What’s Screening: November 27 – December 3

A Modern Times, Rafael, Sunday, noon. Leave it to Charlie Chaplin to call an moderntimes extremely anachronistic movie Modern Times. Why anachronistic? Because it’s a mostly silent picture (with a recorded score) made years after everyone else had started talking. Why Modern Times? Because it’s about assembly lines, mechanization, and the depression. Chaplin’s tramp moves from job to job and jail to jail as he tries to better his condition and that of an underage fugitive (Paulette Goddard, his future wife and the best leading lady of his career). Free

C- Oh My God, Lumiere & Shattuck, opens Friday. This documentary on religious attitudes has its interesting moments–enough to keep it from being a complete loss. There are times, especially when filmmaker Peter Rodger takes his camera to parts of the world where religious conflict has turned violent, that the drama of his subject overshadows the clumsiness of his approach. But a lack of focus, overwhelming music, some poor choices of interview subjects, and too strong a focus on Rodger himself, all but sinks Oh My God.

A+ Double Bill: North by Northwest & To Catch a Thief, Stanford, Friday & Saturday. The A is for Alfred Hitchcock’s light masterpiece,nbnw North by Northwest. Cary Grant plays an unusually suave and witty everyman mistaken by evil foreign spies for a crack American agent, and by police for a murderer. And so he must escape almost certain death again and again while chased from New York to Mount Rushmore. On the bright side, he gets to spend some quality time with a very glamorous Eva Marie Saint; danger has its rewards. Not as thoughtful as Rear Window or Notorious, but more entertaining than both of them combined. Catch a Thief is more like a vacation on the Riviera than the tight and scary thriller one expects from the master of suspense. Not his best work by a long shot, but it has a few good scenes and thus sufficient fun.

A Double Bill: Double Indemnity & All About Eve, Stanford, Tuesday through Thursday. In Double Indemnity, rich but unhappy (and evil) housewife Barbaradoubleendem Stanwyckh leads insurance salesman Fred MacMurray from adultery to murder. Not that she has much trouble doing it (this is not the MacMurray character we remember from “My Three Sons”). A good, gritty thriller about sex (or the code-era equivalent) and betrayal. All About Eve explores the sordid ambition behind Broadway’s (and by implication, Hollywood’s) glamour. Anne Baxter plays the title character, an apparently sweet and innocent actress whom aging diva Bette Davis takes under her wing. But Eve isn’t anywhere near as innocent as she appears. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.