Monday, December 18, 2017

Screenings in the Bay (Monday to Friday): Brazil, Edward Scissorhands, Manhandled

We're heading into a pretty quiet week as far as screenings are concerned, and that's mostly due to just about every theatre anywhere being taken over by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But don't worry! San Francisco loves its alternative Christmas movies, and this week there are several of them screening at some of our favorite independent cinemas. The Castro Theatre will be screening a Noir City X-Mas double feature in 35mm this Wednesday, and the Roxie has its own Terry Gilliam 35mm double feature on Friday. Both sound great, and there's more on the horizon.

Noir City X-Mas Double Feature

Manhandled (1949)
Wednesday 20th @ 7:30pm (1hr 37min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Produced by Paramount's Pine-Thomas unit, Manhandled is a no-nonsense film noir with a well-chosen cast. Small-time hoodlum Karl Benson (Dan Duryea) uses and abuses several innocent people in his efforts to get ahead. Among Benson's victims is Merl Kramer (Dorothy Lamour), who doesn't find out about her boyfriend's perfidy until it's almost too late. Sterling Hayden co-stars as insurance investigator Joe Cooper, who likewise exploits poor Merl, albeit for a good cause: Cooper is on the trail of some missing jewels. A subplot involves a married couple (Irene Hervey and Alan Napier) and the wife's would-be lover (Phillip Reed). Manhandled's level of tension never lets up, not even in its final scenes.


Alias Boston Blackie (1942)
Wednesday 20th @ 9:30pm (1hr 7min)
Drama/ Mystery (IMDB)
Ex-thief Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) brings a variety show up to his old prison alma mater for Christmas Eve. In violation of the visitation rules, he also brings along Eve Sanders (Adele Mara), whose brother Joe (Larry Parks) is doing a 15-year stretch as an accomplice to a robbery-murder. When Joe escapes by disguising himself as one of the performers (with whom he once worked), the police want to hold Blackie as an accomplice. The thief-turned-investigator has to avoid arrest long enough to find Joe before he carries out his vow to kill the men who framed him, protect Eve from the consequences of his escape, and clear his own name -- and the only way to do all of that means solving the original crime for which Joe was convicted, following blind alleys and trails that end with men who have died, disappeared, or assumed new identities. Along the way, amid a considerable number of laughs at the way Blackie outwits the police, we get a truly suspenseful pursuit and two sequential escapes, one from a murder scene with police all over the place and the other from a police station in an amazingly clever, funny, and tense sequence (and one which, despite the humor here, manages to anticipate the bloody escape from maximum security in Silence of the Lambs).

Edward Scissorhands (1991)
Thursday 21st @ 9:30pm (1hr 45min)
Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance (IMDB)
Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands opens as an eccentric inventor (Vincent Price) lovingly assembles a synthetic youth named Edward (Johnny Depp). Edward has all the essential ingredients for today's standard body, with the exception of a pair of hands. For what is initially thought to be a temporary period, he is fitted with long, scissor-like extremities that, while able to trim a mean hedge, are hardly conducive to day-to-day life. When the kindly inventor dies, however, Edward is left lonely and cursed with some very heavy metal for hands. He is eventually taken in by Peg Boggs (Dianne Weist), an Avon lady who takes pity on him after seeing his bleak existence. Edward, in spite of his inherent ability to slay anyone he comes across, is a gentle soul whose only wish is to be loved. His impromptu family has, at best, a limited understanding of Edward, but he finds himself drawn to Peg's weary but sympathetic daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder), who is dating Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), the neighborhood bully. Meanwhile, Edward finds himself a local celebrity after the town realizes that his talents include creative hedge trimming and an unrivaled ability to cut hair. His so-called friends are proven fair-weather when Edward is accused of a crime, after which his only supporters are Peg and Kim. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th @ 9:30pm (2hrs 1min)
Thursday 21st @ 9pm
Drama/ Horror/ Mystery (IMDB)
Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob (Sunny Suljic) and 14-year-old Kim (Raffey Cassidy). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who Steven has covertly taken under his wing. As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family's life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family's domestic bliss.

Terry Gilliam Double Feature

Friday 22nd @ 6:45pm (2hr 22min)
Drama/ Sci-fi (IMDB)
A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.


Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Friday 22nd @ 9:30pm (2hrs 9min)
Mystery/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller (IMDB)
An intense film about time travel, this sci-fi entry was directed by Terry Gilliam, a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. The film stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner of the state in the year 2035 who can earn parole if he agrees to travel back in time and thwart a devastating plague. The virus has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the remainder live underground because the air is poisonous. Returning to the year 1990, six years before the start of the plague, Cole is soon imprisoned in a psychiatric facility because his warnings sound like mad ravings. There he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the mad son of an eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole is returned by the authorities to the year 2035, and finally ends up at his intended destination in 1996. He kidnaps Dr. Railly in order to enlist her help in his quest. Cole discovers graffiti by an apparent animal rights group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, but as he delves into the mystery, he hears voices, loses his bearings, and doubts his own sanity. He must figure out if Goines, who seems to be a raving lunatic, holds the key to the puzzle. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi


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