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THE (BLUE) MOUSE THAT ROARED

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: Summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22 but Hollywood Standard Time puts it right after Labor Day, so here come the more serious fall films. And while Salt Lake City’s local art houses, the Broadway Centre Cinemas and the Tower Theater, will bring in the top independent and foreign pictures, so will some Cinemark and Megaplex theaters, which wasn’t always the case. This ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column, headlined ‘Fall won’t be boring after all,’ which was published in the Deseret News on Sept. 3, 1982, laments that the chains ignored such films back then, but praises our only art house at the time, the Blue Mouse, for making Salt Lake moviegoing choices more diverse.

The fall flicks this year are offbeat, unusual and, in some cases, long-awaited.

It’s painful for a certified film freak like me to read in New York and Los Angeles publications about pictures like “My Dinner With Andre,” “Diva,” “Barbarosa,” “The Woman Next Door” and “The Atomic Café,” and wonder if they’ll ever make it to Salt Lake theaters

To some degree, we can thank the dearth of major studio films scheduled for September and October that some of the above-mentioned pictures are finally making it to local theaters. But it also has something to do with at least one theater operator’s persistent desire to bring new foreign and “art” films to town.

 

The studios are holding back most major movies until the Christmas season begins in late November and early December (though a few are now making their way to earlier bookings because of the lack of fall competition), and several of the major studio releases are actually “pickups,” independent features picked up by studios for distribution.

So “Inchon,” the Korean War drama with Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, will hit screens in mid-September, as will “Pink Floyd The Wall,” based on the popular rock album of the same name.

The Willie Nelson Western “Barbarosa,” which was taken up as something of a personal cause by Roger Ebert recently on “Sneak Previews,” will also attempt a brief run this month, along with the highly touted French comedy-thriller “Diva” and the teenage comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

But several of the more notable films to receive critical acclaim nationally will be here simply because Blue Mouse manager Randy Lucky is making it a point to bring them.

 

On the Mouse schedule for September are “My Dinner With Andre,” the conversation film directed by Louis Malle that has received nothing but high praise for a year now, along with “Wasn’t That a Time,” the documentary about the Weavers reunion.

Lucky has also booked Francois Truffaut’s tragedy “The Woman Next Door” and the comic documentary about nuclear warfare, “The Atomic Café,” both scheduled for October.

It’s a genuine shame that some of the major theaters in town don’t take more chances on foreign and “arty” material from time to time.

Surely these films are worth as much of a chance as “The Last American Virgin” or “Beach Girls” or other exploitation films that only do fair business or completely bomb.

Here’s hoping the Mouse does well, and that potential audience members from around the valley will make their way downtown to help support these special, and in many cases, far superior movies.