We are entering festival territory in this last week of January! Noir City already had their opening night last Friday and continue with a double feature every day this week, but this Thursday, the Yerba Buena Theatre kicks off a noir festival of their own, Mainland Noir. They will be highlighting the crime and murder within several Chinese films. It shares its opening night with this year's SF Indie Fest, which will be taking over several theatres in the city for two weeks. And in non festival related screenings, Winchester opens this Friday, with a special live event taking place Thursday across several theatres. The details? Unknown. But doesn't that just add to the excitement?
Opening This Week
Early Screening Thursday 1st (1hr 39min)
Opens Friday 2nd
Biography/ Fantasy/ Horror (IMDB)
Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, (Academy Award (R)-winner Helen Mirren) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman's madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the troubled Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters...
Monday 29th @ 1pm (1hr 43min)
Wednesday 31st @ 7:15pm
Horror (Rotten Tomatoes)
Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.
Tuesday 30th @ 10pm (2hrs)
Fantasy/ Horror (Google)
Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged Dana (Dominique Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and five-year-old Carol Ann (Heather O'Rourke) -- when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn unexpectedly menacing, and, when Carol Ann goes missing, Steve and Diane turn to a parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.
Wednesday 31st @ 10pm (1hr 40min)
Action/ Horror/ Sci-fi (RottenTomatoes)
When alien vampires terrorize London, it's up to a determined police inspector and an astronaut to stop them. American and British space travelers discover humanoids while exploring near Halley's Comet. The astronauts bring three of these aliens aboard their spaceship and head back to earth. However, their guests turn out to be evil vampires who kill all but one of the astronauts -- Carlsen. After the ship arrives in London, the monsters -- led by a beautiful female -- escape and wreak havoc throughout the city, transforming humans into zombies. Meanwhile, the surviving astronaut and Caine, a determined police inspector, frantically try to track down the creatures, and destroy them. But the "Space Girl" has a strange hold over Carlsen, and he has trouble fighting the urge to join her.
Super Shangri-La Show
Wednesday 31st @ 7:30pm (1hr 37min)
Classics/ Drama/ Western (Rotten Tomatoes)
Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this lively drama based on the real-life adventures of James Addison Reavis, one of the most ambitious swindlers of the 19th Century. In 1871, Reavis (played by Vincent Price) began hatching an elaborate scheme to claim the Arizona territory (then three decades away from statehood) as his own. At the time, land grants established during Spanish rule of Arizona were still valid, and one rainy evening Reavis visited Pepito Peralta (Vladimir Sokoloff) and his daughter Sofia (Karen Kester) with some exciting news. While working as a real estate clerk, Reavis found documents which granted ownership of nearly the whole of the Arizona territory to one Miguel Peralta, who was named Baron of the new land by Spain's rulers, and as his heir Sofia will become Baroness when she reaches adulthood, giving her claim to the territory.
Monday 29th @ 7:30pm (1hr 26min)
Horror/ Mystery/ Suspense (Rotten Tomatoes)
When a man (Humphrey Bogart) falls in love with his wife's sister (Alexis Smith), he asks for a divorce. The wife (Rose Hobart), however, refuses so he plots to kill her.
Monday 29th @ 9:30pm (1hr 11min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
The wife of an alcoholic writer must take a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet. A young man she picks up as a fare befriends her, but when her husband is found murdered, the police suspect she and her new "friend" committed the murder.
The Blue Dahlia (1945)
Tuesday 30th @ 7:30pm (1hr 36min)
Crime/ Noir/ Mystery (IMDB)
At the end of WWII, a veteran returns to Los Angeles and becomes a murder suspect when his adulterous wife is found dead. Helped by a beautiful blonde, he tries to avoid the police while looking for the killer. Raymond Chandler wrote the screenplay for this moody, hard-boiled film noir.
Night Editor (1946)
Tuesday 30th @ 9:30pm (1hr 8min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Inspired by the radio program of the same name, Night Editor features Charles D. Brown as the editor of the New York Star. In flashback, the editor tells the tale of police lieutenant William Gargan, who forsakes his happy home life for the love of no-good society dame Janis Carter. Both Gargan and Carter begin cheating on their respective spouses, and while on a romantic rendezvous the couple witnesses a murder. They can't report the crime without revealing their own infidelities, a dilemma which leads to blackmail, double-crossing and a second murder attempt. A twist ending caps this snappy little 65-minute morality play. The script of Night Editor was based on the story "Inside Story" by Scott Littleton, previously dramatized on the Night Editor radio series.
The Unsuspecting (1947)
Wednesday 31st @ 7:30pm (1hr 43min)
Drama/ Noir/ Mystery (IMDB)
In this taut crime drama, a radio broadcaster hosts a popular murder-mystery show. However, the host himself is actually a deranged killer. After he murders a female staffmember, he thinks he's committed the perfect crime. What he doesn't realize is that the deceased's fiancé knows the truth and wants revenge.
High Tide (1947)
Wednesday 31st @ 9:35pm (1hr 12min)
Noir/ Mystery (IMDB)
A crusading newspaper editor (motor-mouthed Lee Tracy) gets more than he bargained for when he hires a private dick (tight-lipped Don Castle) to protect him from riled-up gangsters. Featuring one of the greatest flashback set-ups ever, this is as witty and moody as any "B" noir of the era—finally back in circulation thanks to a glorious 35mm restoration funded by the Film Noir Foundation in 2012.
I Walk Alone (1948)
Thursday 1st @ 7:30pm (1hr 37min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Set during Prohibition, this crime melodrama tells the tale of two bootleggers and an upscale speakeasy. Rumrunners Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster have a thriving business until they find themselves racing up to an enormous police roadblock while running a fresh supply of hooch to their club one night. Realizing that all will be lost if they are both captured, the pair quickly make a pact. One will run on foot while the other drives to the roadblock. The one who successfully escapes is to maintain the club and save half the profits for the other. Unlucky Lancaster gets caught and spends 14 years in prison. He spends most of that time angrily dreaming of revenge and soon after his release, he sets out to get it. By this time, Douglas has turned the nightclub into a lucrative venture. Unfortunately for Lancaster, he is unwilling to share in the profits and quickly sets his accountant to doctoring the books to ensure that the vengeful Lancaster gets nothing. It's a big mistake on Douglas's part, and eventually, after much conniving, double-crossing and even a murder, he gets what's coming to him.
Thursday 1st @ 9:30pm (1hr 2min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Hollywood's biggest badass is back! Legendary lawbreaker Lawrence Tierney is ironically cast as an insubordinate lawman who gets framed off the force and goes undercover to expose corruption and murder in the meat-packing industry! Perky Priscilla Lane provides spunky support. This early Richard Fleischer programmer moves at a breakneck pace with the story co-credited to—yes, that Robert Altman!
The Accused (1949)
Friday 2nd @ 7:30pm (1hr 41min)
Drama/ Noir/ Thriller (IMDB)
The Accused is a mystery melodrama with a predictable plot involving blackmail, attempted rape and murder. Wilma Tuttle Loretta Young is a school teacher who is assaulted by a student, Bill Perry (Douglas Dick), and, while defending herself, kills him with a tire iron. Frightened, she attempts to make the murder look like an accident. Wilma, despite the fact that she acted in defense, feels increasingly guilty about her actions. Wilma is further conscience stricken when she falls in love with the student's guardian, Warren Ford (Robert Cummings). Despite a good performance by Wendell Corey as a police investigator, The Accused is a rather predictable, routine melodrama, directed without any particular distinction by William Dieterle.
The Threat (1949)
Friday 2nd @ 9:35pm (1hr 6min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Homicidal criminal Charles McGraw busts out of jail, kidnapping the three people responsible for his incarceration. The hapless hostages include detective Michael O'Shea, district attorney Frank Conroy, and nightclub singer Virginia Grey. McGraw makes no secret of his plans to kill O'Shea and Conroy once he has successfully made a getaway; he has other plans for Grey, however, and for a while it seems as though she'll willingly play along with him. The cat-and-mouse game reaches its peak of tension some sixty minutes into this 65-minute thriller. Sparse and unpretentious, The Threat contained far more excitement than many a more expensive, star-studded film noir.
Friday 2nd @ 11:55pm (1hr 34min)
Action/ Thriller (IMDB)
"In 1979, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them."
Also Screening Saturday
Screening All Week (1hr 42min)
Adventure/ Animation (IMDB)
From Academy Award (R)-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi - animator on Studio Ghibli masterpieces Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo, and director of When Marnie Was There and The Secret World of Arrietty - comes a dazzling new adventure about a young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds, and far away to Endor College - a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Based on Mary Stewart's 1971 classic children's book The Little Broomstick, Mary and The Witch's Flower is an action-packed film full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters, and the stirring, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find a place in the world. Featuring the voices of Ruby Barnhill and Academy Award-winners Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent
Friday 2nd @ 7pm (1hr 26min)
A hybrid of documentary and fiction, Rukus is a queer coming-of-age story set in the liminal spaces of furry conventions, southern punk houses, and virtual worlds. Rukus is a 20-year-old furry artist, living with his boyfriend Sable in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida. In his sketchbooks, Rukus is constructing an imaginary universe—a sprawling graphic novel in which painful childhood memories are restaged as an epic fantasy. He crosses paths with Brett, a 16-year-old filmmaker with OCD, who is working on a documentary about kinky subcultures in spite of his own anxiety. After an interview leads to an online friendship, their lives entwine in ways that push them into strange, unexplored territories.
Friday 2nd @ 9:15pm (1hr 20min)
Horror/ Romance/ Sci-Fi (IMDB)
A surreal sci-fi romance wherein a beautiful young woman and strange metaphysical forces threaten the reality of a reclusive video arcade technician, resulting in bizarre biomechanical mutations and a shocking self-realization.
Thursday 1st @ 7:30pm (1hr 50min)
Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller (IMDB)
Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, this edgy, neon-soaked mystery begins with the discovery of a severed hand in a coal factory. Cop Zhang (Liao Fan) follows the case, but five years later, when he’s drinking heavily and working as a security guard, the body parts are still showing up. This sumptuous nocturnal noir has drawn comparison to David Fincher’s Zodiac, and is a landmark among Chinese crime films.