While the multiplexes are featuring the latest from Clint Eastwood, Tim Burton and James Bond, local film organizations have carved their own slates for the new season, often with thought-provoking flicks you can’t see anywhere else, along with retro selections that are best savored on the big screen.
The major event will be the ninth annual Syracuse International Film Festival, or SyrFilm, which takes place Oct. 11 through 14. Screenings aplenty of European and U.S. independent fare will go on at Eastwood’s Palace Theater, 2384 James St., as well as Le Moyne College’s Grewen Auditorium, Syracuse University’s Gifford Auditorium and Armory Square’s Museum of Science and Technology. Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 silent classic The Gold Rush will receive a newly commissioned jazz accompaniment, while special guests include longtime character actor Tom Bower (who just landed a plum role in Rainn Wilson’s TV spinoff of The Office) and Karen Black, with a golden resume that boasts Five Easy Pieces, Hitchcock’s Family Plot, Nashville and The Day of the Locust. Check syrfilmfest.com or filminsyracuse.com for updates.
Meanwhile, the SyrFilm-connected offshoot, the Brew and View film series, offers its eclectic cinema items in 35mm at the Palace Theater. The Zombiegedon Film Fest on Sept. 18 at 6:45 p.m. begins with a horror short commissioned by the Syracuse chapter of the Zombie Research Society, then plunges into director Bob Clark’s 1973 low-budget thriller Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, the new chainsaw-crazy Spanish yarn REC 3: Genesis, and the 1985 Italian horror nonsense of Demons.
Down the road, Brew and View also brings Bela Lugosi’s 1931 Dracula in 35mm and a video presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Oct. 26, 8 p.m.). Then it’s back to 35mm for a double bill featuring director John Landis and star John Belushi’s The Blues Brothers and National Lampoon’s Animal House (Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.) and the classic Universal horrors of The Wolf Man and Dracula’s Daughter (Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.). For details, call 436-4723.
Rome’s Capitol Theatre, 220 W. Dominick St., continues the 35mm vibe with its autumn lineup of classics. On Sept. 22, 7 p.m., Charlie Chaplin’s 1923 short The Pilgrim will precede the screening of Harold Lloyd’s 1925 gridiron laugh-getter The Freshman, the latter featuring Dr. Philip C. Carli on the Capitol’s pipe organ. The mystery double bill of Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940) and the Basil Rathbone-Sherlock Holmes entry The Scarlet Claw (1944) takes place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29, with a live-on-stage mystery between the features.
This year’s Halloween-themed bash, on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., harks back to an actual 1958-era creature-feature program: The low-budget black-and-white thrills of The Thing That Couldn’t Die will be paired with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the Technicolor-drenched Hammer Films classic Horror of Dracula. Rounding out the year is another run of Frank Capra’s 1946 yuletide all-timer It’s a Wonderful Life (Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Dec. 15, 2:30 and 7 p.m.). For Capitol information, call 337-6453.
For more classics, the Syracuse Cinephile Society is back with another season of oldies-but-goodies on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Spaghetti Warehouse, 680 N. Clinton St., where you can munch on the venue’s menu along with the movies (call 475-1807 for details).
The series kicks off with the 1931 Marx Brothers classic comedy Monkey Business (Sept. 17), plus Marx-related trailers, promotional shorts and more. Edward Arnold takes the lead in the 1936 mystery Meet Nero Wolfe (Sept. 24), followed by the splashy 1948 MGM biography Words and Music (Oct. 1), with Tom Drake and Mickey Rooney as tunesmiths Rodgers and Hart. Alec Guinness leads the 1951 British heist comedy The Lavender Hill Mob (Oct. 8), while Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation effects provide the drawing card for the 1974 adventure The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (Oct. 15). John Barrymore and Carole Lombard strike screwball-comedy sparks for 1934’s Twentieth Century (Oct. 22), and the annual Halloween-themed slot is filled by the 1942 monster rally Ghost of Frankenstein (Oct. 29), with Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi underneath lots of makeup.
Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth take to the dance floor for 1941’s You’ll Never Get Rich (Nov. 5), followed by acting legend George Arliss in the 1934 biography House of Rothschild (Nov. 12). Never to be confused as an acting legend, Joan Davis generates guffaws in the 1945 mystery-comedy She Gets Her Man (Nov. 19), plus the 1933 Laurel and Hardy short Midnight Patrol. Warren William plays the sleuth known as the Lone Wolf in 1943’s snappy mystery One Dangerous Night. And the rarely revived 1951 Bob Hope vehicle The Lemon Drop Kid (Dec. 3) caps the season with a yuletide flourish.
Meanwhile at Armory Square’s Museum of Science and Technology, 500 S. Franklin St., a festival of Harry Potter flicks continues at its Bristol IMAX Omnitheater, the only screen around that still shows large-format celluloid features. Each entry will be presented within a three-week window, usually with showtimes on Wednesdays through Fridays and Sundays at 3 p.m., and Saturdays at 3 and 7 p.m.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire runs through Sept. 14, followed by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Sept. 15-Oct. 5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Oct. 6-26), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Oct. 27-Nov. 16) and Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Nov. 17-December). The MOST will also have Hogwarts-connected activities to further the fun; for details, call 425-9068.
Over at the ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave., a salute to Italy’s neo-Realist filmmakers begins with Vittorio DeSica’s 1949 The Bicycle Thief (Sept. 15, 8 p.m.) and Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 Open City (Sept. 29, 8 p.m.), and continues with a Federico Fellini festival that includes 1954’s La Strada (Oct. 6, 8 p.m.), 1960’s La Dolce Vita (Oct. 13, 8 p.m.), 1963’s 8 1/2 (Oct. 20, 8 p.m.) and 1965’s Juliet of the Spirits (Oct. 27, 8 p.m.).
ArtRage also continues its association with the Rosamond Gifford Foundation and its “What If” free film series, a cinema showcase of national community efforts to improve quality of life. On tap this autumn are a trio of features that focus on food issues, with discussions following the screenings: Fresh (Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 19, 7 p.m.), about communities that are reinventing the food system; A Community of Gardeners (Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m.; Oct. 23, 7 p.m.), exploring new ways to cultivate Washington, D.C.’s inner city; and Truck Farm (Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m.; Nov. 19; 7 p.m.), about a Brooklyn fleet of pickups that grow gardens on their flat beds. For details, dial 218-5711.And the second annual eQuality Film Festival, presented by AIDS Community Resources, 627 W. Genesee St., will offer screenings at its Q Center on Sept. 28, 4 p.m., including Pariah, Tomboy and Gun Hill Road. The fest then moves to Eastwood’s Palace on Sept. 29, 5 p.m., for Pageant and August, and Sept. 30, 1 p.m., for Outrage, Loose Cannons and The Intouchables. For more information, call 475-2430 or visit AIDScommunityresources.com.