When actor Bob Balaban first saw “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” he remembered being blown away.
“This is a movie where no one talked about it. So we didn’t think about it. It wasn’t until we sat down in the Ziegfield theater in New York to watch the movie. All of us were blown away. We had no idea of the power of the movie,” Balaban, who played a mapmaker in the film, said during our interview for the 30th anniversary DVD release of the Steven Spielberg film.
A decade later and the film’s power remains so strong it has returned to the big screen in a special re-release to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It’s just one of a few special film screenings in the area this week.
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind," through Sept. 7 at the Regal Walden Galleria. Steven Spielberg's modern classic has returned. Richard Dreyfuss is a man whose close encounter with bright lights has him on a mystical search - for what he's not sure. Along the way, he meets a mother (Melinda Dillon) searching for her son who was taken by those same bright lights. They stumble upon scientists led by a Frenchman played by the great director and film scholar François Truffaut. The five-note musical motif used as a communications method will be stuck in your head long after the movie ends.
"All About Eve," 7 p.m. Sept. 1-3, 6 and 8 at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe (at the Boulevard Mall). If you’ve ever caught yourself saying “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” you can thank “All About Eve.” The Oscar-winning film about a conniving young actress who insinuates herself into a star’s life is filled with a delectable array of those biting lines. Bette Davis leads a perfect all-star cast including Celeste Holmes, George Sanders and Anne Baxter in the title role. Look for Marilyn Monroe in a small, but notable, role. The film was nominated for 14 Oscars - including one for all four actresses - and won six including best picture, best director and screenplay (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) and best supporting actor (Sanders). $6. screeningroom.net
“The Girl Without Hands,” 11:30 a.m. Sept. 2 and 3 at the North Park Theatre. A father unwittingly exchanges his daughter for an unending river of gold in this animated film from Sébastien Laudenbach. What's even worse: he later learns it was a deal with the devil. The film adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale was called a "dazzlingly imaginative movie about survival” by the New York Times. $5. northparktheatre.org
"Killer Rack," 9:30 p.m. Sept. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe at the Boulevard Mall. A woman is given diabolical implants only she can stop in the horror comedy “Killer Rack” from local filmmaker Gregory Lamberson. Sounds wild doesn't it? Now imagine it as a musical. That will happen when the stage adaptation of that unique film premieres Sept. 14 at Alleyway Theatre. Before that, though, don't miss the chance to see the original movie at the Screening Room. screeningroom.net
"Little Caesar," 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Dipson Amherst Theatre. "Little Caesar" was an important film for multiple reasons. The 1930 Mervyn LeRoy movie reinvigorated the gangster drama to the point it was a dominant force throughout the decade. It also propelled actor Edward G. Robinson into stardom in his role of a small-town criminal who hits the big time. This screening is part of the weekly Buffalo Film Seminars so get there by 7 p.m. to hear the pre-movie discussion by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian.