Silent hobos, professional killers, rock stars, and two festivals open this week in Bay Area screenings.
- DocFest opens Thursday and runs for two weeks.
- The San Francisco Silent Film Festival also opens Thursday, but will run only through Sunday. It’s a very intense experience.
Almost Famous, Wednesday, 6:30
I haven’t seen Cameron Crowe’s tale of a teenage reporter traveling with a rock band in years (it was based on Crowe’s own experiences). But I liked it when I saw it.
A- Beggars of Life, Castro, Thursday, 7:00
This late silent almost vibrates with romantic realism. Louise Brooks glows as a young orphan on the run after killing her would-be rapist. Richard Arlen plays her main squeeze, and Wallace Beery steals the movie as a charismatic king of tramps. One could accuse director William Wellman of romanticizing the homeless life, but he doesn’t shy away from at least some of its ugliness. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival‘s opening night show will have musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
B Branded to Kill, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 8:45
This slick, commercial, but strange crime thriller follows the career ups and downs of a talented professional killer (a chipmunk-faced Jo Shishido). He shoots lesser killers down by the hundreds. He has wild and violent sex with his wife in all sorts of places. And he indulges in his greatest weakness: sniffing boiling rice. Branded to Kill works better in individual scenes than as a whole. Part of the series The Films of Seijun Suzuki.
Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)
- Princess Mononoke, New Parkway, ongoing. Check schedule for dubbed and subtitled screenings.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Balboa, Saturday, 10:00 (Note to readers: Although this is a Popcorn Palace matinee, I consider this movie too scary, too violent, and too racist for young children. It’s also a lousy movie.)
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clay, Saturday, 11:55
- The Iron Giant, Lark, Sunday, 3:00
- Stop Making Sense, New Mission, Monday, 10:20