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Ken Film Classics Go From Buster To Michael Keaton

New week of film classics starts tonight

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Henry Fonda is powerless to resist the advances of Barbara Stanwyck in Preston Sturges' delicious screwball comedy "The Lady Eve."

As if San Diego doesn't have enough film options this week with the San Diego Asian Film Festival and Coronado Film Festival starting up Friday, Landmark Theatres is treating us to another one of its film classics weeks.

This round of classics at Landmark’s Ken Cinema travels to Russia and Japan for works by masters such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Akira Kurosawa to Paris and Casablanca by way of Hollywood.

Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev" (1966) starts the week on a high note. The film looks to the life of the famous 15th century icon painter with Russian history as the turbulent backdrop.

Then, on Saturday and Sunday during 11 a.m. matinees, enjoy a pair of silent classics from the great Buster Keaton, "Sherlock Jr." (1924) and "Seven Chances" (1925). His style of comic stunts inspired Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan. Keaton's deadpan style downplays just how amazing his physical stunts and clowning actually were. Treat yourself to these wondrous films.

Then, go from Buster to Michael Keaton on Saturday night for the inventive Tim Burton tale "Beetlejuice" (1988).

And although the Saturday midnight film is not technically part of the classics week, I can't urge you enough to check out the breathtakingly gorgeous new 4K digital restoration of Dario Argento's cult favorite "Suspiria." This 1977 spaghetti horror film shocked, thrilled and delighted audiences with its bold use of color and violence. The remake, which opted for drab muted colors, pales in comparison to the original in terms of sheer audacity.

Sunday brings the beloved classic "Casablanca" (1942). Each time I see it I marvel at just how perfectly constructed and executed it is, from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the leads to the smallest supporting player. This is a Hollywood studio film at its finest.

Then you can celebrate the 55th anniversary of Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" on Monday. Kurosawa and his star Toshiro Mifune had already dazzled audiences with such samurai tales as "Seven Samurai" and "Yojimbo," but this intense drama about a kidnapping allows the creative director/actor team to displays some different nuances.

On Tuesday you can savor the delicious comic perfection of Preston Sturges' "The Lady Eve" (1941). Barbara Stanwyck is the daughter of a con man and Henry Fonda is their mark in this superb example of the screwball comedy. This film is whip smart and with some of the wittiest dialogue you'll ever hear.

Then go from verbal dexterity to physical prowess with Gene Kelley's amazing dance work in "An American in Paris" (1951). This film is the Hollywood musical at its pinnacle.

End your week of classics with the savage marital drama "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) starring the then-married couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The film was adapted from Edward Albee's play by Mike Nichols with all its ferocious intensity intact.

So there you have it! Another week of filmmaking at its best. Get off your couch and go enjoy a movie in a theater, on a big screen where it belongs.

Landmark’s Ken Cinema kicks off another week of classic tonight with Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev."

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