Catch flicks and more at Museum of Moving Image

By Merle Exit

Summer may be the season of the Hollywood blockbuster packed with enough alien invasions, gangland shootings and hyper-drive car chases to last until New Year’s Eve, but in Astoria movies tend to be a little quieter, a bit more nuanced and definitely geared toward fans of cinema.

At Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, which celebrates film, television and videos in all forms, summer also brings special screenings of current and classic movies.

On a recent Sunday, one of India’s most respected film personalities, Om Puri, was on hand at a showing of the new comedy “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” As part of the event, Puri and moderator Madhur Jaffrey talked about his craft and showed clips from some of the 250 movies in which he has appeared.

Many of the upcoming screenings will include discussions with actors, writers, directors and producers.

Others will give audiences the rare chance to see a beloved movie on a huge screen.

This month as part of MoMI’s See It Big! series, moviegoers can stock up on the tissues and catch those classic tearjerkers in “Hollywood Melodrama.”

Choices include “Rebecca” Aug. 22, “Letter from an Unknown Woman” Aug. 24 and “Brokeback Mountain” Aug. 30.

On Aug. 17, catch a double feature of the original and remake of “Imitation of Life.”

The story of two single mothers — one white, one black — attempting to raise their daughters and start a business together deals with issues of race, as the light-skinned African-American girl attempts to pass herself as white.

Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers play the mothers in the 1934 version. In Douglas Sirk’s 1957 remake, Lana Turner stars alongside Sandra Dee, Juanita Moore and Troy Donahue.

But not all the screenings are focused on movies.

Muppets fans will get the chance to catch two rarely seen TV specials that celebrate Jim Henson’s creations and their love affair with films.

“In The Muppets Go Hollywood” (1979), Kermit throws a party to celebrate the premiere of “The Muppet Movie,” and Dick van Dyke and Rita Moreno interview the celebrities and Muppets guests.

“In The Muppets Go to the Movies” (1981), Lily Tomlin and Dudley Moore join Kermit in a special filled with such movie spoofs as “The Fool of the Roman Empire” and “Invasion of the Unpleasant Things from Outer Space.”

Both Muppets screenings take place this Saturday.

The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria. For more information and to see a complete schedule of screenings, visit www.movingimage.us.

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