Friday, January 26, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Friday to Sunday): Noir City 16, Mom and Dad, Asphyxia

We can just about check off another week in the books, so I think we've all earned a break. And what better pastime is there than watching some movies? And this weekend definitely has them! In just a couple of hours, the 16th annual Noir City film festival opens its figurative doors and begins a double feature packed celebration of high and low brow cinema. The festival will be held at the Castro Theatre and hosted by Eddie Muller, founder/president of the Film Noir Foundation and producer of Noir City. 

In a couple of hours, Mom and Dad and Mary and the Witch's Flower will also open for their first screenings at the Roxie Theatre. Both films will have several showtimes throughout the weekend. 

Finally, on both Saturday and Sunday, the Yerba Buena Theatre gives us another chance to watch Bleak Street on the big screen in their two part tribute to director Arturo Ripstein. Bleak Street had its run in the landmark theatres after appearing at the International Film Festival a couple of years ago, and now it's back in the city again!

Screening in 70mm
Howard the Duck (1986)

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th @ 11am (1hr 50min)
Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
Director and co-screenwriter Willard Huyck has taken Steve Garber's abrasive, beer-drinking and cigar-smoking comic-book character and castrated him, turning him into a wide-eyed cutesy-pie available for the toy shelves. Huyck's Howard the Duck is a being from outer space, blown into Cleveland by an errant laser beam. After a few minutes on Earth, Howard runs into rock singer Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), and they become fast friends after Howard protects her from a couple of nasty punkers. The film then degenerates into an extended chase, as Howard and Beverly are pursued by government agents who want to capture Howard before he can be beamed back into space.

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th @ 2:15pm, 7:15pm & 9:45p, (2hrs 3min)
Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy
An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Friday 26th @ 7:30pm (1hr 22min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Laird Cregar as a creepy detective lends an added air of menace to this intense film noir. Victor Mature stars as Frankie Christopher, a Hollywood agent who finds himself accused of murdering his client Vicky Lynn (Carole Landis). Frankie takes refuge with Vicky's sister Jill (Betty Grable, in her first non-musical performance). But on his heels is back-street detective Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar). Coming upon Frankie and Jill, he tries to tell Frankie that although he doesn't think Frankie is guilty, there is enough evidence for him to fry in the electric chair. Not particularly reassured by the news, Frankie bolts to try and clear his name. Then he comes upon Vicky's troubled neighbor Harry Williams (Elisha Cook Jr.) who not only has pictures of the murdered actress pasted all over his walls, but holds the key to the crime.


Among The Living (1941)
Friday 26th @ 9:30pm (1hr 7min)
Drama/ Noir/ Mystery (IMDB)
In this off-beat programmer, a twin goes insane after spending years in isolation. The trouble begins when he escapes and begins bedeviling his saner second half.

Not on DVD

This Gun For Hire (1942)
Saturday 27th @ 1pm & 5pm (1hr 21min)

Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
Though billed fourth in This Gun For Hire, Alan Ladd was catapulted to stardom in the role of Phillip Raven, a ruthless professional killer with a long-suppressed streak of decency. After successfully pulling off his latest murder, Raven reports to his boss, effeminate fifth columnist Willard Gates (Laird Cregar). He collects his $1000 fee, only to discover later that Gates has double-crossed him with marked bills. This was done at the behest of Gates' boss, crooked business executive Alvin Bewster (Tully Marshall), who wants no loose ends left around to connect him with a plot to sell poison gas to the Axis. As Raven ducks and dodges the police, detective Michael Crane (Robert Preston) is hot on the trail of Bewster and Gates. Crane talks his girlfriend, nightclub singer-musician Ellen Graham (Veronica Lake), into taking a job at Gates' nightclub. While on the train to the club, Ellen makes the acquaintance of the escaping Raven. Gates boards the train, spots Ellen innocently sitting next to Raven, and assumes that the two are in cahoots. Later, Gates kidnaps Ellen and spirits her away to his mansion, intending to do away with her the first chance he gets. Instead, Raven, still seeking revenge for being set up, bursts into the mansion in search of Gates. Having previously been impressed by Ellen's kindness, he rescues her, though he intends using her as hostage should the police catch up with him. As they hide out together in the rail yards, Ellen and Raven get to know each other. Learning of Raven's miserable, abusive childhood, Ellen tries to chip away his murderous veneer, hoping to reform him. But when the cops arrive, Raven reverts to his instincts, shooting his way out of his hiding place. As Crane escorts Ellen out of harm's way, Raven rushes towards a bloody showdown with Bewster and Gates. Based on Graham Greene's A Gun For Sale, This Gun For Hire was remade in 1958 as Short Cut to Hell, then again under the original title as a 1990 made-for-TV film.


Quiet Please, Murder (1942)
Saturday 27th @ 3pm (1hr 10min)
Crime/ Drama/ Noir (IMDB)
A public library at night is the setting for this fast-moving crime caper. George Sanders is a gentleman crook specializing in selling forgeries of rare books. In the company of phony policemen, Sanders enters the library unmolested and pilfers a priceless Shakespeare folio in order to expedite his operation. The criminal's girl friend/accomplice Gail Patrick is willing to go along with the crime until Sanders begins displaying a homicidal streak. She calls in a detective (Richard Denning) to foil the criminal. A murder or two later, Sanders is tracked down amidst the dark, forbidding library shelves. It's no small trick to make a library exciting, but Quiet Please, Murder pulls this off with speed and economy.

Not on DVD

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Saturday 26th @ 7:30pm (1hr 48min)
Drama/ Thriller (Google)
"Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) visits his relatives in Santa Rosa. He is a very charming man, but his niece slowly realizes that he is wanted for murder and he soon recognizes her suspicions. Although one of the suspected murderers is killed and the case is considered closed, she still has her suspicions.


Address Unknown (1943)
Saturday 27th @ 9:40pm (1hr 15min)
Drama (IMDB)
The tale of a San Francisco art dealer who returns to Germany and falls under the spell of the Nazis was originally rendered by "Kressmann Taylor" (a woman writing as a man) as a trans-Atlantic correspondence between two increasingly estranged friends. It's brought powerfully to life through the stunning design and direction of William Cameron Menzies, and is powered by Paul Lukas' haunting performance. Not truly noir, but a revelation—few "B" movies match the impact and artistry of this WWII stunner.

Frank Craven, Alan Curtis, Gloria Jean, and Grace McDonald in Destiny (1944)

Destiny (1944)
Sunday 28th @ 1pm, 4:10pm, 9:20pm (1hr 5min)
Crime/ Drama/ Fantasy (IMDB)
Originally intended as the opening segment of Flesh and Fantasy, Universal cleaved this off and released it as a 65-minute stand-alone. A pair of robbers (Alan Curtis and Frank Craven) hide out in rural Paradise Valley, where the town folk are so pleasant and trusting, the crooks eagerly map out a plan to rob them blind. But the farmer's daughter (Gloria Jean), who really is blind, has a big surprise in store for one of the lecherous thieves. Be here when NOIR CITY screens the four chapters of Duvivier's Flesh and Fantasy—finally—as one complete program!


Flesh and Fantasy (1944)
Sunday 28th @ 2:20pm & 7:30pm (1hr 34min)
Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance (IMDB)
Considered one of the greatest French directors (his Pep√© le Moko launched the "poetic realism" that informed film noir), Duvivier escaped the war at home by bringing his incredible style to offbeat Hollywood films of the early '40s. This anthology of three supernatural tales—a proto-Twilight Zone—features a dazzling cast (Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Boyer, Robert Cummings, Thomas Mitchell) and exceptional camerawork by Stanley Cortez and Paul Ivano. Presented in an original 35mm print courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Midnight Madness
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Saturday 27th @ 11:55pm (1hr 41 min)
Comedy/ Scifi/ Horror/ Musical (Rotten Tomatoes)
This low-budget freak show/cult classic/cultural institution concerns the misadventures of Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) inside a strange mansion that they come across on a rainy night. After the wholesome pair profess their love through an opening song, their car breaks down in the woods, and they seek refuge in a towering castle nearby. Greeting them at the door is a ghoulish butler named Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien), who introduces them to a bacchanalian collection of party-goers dressed in outfits from some sort of interplanetary thrift shop. The host of this gathering is a transvestite clad in lingerie, Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a mad scientist who claims to be from another planet.

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th @ 9pm (2hrs 3min)
Sunday 28th @ 2:40pm
Comedy / Horror (IMDB)
Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star in this pitch-black horror-comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children.

Image result for mary and the witch's flower poster

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th @ 7pm (1hr 42min)
Sunday 28th @ 1:45pm
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

Image result for asphyxia movie 2017

Sunday 28th @ 4pm (1hr 47min)
Crime/ Drama/ Mystery (IMDB)
The latest film from Iranian director Fereydoun Jeyrani evokes the spirit of Hitchcock as it weaves a complex tale of marital infidelity, dark power relationships and the lengths to which love and obsession drive people. Massoud takes his wife Nassim to a mental asylum as she has shut herself off from the rest of the world. Her nurse Sahra is initially intrigued by Nassim’s case as she discovers that Massoud might not be all he claims to be. But, as she discovers more about Massoud and Nassim, Sahra finds herself falling under the influence of Massoud and intrigue quickly turns in to love. Soon Sahra discovers that she is travelling a path from which there is no escape.

Saturday 27th @ 7pm (1hr 39min)
Crime/ Drama (IMDB)
"Prostitutes Adela and Dora are burdened with bad marriages and financial problems. To make ends meet, they drug and rob dwarf twins working as luchadores."


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