Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fox Theatre nabs Historic Award + The Final Four Films in Summer Series

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

The League of Historic Theatres
  • Atlanta Landmarks, Inc.
  • Foxy Curtain

Atlanta's Historic Fox Theatre was recently recognized by The League of Historic American Theatres for serving as "an exemplary institution in which community, preservation, and theatrics come together to create a project worthy of celebration and recognition by the field of historic theatres," according to John Bell, President & CEO of the Tampa Theatre in Tampa, FL, who nominated the Fox for the annual award. Bell praised the Fox as “a monumental success story in our field.” He continued, "Perhaps no other theatre in America has had such a direct and indirect impact on so many other historic theatres as the Fox. One of the early success stories in America’s historic theatre movement, the Fox inspired countless communities across the South and the nation to rediscover their own community’s historic theatres, which were often abandoned, neglected and endangered. Its high profile dramatic rescue galvanized the resolve of many other communities to save and restore their own historic theatre treasures.”

As a citizen of the Greater Atlanta Community, there is no more fitting way to honor the Fox than to patronize its halls by taking in a show. Those of us in the world of film may be biased, but we can't help but think of cinema is the building's true calling.

The final quartet of films for the 2011 Coca-Cola Fox Summer Film Series, which wraps at the end of the month, have been unveiled.

The first is Douglas Fairbanks' silent classic The Mark of Zorro on Thursday, August 25 7:30 PM. While we already covered this in the last Fox Summer update, it bears repeating given the theatre's historic award. So, let's take another shot at how special this show really is:

"There is nothing like seeing a silent classic in a classic theatre with live organ accompaniment. Shame on anyone who misses this show, a film which will use two dimensions and nary a lick of spoken dialogue or sound effects to lay the bombastic overblown 3D THX CGI prowess of a Transformers 3 to waste."

The remaining line-up includes two "family" films, and the film most often cited as the greatest film ever made.

Saturday, August 27 marks a return to form for Jim Carrey, in full Liar Liar mode for the big screen adaptation of the classic children's book "Mr. Popper's Penguins." Critically uneven (the film received a 47% on the Rotten Tomatometer) some of the more astute critics, like Austin Chronicle's Marjorie Baumgarten champion the film for its mix of "originality (and silly physical comedy)."

The fact that the film... (see trailer below, and forward to 1:10)

...includes a loving homage to Marry Poppins shows that the filmmakers were looking to do more than score a quick buck.

Saturday August 27 at 7:30 PM the Fox celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Citizen Kane, a movie filmmaker Skizz Cyzyk appropriately called the "Citizen Kane of newspaper tycoon movies."

Not only is Kane a pop culture touchstone (see below for a recent homage in reference to the "News of the World" scandal), it is a rich fun-house of a film riddled with optical illusions, quotable quips ("Old age. It's the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don't look forward to being cured of.") and cracker-jack editing that rewards the watcher with new treats with each subsequent viewing.

A 20th Century Fox in the 21st Century Henhouse
  • John Darkow
  • A 20th Century Fox in the 21st Century Henhouse

And if this is your first chance to see the film, don't let its reputation intimidate you.

Just see it.

The series concludes on Sunday August 28 at 2:00 PM with Pixar's Cars 2. Whereas every other film in the Pixar canon seems designed to play well to both adults and children, the Cars franchise is aimed squarely at young boys. As the father of a soon-to-be-three-year-old boy, I can attest that nothing—not a tiny colony of blue humanoid socialist critters, not dancing penguins, not even Woody and Buzz—trumps the allure of Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, and the cast of Cars.

Whereas the first film was an homage to the simpler lifestyle of a forgotten Route 66 town, the sequel, which I've seen twice (thanks son), is a bizarre genre crack-up mixing racing and spies.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his Radiator Springs crew take the back seat on a world tour (Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London) to compete in the World Grand Prix; Cars 2 really belongs to Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) who finds himself hooked into a James Bond espionage plot that will completely go over the kids' heads. British spy cars Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and the suggestively titled Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) square off against a boatload of lemons.


The Cars characters have a special hold on Pixar company founder John Lasseter whose goal appears to be to deliver something hard wired from his inner child directly to yours. In the process, he bypasses the darker and mystical sensibilities that brought depth and wonder to films like Toy Story, Nemo, Wall-E, and Up.

Make no mistake, Cars is a kids' film. There are explosions, races, escapes, and lots of loud noises.

Roger Ebert gets it right when he writes, "While I was watching Cars 2, an elusive nostalgia tugged at my mind. No, I wasn't remembering Pixar's original Cars from 2006. This was something more deeply buried, and finally, In the middle of one of the movie's sensational grand prix races, it came to me: I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom many years ago, with some toy cars lined up in front of me, while I used my hands to race them around on the floor and in the air, meanwhile making that noise kids make by squooshing spit in their mouths."

Having seen the film twice already, through my son's eyes, there is a 100% chance that we will be seeing it a third time, at the Fox.

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