Back to basics on the screen Autumn will see adaptations of beloved novels and new films by top directors such as Woody Allen, Jonathan Demme and Baltimore's own John Waters

Fall Arts Preview

September 13, 1998|By ANN HORNADAY | ANN HORNADAY,SUN FILM CRITIC

Conventional wisdom used to have it that movie theaters weren't safe for adults until well after Labor Day, but the summer of 1998 gave the lie to such thinking.With fare like "The Truman Show," "Out of Sight" and "Saving Private Ryan" - not to mention the gross-out comedy "There's Something About Mary" for the inner 13-year-old boy in everyone - grown-ups had their share of diversions while the kids feasted on "Madeline," "Mulan" and "The Parent Trap."

Still, a look ahead confirms the tradition of autumn as the back-to-basics movie season, with new films from such beloved veterans as John Frankenheimer, Woody Allen, Jonathan Demme, Ken Loach and Terrence Malick, not to mention young Turks like Todd Solondz, Gus Van Sant and Bryan Singer.

Best-selling authors Anna Quindlen, William Styron, Alice Hoffman, Toni Morrison and John Irving all have filmed adaptations of their books coming out, and actors with grown-up appeal - Meryl Streep, William Hurt, Robert De Niro and Oprah Winfrey - have starring roles.

That's not to say that all the fall movies are serious: Jackie Chan and comic actor Chris Tucker will appear in an action comedy, and a menagerie of endearing animals, including Babe the Pig and a swarm of animated insects, will also hit screens.

Of local interest: John Waters' new film, "Pecker," the Baltimore director's homage to Hampden starring Edward Furlong, will make its premiere at the Senator Theatre Sept. 16, then open nationally Sept. 25.

Sept. 17, actress Jane Powell will be on hand for a showing of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

In September, the Charles will welcome "Inside/Out," a film by Baltimore filmmaker Rob Tregenza that made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival; and it will play host to two much-anticipated rereleases, Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" and Federico Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria." In November, "Happiness," a new film from Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse") arrives.

Highlights of the season at the Orpheum in Fells Point include the theatrical opening of "Fire," Indian director Deepa Mehta's chronicle of a New Delhi family, Sept 14; a retrospective of San Francisco filmmaker Jon Moritsugu in October; and MicroCineFest in November. The Orpheum will continue to run its schedule of rare B-movies and vintage classics, including a triple-feature of "Voodoo Woman," "The Undead" and "The Tomb of Ligea" on Halloween.

"Cinema Sundays," the Sunday-morning film series that includes preview screenings and breakfast at the Charles, resumes today for a 10-week program. Look for the opening of the Heritage Shadows of the Silver Screen African American Museum and Cinema in November.

Pub Date: 9/13/98

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