First off, let's set the record straight. Robert Redford is not buying a condo at Hilldale.
That was one of the first and most outrageous rumors that swirled about when the news came out that the revamping of the dowdy Hilldale Shopping Center would include the first Sundance Cinemas in the U.S.
Robert Redford, movie star, has long had the power to turn a goodly portion of the movie-going audience gaga. And when it was announced a couple of years ago that he was doing a theater here, wishful thinking ran rampant. The deed is just about done; Sundance 608 begins its run this weekend. In preparation, Robert Redford is doing his part to promote the event, within reason, including an interview with Isthmus arts and entertainment editor Dean Robbins. Robbins, overcoming his own gaga factor, gets a full reading of Redford's motivation and intent in his session with the iconic actor and film innovator.
Sundance, of course, derives from the classic film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in which Redford co-starred with another certified film god, Paul Newman. He used the name to brand his first foray beyond film making when he pinned it on his independent film festival, staged in the bucolic mountain town of Park City, Utah. The festival was a hit and spawned a veritable Sundance conglomerate of projects, including the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Composers Lab, the Sundance Channel (showing independent films), all associated with Redford. Now there's Sundance Cinemas, and Madison has the first one.
In our movie department, Isthmus critic Kent Williams reviews the Sundance 608 experience as well as a few of the films from the inaugural showings. (There's more on the Web at TheDailyPage.com.) In the Guide, on page 36, you'll find a listing of free Sundance Grand Opening & Mother's Day Events.
Another thing you'll find in our movie department is a new format for movietimes and film synopses. They've been combined, primarily to save space to accommodate another six screens in Madison. I know some folks won't like the change, though others have called for it in the past. Give it a chance. And if you have the need to search by theater, go to our Web site once again and utilize the widget in the upper- right-hand corner - the one that says "Movies," next to "Music" and "Eats." You can search there by film or theater, and maybe find something to eat while you're at it.