Dogs, cats, bigamy, war, Studio Ghibli, and a couple of film festivals play out in Bay Area theaters this week.
- Modern Cinema continues through Sunday. See my recommendations.
- The Mostly British Film Festival continues through the week
Also of interest, the Roxie is running Studio Ghibli films, in the original Japanese with subtitles, all week.
New films opening
C+ In Between, Rafael, Roxie, opens Friday
You’d expect a film that breaks down walls and shatters stereotypes to grab you by the heart and fling you across the room. Alas, Maysaloun Hamoud’s first feature film doesn’t quite blow you away. Three young Palestinian women share an apartment in Tel Aviva. Two are secular party girls who go to clubs, dance, smoke – both cigarettes and pot – and drink heavily. The third is a devout Muslim with a truly horrible fiancé, and she’s the only one who is truly interesting. This is a rare Israeli film without a significant Jewish character. Read my full review.
Too Much Johnson, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, Tuesday, 7:00
Citizen Kane wasn’t the first feature film directed by Orson Welles…but it was the first he completed. In 1938, the 23-year-old Welles shot and abandoned Too Much Johnson. The film, which has no soundtrack, was lost for decades until a rough cut was found in Pordenone, Italy. William Tyler will provide musical accompaniment at this screening.
NY Dog and Cat Film Festivals 2018, Lark, Roxie, Saturday through Monday, afternoons
Four collections of shorts: Two for dogs and dog lovers, and two for the feline friendly. The cat collections run Saturday at the Roxie at 3:00 and 5:00 (you must attend both to see all of the movies), and Sunday at the Lark at 1:00 and 3:00. Dog lovers will want to go to the Roxie on Sunday, at 2:00 and 4:15; or the Lark at 1:00 and 3:00. Pets are welcome (for an additional fee) at the Lark. Part of the proceeds go to various animal non-profits.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939 version), New Parkway, Saturday, 3:00
I haven’t seen this movie in ages, but it’s still my favorite version of Victor Hugo’s novel (not that I’ve seen any other versions recently). I remember loving it. Charles Laughton makes a wonderful Quasimodo – not as weird-looking as Lon Chaney, but more nuanced and human. I also remember Thomas Mitchell giving a wonderful performance as, if I recall, a prince of thieves.
B The Bigamist, Pacific Film Archive, Saturday, 8:00
Edmond O’Brien plays the title character, although he only receives fourth billing. He’s married to Joan Fontaine In San Francisco, where they run a business together and are hoping to adopt a child. But in Los Angeles, he’s married to Ida Lupino (who also directed), and they have a baby. Most of the movie is a flashback narrated by O’Brien, explaining how this happened. It’s a fun little pot-boiler, where everyone tries to do the right thing, but that proves impossible. Part of the series Ida Lupino: Hard, Fast, and Beautiful.
B- Notfilm, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 7:00
Can someone really make a good 128-minute documentary about a 23-minute short movie? Apparently you can, if the short in question, simply titled Film, was a collaboration between Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton. And yet, to a surprising degree, the documentary Notfilm works. According to Notfilm director Ross Lipman, Beckett and Film director Alan Schneider had no filmmaking experience, yet they never asked the far-more knowledgeable Keaton for advice. On the other hand, Keaton had no idea what that weird movie was supposed to be about. Lipman goes into fascinating detail about all the major collaborators, but he often digresses into side stories that are neither important nor interesting. Notfilm will be followed by a screening of Film. Part of the series Reverse Angle: Cinema Looks at Itself.
B- Apocalypse Now Redux, Castro, Sunday, 4:30
You can see Francis Coppola’s talent melt away in his Vietnam War epic. This modern updating of Heart of Darkness achieves a powerful, hypnotic, surreal brilliance as it follows an army operative (Martin Sheen) on a mission to terminate the command of a rogue officer. But then he arrives at his destination, meets Dennis Hopper and Marlon Brando, and the whole movie collapses under its own (and Brando’s) weight. But the Castro will screen the longer and very much inferior Redux version (I give the original cut an A-). There’s more on my Great Movie; Too Bad It Sucks article. On a double bill with Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying; you can read my report.
Lebowskies (frequently-revived classics)
- Spirited Away, Roxie, Friday, 6:30; Monday & Tuesday, 9:15;
- Kiki’s Delivery Service, Roxie, Saturday, 7:00
- Princess Mononoke, Roxie, Saturday, 9:30; Tuesday, 6:30
- My Neighbor Totoro, Roxie, Sunday, 6:30; Monday, 7:00, Wednesday, 9:30
- Castle In the Sky, Roxie, Sunday, 8:45