Just nine days after Steven Spielberg launched War of the Worlds<, director David Giancola unleashes Landslide. His $1.2 million epic about a natural disaster at a condominium complex premieres this weekend in his native Rutland, one of the places where it was shot last November.
"There are interconnected human stories with an intense ticking-clock plot," Giancola says. "The characters are trapped, so we pile on the menace. They're running out of air. And they confront rattlesnakes -- six of them we flew in from Los Angeles, plus 20 rubber snakes."
The first Landslide screening takes place at the Westway Theater on July 8 at 7 p.m., with additional shows at the Plaza Movieplex 9 on July 13 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Giancola will be on hand to answer questions. These are probably the only theatrical opportunities to see Landslide, before it heads to TV and video. Call the Crossroads Arts Council at 773-5413 for tickets.
Three cinematic series, including two that take place outdoors and feature live music, will unspool for free on Saturday evenings this summer.
The third annual Richmond Green Film Fest, which kicked off last week with The Wizard of Oz, strives to be quirky but inoffensive. "In the past we got feedback that our movies weren't always family-friendly," says Joe O'Brien, owner of the downtown video store Film Buzz that sponsors this solar-powered extravaganza. "Some people were bothered by the cursing in Network, for example."
The fest is composed of a visual arts exhibit, entertainment at 6:30 p.m., and films at dusk. The remaining 2005 lineup:
July 9 -- Napoleon Dynamite, an offbeat comedy about a geeky teen helping his friend win the election for high school class president. With the Abby Jenne Band<, featuring 17-year-old Richmond singer Sean Hood<.
July 16 -- What the Bleep Do We Know, a philosophical docudrama about the meaning of life. With Afrograss folk-rockers the Arthur Lee Band, and Richmond rockers Planet Escape.
July 23 -- Big Fish, Tim Burton's take on a father prone to tall tales. With The Warrens, an acoustic group, and the Aaron Levinson Jazz Trio.
July 30 -- "It's a wild-card night," notes O'Brien. "This is really our date in case any of the other films are rained out. But if we're not having a monsoon season, the picture will be a surprise." Either way, blues-and-roots artist Sue Foley appears. Visit http://www.filmbuzz.net for more info.
The University of Vermont Lane Series is taking a cinematic approach to an outdoor concert series this month. Musicians play in styles evocative of the films that follow their 7 p.m. performances. The venue: the pine grove between Gutterson Field House and the Recital Hall on the Redstone Campus.
"We have this gorgeous park here that hasn't been a major happening place," Lane Series manager Natalie Neuert says. "Although we might have preferred to program art-house fare like Ingmar Bergman and Jim Jarmusch, this type of event has to be more accessible," she adds. "But it's amazing how well these films hold up."
The films may be classics, but the local musicians definitely are not classical. The schedule:
July 9 -- American Graffiti, the pre-Star Wars George Lucas saga of restless California teens in the early 1960s. With The Starline Rhythm Boys.
July 16 -- Into the West, about two Irish boys from a troubled home who find freedom on a white horse. With Dervish.
July 23 -- The Sting, with Paul Newman< and Robert Redford as clever conmen in 1930s Chicago. With folk duo Guy Van Duser and Billy Novik.
July 30 -- Young Frankenstein, the Mel Brooks spoof of a classic monster movie. With the Black Sea Quartet.
In case of rain, the concerts move indoors to the Recital Hall, which can hold 320 people. For more info, visit http://www.uvm.edu/laneseries.
The Middlebury College Language Schools are once again sponsoring the International Film Festival every Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, with post-screening discussions.
July 9 -- Face of Jizi, about a contemporary woman who survived the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a child.
July 16 -- Head-On, concerning a star-crossed romance between two people of Turkish heritage in Germany.
July 23 -- The Keys to the House, in which a disabled Italian adolescent reunites with his estranged father.
July 26 -- Motorcycle Diaries, a memoir of young Che Guevara's on-the-road adventures
August 6 -- The Return<, about a mysterious Russian who comes back into the lives of his two sons after more than a decade away.
For more info, visit http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/ls/resources.