Don't watch this movie trailer

Foul-up: Sony Pictures spoils the suspense of `Arlington Road' by giving away too much in the preview


July 09, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

The past year has been something of a limbo contest for filmmaker Mark Pellington. First his film "Arlington Road," the first feature film he has made to reach wide audiences, was delayed because its parent studio, Polygram, was acquired and subsumed by Universal Pictures.

Then the movie's new parent studio, Sony Pictures, chose to push the movie back from its scheduled release date in May to mid-summer. Then the geniuses in the company's marketing department chose to spoil what should be a twisty psychological suspense thriller by giving nearly everything away in a tell-all trailer.

Audiences and critics alike have cried "Foul!" and the film's stars have even publicly criticized the studio. "If it was my movie and I was the director, I'd be livid," Tim Robbins told the Toronto Sun this week. "And it wouldn't have happened. I would have been stalking them."

For his part, the director, a Baltimore native, is upbeat. "Maybe this kind of thing will help," Pellington said the other day from his home in Los Angeles. "Not that it's a `Crying Game' thing, but maybe it helps add a little bit of spark to it, like, `Oh, wait, what is this ending everyone's talking about?' "

The main thing is that "Arlington Road" is finally in theaters. "You want to get closure," the filmmaker said. "I'm really close to starting another movie, and I kind of want to just get on with it and go through the highs and lows of it. I'm glad it's out there for people to judge."

Free showing: `Il Postino'

The Open-Air Italian Film Festival, sponsored by the Senator Theatre, the Little Italy Restaurant Association (LIRA) and the Communith of Little Italy, proved to be a magnifico success last Friday, when 200 film lovers gathered to enjoy "Rocky" at the corner of High and Stiles streets. Tonight, the festival will show "Il Postino" (1994), one of the most romantic movies ever made in Italian or English. DaMimmo's pianist Aldo Locca will perform a special pre-movie show starting at 7: 45 p.m.; the movie begins at 9 p.m. Bring your own lawn chair for maximum comfort and see this classic film the way it ought to be seen -- al fresco. Admission is free.

Family films in Columbia

The Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival continues its family film series tonight and Monday with screenings of "The Truman Show" and "Ferngully The Last Rainforest," respectively. The movies will begin promptly at dusk on the lawn at the Columbia Town Center Lakefront (Lake Kittamaqundi), off Little Patuxent Parkway. For more information, call 410-715-3388.

Extra, extra!

A reminder to all you would-be stars out there: The first open casting call for "The Replacements" will be held tomorrow. The Warner Brothers comedy, about a mismatched group of football players who get a shot at greatness during an NFL strike, needs thousands of extras to play fans when the production starts filming in Baltimore in August. The scenes will be filmed at PSINet Stadium, and many extras will be needed throughout the production's three-month shooting schedule.

Anyone aged 18 or older is encouraged to try out tomorrow from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at PSINet Stadium, Gate A. (Park in lots B and C.) Please bring a current non-returnable color snapshot/headshot with your name, address and phone number on the back. Another call for extras will be held on July 17.

Screenings at the Institute

Several local filmmakers will be featured at Artscape over the weekend in a program curated by MicroCineFest's Skizz Cyzyk. On Saturday, a series of four documentaries will be shown from 5: 30 p.m. until 6: 30 p.m., followed by the narrative short films "The Taylor Predicament" and "Route 2." On Sunday, a program of experimental films will be shown between 5: 30 p.m. and 6: 30 p.m., followed by an hour of narrative short films. Then, at 7: 30, three experimental films and videos will be screened.

There will also be two screenings of "A Letter Without Words," Lisa Lewenz's acclaimed documentary incorporating film shot by her grandmother in Germany during the advent of fascism. The film will be shown Saturday and Sunday at 3: 30 p.m.

All screenings take place at the Decker Auditorium in the Mount Royal Station Building at the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

Screenings about town

Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief" (1948) will be shown Monday as part of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's West European Cinema film series. All screenings take place at 6: 30 p.m. in Lecture Hall IV on the UMBC campus. Admission is free. Call 410-455-2065.

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs continues its summer film series "Colliding Cultures" on Wednesday with a screening of Akira Kurosawa's 1961 classic, "Yojimbo," starring the incomparable Toshiro Mifume in one of his legendary roles. WBJC DJ Reed Hessler will speak. All shows begin at 7 p.m. at the Mountcastle Auditorium in the Preclinical Teaching Building, 725 N. Wolfe St. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-955-3363.

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