What’s Screening: September 25 – October 1

A lot of film festivals this weekend, but all of them end before Monday.

And now this:

A- The 40 Year-Old Virgin, New Parkway, Sunday, 9:00

This is a perfect date movie…provided your relationship has progressed past initial awkwardness. Steve Carell stars as the man who’s learned to live with his limited experience, even if his friends are determined to get him laid. The top-notch supporting cast include Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, and the always-wonderful Catherine Keener. Carell co-authored the screenplay with director Judd Apatow. Good clean, dirty fun that earns its R rating the old-fashioned way–with sex.

A The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Castro, Sunday

Three down-on-their-luck Yankees (Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and the director’s father, Walter Huston) prospect for gold in Mexico. They find and stake out a profitable mine before discovering that they don’t really trust each other. Writer/director John Huston, working from B. Traven’s novel, turned a rousing adventure story into a morality play about the corruption of greed, much of it shot in the remote part of Mexico where the story is set. On a double bill with Sorcerer, which I haven’t seen.

? Before Features: The Movies Begin, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Saturday, 7:30

Movies were screening in theaters for nearly 20 years before they grew long enough to be called features. This collection of shorts from 1903-1913 shows how creative pioneers turned a technical gadget into entertainment and art. The pioneers represented include George Melies and D. W. Griffith. David Shepard will introduce the films, and Judy Rosenberg will accompany them on piano.

A Young Frankenstein, Castro, Thursday

Once upon a time, Mel Brooks had talent. And he showed it off beautifully in this sweet-natured, 1974 parody and tribute to the Universal horror films of the 1930′s (specifically the first three Frankenstein movies). Gene Wilder wrote the screenplay and stars as the latest doctor to be stuck with the famous name (which he insists on pronouncing “Fronkenshteen). But blood is fate, and he’s destined to create his own monster. Wilder is supported by some of the funniest actors of the era, including Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Peter Boyle as the lovable but clumsy creature.

B+ Mr. Holmes, Lark, opens Friday

Ian McKellen plays Sherlock Holmes as an old man and as a very old man—mostly the later—in this entertaining but not too deep drama. Retired from solving crimes, Holmes is now a 90ish beekeeper (the film is set in 1947–about 20 years after Doyle wrote his last Holmes story), living with a widowed housekeeper and her young son. Holmes is in a race against time, trying to write down the true story of his last case—to correct Watson’s exaggerations—before senility sinks too deep. For Holmes fans, and I’m one of them, this is a wonderful gift. For everyone else, it’s still an enjoyable day at the movies. Read my full review.

B+ Mad Max: Fury Road, Castro, Tuesday

You have to understand three things about this movie: 1) It’s basically one long motor vehicle chase broken up with short dialog scenes. 2) It’s surprisingly feminist for this sort of movie; the plot involves a woman warrior rescuing a tyrant’s enslaved harem. 3) The title character is basically a sidekick. The movie is filled with crashes, weapons, hand-to-hand combat, acts of courage, close calls, and fatal errors. It’s fast, brutal, and for the most part very well-choreographed. The film makes effective use of 3D, and should be seen that way. Unfortunately, the Castro will screen it flat. On a double bill with The Rover.