The set of the gentle-spirited independent romance Late Bloomers incurred a stroke of bad luck last week, when the director, Julie Dyer, narrowly escaped an attempted mugging in an alley behind an East Dallas house where a wedding scene was being shot. She managed to escape her assailant, who panicked and ran away, but in the process, she fell face-first on the driveway, breaking several teeth and damaging many others. After a day of hospitalization, during which her sister, screenwriter Gretchen Dyer, took over directing chores, she returned to the set. Because the film must finish shooting within the next two weeks, Julia says she's going to wait to have her teeth fixed until the last frame of film is shot. Talk about independent spirit.

Supporters of the offbeat fare at the Major Theatre may have been taken aback by the front page of The Dallas Morning News' Today section, which carried a review of the first new film in three years by Ingmar Bergman, Sunday's Children. The film, which was written by the Swedish angst master and directed by his son, Daniel, is in town for a limited, two-week engagement; it actually played this city before opening in Los Angeles.

The News' properly respectful treatment of the Bergman picture was a first for that publication: in the past, films at the Major have been ghettoized or ignored outright by the section's editor, Rick Holter. If they received the courtesy of a review at all, they were buried deep inside the pages of Today without even a photograph to draw reader attention, or reduced to a one-line, tiny print blurb in the "Repertory Film" box of the weekend guide; the latter scenario added insult to injury, considering that the majority of movies that play the Major are first-run arthouse movies that aren't available anywhere else in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Let's hope this signals a new pattern--one in which the News does the right thing and gives the bravest first-run theater in this city the attention it rightfully deserves.

The answer to last week's trivia question was "Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck." For a free pass to a screening of Robert Altman's latest movie, Ready to Wear (Pret a Porter), here's another: in what movie did Charlton Heston proclaim in exasperation, "I feel like a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest!" Phone in your answer to 757-8449.

--Matt Zoller Seitz (


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