Remember when Imax was for documentaries and travelogues? This Monday, you can see a doc that’s also a love story and seems to be perfect for the gigantic screen. Also in movie theaters this week: James Cameron’s excellent sequel, the noir that broke the color line, Kubrick’s horror, and vampires haunting both Iran and New Zealand.
Festivals & Series
These three festivals will close on Sunday, October 16
But when one fest goes away, others will fill the void. UNAFF 2022 opens Thursday
Another chance to see on the big screen
B+ Fire of Love (2022), AMC Metreon, Monday, 7:00pm
I suspect that this film will be incredible in Imax. How often do you see a documentary on volcanoes that’s also a romantic love story? Katia and Maurice Krafft – a very happily married couple – spent their lives studying the dangerous powers that occasionally break through the earth’s crust. The two also had one of those rare perfect marriages; they worked together and loved it. Their occupation was extremely dangerous – but also very important and beautiful. Lava flows and unique rocks are stunning. But throughout the film, you’re constantly reminded that the film will not end well. They speak mostly in French with subtitles, with English narration by Miranda July.
A- Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022), New Parkway, Sunday, 8:15pm
At the right time, there’s nothing better than a funny, silly, action-packed, crazy joyride starring Michelle Yeoh. In trouble with the IRS, she’s struggling to save her laundromat. She also has husband problems, father problems, and teenage daughter problems. Things get truly out of control when people suddenly become variations of themself. Why? They’re all from different universes. It turns out that Yeoh’s character is the only person who can save the multiverse – with help from her dysfunctional family, of course. There’s a lot of over-the-top fighting, mostly at the IRS office.
A Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), New Mission, Monday, 7:00pm
In one of those sequels that’s better than the original, a replica of the first movie’s killer robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger) returns from the future to help the good guys stop a worse killer robot and prevent a nuclear war. Linda Hamilton returns as the original’s intended victim, now a hard-as-nails and possibly insane heroine. The action scenes and special effects are outstanding for its time, but so is the story of people surviving in extreme conditions.
A- In the Heat of the Night (1967), various theaters, Sunday & Wednesday, check times
The Best Picture winner of 1967 is one good noir. You already know the story. A brilliant, African American homicide detective from Philadelphia (Sidney Poitier) finds himself in a small, redneck town in Mississippi when an important member of the community has just been murdered. Rod Steiger plays the bigoted sheriff who slowly realizes that a Black man is much smarter than him. Warren Oates plays an almost comic figure as a not-too-smart cop. Written by Stirling Silliphant and directed by Norman Jewison. Haskell Wexler’s unique cinematography (for its time) helped change the way color films looked.
B+ A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), New Parkway, Thursday, 9:30pm
A vampire haunts Tehran. But she’s a nice vampire, and rarely attacks people who don’t deserve it. She travels on foot – or sometimes on a skateboard. Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature, filmed in black and white, has an atmosphere all its own. Strange cinematic and musical riffs, along with a very loose story, make for a unique but entertaining experience. And no, this isn’t really an Iranian movie; it was made in California.
B+ The Shining (1980), Balboa, Tuesday, 7:30pm
For once, the cliché is true: Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, is much better than the movie. Stanley Kubrick, brilliant as he was, missed the main point of the book – that the protagonist loves his family, and is a good man struggling with his inner demons. Without that, it’s little more than a sequence of scares (all good scares, but just scares). Kubrick added some surprising and effective touches, but overall, he turned a brilliant novel into a simply very good horror flick. Read my longer article.
B- What We Do In the Shadows (2016), New Parkway, 10:30pm
This vampire mockumentary is funny and promising: An unseen documentary camera crew follow the afterlives of four vampires who share a house in a modern city. They argue about household chores, go out looking for victims, and talk directly into the camera about their undead existence. But the basic idea begins to wear out around the half-way point. The jokes are still funny, but they come farther apart. Read my full review.