2010 Schedule

May 29

South Pacific. The dazzling Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, brought to lush life by the director of the original stage version, Joshua Logan. Set on a remote island during the Second World War, South Pacific tracks two parallel romances: one between a Navy nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) "as corny as Kansas in August" and a wealthy French plantation owner (Rossano Brazzi), the other between a young American officer (John Kerr) and a native girl (France Nuyen). The theme of interracial love was still daring in 1958, and so was director Logan's decision to overlay emotional moments with tinted filters--a technique that misfires as often as it hits. The comic relief tends to fall flat, and an overly spunky Mitzi Gaynor is a poor substitute for the stage original's Mary Martin. But the location scenery on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is gorgeous, and the songs are among the finest in the American musical catalog: "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger than Springtime," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," "This Nearly Was Mine." That's Juanita Hall as the sly native trader Bloody Mary, singing the haunting tune that launched a thousand tiki bars, "Bali H'ai." Based on stories from James Michener's book Tales from the South Pacific.
June 26 Nashville. This 1975 film sits near the top of any list of the best films of the 1970s, perhaps in the top five and, in some people's minds, at the pinnacle itself. Robert Altman, at his most Altmanesque, spins together plot strands involving two dozen people over the course of one particularly busy weekend in Music City, USA. Though several of the story lines deal with country-western stars--played by Henry Gibson, Ronee Blakley and Karen Black--the plot also deals with the country scene's wannabes, the business people who pull the strings and the operative for a mysterious presidential candidate who is trying to get the de facto endorsement of some of the country stars by having them appear at a rally for him. (The unknown but rocketing presidential aspirant was eerily echoed the next year, when Jimmy Carter came out of nowhere to win the presidency.) Blakley is heartbreakingly fragile as a Loretta Lynn-like singer on the verge of total mental meltdown, while Lily Tomlin is outstanding as a housewife-gospel singer who has a dalliance with a randy folk-rock cad, perfectly played by Keith Carradine (who won an Oscar for his song "I'm Easy"). The cast also includes Jeff Goldblum, Scott Glenn, Keenan Wynn, Shelley Duvall, Geraldine Chaplin (hilarious as a fatuous British TV journalist), Barbara Harris, Michael Murphy, and Ned Beatty, with cameos by Elliott Gould and Julie Christie as themselves. Next to Mean Streets, perhaps the most influential film of the decade.
July 10 Heaven Knows Mr. Allison. John Huston directs this outstanding story about two of the dearest, most delightful & wonderful people who must survive together in the Southern Pacific during World War II. Sister Angelia (Deborah Kerr - absolutely fantastic (Oscar Nominated for Best Actress)) as a missionary nun and U.S. Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum - perfectly casted truly) who are stranded on an island in Japanese occupied territory. Their 2 faiths (hers in God & his in the Corps)bring them together and provide each other the strength to overcome over whelming odds. "Heaven Knows Mr. Allison" is a great family picture. Is so delightful & entertaining (the story line is a pleasant surprise). Kerr & Mitchum are magical together.
July 24 A Night at the Opera. Absolutely one of the most hilarious movies ever made, this classic farce featuring the outrageous genius of the Marx Brothers is a chance to see some of their best bits woven together seamlessly in a story of high society, matchmaking, and chaos. In order to bring two young lovers together, brothers Groucho, Chico, and Harpo must sabotage an opera performance even as they try to pass themselves off as stuffed shirts. Featuring the classic sequence where Groucho piles as many people as possible into a ship's stateroom, A Night at the Opera is a deliciously zany romp worth watching again and again.
August 7 The Sting. Winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, this critical and box-office hit from 1973 provided a perfect reunion for director George Roy Hill and stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who previously delighted audiences with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Set in 1936, the movie's about a pair of Chicago con artists (Newman and Redford) who find themselves in a high-stakes game against the master of all cheating mobsters (Robert Shaw) when they set out to avenge the murder of a mutual friend and partner. Using a bogus bookie joint as a front for their con of all cons, the two feel the heat from the Chicago Mob on one side and encroaching police on the other. But in a plot that contains more twists than a treacherous mountain road, the ultimate scam is pulled off with consummate style and panache. It's an added bonus that Newman and Redford were box-office kings at the top of their game, and while Shaw broods intensely as the Runyonesque villain, The Sting is further blessed by a host of great supporting players including Dana Elcar, Eileen Brennan, Ray Walston, Charles Durning, and Harold Gould. Thanks to the flavorful music score by Marvin Hamlisch, this was also the movie that sparked a nationwide revival of Scott Joplin's ragtime jazz, which is featured prominently on the soundtrack. One of the most entertaining movies of the early 1970s, The Sting is a welcome throwback to Hollywood's golden age of the '30s that hasn't lost any of its popular charm.
August 21 Notorious. The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, gives us another edge of your seat thriller. He combines, mystery,romance, and the evil's of Nazism in this chilling story.It takes place shortly after WWII. Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) is a woman with a past. Her father has just been convicted of spying. American agent Devlin (Cary Grant), enlists Alicia to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring. After her father's conviction, Alicia can prove her own patriotism by cooperating in this manner. She finds herself right in the thick of things and her own life in danger after she goes as far as to marry Alex (Claude Rains), one of the very powerful, rich and dangerous ring leaders of the group. Alex is on to her and tries to methodically get rid of his beautiful wife. Can the handsome "Dev" rescue the woman he has come to love so much before tragedy strikes.? You'll delight to find Hitch's trademarks all through the film. The camera angles are definitive, the trademark staircase scene, the passion between Grant and Bergman electrifying, sClaude Rains is terrifying, and the story a rollercoaster of suspense filled moments. There isn't a more perfect film I can think of.
Sept. 4 Star Wars--Return of the Jedi. The high-energy, special-effects-laden conclusion to George Lucas's ambitious Star Wars trilogy delivers the final confrontation between Luke Skywalker (a more confident and mature Mark Hamill) and his nemesis-father, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones), as the rebel alliance makes its last stand against the evil Empire. The film opens with an impressive set piece in the cave of the monstrous Jabba the Hut, who holds both Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) for his decadent pleasure until Skywalker comes to the rescue. The final battle pits an enormous armada of rebel ships against the rebuilt Death Star, the planet-killing weapon of the first film, while guerrilla forces battle Empire soldiers on the planet below with the help of a cuddly army of pint-sized, teddy-bear-like creatures known as Ewoks (Lucas's one concession to merchandising) and Skywalker confronts Vader and the emperor on the Deathstar. Director Richard Marquand invests the tale with plenty of humor and a vigorous sense of adventure without losing the seriousness of Skywalker's mission. The special edition adds, among other effects, more creatures and a bouncy song-and-dance number to the Jabba the Hut scenes, and an extended celebration that literally encompasses the galaxy at the film's jubilant conclusion.
Sept. 18 Damn Yankees. America's pastime gets a Faustian twist in this 1958 studio musical, which recounts the ballpark bargain struck by an aging Washington Senators fan obsessed with helping his team trump the Yanks. With echoes of the real-life 1919 Shoeless Joe Jackson scandal, and tart observations on the tradeoffs between youth and experience, Damn Yankees fuses a classic dramatic dilemma with musical comedy to often charming effect. In transferring George Abbott's Broadway hit to the screen, codirectors Abbott and Stanley Donen are smart enough to retain Richard Adler and Jerry Ross's clever songs, Bob Fosse's sizzling choreography (with Fosse himself on camera for the sultry mambo number), and stars Ray Walston and Gwen Verdon, reprising their devilish turns as the Horned One himself, Mr. Applegate, and his temptress, Lola. Where the team strikes out, unfortunately, is in their concession to marquee politics, handing the pivotal role of Joe Hardy to handsome, vapid, celluloid heartthrob Tab Hunter, whose thin voice and unsteady screen presence argue that he should have stayed in the dugout. Walston is reliably spry and acerbic as the canny archangel, and Verdon, in one of her rare starring screen turns, confirms the comedic timing and sexy, muscular grace that made her a deserved draw in subsequent stage hits including another Fosse triumph, Sweet Charity. With her combination of feline grace and alternately steely, flirtatious femininity, Verdon makes you believe her when she sings, "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets."
Oct. 2 Alice in Wonderland.Tim Burton was born to bring Alice in Wonderland to the big screen. Ironically, his version of the Victorian text plays more like The Wizard of Oz than a Lewis Carroll adaptation. On the day of her engagement party, the 19-year-old Alice (a nicely understated Mia Wasikowska) is lead by a white-gloved rabbit to an alternate reality that looks strangely familiar--she's been dreaming about it since she was 6 years old. Stranded in a hall of doors, she sips from a potion that makes her shrink and nibbles on a cake that makes her grow. Once she gets the balance right, she walks through the door that leads her to Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), and the Cheshire Cat (a delightful Stephen Fry), who inform her that only she can free them from the wrath of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter channeling Bette Davis) by slaying the Jabberwocky. To pull off the feat, she teams up with the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp in glam-rock garb), rebel bloodhound Bayard (Timothy Spall), and Red's sweet sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway in goth-rock makeup). While Red welcomes Alice with open arms, she plans an execution for the hat-maker when he displeases her ("Off with his head!"). Drawing from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Burton creates a candy-colored action-adventure tale with a feminist twist. If it drags towards the end, his 3-D extravaganza still offers a trippy good time with a poignant aftertaste.

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