Sci-Fi, Myths and Monsters series to include Ray Harryhausen film retrospective

20-million-miles-to-earth-film-imagesStarting next Friday, June 7th, the Loew’s Jersey will feature a series of films showcasing sci-fi myths and monsters. The event will include two of special effects legend Ray Harryhausen’s greatest creations, including 20 Million Miles To Earth and a 50th Anniversary Screening of the cult classic Jason & the Argonauts. Also screening will be Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ 1997 monster comedy Men in Black. Check out the full schedule and details, below.

Friday, June 7 at 8PM

Men In Black (1997)
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn
Director: Barry Sonnenfield
Imagine mashing up a bunch of 1950s sci-fi movies, add a wry nod to their classic camp and cliches, toss in some of our era’s tongue-in-cheek sensibilities and eye-popping computer special effects, and top it all off with two terrific performances that create one of the most enjoyable, if somewhat bizarre, partnerships in screen history – and you get Men in Black.

Will Smith stars as a New York City cop with a flippant, anti-authority attitude. After chasing down a suspect one night who turns out to be an alien, he is recruited by “K” (Tommy Lee Jones), a veteran of a clandestine organization that polices the activities of aliens living on Earth. The two agents are assigned to recover a bauble that’s been stolen by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D’Onofrio). The theft has plunged humanity into the center of what could shape up to become an interstellar war, unless K and his new wisecracking partner, now renamed “J,” can stop the bad guy.

Saturday, June 8 at 6:30PM, Remembering Ray Harryhausen

20 Million Miles To Earth (1957)
Cast: William Hopper, Joan Taylor
Director: Nathan Juran
Special Effects: Ray Harryhausen
Fans of 1950s sci-fi monsters will relish 20 Million Miles to Earth, one of legendary special effects master Ray Harryhausen’s earlier works. It’s a typical genre effort in terms of the story: a gigantic creature is loosed upon civilization and must be stopped for the safety of the human populace.

An American spaceship crash-lands off the coast of Sicily. The rescue party discovers that the astronauts have inadvertently brought back a curious gelatinous mass from the planet Venus, which rapidly develops into be a living reptilian creature. Before long, the monster has escaped and is wreaking havoc in Rome. After battling a zoo elephant and taking a swim in the Tiber, the gargantuan creature holes up in the Colosseum, where the film’s pyrotechnic finale occurs. It has all of the fun, thrills and unintended camp that is the hallmark of ’50s sci-fi. But it has one thing more that separates it form all the others – Harryhausen, doing spectacular work here on a limited budget.

Saturday, June 8 at 8:20PM

Jason and the Argonauts 50th Anniversary Screening (1963)
Cast: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Honor Blackman
Director: Don Chaffey
Special Effects: Ray Harryhausen
Greek mythology is brought to life by the extraordinary stop-motion animation of Ray Harryhausen. Jason (Todd Armstrong), rightful heir to the throne of Thessaly, is spared from death through the intervention of the goddess Hera (Honor Blackman). The other celestial inhabitants of Mount Olympus watch in amusement as Hera surreptitiously aids Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece. Obstacles to his goal include a giant come-to-life statue, huge clashing rocks, a seven-headed hydra and an army of skeletons — a bravura climactic sequence that assured Harryhausen’s place in the hearts of 13-year-olds of all ages!

Despite vast advances in special-effects technology in the half-century since the film’s release, “Jason and the Argonauts” stands up remarkably well as thrilling, eye-popping cinema. And Bernard Herrmann’s surging musical score is icing on the cake for what many consider to be the greatest of all Ray Harryhausen creations.

The Loew’s Jersey is located at 54 Journal Square, in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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