What’s Screening: September 29 – October 5

Harry Dean Stanton, Buster Keaton, and four film festivals in Bay Area theaters this week. Also, the Stanford’s massive Warner Brothers series ends with a bang.


Another chance to see

B Score: A Film Music Documentary, Lark, opens Friday (no screenings Sunday or Tuesday)

Filmmaker Matt Schrader provides too much width and not enough depth in this documentary about movie music, but it has some wonderful moments. It shows John William’s hard work in creating the iconic Star Wars theme, which today seems almost pre-ordained. You see how composers develop and record scores, sometimes by themselves, and sometimes with a full orchestra. Everyone on screen talks about the importance of music in a movie, and occasionally the film proves that point by showing a famous scene without the score. But the movie covers so many composers that it feels scattered.

Promising events

The Cult of Enigma: A Too Tiny Tribute to Harry Dean Stanton, Roxie, Friday and Saturday

The great, totally unique actor has passed on, but his movies survive. To celebrate him, the Roxie will screen two of his films – oddly, both of them about killer cars. On Friday, at 9:30, they’ll screen Christine, John Carpenter’s adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel. I haven’t seen the movie, but apparently Stanton plays an inept detective. Saturday, also at 9:30, they’ll screen Repo Man, which I saw in 1984 and haven’t seen it since. I remember it being pretty weird and very entertaining. In this one, Stanton plays the hero’s mentor.

Riffer’s Delight: Indecent Proposal, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, Monday, 8:00

I’ve never seen the famously bad Indecent Proposal, a 1993 absurdity where Robert Redford pays Demi Moore a million dollars for sex. (Woody Harrelson plays her husband.) I think the plot would have been more believable if the price was $200, and the customer was played by Danny DeVito. But with Riffer’s Delight’s comic commentary, the movie just might be entertaining.

Recommended revivals

A+ The General, Pacific Film Archive, Saturday, 4:00

New digital restoration. Buster Keaton pushed film comedy like no one else in this masterpiece. He meticulously recreated the Civil War setting. He mixed slapstick comedy with battlefield death. He hired thousands of extras and filmed what may be the single most expensive shot of the silent era. The movie flopped in 1926, but today it’s rightly considered one of the greatest comedies ever made. Warning: This Civil War comedy takes the side of the Confederates. Read my A+ essay. Judith Rosenberg will accompany on piano. Part of the series, Movie Matinees for All Ages 2017.

A Bonnie and Clyde, Stanford, Saturday through Monday

This low-budget gangster movie, produced by and starring Warren Beatty, hit a nerve with young audiences in 1967 and became a big surprise hit. Shocking in its time for both the violence and sexual frankness (matching a horny Bonnie with an impotent Clyde), it still hits below the belt today. The title characters become alienated youth, glamorous celebrities, good kids who made a bad decision, selfish jerks, and tragic heroes with a sealed fate. On a double bill with a little-known pre-code flick called Two Seconds. This closes the Stanford’s massive and wonderful Warner Brothers series.

B+ Diabolique, Castro, Sunday

The wife and mistress of a truly despicable man plot together to murder him, and dispose of the body in a way that should make it look like an accident. Of course, things don’t go as planned. But the real problems pop up when the body isn’t found where they left it. Then odd occurrences suggest that the husband is still alive. But how could that be? They killed him! From Henri-Georges Clouzot, director of The Wages of Fear. On a double bill with Vertigo (see Continuing Revivals, below).

Continuing Revivals

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)