Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Expand your movie diet

It?s the spring film fest at the Magic Lantern

Express Staff Writer

?Becket? (1964)

Since 1996 The Magic Lantern has presented a spring film festival, and this year is no exception. From Friday, April 27, through Thursday, May 17, Magic Lantern owner Rick Kessler has assembled an array of cinema sensations that present some of the more thought provoking films that have been released in recent times, as well as a restored blast from the past.

The restored screen version of the film "Becket" (1964) starring Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Sir John Gielgud should not be overlooked. "The 'Becket' print is very special. We have played many restored versions of films such as 'Spartcus,' 'Bladerunner,' 'Casablanca' and others," Kessler said. "It's wonderful to get these prints and for people to see them. 'Becket' has not been on television or on DVD, and this a rare treat. It had 12 Oscar nominations and won best screenplay."

"Becket" is the story of King Henry II and his friend, Thomas Becket, who King Henry II appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket and King Henry II end up at odds with each other much to the dismay of the king.

"I look for films that are interesting that are not usually big studio's releases and don't have large marketing budgets, so people don't know about them," Kessler said. "The exception to this year, is 'Hot Fuzz,' which is a national release. It is a British film, and I put it in the festival because people will be surprised how funny it is."

Other films that will be showing are "The Italian" or "Italianetz" (2005) a Russian film about a 5-year old orphan boy in search of his mother who is adopted by an Italian family. "First Snow" a "psychic thriller" starring Guy Pearce. It tells the story about a psychic reading that makes Pearce's life go haywire. "The Namesake" is about the son of Indian immigrants. He was born in America and wants to fit into New York life despite his family's obstinacy to give up their traditional Indian ways. "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" (2006) winner of the 2006 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of two Irish brothers during an anti-Brit rebellion. And, "Year of the Dog" (2007) starring Molly Shannon reveals a story about a woman whose life changes after her dog dies.

"All these films are different from the normal movie going diet," Kessler said. "There is more content, and they are about something. It takes more effort to see these films, but the audience is usually delighted when they get to see them."

Kessler wants to push the envelope on movie going because he believes the experience of going to the movies will never be the same as watching at home no matter how incredible the home theater may be.

"When you get to do this, it's a fun time," Kessler said. "Try not to read too much about them before you go because everything is over-marketed. Keep your expectations low. If the story sounds interesting and you like who is in it you should make the choice to go see it."

There will be additional films scheduled, check local listings for more information or visit

Film schedule

Show times for Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29:

"The Italian" 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

"First Snow" 7 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.

"Becket" 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

"Hot Fuzz" 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.

Show times for Monday, April 30, through Thursday, May 3

"The Italian" 4:30 p.m.

"First Snow" 7 p.m.

"Hot Fuzz" 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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