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Once Upon A Time: A Sergio Leone Retrospective at the Egyptian

In 1964, “A Fistful of Dollars” became a mega-hit, leading to a sequel, “For a Few Dollars More,” and the conclusion to the trilogy, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” These masterpieces and a few more are included in The American Cinematheque’s Sergio Leone retrospective at the Egyptian Theatre starting Thursday, January 28th. Each screening begins at 7:30PM.

Beginning this Thursday, the Leone retrospective kicks off with the double feature lineup of “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More”. When Leone remade Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” with Eastwood as a poncho-wearing, cheroot-chewing gunman, he wound up creating the most revolutionary Western of the 1960s and solidified the legendary status of one of Hollywood’s greatest idols. The sequel continued to follow the adventures of the Man-With-No-Name as Eastwood and super bad guy Lee Van Cleef play rival bounty hunters who end up tracking the same man.

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Ford Retrospective at the Aero Theatre

John Ford directed more than 100 films during a prolific career that began in the silent era and continued until the end of the studio system. Ford is remembered as a master of the Western, but his comedies and dramas are just as superb, reflecting American culture at its best, along with all its imperfections. Don’t miss the remainder of this rare retrospective presented by The American Cinematheque.

Sunday, January 24th at 7:30 PM marks a double feature of what is arguably Ford’s two best Westerns: “The Searchers” and “Stagecoach.” John Wayne stars in both films, first as a vengeful bigot who spends years in a search for the niece (Natalie Wood) who was kidnapped by renegade Indians, only to face a tough decision when his prejudice conflicts with his dedication to family. Although he wasn’t even nominated for his portrayal of Ethan Edwards, Wayne gives a definitive performance as a man conflicted with powerful emotions when forced to examine his racism in a very personal manner.

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Classic Movies Now Available on Demand

Late last year, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Studios Home Entertainment teamed up to offer classic movie fans made-to-order DVDs of rare vintage films. These digitally re-mastered titles (never available before on DVD) include features from the TCM archives. New titles will become available each quarter, and three of the latest picks are early Cary Grant vehicles!

The films that become available on DVD can be purchased by request via Particularly interesting (for selected titles) is the added bonus of introductions provided by TCM host Robert Osborne and additional supplemental materials compiled by the TCM archives, such as still galleries, behind-the-scenes photos, never-before-seen interview segments, original movie trailers, trivia, biographies, and more. Exclusive TCM premieres will air as each movie becomes available.

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FREE Year Membership with the American Cinematheque with the Purchase of a Year!

The American Cinematheque is giving away one year of membership FREE with the purchase of one year if you join by December 31, 2009. Membership prices will rise for the first time in many years as of January 1, 2010, as well as the ticket prices. Member ticket prices will remain the same however, so now is a GREAT time to join.

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Clint Eastwood’s latest feature film has little to offer other than the presence of Morgan Freeman in a role that should have generated Oscar buzz. But sadly, as it is, “Invictus” is a somewhat lackluster presentation of an otherwise interesting piece of history. I like Clint Eastwood. Who doesn’t? So, I will see anything the man has to offer as a filmmaker or as an actor. But I have to say that you should probably wait until Invictus is on DVD or cable to bother seeing it. Although the film is based on a rather interesting bit of side story of the tumultuous time when Nelson Mandela was the newly elected President of South Africa and how he used the country’s underachieving Rugby team to unite the people behind a common cause, the film comes nowhere close in capturing either the spirit of the sport or the tensions of a country divided.

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Rating: C+