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Stony Brook Film Festival a Real Crowd-Pleaser

July 16, 2008

By Rafer Guzman, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Jul. 16–The crowd-pleasing Stony Brook Film Festival returns for its 13th year with 21 features, 14 shorts and a scheduled visit from Mary Stuart Masterson, who will be showing her directorial debut, “The Cake Eaters.” Running from tomorrow through July26 at Staller Center for the Arts, the festival includes films from all over the globe — Hungary, Germany, Taiwan — and from right next door: “Phoebe in Wonderland,” starring Elle Fanning, was filmed in Riverhead. You’ll find no documentaries this time around, but a fairly balanced mix of comedies, dramas and thrillers. And don’t forget to mark your ballots: Juror and audience awards will be handed out at the closing night ceremony hosted by Newsday contributor John Anderson.

Here’s a sample of what’s playing:

FAMILIAR FACES

“Emotional Arithmetic,” tomorrow at 8. This opening-night film stars Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Gabriel Byrne and Max von Sydow in a story about survivors of Drancy, the World War II French detention camp that served as a stopover for doomed Jews.

“The Cake Eaters,” Saturday, 7 p.m. Masterson makes her directing debut with a story about the unlikely romance between a sullen young man and a disabled girl. Bruce Dern and Jesse L. Martin appear as supporting players.

“Cat City,” Sunday, 7 p.m. An unhappy wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) hires a former cop (Brian Dennehy) to spy on her philandering husband (Julian Sands) and uncovers more than she bargained for in this thriller by Stony Brook favorite Brent Huff.

UP AND COMERS

“On Broadway,” Friday, 9:30 p.m. Joey McIntyre — yes, from New Kids on the Block — stars as a Bostonian playwright holding a production of his latest work at a local pub. Look for

Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) as a funeral director.

“Phoebe in Wonderland,” July 25, 7 p.m. Elle Fanning, Dakota’s younger sister, plays a little girl whose imagination runs dangerously wild while rehearsing for a school production of “Alice in Wonderland.” With Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman as her concerned parents, and Riverhead’s Roanoke Avenue Elementary as the school.

“Camille,” July 26, 8:30 p.m. James Franco, soon to share the screen with Seth Rogen in the action-comedy “Pineapple Express,” stars as a young criminal who falls for his parole officer’s daughter (Sienna Miller).

OTHER COUNTRIES

“Children of Glory,” Friday, 7p.m. This Hungarian film seems like a departure for Hungarian-American screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, famous for pulpy flicks like “Basic Instinct” and “Jagged Edge.” The story takes place in mid-1950s Budapest, where a young water-polo player gets pulled into the anti-Soviet revolution by — what else? — a girl.

“The Secrets,” Sunday, 3:30 p.m. From Israel comes the story of a rabbi’s daughter who staves off an arranged marriage by joining a religious seminary. With France’s Fanny Ardant as a mysterious exile.

“Blood Brothers,” Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. Filmed in Shanghai and set in the 1930s, this is a loose remake of “Bullet in the Head,” the acclaimed action flick from John Woo, who serves as producer here. Expect plenty of violence, bullets and fedoras.

WHEN Tomorrow through July 26.

COST All-film passes cost $65. Tickets for each screening are $8.

WHERE Staller Center,

Stony Brook University.

INFO 631-632-2787; stonybrookfilmfestival.com

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