What’s Screening: September 16 – 22

This week in Bay Area screenings, we’ve got epic cowboys, silicon cowboys, sinking continents, a Latino film festival, and two celebrations of Star Trek turning 50.


New films opening

B Silicon Cowboys, Roxie, opens Friday

IBM ruled the personal computer market until a group of former Texas Instrument employees made a better and compatible product. Jason Cohen’s breezy documentary covers Compaq’s rise and fall in a quick and upbeat 77 minutes. It has some wonderful moments—especially the old Compaq commercials starring John Cleese. But it glides over a lot of important history and the technology that created it. Read my full review.

Promising events

Star Trek Triple Bill, Lark, Saturday

In honor of the show’s 50th anniversary, the Lark will screen three Star Trek films with three different casts. They start with one of the best original cast films, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. They follow that with Star Trek: First Contact–the best of the Next Generation feature films (which isn’t really saying much). Then they close it with the first reboot movie, Star Trek.

Cult Film Double Bill: Multiple Maniacs & Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Castro, Friday

I’ve never seen John Waters’ second feature, Multiple Maniacs. It is, I assume, very weird. The $5,000 movie has been restored in 4K (which seems like overkill for a 16mm negative), so it will probably look its best. On a double bill with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a movie that many people love but I just don’t get.

Once upon a Time in the West, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 6:30; Sunday, 6:45

I haven’t seen Sergio Leone’s epic western in decades, and I’ve never seen it on the big screen. I hope to rectify that Sunday.

Big, New Parkway, Friday, 4:30; Saturday, 12:00 noon; Tuesday, 6:30

I have fond memories of this fantasy comedy, which helped make Tom Hanks a star.

Recommended revivals

Fruitvale Station, New Parkway, Friday, 7:50; Monday, 7:00; Thursday, 6:30

The experience of seeing this independent feature is very much like waiting for a time bomb. You watch Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) go through the last day of 2008, knowing that he will be fatally shot by a BART cop in the early hours of the new year. Writer/director Ryan Coogler wisely avoids turning Grant into a saint, but makes us care very much for him. The last moments of the film–not including some documentary footage and the closing credits–will break your heart. Read my longer report.

B Atlantis: The Lost Continent, Balboa, Wednesday, 7:30

This George Pal fantasy adventure scared the spit out of me when it was new and I was a little kid. I saw it again recently, and one scene still sent memory-inspired shivers down my back. Overall, the movie is silly, and makes no sense at all if you have the cognitive abilities of a 12-year-old. But it’s fun. On a double bill with Golden Bat.

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)