When the Madonna vehicle Swept Away, directed by her husband Guy Ritchie, opened in a handful of American cities in October, the headlines said it all. The New York Post proclaimed this remake of Lina Wertmuller's 1974 arthouse hit - about a termagant rich gal stranded on a desert island with her deckhand - "The new Ishtar." The New York Daily News advised, "2 On the Isle, Run for Exits."
The usually generous Roger Ebert called it "a deserted island movie during which I desperately wished the characters had chosen one movie to take along if they were stranded on a deserted island, and were showing it to us instead of this one."
But Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' Office of Cultural Affairs says, "Bring it on!" Swept Away gets its Baltimore theatrical premiere Thursday, at 7:15 p.m., in the new OCA film series, "Make It Stop! or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombs." This winter cavalcade of camp includes Showgirls (Feb. 20) and Hudson Hawk (Feb. 27) and continues until March 20.
Screenings take place at the Mountcastle Auditorium in the Preclinical Teaching Building at 725 N. Wolfe St. For information, call 410-955-3363. As those generous jokers at the OCA point out (they provide cookies and coffee, gratis), "The films are FREE. ... so you can't ask for your money back."
Cheekiness on cable
Starz Encore devotes its February "Spotlight" to Wynona Ryder - "actually," says the press release, "the spotlight has been on her for awhile, but Encore will focus only on her professional career" - starting today at 1:05 p.m. with a 1986 movie about a lovesick teen called Lucas.
In a similar cheeky vein, Sundance Channel next week leads up to Valentine's Day with a series called "Tainted Love." Every night at 9, from Monday to Friday, it presents "unlikely love stories" such as Thursday's entry, Sid and Nancy - Alex Cox's 1986 film about Sid Vicious, the bass player and mascot of the British-punk pioneers, the Sex Pistols, and his lover Nancy Spungen, the middle-class groupie and druggie from Huntingdon Valley, Pa., whom he killed with a hunting knife. Spiky-haired Gary Oldman gives an impressive impersonation of Sid Vicious as both a tormented boy and a scarecrow who scares humans. And Chloe Webb, as Nancy, hits chilling highs and lows. But Valentine-lovers beware: in this film Cupid doesn't shoot arrows - he shoots junk.
At the Charles
This week's pick for the Charles' Saturday revival series: Terrence Malick's pictorially beautiful Days of Heaven (1978). Starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams and Sam Shepard, this triangular love story, set in Midwestern wheat fields at the turn of the century, won an Oscar for cinematographer Nestor Almendros. Showtime: Noon. Admission: $5. Information: 410-727-FILM.
Cinema Sundays at the Charles showcases Menno Meyjes' daring Max, a portrait of Hitler as a young artist, with Noah Taylor as the aspiring painter and John Cusack as his patient would-be mentor - a Jewish art dealer in Munich. Art critic Mike Giuliano will introduce the film and lead the discussion afterward. Coffee and bagels: 9:45 a.m. Showtime: 10:30 a.m. Admission: $15. Information: 410-727-FILM or www.cinemasundays.com.
CAmm Slam rerun
Last fall, Creative Alliance Moviemakers sponsored a cinematic version of a Slam: a dozen and a half teams started making videos on a Friday to meet a Sunday night deadline, then presented their creations for the judgment of a wildly enthusiastic CAmm audience. Tonight CAmm screens the top 10 vote-getters, including the grand-prize winner with the enticing title, The Vibranator. Showtime: 8 p.m. Admission: $5 for nonmembers, $3 for members. Location: 413 S. Conkling St. Information: 410-276-1651 or www.creativealliance.org.
Lee films at Pratt
The Enoch Pratt Free Library's film series "African American Film Pioneers" concludes on Sunday with a Spike Lee double bill: St. Claire Bourne's Making Do the Right Thing (1989), a documentary about Lee's most controversial picture; and Lee's first film (and NYU grad-school thesis film), Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983). Show time: 2 p.m. Location: the Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium.