`Star Wars' coming to Senator

Schedule: Theater makes the short list for showcase engagements of the new movie.

April 16, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber found out Wednesday that the historic York Road theater has been selected as one of the showcase engagements for "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace," which opens May 19. The deal will be finalized after the movie is screened for exhibitors the first week in May.

"Based on the record-setting engagement of the `Star Wars' trilogy we had in 1997, and the fact that we have been selected on this initial list of showcase engagements, we are very optimistic about coming to terms with Fox and inking a deal with them," Kiefaber said yesterday. Stay tuned.

Classics at the Charles

Jim Jarmusch's 1984 film "Stranger Than Paradise," the film that informed a generation's meandering, darkly funny, low-budget aesthetic, and Jean-Luc Godard's "Weekend" (1967), a surreal portrait of contemporary society as seen through the eyes of a French couple on a terrifying road trip, open at the Charles Theatre tonight for a run through Tuesday.

Tickets are still available for the Charles' grand re-opening Wednesday. With four new screens and a spiffed-up lobby, the Charles will show a special program of new and classic films Wednesday starting at 8: 15 p.m. "The Castle," "Tango," "My Name is Joe," "The Dreamlife of Angels" and this critic's all-time favorite film, "Sweet Smell of Success," will be shown. A reception with free champagne and popcorn will begin at 7: 15 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the Charles box office. For more information, call 410-727-FILM.

`Samurai' at Hopkins

"Six String Samurai," a favorite on the festival circuit since sweeping the awards at the 1998 Slamdance Film Festival, makes its Baltimore premiere at the Johns Hopkins Film Festival tonight at the Language Learning Center. The show starts at midnight.

The Hopkins festival runs through the weekend and includes a program of local works; a second screening of "Six String Samurai" Saturday at 10 p.m.; "The Perfect Specimen," Stephen Mims' antic look at a high school prom; and "A Hole in the Head," Eli Kabillio's surprisingly engrossing documentary about the practice of drilling a hole into the skull to increase brain function. "God Said, `Ha!", the filmed adaptation of Julia Sweeney's one-woman comedy about the saddest year of her life, will close the festival on Sunday. For a full schedule and ticket information, call 410-516-7517, or visit the festival's Web site at http: //www.seether.com/filmfest.

Screenings around town

The Baltimore chapter of the Sons of the Desert (the International Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society) will meet for pizza and the screening of four of the masters' films Saturday. To find out where and when, call 410-679-5563.

"Hands on a Hardbody," S. E. Bindler's documentary about a Texas endurance contest to win a fully loaded pick-up truck, will be the film featured at Cinema Sundays at the Charles this weekend. Bindler's film, a gripping and hilarious cinema verite record of desperation, perseverance, hubris, defeat and triumph, has been enjoying record runs at theaters in New York and Austin, Texas, and will be shown during the Maryland Film Festival. But if you want a sneak peak, come to the Charles Sunday at 10: 30 a.m. Coffee and bagels will be served. This critic will introduce and discuss the movie. Memberships to Cinema Sundays are available for $56 ($48 for renewing members). If seating allows, walk-up tickets are available for $15 when doors open at 9: 45. For more information, call 410-727-3464.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library continues its "American Command" film series Sunday with a 2 p.m. screening of "Douglas MacArthur." The show will be held in the central library's Wheeler Auditorium, and historian Thomas Cripps will lead a post-screening discussion. Admission is free.

The 37th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour will make a local stop at the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Tuesday and Wednesday. Eighteen of the best from this prestigious festival of short films will be screened in the UMBC Fine Arts Building, Room 306. Screenings start at 8 p.m. Admission is $4 ($2 for students). Two different programs of short films from the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe will be shown each night. For more information, call 410-455-2959.

Movies on TV

"Ernest Borgnine on the Bus," the new documentary from Jeff Krulik (whose films "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" and "Neil Diamond Parking Lot," made with Jon Heyn, are underground classics), will kick off Maryland Public Television's "Independent Eye" series on Thursday at 10 p.m. Krulik followed the actor in his 40-foot luxury bus, the Sunbum, as he made a tour through the Midwest in 1995. If you've ever wondered what America was all about, watching Borgnine glad-hand his way through RV parks, shoe factories and Dairy Queens will quickly remind you.

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