $6 million budget, it's guaranteed to draw a crowd, even 30 years after its debut. Showtime is 7 p.m., with a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate included in the admission price.

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.


What: "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 4

Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults: $5 seniors/military/kids under 15 (free with SCAD ID)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"

When: 2 p.m. Aug. 5

Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults: $5 seniors/military/kids under 15 (free with SCAD ID)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 5

Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults: $5 seniors/military/kids under 15 (free with SCAD ID)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: Disney Summer Classics: "The Great Mouse Detective"

When: 3 p.m. Aug. 6

Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $8 adults: $5 seniors/military/kids under 15 (free with SCAD ID)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: "Newsies: The Broadway Musical"

When: 12:55 p.m. Aug. 5 and 7 p.m. Aug. 9

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10 & Cinemark (Bluffton)

Cost: $19.26 ($16.05 child/senior)

Info: Fathomevents.com

What: Martin Landau Memorial Screening

When: 8 p.m. Aug. 9

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

What: National Theatre Live: "Amadeus"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 10

Where: The Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $15 adults: $10 seniors/military/$5 kids under 15 (free with SCAD ID)

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: "Dirty Dancing"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 10

Where: Tybee Post Theatre, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10

Info: Tybeeposttheater.com