B- Russian Ark, SFMOMA, Thursday, 7:00. Alfred Hitchcock wanted to shoot Rope as a single, unbroken shot, but that wasn’t feasible with 35mm film. But Alexander Sokurov did it with video in this 2002 excursion through Saint Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum as well as Russian history. Huge, sumptuous, and spectacular, it’s a treat for history buffs, museum fans, and movie technology geeks (I’m all three). But like Rope, it has needless dull patches that could easily have been fixed with the very tool that Sokurov and Hitchcock refused to use for these features–editing.
B The Fifth Element, Red Vic, Tuesday. This big, fun, special effects-laden science fantasy adventure refuses to take itself seriously. It never manages to be particularly exciting, but it succeeds in being rousing and funny—intentionally funny—eye candy. It’s also one of the few futuristic movies that’s neither utopian nor dystopian, making it—for all the silliness of the plot—relatively realistic.