One of this year's sleeper hits - and deservedly so - is "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," Aviva Kempner's engrossing documentary about the trailblazing player who, as America's first Jewish baseball star, helped redefine sports, heroism and American culture while playing for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s.
Kempner's film has enjoyed successful runs at the Charles and Rotunda theaters; today it opens at the Loews Valley Centre in Owings Mills. This hasn't exactly been a boffo summer, especially for grown-up filmgoers - see "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" for a pleasant respite.
Just when you thought the folks at Midnight Marquee Press couldn't top themselves, they go ahead and do it. This year's Classic Filmfest 2000 will feature an unbelievable lineup of B-movie heroes, from Sam Arkoff (founder of American International Pictures) and Roger Corman (producer, director and mentor to Janet Leigh, Margaret O'Brien, Kevin McCarthy and Pat Hitchcock - daughter of Alfred).
Classic Filmfest 2000 will unspool July 28 through July 30 in the Crystal City Hyatt Regency Hotel in Arlington, Va. The charge is $109 a night, and daily passes may be purchased for $20 at the door. For more information check out the festival's Web site at www.Midmar.com or call 410-665-1198.
Fellini at his most poignant
Federico Fellini is best known for such classics as "8 1/2 " and "La Dolce Vita." But the movies with his wife and muse, Giulietta Masina, probably best convey his heartbreaking identification with the most vulnerable in life. A particularly poignant film in this canon is "Nights of Cabiria" (1957), in which Masina plays a hapless but always hopeful prostitute working on the outskirts of Rome.
"Nights of Cabiria" will be offered tonight at the Little Italy Open-Air Film Festival, which begins at 9 p.m. at the corner of High and Stiles streets. Admission is free, take your own lawn chair and partake of the nearby restaurants to soak up good food and atmosphere.
Give us 'Liberty'
"Maryland Goes to the Movies," the statewide film series being held in conjunction with the "Filming Maryland" exhibit currently on view at the Maryland Historical Society, arrives in Frederick tonight, when Barry Levinson's "Liberty Heights" will be screened at the Weinberg Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. The film explores issues of race, religion and class in 1950s Baltimore. Admission is free. Call 410-685-3750, ext. 321.
Time in for laughter
"Laughter is the Best Medicine," the weekly film series sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs, will continue Wednesday with a screening of "M*A*S*H," Robert Altman's searing 1970 satire that uses the Korean War as a lens on the hypocrisies and horrors of the Vietnam War.
Greg Faller, professor of electronic media and film at Towson University, will discuss the film. "Laughter is the Best Medicine" takes place at 7 p.m. in the Mountcastle Auditorium of the Preclinical Teaching Building, 725 N. Wolfe St. Admission is free.
The Loews White Marsh Theatre continues its program of open-captioned summer hits for the hearing impaired Tuesday and Wednesday with screenings of "Battlefield Earth," the science fiction adventure starring John Travolta. Check the Sun Film Calendar for show times.