It's summer, and that means blazing heat, barbecues and blockbuster movies. The summer movie season is replete with franchise films, sequels, comic book adaptations and big budget spectacles. But Hollywood "tent- pole" movies — which rake in enough money to support a studio throughout the year — aren't the only offerings around town this summer. With a handful of theaters and cineplexes in the New Orleans area to choose from, audiences have plenty of options at the summer box office.
One theater offers viewers a cinematic ticket abroad. The Prytania Theatre (5339 Prytania St., 504-891-2787; www.prytaniatheatreneworleans.com) presents the 19th annual French Film Festival in conjunction with the New Orleans Film Society and the Consulat General de France a la Nouvelle-Orleans. The festival, which typically is scheduled close to Bastille Day, runs July 7 through 14 and features a mix of classic and newer French films (all with English subtitles) such as Diary of a Chambermaid, Dheepan, Francofonia, Les Cowboys, Valley of Love and others.
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center (1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-352-1150; www.zeitgeistnola.org) also invites audiences to travel vicariously with its "See the North: Contemporary Canadian Cinema" series, running through Aug. 11. As Zeitgeist founder and director Rene Broussard says, "We like to think of ourselves this summer as a Canadian territory. You can escape the summer heat, get a fresh breeze from up north and have a nice little cold front with these award-winning indie films from Canada." The series is presented by the Toronto International Film Festival and showcases some of Canada's best recent independent pictures. Zeitgeist is the only venue in the southern U.S. to screen the series, and each film will run for a week. Films include No Men Beyond This Point and Our Loved Ones. At the concession stand, Broussard offers Canadian beers, soft drinks and snacks for the event.
The Prytania also programs a kids' series, which runs family films at 10 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. General Manager Eric Ramstead divides the focus of the series, playing movies including E.T. and The Goonies during the first half of the summer, and tying the second half into Prytania's Classic Movies Series. "We always bring back the big ones like The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music," he says.
The Prytania offers programming for adults with its Late Nite Series, launched in 2009. On select nights, fans can catch cult films on the big screen — Fight Club, The Big Lebowski, The Shining — and monthly screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (costumes always encouraged).
The Orpheum Theater (129 Roosevelt Way, 504-274-4871; www.orpheumnola.com) is presenting movie screenings at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights into July. Upcoming showings include Mad Max: Fury Road, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jaws and Star Wars — The Force Awakens.