Sneak peek at 'The Illusionist'


Writer-director Neil Burger's The Illusionist, starring Columbia's own Edward Norton as a turn-of-the-century Viennese magician who uses his skills to make a woman fall in love with him, is this weekend's scheduled Cinema Sundays feature. An ongoing argument over producing credit could push this opening back to later this year, so here's a chance to see a film way in advance of your moviegoing friends. Showtime is 10:35 a.m. Sunday at the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St., preceded by 45 minutes of no-extra-charge coffee and bagels. Tickets for the film, the last of the current season, are $15. Information: 410-727-FILM or

Black documentaries

What organizers are billing as the first annual Black Docs Film Series is running through the summer at Landmark Theatre's E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. N.W. in Washington. The series, sponsored by the Next Generation Awareness Foundation, showcases documentary films related to urban lifestyles and issues. The series continues at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with Project W.O.W.: A Look Into the Lives of Men Having Sex With Men, a look at gay sex in the black community. Future films in the series include Steppin: A Way of Life, which focuses on a style of ballroom dance, and Hot Ghetto Mess, a challenging examination of how the African-American community looks and acts (both July 27); and The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream (Aug. 24), the story of three men who vow to each other to attend college and go on to medical school. Ticket prices range from $7.50 to $10.50. Information: urbanfilm

Capra outdoors

Frank Capra's 1937 Lost Horizon, the story of a planeload of passengers who get lost in the Himalayas but find the utopian Shangri-La, will be shown outdoors on Federal Hill Thursday, the latest offering in the American Visionary Art Museum's Flicks From the Hill series. There's no charge for the film, or for admission to the museum, 800 Key Highway, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., but donations are appreciated. Information: or 410-244-1900.

Samurai Charles

With the French having relinquished their stranglehold on the Charles Theatre's revival series, it's time for the Japanese to move back in. Samurai films will dominate the schedule for the next 12 weeks, beginning tomorrow with one of the best, Akira Kurosawa's 1954 The Seven Samurai, about a besieged 17th-century village that comes under the protection of a group of the legendary warriors. Showtime is noon tomorrow at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., with encore showings at 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $6 tomorrow, $8 other times. Information: 410-727-FILM or

Free Altman

Robert Altman's 2001 Gosford Park, a murder-mystery set among the residents, guests and employees of a magnificent English estate, is Wednesday's offering in the Films of Robert Altman film series sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs. Showtime is 7:15 p.m. in the Mountcastle Auditorium of the Pre-Clinical Teaching Building, Monument and Wolfe streets. Admission: free. Information: 410-955-3363 or

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