Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Macon, great movies upcoming all around

January is always a notoriously bad month for movies - at least if you stick with what's new in theaters.

Luckily, here in Macon, there's a lot more on the menu if you look a little closer. Here are several examples in the coming weeks that are all well worth checking out.

First up, Mercer University will be hosting a truly special event with its inaugural Freedom Lecture on Monday night, and will be screening two movies related to it. Sister Helen Préjean, who has devoted much of her life to ministering to death row inmates and become a leading advocate for the abolition of the punishment, will be speaking at 7 p.m. at Mercer's Willingham Auditorium.

Préjean will be signing copies of her book, "Dead Man Walking," following the lecture, and the movie it inspired will be screened earlier in the day, at 2 p.m. at the Cox Capitol Theatre downtown. Additionally, the documentary "At the Death House Door," which focuses on the career of a chaplain for the Texas prison system and his change of heart about the death penalty, will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Social Hall of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

An all-around unique series of events, and best of all, they're all free.

And, this being a great college town, it's not just Mercer that gets in on the movie action. Mercer, Wesleyan College and Macon State College are teaming up once again for the 2011 CollegeTown Film Series beginning Thursday, Jan. 20, with all movies being screened at the Douglass Theatre downtown, a great venue for movies if you've never checked it out.

Previous CollegeTown Film Series themes have included "City Life," "Films of the Fabulous Fifties," "Social Justice in the 20th Century," "The New Millennium: The Past as Prologue" and "Civilization and Its Discontents," and this year the focus is on "End Times," with three movies related to that rather ominous proposition being presented.

First up, Jan. 20, will be "Last Night," a 1998 movie by director Don McKellar which brings together a diverse group of people - played by Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley and director David Cronenberg, among others - with the world expected to end in six hours at the turn of the century. I haven't seen this one, but it sounds fascinating, so I suspect that's about to change.

The final two movies in the series, however, are among my favorites, and in their own way take interesting looks at the series' theme. Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog," which stars Forest Whitaker as a hitman who models his life on that of the Samurai and turns against the mafia thugs who are usually his employer, will be screened Jan. 27. And finally, Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men," a riveting dystopian film starring Clive Owen which tied with "Pan's Labyrinth" for my favorite movies of 2007, will be screened Feb. 3.

Immediately following each movie, a professor from one of the presenting colleges will lead a discussion: Tom Ellington of Wesleyan College following "Last Night," Craig Coleman of Mercer University after "Ghost Dog" and Patrick Brennan of Macon State College after "Children of Men." All movies start at 7 p.m. at the Douglass, with admission being free for faculty and staff of the presenting schools, and $5 for others, which includes a snack pass. Bully. Definitely turn out for at least one of these if you can.

And not to be left out of all the movie fun, the Macon Film Guild is supplementing it's once-monthly offering of fantastic films from the edge of the map with a new quarterly documentary series, with "The Tillman Story" next up at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, also at the Douglass.

The movie examines the life and death of Pat Tillman, the American hero who turned his back on a pro football career to join the military after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. His death in the line of duty, how it was exploited by the military and his family's search for the truth about it all are explored by director Amir Bar Lev. Admission is $5.

So, we may have had least a smattering of snow this week in Macon, but great movies are still blooming all around - if you know where to look.


Mike said...

Road trip! "Last Night" sounds pretty good, and I think I may not be with my family that evening. "Children of Men" is superb.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely turning out for that one at least, Mike, so maybe I'll see you there