Lights, camera, action!

September 16, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN


There are fall films that interest Lou Radakovich, but he probably won't be showing them at Waynesboro Theatre, the one-screen movie house he's owned for 28 years.

He'd like to see "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera," slated for release Christmas Day, and "Alexander," Oliver Stone's $150 million epic about Alexander the Great scheduled to be out at the beginning of November, but he'd have to justify showing that movie knowing other films will sell more tickets.

Radakovich knows his audience. He knows which pictures will fill seats.

"We're big on family movies," he said.

The fall film season, when movies tend to get serious and vie for Oscars, has something for all types of movie fans, including several possibilities Radakovich expects to be popular with his clientele.


He said the buzz on some is strong.

"Shark Tale," a computer-generated cartoon, features the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Rene Zellweger, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Katie Couric and Ziggy Marley.

"It really looks terrific," Radakovich said.

He'll have to decide between "The Incredibles," from Pixar animation studios - creators of "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo" - "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" and "The Polar Express," the computer-animated version of Chris Van Allsburg's 1985 children's book about a boy who travels to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The films are expected to be out in November.

RC Theatres Valley Mall 16 has a little more elbow room and flexibility with 16 screens.

Staci Gigeous, an assistant manager, said the number of different movies can range from 14 to 18. The Hagerstown multiplex is part of a theater chain with headquarters in Reisterstown, Md., and the local theater doesn't choose what it shows.

She's heard a bit of buzz about "Mr. 3000" with Bernie Mac as a retired pro baseball player who has to return to the field to ensure his induction into the Hall of Fame, due out Friday, Sept. 17. "Finding Neverland," blends fact and fiction in a drama starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as the author of Peter Pan and the widowed mother of four boys. It's slated for a Nov. 24 release.

For about a year and a half, Hagers-town Cinema 10 on Leitersburg Pike has been showing an art movie on one of its 10 screens. Joey Reed, the complex's manager of operations, said he's personally looking forward to seeing "Friday Night Lights," a film about a Texas high school football team's efforts to win the state championship. Slated for an Oct. 8 release, the film stars Billy Bob Thornton as the coach. Reed also is interested in seeing "Ladder 49," an action flick about firefighters that stars John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix.

Bob Mondello, film critic for "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio, has previewed some fall films, including "The Motorcycle Diaries," a Sundance Film Festival hit about Ernesto "Che" Guevera's 1950s journey across South America.

"It's a wonderful film," he said.

Gael Garcia Bernal stars and also is featured - "in drag" - in Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education."

"He's terrific," Mondello said.

There are movies Mondello, who also reviews theater for City Paper in Washington, D.C., warns viewers about.

He saw "Head in the Clouds," set in Europe at the outbreak of World War II. The film stars Oscar winner Charlize Theron as a 1930s photographer.

"Dreadful. It's horrible," Mondello said.

He had kinder words for Christian Bale, who lost 60 pounds for his role in "The Machinist," slated for release in October. "He's just brilliant," Mondello said, adding he can't help but think Bale will be nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

Mondello enjoyed "I (Heart) Huckabees," with Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as "existential detectives."

"Oh, interesting," was Mondello's take on the local roots of "Stage Beauty," which stars Billy Crudup and Claire Danes and is set in 17th-century London. The play on which it is based, "Compleat Female Stage Beauty" by Jeffrey Hatcher, was commissioned and had its world premiere at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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