A certain amount of anticipation mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation inevitably arises when someone learns that their favorite novel has been adapted into a feature film. It’s rare, if not impossible, to capture the full flavor of a work of literature in a two-hour movie. Even well-regarded adaptations (from The Wizard of Oz to Gone With the Wind to No Country for Old Men to the Harry Potter books) are forced to excise certain things, leaving fans to debate the varying merits of each medium.
In case you didn’t know, movies were meant to be seen on the big screen. To help remind us of this, El Paso Community Foundation is bringing back the Plaza Classic Film Festival. The festival takes place Aug. 5 through 15 at the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso. For 10 days, a collection of Hollywood classics will unspool on the venue’s venerable screen. We’re talking everything from Airplane! to The African Queen. From Jerry Lewis in The Bellboy to Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski. From Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless to David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai. (My God, I haven’t even gotten past the “B”s!) There are Westerns (A Fistful of Dollars), science fiction (Forbidden Planet), dramas (The Godfather), animation (Heavy Metal), film noir (Murder, My Sweet), musicals (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), foreign films (Seven Samurai), horror films (The Shining), family films (Swiss Family Robinson). It’s enough to make a film lover’s head explode! Definitely worth the trip! Individual tickets and festival passes are available online.
“Extreme” is a tiresome adjective, particularly when spelled “Xtreme” and paired with a sports term. On the other hand, “Asian” is a fine adjective, promising new and exotic delights in a wide range of categories. Put the two together and you get Asia Extreme, an incredible DVD label and the organizer of a multimonth film festival on Sundance Channel. Beginning Saturday, Aug. 7, and following each Saturday until Oct. 30, Sundance Channel and Asia Extreme will deliver a mind-bogglingly cool lineup of 13 genre-specific treats, highlighting some of the best and bloodiest of modern Asian film.