This Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, so there should be a lot of romance in the air. Take your loved one to the cinema…or take several loved ones. I can tell you about three films that will be screening at the Mostly British Film Festival – two of them good, and one stinker from the great Michael Powell. If you need great cinema on the big screen this week, there’s work by Vittorio De Sica, Barry Jenkins, Wong Kar Wai, Hal Ashby, James Cameron, and Walt Disney.
Festivals & Series
- The Mostly British Film Festival runs through the week.
Festival Recommendations: Mostly British Film Festival
B+ Roise and Frank (2022), Vogue, Sunday, 3:00pm
Here’s a sweet fable for children that adults can also enjoy, if the children know Gaelic or can read subtitles. Roise has been widowed for two years. She’s deeply depressed, and she can barely get out of bed. Then a stray dog comes into her life. But it’s more than that. Frank, the dog, seems to know a great deal about Roise and her deceased husband (also named Frank). Is she insane, or is this dog the soul of her dead husband?
B The Lost King (2022), Vogue, Thursday, 7:30pm
In the 15th century, William Shakespeare ruined the reputation of King Richard III by turning him into a villain. In the 21st century, Philippa Langley changed all that. She found his body and changed England’s view of Richard. Did screenwriter Steve Coogan and director Stephen Frears change Langley’s story as much as Shakespeare did? The always wonderful Sally Hawkins plays the woman who changed Richard’s reputation. But I must admit that I prefer the evil Richard of Shakespeare’s imagination.
D- Age of Consent (1969), Vogue, Monday, 3:00pm
Writer and director Michael Powell must have lost his talent, or maybe he didn’t have any help from his past collaborator, Emeric Pressburger. James Mason plays an artist who moves from New York to a small island off of Australia to find inspiration. Too bad Powell couldn’t find his own inspiration. There’s some beautiful scenery, including the often-naked body of a very young Helen Mirren.
A+ Bicycle Thieves (1948), Rafael
֍ Sunday, 1:00pm
֍ Monday, 7:00pm
If the point of cinema is to create empathy, both for the characters on the screen and for real people, Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thief is the greatest film ever made. It’s about desperate poverty, and how the desperately poor feed on other desperately poor because they have no other options. When someone steals Antonio’s bicycle, it threatens the struggling man’s ability to feed his wife and children. Antonio and his young son must wander through Rome, searching desperately for the precious machine that will keep them from starving. Read my Blu-ray review.
A Moonlight (2016), New Parkway, Thursday, 9:20pm
Barry Jenkins’ surprise Oscar winner follows a resident of the inner city from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood, examining three stages of his life. Different actors play the main character, a young man unsure of his sexuality but who must act macho to survive in the tough streets. Mahershala Ali carries the first act as a drug-dealer who is also a gentle and kindly father figure. Read my full review.
A In the Mood for Love (2000), Roxie
֍ Saturday, 9:10pm
֍ Tuesday, 6:40pm
Wong Kar Wai’s brilliant film about adultery has no sex, little touching, and we never see who we believe are the adulterous couple. A handsome man and a beautiful woman live in the same apartment building. Both of their spouses are out of town, and they just may be out of town together. Inevitably, the two protagonists fall slowly in love. While there’s no sex, almost every shot is filled with deep eroticism. Starring Maggie Cheung, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, and the color red.
A- Titanic (1997)
֍ Sebastopol, starts Friday
֍ Grand Lake, Friday through Wednesday
In 3D (which I haven’t seen) Forget the out-of-control budget and the teenage crushes. On its own, Titanic is big, broad, rousing entertainment told on an epic scale, and worth every minute of its long runtime. Writer/director James Cameron skillfully balances the intimate melodrama of a doomed love with the big adventure of a doomed ship, giving us romance, class warfare, history, tragedy, suspense, sex, and plenty of special effects.
A- Harold and Maude
֍ Balboa, Tuesday, 7:30pm
֍ New Parkway, Tuesday, 5:45 with four-course meal and champagne for two
֍ New Parkway, Tuesday, 7:15, no special dinner
At a time when young Americans embraced non-conformity, free love, ecstatic joy, and 40-year-old Marx Brothers movies, this counterculture comedy romance between an alienated and death-obsessed young man and an almost 80-year-old woman made total sense. The broad and outrageous humor helps considerably. But I do wish screenwriter Colin Higgins had found a better ending. See my full discussion.
B- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Lark
֍ Saturday, 10:00am
֍ Monday, 5:00pm
The first American animated feature, and one of Walt Disney’s biggest triumphs, really does suffer from its sugary sweetness. But the picture is technically astounding for its time and is a visual delight. The dwarfs are funny and have distinct–if shallow–personalities. But the title character and her Prince Charming are so dull that you might find yourself rooting for the evil stepmother (who’s also pretty scary).
- The Long Goodbye, 4-Star, Friday, 5:00pm
- The Iron Giant (1999), New Parkway at Friday, 4:00pm, Saturday, 11:20am, Sunday, 12:00 noon
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, New Parkway, Friday, 10:30pm
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (subtitled), 4-Star, Sunday, 4:00pm; Monday, 7:30pm
- Amélie, New Parkway, Tuesday, 6:20pm
- Dirty Dancing, New Parkway, 9:00pm
- Sleepless In Seatle, Rafael, Tuesday, 7:00
- The Bodyguard (on VHS!), Balboa, Wednesday, 7:3pm
- New Jack City, Balboa, Thursday, 5:30pm