May 082013

By Colleen Glenn

 Ellis (Tye Sheridan), Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) strike an unlikely friendship with a wanted man, Mud (Matthew McConaughey).

Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) strike an unlikely friendship with a wanted man, Mud (Matthew McConaughey).

Every now and then, a film comes along that feels authentic and startlingly fresh. This rarity happened twice this spring, as two such films graced the screen at the Kentucky Theatre during April/May: Mud (dir: Jeff Nichols) and The Place Beyond the Pines (dir: Derek Cianfrance).

Although the Kentucky Theatre had to cancel its special premiere of Mud when Oscar-nominated, Lexington native actor Michael Shannon’s shooting schedule on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” changed, you should  still get down to the Kentucky to see the film. The theatre, currently in the expensive process of converting to digital projection, still needs funds to support this transition, and Mud will not disappoint.  Continue reading »

May 022012

Charade opens series on May 30

By Barbara Goldman

Entering the 10th season of its Summer Classics Movie Series, the Kentucky  Theater is eager to get started on Wednesday, May 30, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn gracing the screen together in Charade.

“Our audience is very diverse. The movies bring people back to the theater that used to come here when they were children, teenagers, or university students,” says Kentucky Theater General Manager Fred Mills. “We are very very lucky to have it here.

Mills, who has been with the theater since 1963, credits film series booker Larry Thomas with helping to once again make this film series a huge success.

“The booker has a lot of tough issues to overcome when finding us films. We seek out 35mm prints that are available and still in release,” says Mills. “Once we find those prints available the question is then raised as to what kind of condition the film is in.”

In addition, the theater receives film request from patrons throughout the year.

“People ask and offer suggestions, give us hand written notes at the ticket stand, email us. They send us hundreds of suggestions, all of which we suggest to the booker.”

The 2012 season

This season is getting kicked off in usual fashion with a rarely seen and rare studio print.

Charade is one of the best ‘Hitchcock non Hitchcock’ films there is,” says Mills about the film.  After finishing this film, Cary Grant was quoted as saying, “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn.”

Mills is excited to bring several films back to the series after they received such a response from the public.

“We showed The Wizard of Oz several years ago. It’s always a huge favorite. We are also very excited to be bringing back Casablanca for its 70th anniversary. A lot of folks have a very strong affection for the movie. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a feel-good movie and it’s always entertaining.”

This year’s movie variety will certainly offer something for everyone. Movies range from Woody Allen’s Oscar winning Annie Hall, to Mary Poppins, The White Heat, Pillow Talk, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Classic film fans who don’t see their favorite flick listed need not be disappointed. For the second year in a row, the folks at Sqecial Media (located at 371 South Limestone) will help sponsor additional Wednesday movie nights, the selections for which are still to be decided.

“Last year the Sqecial Media stepped up and helped the series continue longer. It was a huge success. It exceeded expectations,” says Mills. “It really tapped into the University community and people who enjoy foreign films. This year instead of just sponsoring three, they wanted to do four!”

$5 per seat for all shows. Most films show twice on Wednesday, at 1:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m, with the exception of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which will also play at 4 p.m. due to the Fourth of July Holiday. For more information on the series, including the schedule, go to

Dec 072011

Twelve O’Clock High Screening at the Kentucky Theatre

The Kentucky Theatre, in partnership with WWII veteran Frank Cassidy, will host a special Pearl Harbor Day screening of Twelve O’Clock High. This 1949 Academy Award-winning classic, starring Gregory Peck, tells the story of U.S. aircrews who conducted daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and Occupied France. The event will begin at 11:30 A.M. with an introduction to the World War II veterans in attendance. The screening will begin at noon, and will be followed by an opportunity to meet the veterans and discuss their experiences. This event is free and open to the public. For those who need a reminder, Pearl Harbor Day is December 7. Continue reading »

Nov 232011

Lexington native comes home for the holidays—in cinematic form

By Lucy Jones

There’s a lot to like about Michael Shannon.

He’s a native Lexingtonian, so that should earn him the instant affection and allegiance of anyone with a UK sweatshirt in her closet or a Local First sticker on his car.

Of course, if you’re an impossibly hard sell who somehow demands greater credentials for devotion than that, consider that at age of 37, Shannon is an Academy Award nominated actor who has worked with cinematic legends ranging from John Waters to Werner Herzog to Martin Scorsese.

I was more than happy to accept that statement as the most impressive thing about him, until I heard this: when Sony Pictures Classics began the platform release of his new film, Take Shelter, Shannon not only made his wishes clear that he’d like the film played in Lexington, he also specified that he wanted it shown at the Kentucky Theatre. A loyal friend of the Kentucky Theatre? In my book, there’s nothing more adoration inspiring than that. Continue reading »

Sep 282011

Foreign Film at the Kentucky Theatre

Sqecial Media’s relaunch of the Rosa Goddard International Film Festival continues with two final screenings. On Wednesday, September 28, the Kentucky Theatre will host a screening of Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire. This 1987 classic starring Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk was beautifully shot by Henri Alekan, the same cinematographer who photographed Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. The festival will close on Wednesday, October 5 with Fantastic Planet, a psychedelic animated classic which took home a special jury prize at Cannes in 1973. All films in the series are shown in 35 mm in their original language with English subtitles. Screenings start at 7:15 PM, are $4, and are preceded by prize drawings for DVDs and posters. For more information on the Rosa Goddard International Film Festival, please visit Continue reading »

Jun 222011

Limited Run of 1977 Japanese horror film House

By Lucy Jones

For those seasoned enough to remember the giant fold-out calendars that  were once inextricably linked with the Kentucky Theatre (if you were a typical UK student it was as likely for there to be one affixed to the outside of your fridge as it was for there to be beer inside it) it’s impossible to forget the premium that was placed on the midnight movie. Cult films on Fridays and Saturdays were a cultural ritual that provided an alternative to boozy bar escapades and an opportunity for less mainstream films to have their day—or, rather….really, really late night. Continue reading »

May 252011

DM: Ready to go. Film.

KET Seeking Short Films

Reel Visions, KET’s excellent television series spotlighting Kentucky filmmakers, is seeking submissions for its Fall season. The half-hour program features experimental, documentary, and  narrative films that are between one and twenty-five minutes in length. The deadline for this submission period is August 1, 2011. If you are interested in showing your work, please send a preview DVD to: Continue reading »

Mar 162011

Doc on Lexington’s “Happy’s Hour” premieres at the Kentucky Theatre

By Grayson Johnson

For those not old enough to remember “Happy’s Hour,” the live local children’s program aired on Lexington’s WQTV from 1976 to 1980.  Hosted by Happy the Hobo and his sidekick Froggie, the show became an immediate hit. Its unique brand of improv comedy won over the kids of Lexington and made instant celebrities of its stars.  “Every kid in my neighborhood, myself included, thought they were rocks stars”, says local documentarian Michael Crisp.  “I was one of thousands of children who loved that show”.

Crisp’s latest film, When Happy Met Froggie, chronicles the show’s great popularity while simultaneously telling the inside story from the cast and crew.  “We take a look back at the show itself, highlighting its highs and lows, as well as its hilarious and sad moments, both on and off the set,” says Crisp. Partnered with producer Andrew Moore (as Remix Films), Crisp now has directed three feature documentaries. The Very Worst Thing (2010) weaves the tale of a mysterious school bus crash in Floyd County in 1958.   Polterguys (2010) provides a hilarious inside look at Key West’s most popular ghost tour company.  Now, with this 3rd documentary, Crisp continues to highlight remarkable local stories. Continue reading »

Feb 162011

Screenings at Kentucky Theatre and Lexington Public Library focus on cultural issues

By Grayson Johnson

Now in its thirteenth year, Lexington’s own One World Film Festival is currently underway, showcasing recent movies that bring to light poignant cultural themes and ideas.  “We’re not trying to hit you over the head with it,” laughs festival organizer Annette Mayer. “But, in a subtle way, in a pleasant way, to expand your knowledge.”  The festival brings in both narrative and documentary films that highlight pressing social issues both in America and abroad.  “Through film,” Mayer notes, “maybe we can understand cultural diversity.” Continue reading »