While driving in the Southtowns a few weeks ago, I noticed a surprising film title listed on the sign for Regal’s Quaker Crossing cinema: “Spartacus.” Huh? How did director Stanley Kubrick’s Kirk Douglas-starring epic land on the marquee next to the likes of “Divergent” and “The Other Woman”?
The answer is that the film was screened as part of Regal’s ongoing Classic Film Series, a welcome alternative for those suffering from blockbuster fatigue. In Western New York, the selections can be enjoyed only at Orchard Park’s Quaker Crossing, and this weekend offers two picks that are hard to top: “The Godfather” at 2 p.m. and “The Godfather Part II” at 7 p.m. (The movies are shown at the same time on June 25.)
Anyone who knows me is sick of hearing my theory that “The Godfather Part II” and “Goodfellas” are neck-and-neck in the Best Film Ever Made derby, with “The Godfather” close behind, but I have never seen Coppola’s Corleone chronicles in a theater.
It will be especially thrilling to see 1974’s “Part II,” since I’ve long felt Connie Corleone’s suntanned boyfriend Merle (Troy Donahue!) deserves the scope of the big screen. (And shouldn’t Frank Pentangeli’s rasp be heard in surround sound?)
Recent Classic Film Series selections have included “Back to the Future,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Dirty Dancing.” Visit www.regmovies.com for details.
Meanwhile, the Greg Kinnear-starring Christian drama “Heaven is For Real” was one of the spring’s box office surprises. It is the next entry in the Fredonia Opera House’s Cinema Series with showings at 7:30 p.m. on June 21 and 24.
The Royal Opera House production of “La Traviata” is set to screen at 11 a.m. June 22 in the Dipson Amherst Theatre.
And Amherst’s Screening Room will appropriately turn itself over to “Airplane!” for nearly a full week of showings: 7:30 p.m. on June 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, and 28. Roger Corman’s “Little Shop of Horrors” — young Nicholson! — follows at 9:15 p.m. on June 20, 27, and 28, and William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer” is the odd companion to “Airplane!” on June 21.
Any weekend with “The Godfather” and “Airplane!” on local screens must be considered a fine one.