There are several things I'm excited to check out on this week's Screenings in the Bay lineup, and one of them happens to be tonight (Tuesday, not Monday)! We're taking a much less frequent trip across the bridge to check out The Field Guide to Evil at the New Parkway Theatre at 9pm and following it up with the Weird Wednesday screening of Knife + Heart at the Alamo Drafthouse. Director Yann Gonzalez will be in attendance, so tickets are getting scarce!
The second half of the week is dominated by the force that is Alfred Hitchcock, as two rounds of double features screen at the beautiful Stanford Theatre Wednesday through Sunday. Overlook contributor Greyranger writes the following about UNDER CAPRICORN:
It's more a romance than a suspense thriller but goddammit, this movie should have been HUGE for director Alfred Hitchcock, returning him as it does to the Gothic milieu of REBECCA and building confidently on the long-take experiments of ROPE. It's one of his most technically assured films, and he's aided immeasurably in its execution by the artfully garish Technicolor photography of Jack Cardiff and an incredibly lightfooted crew of camera operators. The long takes stalk through the manor and draw you in, giving the actors time and space to fully inhabit their characters. (Among other noteworthy scenes, Ingrid Bergman delivers a confession that, at the time, was the longest speech recorded in a feature film - I think it's the finest piece of acting I've ever seen her do, in its breadth and restraint.) The result is one of Hitchcock's most emotionally involving films, a powerful revitalization of the Gothic melodrama that remains absolutely fresh and engaging.
It is believed that the movie's box office failure was the result of an audience unwilling to follow Hitchcock into non-thriller territory (though its quiet way it's one of his most thrilling films), and/or the public's shunning of Bergman after her affair with Roberto Rossellini became public. Part of me thinks that the failure of this movie either depressed Hitchcock so much that he wound up phoning in STAGE FRIGHT, or that he deliberately phoned that one in as a fuck you to that neglectful audience. I'm pleased that the Stanford is giving it another shot this weekend; they're pairing it with another Hitchcock/Bergman joint, NOTORIOUS, which means you can see one of Hitchcock's acclaimed classics back-to-back with one of his boldest, most undersung works. Hitchcock fans should be nowhere else this weekend.
Opening This Week
Limited Theatres/VD Friday 29th (1hr 29min)
Horror/ Suspense/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
The United Kingdom in the near future. Civil war rages, and martial law has been declared by a military government hellbent on squashing the opposition. A woman (Scottish BAFTA nominee Shauna MacDonald, The Descent) wakes up in a blindingly white cuboid cell, where General Zakarian (Oded Fehr) uses increasingly sophisticated and cruel methods to torture her for information -- information she claims not to have. As questions of trust are placed both on captor and captive, they find themselves embroiled in an increasingly spiraling journey into the nature of authority.
Tuesday 26th @ 10pm (1hr 30min)
Death lurks, and two teenage girls try to figure out where he's heading, in this sequel to the unexpected teen horror hit Final Destination. As Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), the only surviving passenger of the ill-fated Flight 180, waits in a mental institution, certain Death will claim her, Kim (A.J. Cook), who has begun to display precognitive powers, is driving along the highway when she sees a terrible accident in which several cars crash into a logging truck. Moments later, the horrible vision is gone, but Kim is certain she saw an accident that was supposed to happen but didn't...and now Death will track down the souls he meant to take that day who slipped through his fingers.
Wednesday 27th @ 10pm (1hr 50min)
Horror/ Mystery/ Gay&Lesbian (Rotten Romatoes)
Paris, Summer 1979. Anne (Vanessa Paradis) produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet with her trusted, flaming sidekick Archibald. But one of her actors is brutally murdered and Anne gets caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside-down.
Tuesday 26th @ 9pm (1hr 57min)
Thursday 28th @ 9:20pm
This anthology of short films features cinematic renderings of folk tales from eight countries. Nine filmmakers collaborate to provide a global outlook on the dark side of human nature by drawing from the storytelling traditions of Hungary, Austria, India, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Germany, and the United States of America.
Film School Drop Outs Present
Wednesday 27th @ 9pm (1hr 22min)
Comedy/ Drama/ Sci-Fi (IMDB)
Described by director Gregg Araki as "A Beverly Hills 90210 episode on acid" (with no suggestions of what it might be cut with), Nowhere is a companion piece with Araki's previous meditations on youth gone wild in the 1990s, Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation -- Araki's self-described "teen apocalypse trilogy." Nowhere follows 18-year-old Dark Smith (James Duval) as he goes through a fairly typical day in Los Angeles. Dark needs, but rarely gets, emotional support from his girlfriend Mel (Rachel True). Mel, however, is also involved with a girl named Lucifer (Kathleen Robertson), while Dark moons over hunky Montgomery (Nathan Bexton). Dark's best friend Cowboy (Guillermo Diaz) has troubles of his own, as his boyfriend and bandmate Bart (Jeremy Jordan) is back on drugs and spending most of his time with his dealer.
Secret Agent (1936)
Wednesday 27th & Thursday 28th @ 7:30pm (1hr 26min)
Mystery/ Thriller (IMDB)
After his supposed funeral, a British spy (John Gielgud) pairs up with another agent (Madeleine Carroll) in Switzerland where they're sent to kill an enemy agent. Posing as husband and wife, they're taken on a death hunt into the Swiss Alps. The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The 39 Steps (1935)
Wednesday 27th & Thursday 28th @ 5:55pm & 9:10pm (1hr 26min)
Mystery/ Thriller (IMDB)
A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
Friday 29th @ 7:30pm (1hr 41min)
Saturday 30th & Sunday 31st @ 3:25 & 7:30pm
Drama/ Noir/ Romance (IMDB)
"In order to help bring Nazis to justice, U.S. government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) recruits Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), the American daughter of a convicted German war criminal, as a spy. As they begin to fall for one another, Alicia is instructed to win the affections of Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), a Nazi hiding out in Brazil. When Sebastian becomes serious about his relationship with Alicia, the stakes get higher, and Devlin must watch her slip further undercover."
Under Capricorn (1949)
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st @ 5:20pm & 9:25pm (1hr 57min)
Crime/ Drama/ Romance (IMDB)
Costume drama was never Hitchcock's forte, as proven by his disappointing Jamaica Inn (1939), but Capricorn does have its moments. Set in Australia in the early 19th century, the film concerns the tribulations of Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman), who was driven out of her home in disgrace after eloping with unkempt stableman Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten). Accused of the murder of Henrietta's brother, Flusky has been transported to Australia, where he starts life anew as a prosperous businessman, even while his wife descends further and further into alcoholism and self-hatred. When her cousin Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) comes to visit, Henrietta falls in love with him; she also confides that it was she, and not Flusky, who was responsible for her brother's death.