Film Picks

The best film picks, February 14

CorrespondentFebruary 13, 2014 

Hal Ashby’s 1971 classic “Harold and Maude” screens at the Colony Theatre in Raleigh.

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    • Friday night, the N.C. Museum of Art’s fall film series “Car Crazy” continues with a Valentine’s Day selection: Frank Borzage’s 1936 romantic drama “Desire,” starring Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and John Halliday. It starts at 8, and tickets are $7 ($5 for students and NCMA members). Details: 919-715-5923; ncartmuseum.org/calendar.

    • Also Friday night, the Carolina Theatre in Durham is celebrating the romantic holiday with a double feature dubbed “The Perfect Valentine: Patrick Swayze” consisting of two of the late actor’s most popular films: Emile Ardolino’s 1987 drama “Dirty Dancing” and Rowdy Herrington’s 1989 action flick “Road House.” The double bill starts at 7, and tickets are $8. Details: 919-560-3030 or festivals.carolinatheatre.org/retrofantasma.

    • In Durham on Monday night, Duke’s Screen/Society is featuring an AMI Showcase of “Far from Vietnam,” a French documentary that includes work by seven different filmmakers including Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, at the Brian Center Griffith Film Center at 7:30. Tuesday night at the same venue, there’s a screening of Phil Morrison’s 2005 comedy drama “Junebug” (which was filmed in North Carolina) at 7. There will be a Q&A following with Duncan Murrell (CDS Writer in Residence) and Richard Powell (John Spencer Bassett Professor). On Wednesday night, the Cine-East “Paradox of the Post-Cold War in Asia” series is screening Kwang-Hyun Park’s 2005 comedy-drama “Welcome to Dongmakgol” at White 107 (White Lecture Hall) at 7. All the Screen/Society screenings are free. Details: 919-660-3030; ami.trinity.duke.edu/screensociety.

    • Also in Durham on Monday, the Carolina Theatre will host a free AARP “Movies for Grownups” screening of Lee Daniels’ acclaimed 2013 drama “The Butler,” starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. 7 p.m. Details: 919-560-3030 or aarp.cvent.com/TheButler_Durham.

    • Thursday night in Chapel Hill, the Ackland Film Forum and the UNC Global Cinema Studies Program’s series, “American Comedy, American Democracy,” continues at the Varsity Theatre with Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” (1939) starring Jimmy Stewart. It starts at 7 and tickets are $4 or free with a UNC One Card. Details: 919-962-5481 or varsityonfranklin.com.

I think it’s time we remove the word “cult” from the phrase “cult classic” when referring to Hal Ashby’s 1971 comedy “Harold and Maude,” which screens at the Colony Theatre in Raleigh Wednesday night. The hilarious and touching San Francisco-set film – one of my all-time personal favorites – is a bona fide classic through and through, from the iconic performances by Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon to its strong storyline scripted by Colin Higgins, to the soundtrack made up of great Cat Stevens songs. For those who don’t know the narrative, a young man (Cort) obsessed with death falls in love with an old lady obsessed with life (Gordon). The sparks that fly ignite satirical statements on religion, psychiatry and a war-mongering military in the era of the Vietnam War. No doubt this is a movie from which director Wes Anderson took many notes. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5. Details: 919-847-5677 or ambassadorcinemas.com.

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