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Film Scene: ‘Columbus,’ Broadway HD events and more fill up week in film

 

Film Scene: ‘Columbus,’ Broadway HD events and more fill up week in film

11 Oct 2017

Those adventurous movie lovers who were lucky enough to make it to one or both of the two Lucas Theatre screenings of brand-new foreign animated Vincent Van Gogh biopic “Loving Vincent” last week know just how special an engagement that was.

Against all odds, the first screening (which was originally intended to be the only screening) sold a jaw-dropping 1,155 tickets out of a possible 1,200 seats. Yes, you read that right. Well over 1,000 quiet, respectful viewers of all ages and ethnicities turned out to see a little-known, European animated drama about a Dutch fine art painter who’s been dead for over 120 years. As a result, the Lucas hastily arranged an encore presentation a few nights later, much to the pleasant surprise of the film’s distributor, who avowed that Savannah show was by leaps and bounds the biggest crowd to date for the stunningly beautiful and engrossing dramatized feature.

Kudos to the Lucas programming staff for nabbing the Southeastern premiere of such a unique and esoteric title in the first place. Keep an eye on future Film Scene columns for advance news of several more interesting and unexpected features on tap for the Lucas’ huge screen in the upcoming months (some can be found just a few paragraphs below in this week’s installment).

Tybee ‘Graffiti’

Looking ahead to the next seven days’ worth of specialty cinema in our neck of the woods, Tybee Island’s historic, restored Post Theater offers up a truly landmark piece of 1970s “New Hollywood” filmmaking on Oct. 12, when they screen “Star Wars”’ creator George Lucas’ Oscar-nominated (for Best Picture) coming-of-age dramedy “American Graffiti,” starring Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford and Ron Howard.

Produced by future wine mogul Francis Ford Coppola and packed with period-correct rock ’n’ roll and R&B music of the early 1960s, this look at a single night in the lives of teen car and music enthusiasts in small-town California has proven to be a key inspiration on dozens of subsequent features — perhaps most notably Richard Linklater’s “Dazed & Confused.” Showtime is 7 p.m., with admission including a complimentary glass of wine and a piece of chocolate. Admission prices for all Film Scene events can be found in the adjacent sidebar listings.

Anime, opera and an anniversary

That same night finds the first of a handful of high-definition digital cinema programs coming to area multiplexes, courtesy of Fathom Events. At 7:30 p.m., the Volume 5 premiere of “RWBY” will screen at both Savannah’s AMC 11 (formerly the Carmike Wynnsong) and at nearby Bluffton, S.C.,’s Cinemark. “RWBY” is a “Western anime”-style sci-fi fantasy series about an imaginary world filled with terrifying monsters intent on decimating the human race. It went viral online and became a global smash (mostly via YouTube), and has since spawned several seasons of episodes as well as a spin-off video game. This special public streaming event includes exclusive interviews with the cast and crew of the show, as well as the debut episode of the new season.

Two nights later, on Oct. 14, the Metropolitan Opera’s highly praised series “The Met: Live in HD” continues with a simulcast of Mozart’s beloved mystical opera in two acts, “Die Zauberflöte” aka “The Magic Flute.” This newly staged, full-length production of the 1791 work is conducted by musical director emeritus James Levine and directed by the great Julie Taymor (“The Lion King” musical), the first woman to ever win a Tony Award for directing a musical.

This show, which includes both operatic singing and spoken dialogue, is in German with English subtitles, and runs 3 1/2 hours. Although it has been disputed by some critics, many believe the work is filled with Masonic references and undertones. So, there’s that. Showtime is 12:55 p.m. at both the Regal Stadium 10 (behind the Savannah Mall) and Bluffton’s Cinemark. Can’t make those shows? There will be two encore screenings at those venues, at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

The same two multiplexes play host to Fathom’s next event: a 30th anniversary celebration of the initial theatrical release of director Rob Reiner’s beloved family-oriented classic “The Princess Bride,” based on the 1973 fantasy novel of the same name and starring Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Christopher Guest, André the Giant and — last but not least — Wallace Shawn.

A wryly comic and self-aware fairy tale about a beautiful maiden who winds up promised in marriage to a rotten no-goodnik rather than her one true love, it’s a romantic hoot that generations of viewers seem to know by heart, word-for-word. As a bonus feature, a short, newly conducted interview with Rob Reiner will accompany the film. Showtimes are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both Oct. 15 and 18.

Heading back into Western anime territory, on Oct. 16, Fathom offers up a remastered version of the original 2001 premiere made-for-cable movie “Samurai Jack,” which quickly became a cult favorite and begat several seasons of subsequent episodes which collectively won eight Emmy Awards (among plenty of other industry and fan awards). It’s the dystopian tale of a young Samurai warrior prince from feudal Japan who finds himself sent to the future by his nemesis: a despicable shape-shifting demon/wizard. Got that? Along with this digitally spruced-up version of the pilot film, its creator and director Genndy Tartakovsky will be profiled about the inspirations for the series and its legacy. 7 p.m. showtime.

The final Fathom Event this week is an encore presentation of the new, Christian-based “message documentary” known as “Steve McQueen: American Icon,” which paints a portrait of the personal spiritual journey of one of Hollywood’s most iconic and charismatic leading men in the later years of his life. Showtime is 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the AMC Savannah 11 and the Cinemark in Bluffton.

‘Columbus’ make-up date

On Oct. 14, local independent film organization CinemaSavannah returns after an extended hiatus to the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery just south of Forsyth Park for an area exclusive: a one-night-only engagement of the new indie drama “Columbus,” starring John Cho (Sulu in the “Star Trek” reboot films), Parker Posey (“Best In Show”), Michelle Forbes (TV’s “The Killing”), Haley Lu Richardson (“The Edge of Seventeen”) and Rory Culkin (“You Can Count on Me”). This is the make-up date, as the film’s original engagement had to be canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

“Columbus” premiered at Sundance, and opened in limited release just a few weeks ago. So far, it’s been earning raves from critics and audience members alike. The plot concerns a Korean-born man who was raised in this country, and finds himself stranded in Indiana while attempting to care for his estranged, comatose father. While there, he meets a bewitching young woman and the two learn about each other’s lives while exploring various buildings in the town. The feature film debut of South Korean-born/Chicago-raised video essayist Kogonda currently enjoys a whopping 98 percent “fresh” rating from RottenTomatoes.com. Two screenings only, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cash only at the door.

Go big with ‘Braveheart’

That same night finds the Lucas Theatre offering up a rare public showing of the epic 1995 war film “Braveheart,” directed by the occasionally unhinged anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Mel Gibson, who also stars as late 13th-century Scottish warrior William Wallace (who led his people in the First War of Scottish Independence against England). Grandiose and bombastic in almost every way possible, “Braveheart” was nominated for a whopping 10 Oscars, and wound up taking home five, including Best Picture and Best Director. This is part of the Lucas’ new “Movies That Must Be Seen Big” series, which needs no further explanation. If you have not already seen this film, now’s probably the ideal chance. 7 p.m. showtime.

Lucas exclusive

Then, on Oct. 19, the Lucas offers up a real exclusive: the high-def digital streaming event “Present Laughter.” The long-awaited return to the Broadway stage of Oscar and Tony Award winner Kevin Kline (“A Fish Called Wanda”), this live comedic performance finds him playing an absurdly self-obsessed thespian grappling with a major mid-life crisis. It’s a role that earned him the Best Actor Award at the 2017 Tonys, as well as the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards. This production itself was nominated for a Tony for Best Revival of a Play, and by all accounts is a stone gas.

The reason I call this a “real exclusive” is that most folks do not realize that currently, the Lucas Theatre may be the only venue in the entire world holding public viewings of Broadway HD programming. Their top-quality filmed versions of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions are primarily designed for the subscription satellite TV channel of the same name; however, the Lucas struck an outside-the-box (pun intended) deal to offer them on the big screen.

Rumor has it there have actually been folks who live in New York City flying down to Savannah for these screenings, as the Lucas’ low, low admission prices make it more affordable for them to travel here, stay in a hotel and attend the screenings than if they were to stay home and simply buy a less-than-ideal seat at the show itself. Think about that for a minute. One screening only, at 7 p.m.

Roger Moore tribute

And finally, on Oct. 18, the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah’s weekly series at The Sentient Bean pays tribute to the life and career of British actor Sir Roger Moore (best known as one of the handful of folks to portray iconic secret agent James Bond) on the occasion of the late leading man’s birthday. As the PFS is dedicated to shining a spotlight on forgotten or underappreciated feature films from around the world, instead of going with one of Moore’s better-known titles, they’ll show the ultra-obscure 1970 British psychological thriller “The Man Who Haunted Himself,” directed by the late Basil Dearden (who also worked on the influential 1945 horror anthology “Dead of Night”).

Virtually unknown here in the U.S., “The Man Who Haunted Himself” was made just a couple of years before Moore assumed the role of James Bond from Sir Sean Connery. This strange and compelling picture finds Moore playing an uptight British businessman who survives a nearly fatal car crash only to learn that a mysterious imposter has been impersonating him during his lengthy hospital stay. Gripping and unpredictable, it’s a true rarity that should be of interest not only to Moore fans, but also to anyone who enjoys challenging indie cinema. 8 p.m. showtime, with discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the film.

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.

IF YOU GO

What: “American Graffiti”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 12

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10, includes glass of wine and chocolate

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “RWBY” Volume 5 Premiere

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12

Where: AMC Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee St., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: The Met Live in HD: “Die Zauberflöte”

When: 12:55 p.m. Oct. 14; 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18

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

Cost: $21.40-$25.68

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “Columbus”

When: 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 14

Where: S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, 9 W. Henry St.

Cost: $8, cash only

Info: 912-651-6783

What: “Braveheart”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 14

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$8

Info: lucastheatre.com

What: “The Princess Bride” 30th Anniversary Event

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 15 and 18

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

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “Samurai Jack”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 16

Where: AMC Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee St., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “The Man Who Haunted Himself”

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 18

Where: The Sentient Bean

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

What: “Steve McQueen: American Icon”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 19

Where: AMC Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee St.; Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: Broadway HD: “Present Laughter”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 19

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$15

Info: lucastheatre.com

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