Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Escape to the movies

Magic Lantern to hold spring film fest

Express Staff Writer

Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow have a tough conversation exchange in "Two Lovers." Photo by

When times are rough, movies are a great escape from reality and a relatively inexpensive entertainment outing. Keeping the imagination alive, the Magic Lantern will hold its spring film festival Friday, April 10, through Friday, April 24, with a tentative schedule of five films. The festival will include "Happy Go Lucky," "The Class" and "Two Lovers." Pending films include "The Great Buck Howard" and "Sunshine Cleaning."

"The festival is not as big as in the past due to the economy," said Magic Lantern Cinema owner Rick Kessler. "Distributors big and little have cut back."

Regardless of how the film industry is fairing, the show must go on. Directed and written by Michael Leigh, "Happy Go Lucky" stars Sally Hawkin, who won a Golden Globe for her role as Poppy in a comedy about a free-spirited school teacher whose positive state of mind encounters a bevy of challenges.

On the serious side, "The Class," directed by Laurent Cantet, is based on an autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau. It is a drama that follows a year in the life of a French schoolteacher working at a high school in a tough neighborhood of Paris.

It could be the Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix's last film and certainly a must see after his bizarre appearance on the David Letterman Show, which was supposed to promote "Two Lovers." Regardless, "Two Lovers" is a drama of note. The Brooklyn-set romantic drama is about a bachelor (Phoenix) torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor. The film also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Moni Moshonov and Isabella Rossellini.

"Even though times are tough, attendance is up," Kessler said.

For film screenings and times, visit

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