Madison theaters go “Big” with classic movies in January

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Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to digest all the holiday movies we got there, Madison theaters are relaunching their classic movie series this week. Point and Eastgate Cinemas are going big, while Sundance Cinemas is going “Big.”

As part of Marcus Theatres’ Theatre Entertainment Network, Point and Eastgate are presenting a series of classic Oscar winners, starting with the historical epic “Ben Hur” at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6 through Thursday, Jan. 9. That chariot race was made for the big screen.

From there, it’s “Out of Africa” and “Gladiator” screening January 13 to 16, “Gigi,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “A Beautiful Mind” all screening nightly Jan. 20 to 23, and “The Departed” and “The Sting” screening Jan. 27 to Jan. 30. (That last one would make a killer double feature, and given that all the classic movies at Marcus are just $5 each, you could see both for less than the price of a single ticket.)

Interesting that Marcus is devoting its entire January to classic films, and not mixing in indie films as they have in past months, which could mean the indies haven’t been as successful as anticipated.

Sundance Cinemas, meanwhile, is tacking a different way in January with its Classic Series, presenting a series of comedies from the ’80s and early ’90s. It kicks off this Wednesday with “Big,” incredibly over 25 years old, starring Tom Hanks. I haven’t seen it in ages — just seeing him nibble on that baby corn will be worth the price of admission.

From there, Sundance has “The Princess Bride” on Jan. 15, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” on Jan. 22, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Jan. 29, “Groundhog Day” on Feb. 5 (three days after the real Groundhog Day) and wrapping up with an early Valentine’s Day showing of “Sleepless in Seattle” on Feb. 12.

And as I’ve mentioned earlier, the UW-Cinematheque will start its free spring series on Jan. 17, which includes a lot of classic films, including a semester-long salute to Alfred Hitchcock at the Sunday afternoon Cinematheque at the Chazen series.

Weren’t DVD, Turner Classic Movies and Netflix supposed to have killed interest in seeing great old movies on the big screen? Funny how that didn’t work out.

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