What’s Screening: December 29 – January 4

Not much to tell you this week. Still no film festivals, and only a few revivals. Being the end of Oscar Season, you can find a lot of very good new movies in theaters right now, but you already know about them.

Promising events

New Year’s Eve & 42nd Street, Lark, Sunday, 7:15
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In 1933, Warner Brothers made history with 42nd Street, the original backstage musical where the chorus girl ingénue (Ruby Keeler) goes on stage as a nobody and comes back a star. With spectacular Busby Berkeley dance numbers that could never happen on a real Broadway stage, and Ginger Rogers as Anytime Annie, who “only said no once, and then she didn’t hear the question.” I give the movie a B. But Sunday’s event is more than the musical. It also includes a Champagne and Chocolates Reception, a live broadcast of the Times Square Ball Drop (even though there will be three more hours of 2017 in California), and dinner at the Left Bank.

Recommended revivals

Mary Poppins (not the sing-along version), Paramount, Friday, 8:00
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The best live-action movie Walt Disney ever made is, not surprisingly, one of the great all-time children’s pictures. Julie Andrews may have won the Oscar through a sympathy vote, but she really lights up the screen in her first movie appearance, managing to upstage Dick Van Dyke and some wonderful special effects. So what if it takes liberties with the books?

C- Last Year at Marienbad, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 7:00
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Slow and pretentious, Alain Resnais’  Very Important European Art Film gives you almost no information about the people onscreen (I hesitate to call them characters) and no reason whatsoever to care if they live or die. But the film is visually striking and technically dazzling, and if you’re willing to meet it halfway, it has a certain hypnotic charm. Too bad it refuses to meet you halfway. See my essay.

Continuing Engagements

Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)