The Reel Less Traveled – April 2019

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    These things are usually more spread out but this month brings us three filmic extra-curricular activities one right after another. They also represent everything that the title of this article implies. So, let’s get right to it.
    The Lamorinda Movers lead off April’s events with A Farewell to Arms. Starring Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes and Adolphe Menjou. This is a romanticized version of Ernest Hemingway’s World War I novel; something that did not sit well with the author at all. Centering more on the romance between Cooper and Hayes, the war (a central theme in the book) takes on the role of a supporting player here.
    With that said, these two young and relatively new-on-the-scene actors give career defining performances, especially Hayes who most remember as an actress who specialized in more matronly roles. The performances are not the only thing of note. Pay attention to the cinematography as it won an Academy Award. The film plays at the Rheem Theatre Wednesday, April 10 at 4 p.m.
    Following immediately on the heels of Farewell is another film with parting on its mind. The Goodbye Girl falls under the “meet-cute” classification and as cliché as that may be, here it works, mostly because every aspect of this film was top-notch.
    First you had crackling dialogue written by Neil Simon, vital and witty performances by Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason and possibly the worst adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III ever committed to celluloid.  All of these elements manage to lift this film above what we’ve come to expect.
    Indeed, it bears all the madcap antics of Bringing Up Baby (1938) and the more recent What’s Up, Doc (1972) while carving out its own unique voice. It will be showing at the Orinda Theater Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
    To find out more about these movies, upcoming events and what else is playing at the Orinda and Rheem theatres, check out www.lamorndatheatres.com.
    Returning (however marginally) to the theme that started out this column, the International Film Showcase presents Woman at War. The conflict, this time, is not some wide ranging international crisis but to the central character here, the fate of the entire planet. Taking whatever drastic action she deems necessary, her main target is a purported aluminum plant that threatens the local ecosphere.
    Much of the film concerns not merely her efforts to protect the environment but also her constant narrow escapes. Music and musicians act as sort of a Greek chorus throughout the film. And Iceland, where the film takes place, never ceases to amaze with its rich landscape.
    Of course, things take a drastic turn as our eco-terrorist finds another one of her passions coming to the fore. All in all, this is the sort of dream-like film that is well worth your time to seek out – and you’ll have plenty of time to do just that as it will start its two week run on April 12 at the Rheem, moving onto the Orinda Theatre a week later.
    For more information, previews of coming attractions and trailers, go to www.internationalshowcase.org.

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