`Arlington Road' begins here

Thriller: The Maryland Film Festival will show the premiere of Baltimore native Mark Pellington's new major release.

April 02, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

The Maryland Film Festival has nabbed the regional premiere of "Arlington Road," the new thriller by Baltimore native Mark Pellington.

Pellington's new film, which stars Jeff Bridges as a college professor who studies extremist groups and Tim Robbins as a neighbor he suspects of being a terrorist, will be shown April 24. "Father's Daze," Pellington's 1993 documentary about his father, former Baltimore Colt Bill Pellington, and his struggle with Alzheimer's Disease, will also be shown during the festival.

"Arlington Road" isn't Pellington's first feature, although it's his first major release.

In 1996, he made "Going All the Way," an adaptation of the Dan Wakefield novel starring Ben Affleck and Jeremy Davies as Korean War veterans who strike up an unlikely friendship in their hometown in the Midwest.

"Going All the Way" was one of the most anticipated movies at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, but it didn't go very far in theaters.

"I'm such a harsh critic of `Going All the Way,' Pellington said from his Los Angeles office the other day. "I think it's good but very flawed. We went in with a 125-page script and when I first did my first cut and started gutting scenes, the characters became two-dimensional and not three-dimensional. I think I was much smarter about pre-editing on `Arlington Road.' There were only two scenes we lost, and we knew going in that we could lose them."

Pellington will introduce "Arlington Road" at the festival and will answer questions after the screening. The movie will open nationwide May 14.

Elsewhere on the festival circuit, Baltimore filmmaker Martha Colburn took honors at the New York Underground Film Festival last month. Her short film "Evil of Dracula" won the award for best animation.

Attend Charles opening

Tickets are on sale for the April 21 grand opening of the Charles Theater, which will unveil its new lobby and four screens. Five films -- including Carlos Saura's "Tango," Erick Zonca's highly acclaimed "The Dreamlife of Angels" and Alexander Mackendrick's "Sweet Smell of Success" -- will be shown, and free champagne and popcorn will be served. Projectionist and organist Thomas "Pope" Croke will perform in the lobby. The grand opening ceremony will begin at 7: 15 p.m. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Charles box office during theater hours.

On local screens

For some truly tasteless entertainment, check out Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation, which comes to the Johns Hopkins University campus April 7.

Two shorts by "South Park's" Trey Parker and Matt Stone, "Frosty" and "The Spirit of Christmas," will be shown, along with 15 others, including "Coco, the Junkie Pimp" and "Monica Banana" (starring you know who). Spike & Mike will unspool in Shriver Hall at 8 p.m. and 10: 30 p.m., April 7 and 8. For more information, call 410-516-8666.

The Towson University Film and Video Society continues its spring film series, "Robots, Androids, Cyborgs and Replicants: Artificial Life in Science Fiction Cinema," on Monday. "Cyborg 2" (1993), in which Angelina Jolie stars as a cyborg who is targeted by a competing cyborg manufacturer for destruction, will be shown, as well as "Bubblegum Crisis" (1987).

The movies start at 7: 30 p.m. in Van Bokkelen Hall Auditorium on the Towson campus. A faculty member will introduce each film and lead the post-screening discussion. Admission is free. For more information, call the Center for the Arts box office at 410-830-2787.

Also on Monday, the University of Maryland Baltimore County will show David Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers" (1988), in which Jeremy Irons does a creepy turn as twin gynecologists. The film will be presented by the UMBC Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics as part of a Canadian film series. Admission is free. Screenings begin at 4: 30 p.m. in Lecture Hall IV in the Academic IV Building on the UMBC campus. For more information and directions, call 410-455-2109.

Champagne and `Blessings'

Tickets are still available for the April 14 screening of "Mixed Blessings" at the Senator Theatre.

"Mixed Blessings" was written and directed by Baltimore filmmakers Mary Hardcastle and Shelley Morhaim.

Kelly Curtis stars as a full-time mother and homemaker who decides to realize her lifelong dream to direct a film. Taylor Nichols ("Metropolitan," "Barcelona"), Timothy Bottoms ("The Last Picture Show") and Roxana Zal co-star as the family members who try their best to help her.

Curtis and Bottoms will be at the screening, as well as Kim Lankford ("Knots Landing"), who appears in the movie as a temperamental star.

The Maryland premiere of "Mixed Blessings" will be a benefit for Women in Film & Video of Maryland (WIFV) and The Family Tree, a child abuse prevention organization. Tickets are $20.

A champagne reception will be held in the Senator lobby at 6 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies and the screening. For information on how to get tickets, call the WIFV hot line at 410-685-FILM, mailbox 4.

Volunteers needed

The Maryland Film Festival needs volunteers to help plan the first festival, which will unspool April 22-25, as well as folks to work at festival venues and events that weekend. For more information, call 410-752-8083.

Young actors invited

Nova Models Inc. is holding a beginning actors workshop for actors 14 and older on April 10 from 9: 30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

You must call by April 8 to reserve a seat. For more information and to reserve a seat, call Crystal Smith at 410-752-6682.

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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