Movie Review

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Brendan Fraser in a scene from ''The Whale' Photo courtesy of A24

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

In 2012, Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale premiered off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. It won both the Drama Desk and the Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Play. Hunter has adapted his play for the screen in a compelling film directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The film opens with Charlie, a morbidly obese college professor, teaching online from his Idaho apartment. While Charlie urges his students to write from a place of truth and honesty, he leaves his camera off so they cannot see who he really is. His friend Liz, a nurse with personal ties to Charlie’s history, urges him to go to the hospital as he is bordering on congestive heart failure. Charlie refuses, citing a lack of health insurance and the fear of incurring huge debts.

Charlie spends his days grading papers, eating, and struggling with declining health. Thomas, a missionary from the New Life Church, visits, attempting to bring him to God. Charlie’s only other outside interaction is with the Gambino’s pizza delivery man, Dan, with whom he speaks through the closed door.

Knowing that his time is limited, Charlie reaches out to his estranged daughter, Ellie. Charlie had not seen the girl since he left her and her mother, Mary, for Alan, one of his continuing ed students. 

A dysfunctional family drama ensues that touches on depression, suicide, religion, money, and homophobia. For the screenplay, Hunter hewed closely to his original work. The play was set entirely in Charlie’s living room, and Aronofsky wisely opts to keep most of the action in the dark, cluttered room, only opening up to the apartment’s additional rooms and the porch (though Charlie never goes beyond the threshold).

The film is not subtle in its storytelling and metaphors. The titular “whale” refers to Moby Dick—both Charlie and a student essay he rereads obsessively. Nevertheless, The Whale derives strength from exceptional performances from its ensemble cast. 

The connection between Liz and Charlie is central to his survival, and Hong Chau balances her love and frustration as Charlie’s only direct contact with the outside world. She frets over his health but is a not-so unwitting enabler. Sadie Sink brings multiple shades of anger and darkness to Ellie, showing her pain but also an almost sadistic need to manipulate. 

Ty Simpkins, as Thomas, avoids cliché and makes the later revelations valid and believable. Samantha Morton appears in one scene, imbuing Mary, the alcoholic ex-wife, with the right sense of hurt and damage. But, at the center of the film is Brendan Fraser as Charlie.

Fraser’s early career included Dogfight (1991), Encino Man (1992), and School Ties (1992). He is best known for The Mummy series (1999, 2001, 2008), with other movies ranging from Dudley Do-Right (1999) and Blast from the Past (1999) to Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) and No Sudden Move (2021). Certainly, none of these prepare audiences for the heartbreaking depth of this performance.

Going beyond the physical challenges, Fraser makes Charlie a complicated figure. He alternates between a resigned need to apologize—his litany of “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry …”—and a passionate desire to see the good in people (specifically, the mercenary Ellie, who may or may not warrant this faith). 

Harrowing moments include a choking fit and a pizza binge—each horrifying and gut-wrenching in its own way. But they are no more painful than Ellie’s malevolent, “I’m not spending time with you. You’re disgusting.” And his cry, “Who would want me to be a part of their life?” Even his struggle to stand and cross the room resonates with a deep hurt. Fraser never loses sight of Charlie’s humanity, creating a dimensional, unforgettable performance. 

Fraser has already won twenty awards, an equal number of additional nominations, and another dozen pending, including the Oscar for Best Actor.

However, the film has been in the crosshairs of two controversies. Fraser’s casting required him to wear nearly three hundred pounds of prosthetics. This raised questions about why a more appropriately sized actor was not selected. (Shuler Hensley, who appeared in The Whale off-Broadway, was also heavily padded for the role.)

In addition, the character itself has stoked ire in various sectors. “Some of the film’s critics believe it perpetuates tired tropes of fat people as suffering, chronically depressed and binge eating.” (Time Magazine, December 9, 2022) Appropriately, Aronofsky’s career has included a range of controversial films, including Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, Noah, and Mother!

These challenges aside, the film and its key performance are more than worthy of viewing. At its heart, The Whale asks: Can anyone save anyone? The Whale is a disturbing, extraordinary exploration that leaves the question unanswered. 

Rated R, the film is now playing in local theaters.

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Groundhog Day returns to select theaters nationwide on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5, courtesy of Fathom Events and Columbia Pictures.

Bill Murray in a scene from the film.

Snowed in during a trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities, television weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself stuck in time, endlessly repeating February 2nd. His world is inhabited by the same people every day, but they don’t know Groundhog Day is repeating itself. That gives him a certain advantage: He can find out what a woman is looking for in a man, and then the “next” day behave in exactly the right way to impress her. Luckily there is a woman close by to practice on. She’s Rita (Andie MacDowell), Phil’s long-suffering producer, who has had to put up with his tantrums, demands and surliness. Gradually Phil is able to see the error of his ways and improve his behavior until, finally, a Groundhog Day dawns when she finally likes him.

Locally, the film will be screened at Island 16 Cinema de Lux in Holtsville, AMC Stony Brook 17 and Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. and on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

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Tom Hanks and his furry costar Schmagel in a scene from the film. Photo by Niko Tavernise/Columbia Pictures

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (2012) spent forty weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. First published in Swedish, the English version received almost unanimous raves. The author attributed his inspiration to a newspaper article about a man named Ove who had created a stir while purchasing tickets at an art museum. As a result, Backman created a series of blog posts: “I am a Man Called Ove.” Here, he vented about the world’s many minor aggravations. Eventually, this became the source of the book.

The novel’s Ove is a curmudgeon of the first order. A rule follower, he adheres with almost religious fervor to the letter of the law. He is also deeply mourning for his wife, who passed away six months before the story starts. Forced into retirement, he sees nothing to live for and is determined to end his life so that he may join her. However, a chance encounter with his new neighbors changes his entire course. Reluctantly, Ove becomes drawn into their day-to-day drama and becomes a hesitant but invaluable ally. This involvement shifts Ove’s view of life, and he finds new purpose, mending fences and making changes.

A Swedish film, adhering closely to the source material, was adapted and directed by Hannes Holm, and starred Rolf Lassgård as Ove. Released in 2016, the well-received film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and is now Sweden’s third-most-watched Swedish theatrical film of all time. 

In 2017, it was announced that Tom Hanks would star in an English-language remake. (He is also a co-producer, along with his wife, Rita Wilson, Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, and Gary Goetzman). The danger of the material is leaning into its sentimentality and eschewing the darker tones. 

Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Christopher Robin) and screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland, Life of Pi) have marginally avoided too gooey a center. While maintaining the plot and most details, this incarnation is distinctly more emotional than the novel or the Swedish version. However, taken for itself, A Man Called Otto is a surprisingly fast-paced, heartfelt two hours and a worthwhile journey. If there are moments that might feel saccharine, the end is both rewarding and cathartic.

The story revolves around Otto, first seen buying five feet of rope sold by the yard. He argues that he does not want to pay the additional thirty-three cents. Even though planning on using the rope to end his life—and clearly, the change would not make a difference to his future—he obsesses on principle. The scene establishes the man and his views.

Each day, Otto makes his morning rounds of the community. Neighbors attempt to engage him, but he responds, “I have too many things to do.” (This mantra will eventually shift from the negative to the positive.) While Backman’s Ove is taciturn, Hanks’ Otto borders on chatterbox, with a running commentary muttered under his breath. Occasionally, his vocalizations conjure an irate Mr. Bean. 

A few changes bring the film into the present: A gay character is now transgender. Social media becomes a force for good. But, overall, the throughline remains the same. 

The major narrative shift is in the use of flashbacks of Otto’s life. The book and earlier film reveal Ove’s history as a series of bad breaks, hard work, and patience. Important is his particular hate for the bureaucratic “men in the white shirts” responsible for many of the worst events in his life. In Otto, the flashbacks are used almost exclusively for his courtship, marriage, and life with Sonya (Rachel Keller). This obscures much of the causality in the story that showed Sonya bringing him out of his misfortunes. (Tom Hanks’ son Truman plays the young Otto, but his work fails to link the two Ottos.) Ove is a man marinated in sourness. Conversely, one suspects Otto is a false Grinch, masking his too-large heart.

Of course, the film’s purpose is Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is the great American Everyman, so his Otto becomes not a scarred survivor but a reflection of what anyone would become from this loss. Like Jimmy Stewart, Hanks is unique because he manages to be all of us but wholly himself. Different from Backman’s Ove, Hanks makes Otto his own. 

There is a wonderful eclectic nature to the neighborhood residents. In particular, Mariana Treviño brings humor and grounding to Marisol, the new neighbor. In addition, Treviño offers a warm but knowing presence, suspecting that there is more going on with Otto than he shows. 

The interactions between Treviño and Hanks are the highlights of the film. (Christiana Montoya and Alessandra Perez deserve special mention for playing her children with an energy that is neither precocious nor shrill.)

In the end, A Man Called Otto is a different, if gentler, take on a touching, tender, and uplifting tale. 

Rated PG-13, the film is now playing in local theaters.

National Lampoon's Vacation returns to the big screen on July 16 and 19.

Fathom Events has  announced its slate of titles for the upcoming first-ever Fathom’s Big Screen Classics series. The series will run throughout 2023, celebrating the anniversaries of 11 of Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and the debut of a newly restored print of the enduring 1942 classic Casablanca.

Fathom’s Big Screen Classics series has something for everyone in 2023, from the 25th anniversary of The Big Lebowski to the 70th anniversary of the classic Roman Holiday – plus 10 films representing decades in between.

Leonard Maltin

This special series will also feature film historian and critic Leonard Maltin who will provide insights into the films, sharing his one-of-a-kind expertise with fans. After thirty years on television’s Entertainment Tonight, he’s a familiar face as well as a familiar name to the millions of people who still rely on his paperback reference Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, which was published from 1969 to 2015, and the still-popular Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide. His many other books include The Disney Films, Hooked on Hollywood, and his autobiography Starstruck. He hosts a weekly podcast called Maltin on Movies with his daughter Jessie, and teaches a popular course at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The 2023 Fathom’s Big Screen Classics series includes (in order of screening date):

  • Roman Holiday 70th Anniversary
  • Groundhog Day 30th Anniversary
  • Casablanca newly restored presentation
  • The Big Lebowski 25th Anniversary
  • Grease 45th Anniversary
  • Hairspray (1988) 35th Anniversary
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation 40th Anniversary
  • Enter the Dragon 50th Anniversary
  • Rain Man 35th Anniversary
  • The Birds 60th Anniversary
  • Scarface 40th Anniversary
  • A Christmas Story 40th Anniversary

“We are so excited to bring this new slate of classics to theatres this year,” said Tom Lucas, VP of Studio Relations for Fathom Events. “Combining Maltin’s pedigree with this list of some of the greatest films ever made – and titles reflecting a wide mix of film genres, spanning six decades – is going to be an incredible experience for moviegoers. We hope audiences will love seeing these classics on the big screen again!”

Tickets for the Fathom’s Big Screen Classics 2023 series are on-sale now at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of events in the series and to purchase tickets, visit the Fathom Events website. Please continue to check the Fathom Events website for updates and to sign up for alerts.

Roman Holiday 70th Anniversary (1953)
Date: January 22 & 25
Director: William Wyler
Writer: Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan HunterJohn Dighton
Producer: William Wyler
Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey HepburnEddie Albert

Nominated for a total of 10 Oscars®, including Best Picture, it’s the story of a modern-day princess who, rebelling against the royal obligations, explores Rome on her own.

Groundhog Day 30th Anniversary (1993)
Date: February 2 & 5
Director: Harold Ramis
Writer: Story by Danny Rubin, Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis
Producer: C.O. Erickson, Trevor AlbertHarold Ramis
Cast: Bill MurrayAndie MacDowellChris Elliott

Snowed in during a trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities, television weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself stuck in time, endlessly repeating February 2nd.

Casablanca (1942)
Date: March 5 & 8
Director: Michael Curtiz
Writer: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. EpsteinHoward Koch
Producer: Jack L. Warner
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid BergmanPaul HenreidClaude Rains

Academy Award® winners Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman light up the screen in one of the most enduring romances in movie history– Casablanca. The new 2022 4K digital cinema master was restored and remastered from a new 16bit film scan of the best-surviving source — the nitrate fine grain film elements. The 4K scanned digital images went through an extensive digital restoration process to clean and repair the picture for an ultra-high resolution picture presentation. This work was meticulously handled by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging.

The Big Lebowski 25th Anniversary (1998)
Date: April 16 & 20
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric FellnerEthan CoenJoel Coen
Cast: Jeff Bridges, John GoodmanJulianne Moore

From the Academy Award®-winning Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski is a hilariously quirky comedy about bowling, a severed toe, White Russians and a guy named…The Dude.

Grease 45th Anniversary (1978)
Date: May 14 & 17
Director: Randal Kleiser
Writer: Bronte Woodard
Producer: Allan Carr, Robert Stigwood
Cast: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-JohnStockard Channing

The kids are cool, the cars are hot, and the tunes are always rockin’ and rollin’ when one of the most beloved comedies of all time comes back to theaters to celebrate its 45th anniversary! Good girl Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is new to school, but ready to join the Pink Ladies. Badboy Danny (John Travolta), the leader of the T-Birds, has just discovered their summer lovin’ wasn’t just a passing fling when they’re reunited at Rydell High School.

Hairspray 35th Anniversary (1988)
Date: June 11 & 14
Director: John Waters
Writer: John Waters
Producer: Sara RisherRobert ShayeRachel Talalay
Cast: Sonny BonoRuth Brown, Divine

It’s Baltimore, 1962, and a rebellious teenager with the biggest bouffant on the block attempts to win the coveted “Miss Auto Show” crown as she fights against racial discrimination in this film created and directed by John Waters and featuring Divine in his/her last role.

National Lampoon’s Vacation 40th Anniversary (1983)
Date: July 16 & 19
Director: Harold Ramis
Writer: John Hughes
Producer: Matty Simmons
Cast: Chevy ChaseBeverly D’AngeloImogene Coca

The all-American Griswold family just wants to go on an all-American vacation. Everyone is packed. The route is planned … And absolutely everything goes wrong as a simple trip quickly becomes a madcap cross-country odyssey and heroic quest in search of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Enter The Dragon 50th Anniversary (1973)
Date: August 13 & 16
Director: Robert Clouse
Writer: Michael Allin
Producer: Fred WeintraubPaul Heller
Cast: Bruce LeeJohn SaxonJim Kelly

Recruited by an intelligence agency, martial arts student Lee (Fists of Fury, The Chinese Connection) participates in a brutal tournament at a remote island fortress in an attempt to gather enough evidence to convict the international drug-trafficker responsible for the murder of Lee’s sister.

Rain Man 35th Anniversary (1988)
Date: September 17 & 20
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Barry MorrowRon Bass
Producer: Peter GuberChristine PetersJon Peters
Cast (max of 10): Dustin HoffmanTom CruiseValeria Golino

Charlie (Tom Cruise) just discovered he has an autistic brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) and is taking him on the ride of his life. Or is it the other way around?

The Birds 60th Anniversary (1963)
Date: October 22 & 23
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Evan Hunter
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast (max of 10): Rod TaylorTippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds is an unforgettable masterpiece that is considered one of the most terrifying films from the Master of Suspense.

Scarface 40th Anniversary (1983)
Date: November 12 & 15
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Oliver Stone
Producer: Louis A Stroller, Martin Bregman
Cast (max of 10): Al PacinoMichelle PfeifferSteven Bauer

Starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana along with Michelle PfeifferSteven BauerMary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia, Scarface has become a cultural phenomenon brilliantly directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone.

A Christmas Story 40th Anniversary (1983) 
Date: December 10 & 13
Director: Bob Clark
Writer: Leigh Brown, Bob Clark
Producer: Bob ClarkRene Dupont
Cast (max of 10): Peter Billingsley Melina DillonDarren McGavin

It’s the final days before Christmas in early 1940s Cleveland, and 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing from Santa more than anything else: a Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle. Based on stories by Jean Sheppard.

For artwork/photos related to the Fathom’s Big Screen Classics series, visit the Fathom Events press site.

“Academy Award®” and/or “Oscar®” is the registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

About Fathom Events

Fathom is a recognized leader in the entertainment industry as one of the top distributors of content to movie theaters in North America. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC); Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK); and Regal Cinemas, a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group (LSE: CINE.L)., Fathom operates the largest cinema distribution network, delivering a wide variety of programming and experiences to cinema audiences in all of the top U.S. markets and to more than 45 countries. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

In honor of its 70th anniversary, the classic William Wyler film Roman Holiday returns to select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Jan. 22 and Wednesday, Jan. 25, courtesy of Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures. 

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in a scene from the film.

The film, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, won three Academy Awards® — Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Costume Design and Best Writing. 

In this timeless classic, Hepburn stars as a modern-day princess who, rebelling against the royal obligations, explores Rome on her own. She soon meets an American newspaperman (Gregory Peck) who pretends ignorance of her true identity in the hopes of obtaining an exclusive story. Naturally, his plan falters as they inevitably fall in love. The film also features Eddie Albert as a carefree cameraman pal.

Fathom’s exclusive celebration of this film includes special insight from film historian and critic Leonard Maltin who takes a look at the multiple Academy Award® winning director William Wyler’s style and approach to what is considered one of the greatest films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. 

Locally, the film will be screened at Island 16 Cinema de Lux in Holtsville, AMC Stony Brook 17 and Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas on Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

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Trinity Bliss, as Tuk, in a scene from Avatar: The Way of Water. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

Released in 2009, Avatar took in over $2.9 billion, making it the highest-grossing film of all time. The brainchild of James Cameron, who wrote, directed, and produced, Avatar received nine Academy Award nominations and won three: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects. It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and Best Director, and garnered other major awards and nominations.

Over a decade later, Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters with many of the same strengths: exceptional visual artistry, extraordinary special effects, and thrilling action sequences. This time, Cameron collaborated with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver on the screenplay (with “story by” credits adding Josh Friedman and Shane Salerno). 

Avatar: The Way of Water, a spectacle of the first order, is many things. It is also too long. Whether by twenty minutes or an hour and twenty minutes, this epic desperately sags in the middle. The original Avatar is a long film that runs two hours and forty-two minutes. Avatar: The Way of Water clocks in at three hours and twelve minutes. Is this too much of a good thing or just too much? The reality is that it is an unnecessarily extended three hours. That said, for the pure beauty of vision, it lands in the win column.

Much of the film plays like a reboot of Avatar, except this time underwater. As a result, it plays the assumption of an audience familiar if not fully aware of the background. (To a certain extent, the history is referenced and recapped in the first thirty minutes.) 

The story picks up fifteen years following the end of the first film. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is now chief of the Pandora tribe Omaticaya, raising a family with his wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña). They have two sons, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), daughter Tuk (Trinity Bliss), and adopted daughter Kiri. The latter was born from Grace Augustine’s (Sigourney Weaver) inert avatar. Added to the family mix is a human boy, Spider (Jack Champion), who is the son of Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang).

The Resources Development Administration (RDA) has returned to Pandora to pave the way for human colonization for a dying Earth. Na’vi avatars have been implanted with the minds and memories of deceased soldiers, with Quaritch ruthlessly leading the group. After Sully leads an attack on the RDA, Quaritch captures Jake’s children. Sully and Neytiri rescue them, but Quaritch realizes that Spider is his son and draws him in to help with his knowledge and navigation of the Na’vi. 

Meanwhile, Sully and his family flee the Omaticaya forest and hide with the Metkayina, a clan spiritually connected to the sea. While initially rejected by the Metkayina, the family eventually integrates. After a series of adventures and clashes, the film builds to a staggering thirty-plus-minute climax of jaw-dropping action. 

Thematically, like its predecessor, Avatar: The Way of Water addresses larger issues. While not approached with any subtlety, the concept of wanton plundering of natural resources and the callous destruction of an indigenous people play clearly. 

Likewise, the unwelcome and unwanted outside force annihilates for commercial gain. Embodied by the RDA’s almost carelessly sadistic General Ardmore (Edie Falco), the military destroys everything in its path. Whether devastating wildlife or destroying homes, the overwhelming and relentless insensitivity is always at the center.

The acting is fine—neither terrible nor remarkable. While the Na’vi are CGI-ed, the characters relate a range of expressions matching the vocalized emotions, allowing the viewer to believe them to be as real as their human counterparts. In addition, the meticulous detail accomplishes more than just ciphers but individuals with drive, humor, fears, and desires. 

Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) with Payakan. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The filmmakers have done miraculous work in the creation of sea creatures. Particularly wonderful is Payakan, who rescues one of Sully’s children. Payakan is a Tulkun, an intelligent aquatic mammal (resembling a whale). The creators have embodied this creature with a reality that makes it noble and sympathetic. Again, the film’s strength is in imaginative world-building.

At its heart, Avatar: The Way of Water wants to celebrate family and community and the ends to which we go to protect those we love. The story strives for honesty and integrity, enhanced by astonishing visuals. And while the running time is excessive (and perhaps off-putting), the final film is still a work of art. And if not great art, the film is spectacular craft. 

Rated PG-13, the film is now playing in local theaters.

 

During 2023, Huntington’s beloved arthouse community theater, the Cinema Arts Centre, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In celebration of its decades-long tenure as Huntington’s premier destination for independent film, the Cinema will show a number of universally acclaimed classic films, as well as many audience favorites from its long history as one of Huntington’s main destinations for the arts.

After a turbulent few years coping with a temporary closure due to COVID, and then a major restoration of its three theaters, the theater reopened in Spring 2022, and has seen success screening highly acclaimed classic films – many of which audiences rarely have the opportunity to see on the big screen.

From its earliest history, the Cinema Arts Centre, also known as CAC by many of its followers, has relied upon its dedicated legion of members and supporters in the Huntington and Long Island communities. Long-time patrons often reminisce about the early days when films were projected on a sheet hung on a wall in a friend’s dance studio. Today, in large part due to the support of the local community, the Town of Huntington, Suffolk County, and the New York State Council on the Arts, the theater shows a diverse selection of film, 365 days a year in its three, newly renovated theaters.

Collaboration with other local businesses has also been a fundamental piece of the Cinema’s success. The Folk Music Society of Huntington, The Next Chapter, Huntington’s new independent bookstore, and local comic shop, Escape Pod Comics, have all partnered with the Cinema to present special events this year. This January, CAC will be partnering with Butera’s Restaurant for a special brunch screening of the Academy Award winning Italian classic Cinema Paradiso.

In recent years, the theater has placed a greater focus on hosting events that appeal to all corners of the community. With the introduction of weekly screenings of treasured family-friendly films, as well as screenings of offbeat horror and cult films, concert films, and critically acclaimed classics; the Cinema has been able to round out its program schedule – which still affords audiences unparalleled access to both new and old independent and international cinema.

“This has been a transformative year for the Cinema Arts Centre,” said Nate Close, Director of Marketing and Communication. “50 years in business is a huge achievement for any organization. We believe that it’s the special, and intimate, relationship that we’ve fostered with our community that has allowed us to remain part of the fabric of Huntington for so long. Whether that means showing nostalgic favorites, or things that you can’t see anywhere else, or just offering a place where everyone is welcome and people can come together. Community is everything to us and we look forward to the showing movies here in Huntington for the next 50 years.”

2023 film schedule will include screenings of the 1942 classic Casablanca, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (1974), Cinema Paradiso (1988), family favorites such as The Goonies (1985), The NeverEnding Story (1984), and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), along with a 90th anniversary screening of King Kong (1933), and even some recent cult favorites such as Twilight (2008), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

The Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Avenue in Huntington. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 631-423-7610 or visit www.cinemaartscentre.org

A scene from Cinema Paradiso. 1988. Cristaldi Film. Courtesy of Titanus & Miramax.
The Cinema Arts Centre will host a three-day celebration of Italian Cinema

In the month of January, Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre will host a celebration of Italian Cinema. The three day series will feature new restorations of several of Italian cinema’s most enduring classics: Giuseppe Tornatore’s Academy Award winning Cinema Paradiso, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and Bernardo Bertolucci‘s The Conformist. As well as film screenings, the series will be ornamented by a live concert from Italian vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi.

The series celebrates the vibrant decades-spanning oeuvre of Italian cinema’s greatest artists, presenting the newly restored films for rare big-screen viewings. Each of the three films will feature post-film discussions, where cinema staff and program patrons will examine filmmaking techniques used in the films, the history of Italian cinema, along with the impact these films had on cinema as a whole.

The Cinema Arts Centre’s Italian Cinema program will begin on Sunday, January 29th with a screening of Cinema Paradiso, and an Italian Cinema Concert, and will run for three consecutive days, concluding with a screening of La Dolce Vita on Tuesday, January 31st.

The Films:
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Sunday, January 29th, Brunch at 10 AM | Film at 11 AM
Winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Cinema Paradiso is the beautiful, enchanting story of a young boy’s lifelong love-affair with the movies. Set in an Italian village, Salvatore finds himself enchanted by the flickering images at the Cinema Paradiso. When the projectionist, Alfredo, agrees to reveal the mysteries of moviemaking, a deep friendship is born. The day comes for Salvatore to leave and pursue his dream of making movies of his own. Thirty years later he receives a message that beckons him back home to a secret and beautiful discovery that awaits him.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970)
Monday, January 30th at 7:00 PM
Bernardo Bertolucci’s masterpiece, set in Mussolini’s Italy, follows a repressed man, Jean-Louis Trintignant, who joins the Fascists in a desperate attempt to fit in and purge memories of a youthful murder. While on his way to assassinate a political refugee, he flashes back through numerous exaggerated, distorted scenes that encompass the formative experiences of his life. A hugely influential film to American cinema of the seventies, Bertolucci marries expressionism with a strain of 70’s realism in this exploration of sex, desire, politics, and responsibility.

Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960)
Tuesday, January 31st at 7:00 PM

The biggest hit from the most popular Italian filmmaker of all time, La dolce Vita rocketed Federico Fellini to international success—ironically, by offering a damning critique of the culture of stardom. A look at the darkness beneath the seductive lifestyles of Rome’s rich and glamorous, the film follows a notorious celebrity journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) during a hectic week spent on the peripheries of the spotlight. A sharp commentary on the decadence of contemporary Europe, it provided a glimpse of how fame-obsessed our society would become.

The Concert:

Fotogrammi: Scenes from Life and Music by Mafalda Minnozzi
Sunday, January 29th at 4 PM

In Fotogrammi, internationally renowned vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi presents an intimate soundtrack inspired by the composers who accompanied and inspired her during her 35 year career in Italy, Brazil, and beyond. With a jazz sensibility and unique arrangements featuring accomplished guitarist Paul Ricci, Mafalda taps into her acclaimed albums “Cinema City – Jazz Scenes From Italian Film” and “Sensorial – Portraits in Bossa and Jazz.” Presenting diverse selections such as Ennio Morricone’s “Cinema Paradiso” to Jobim’s “Águas de Março,” and from Bruno Martino’s “Estate” to Piaf’s ”Hymne A L’Amour.”

Location:

Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave, Huntington

You can purchase tickets or find more information about these and other events on the Cinema Arts Centre website: www.cinemaartscentre.org

A scene from 'The Mummy'

To kick off the new year, Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre will begin screening an assortment of hit films from the 1980s and 90s. This selection of films will include something for everyone, including beloved family friendly classics, offbeat comedies, action adventures, and obscure cult classics.

At a time when cinema attendance is down across the country, the Cinema Arts Centre wants to remind people why coming to the movies is so special — by playing audience favorites that are rarely seen in theaters.

The Cinema will host screenings of films that include The Addams Family (1991), The Mummy (1999) starring Brendan Fraser, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), The Goonies (1985) Happy Gilmore (1996), the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona (1987) Slumber Party Massacre II (1987), Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998), Little Giants (1994) starring Rick Moranis, The NeverEnding Story (1984), and Roald Dahl’s Matilda (1996), The Witches (1990), & James and the Giant Peach (1996).

This selection of films represents some of the favorite guilty pleasures of staff and supporters of the Cinema Arts Centre, and films that audiences feel a great sense of nostalgia for. Many of these films were programed after being suggested by local film lovers. The Cinema encourages the Huntington community to reach out to share films that they want to see. Suggestions should be sent to [email protected]

Upcoming Programs:

The Addams Family (1991)

Sunday, January 1st at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

Tickets: https://bit.ly/AddamsFamilyCAC

When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the Addams’ home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester’s life. With the help of lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), Fester manages to get the Addams clan evicted from their home. Gomez realizes the two men are conspiring to swindle the Addams fortune and that he must challenge Fester. (US, 1991, 99min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)

The Mummy (1999)

Friday, January 6th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/TheMummyCAC

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in the cult classic that set the standard for the action-adventure genre, 1999’s The Mummy. Adapted from Karl Freund’s 1932 film of the same name, the story follows adventurer Rick O’Connell (Fraser), who discovers the hidden ruins of Hamunaptra. Returning with an archaeological expedition, the mummy of High Priest Imhotep wakes after 3,000 years and begins to wreak havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love. (US, 1999, 125min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Stephen Sommers)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Sunday, January 8th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/TMNTcac

In New York, mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The intrepid heroes – Michelangelo (Robbie Rist), Donatello (Corey Feldman), Raphael (Josh Pais) and Leonardo (Brian Tochi) – are trained in the Ninjutsu arts by their rat sensei, Splinter. When a villainous rogue ninja, who is a former pupil of Splinter, arrives and spreads lawlessness throughout the city, it’s up to the plucky turtles to stop him. (Hong Kong/US, 1990, 93min., English, PG | Dir. Steve Barron)

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Cult Café

Saturday, January 14th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members

Tickets: https://bit.ly/HappyGilmoreCAC

All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he may actually have a talent for playing an entirely different sport: golf. When his grandmother (Frances Bay) learns she is about to lose her home, Happy joins a golf tournament to try and win enough money to buy it for her. With his powerful driving skills and foulmouthed attitude, Happy becomes an unlikely golf hero – much to the chagrin of the well-mannered golf professionals. (USA, 1996, 92 min, PG-13| Dir. Dennis Dugan)

Slumber Party Massacre 2 (1987)

With post-Film discussion with Costume Designer Jolene Marie Richardson and Fashion Historian Marcus Slabine

Thursday, January 19th at 7:30 PM
$17 Public | $12 Members
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/SlumberParty2CAC
An all-female hard rock band rents a condo for a much-needed vacation. Their tranquility is cut short by a heavy metal dream-demon and his murder weapon of choice: the drill-tar.Written and directed by Deborah Brock (Rock ’N’ Roll High School Forever), Slumber Party Massacre II combines the most successful elements of Satisfaction, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 and Beverly Hills, 90210 to create one of the most outrageous trash-slashers. Although the sequel contains none of Slumber Party Massacre’s subversiveness, it does have a wise-cracking killer who materializes from a dream and takes time out for breakdancing. This is how life should be. (US, 1987, 77min., English, R | Dir. Deborah Brock)

Pi (1998)

Friday, January 20th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/PIcac
Numbers whiz Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is stunted by psychological delusions of paranoia and debilitating headaches. He lives in a messy Chinatown apartment, where he tinkers with equations and his homemade, super-advanced computer. One day, however, Cohen encounters a mysterious number. Soon after reporting his discovery to his mentor (Mark Margolis) and to a religious friend (Ben Shenkman), he finds himself the target of ill-intentioned Wall Street agents bent on using the number for profit. (US, 1998, 84min., English, R | Dir. Darren Aronofsky)

Raising Arizona (1987)

Friday, January 27th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/RaisingArizonaCAC
An ex-con (Nicolas Cage) and an ex-cop (Holly Hunter) meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that Hi is unable to have children they decide to snatch a baby. They try to keep their crime a secret, while friends, co-workers and a bounty hunter look to use the child for their own purposes. (US, 1987, 94min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Joel Coen)

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992)

Cult Café

Saturday, February 11th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members

Tickets: https://bit.ly/MalcolmXcac

A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his imprisonment in the ’50s, he became a Black Muslim and then a leader in the Nation of Islam. His assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride. (USA, 1992, 201 min, PG-13| Dir. Spike Lee)


The Goonies (1985)

Sunday, February 12th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/GooniesCAC

From the imagination of Steven Spielberg, The Goonies plunges a band of small heroes into a swashbuckling, surprise-around-every-corner quest beyond their wildest dreams! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of a family of bumbling bad guys… and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. A family adventure classic from start to buccaneering finish, The Goonies is a cinematic treasure trove of breathtaking action, dazzling effects and shiver-yer-timbers thrills! (US, 1985, 114min., English, PG | Dir. Richard Donner)

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

Cult Café

Saturday, February 18th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members

Tickets: https://bit.ly/BoyzntheHoodCAC

Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los Angeles. Although his hard-nosed father instills proper values and respect in him, and his devout girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) teaches him about faith, Tre’s friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) don’t have the same kind of support and are drawn into the neighborhood’s booming drug and gang culture, with increasingly tragic results. (USA, 1991, 112 min, R | Dir. John Singleton)

Little Giants (1994)

Sunday, February 19th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/LittleGiantsCAC

Ever since childhood, nerdy Danny O’Shea (Rick Moranis) has felt inferior to his brother, Kevin (Ed O’Neill), a former college football star. Danny runs a gas station, while Kevin coaches the local youth football team. When Kevin’s team rejects Danny’s daughter, Becky (Shawna Waldron), because she’s a girl, Becky convinces her dad to start a rival team, though the city can support only one. To prove himself against his brother, Danny begins coaching his team of misfits for a playoff game. (US, 1994, 107min., English, PG | Dir. Duwayne Dunham)

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Sunday, February 26th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/NeverEndingStoryCAC

On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The Neverending Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him to survive. (West Germany/US, 1984, 102min., English, PG | Dir. Wolfgang Petersen)

Matilda (1996)

Sunday, March 5th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/MatildaCAC

This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced to put up with a crude, distant father (Danny DeVito) and mother (Rhea Perlman). Worse, Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the evil principal at Matilda’s school, is a terrifyingly strict bully. However, when Matilda realizes she has the power of telekinesis, she begins to defend her friends from Trunchbull’s wrath and fight back against her unkind parents. (US, 1996, 102min., English, PG | Dir. Danny DeVito)

The Witches (1990)

Sunday, March 12th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/TheWitchesCAC

While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on a convention of witches. The Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) reveals a plan to turn all children into mice through a magical formula. When they find that Luke has overheard, the witches test the formula on him. Now, with the help of Helga and the hotel manager, Mr. Stringer (Rowan Atkinson), Luke the mouse must fight back against the witches. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. (UK/US, 1990, 91min., English, PG | Nicolas Roeg)

James And the Giant Peach (1996)

Sunday, March 26th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids
Tickets: 
https://bit.ly/GiantPeachCAC

Featuring stop-motion animation and live action, this inventive adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s tale follows the adventures of James (Paul Terry), an orphaned young British boy. Forced to live with his cruel aunts (Joanna LumleyMiriam Margolyes), James finds a way out of his bleak existence when he discovers an enormous enchanted peach. After rolling into the sea inside the buoyant fruit, James, accompanied by a crew of friendly talking insects, sets sail for New York City. (UK/US, 1996, 79min., English, PG | Dir. Henry Selick)

 The Cinema Arts Centre, is located at 423 Park Ave, Huntington. For more information, visit www.cinemaartscentre.org

A scene from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’
Photo from Fathom Events

Frank Capra’s heart-warming masterpiece It’s A Wonderful Life celebrates its 75th anniversary this week and in commemoration, Turner Classic Movies, Paramount Pictures and Fathom Events are bringing the classic holiday film to over 1,000 select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Dec. 18  and Wednesday, Dec. 21. 

The story follows George Bailey (James Stewart) who sets aside his dreams of world travel to run his father’s small community bank and to protect the people of Bedford Falls from greedy businessman Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). When a costly mistake pushes George to the brink of despair, a visit from a kindly stranger (Henry Travers) shows George how the life of one good man can change the world forever. 

Locally the film will be screened at Island Cinema De Lux in Holtsville on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; AMC Stony Brook 17 on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas on Dec. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; and Regal UA Farmingdale at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both days. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.