July 6th: Five Element Ninjas/The Mystery of Chess Boxing (Roxie Theatre)
Nope, not missing the chance to see one of my favorite villains of all time, Ghostface Killer, on a theatre screen in the Shaw Brothers‘ martial arts classic, The Mystery of Chess Boxing. Nobody – especially fans of fist-to-face action flicks – will want to miss this chance to see a vicious head-snatching baddie sling about his flying guillotine. As for Five Element Ninjas, don’t know how I missed this one when going through my kung-fu phase a few years back, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.
July 6th: Beasts of The Southern Wild (Embarcadero)
Newcomer Benh Zeitlin‘s feature-length debut has quickly moved into my most anticipated films of the year radar. It has already snatched up 4 major awards at Cannes and 2 from Sundance, including the Grand Jury prize. The plot as IMDB describes it is about a girl who faced with her father’s fading health and environmental changes that release an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs, leaves her Delta-community home in search of her mother. Not to take anything away from the plot, because it does sound intriguing, but I’m more interested in seeing what all the hype is about surrounding the cinematography and acting that have been buzzing around this film.
July 6th: Savages (Major)
July 7th – 11th: The Man From London/The Turin Horse (Roxie Theatre)
I still haven’t seen anything by film auteur, Bela Tarr, but with two of them coming to the Roxie hopefully now I can at long last become acquainted with a piece of this man’s filmography, if for no other reason than to have some of my film snobby friends stop harassing me; “How can you call yourself a film buff, yet you still haven’t seen anything by Bela Tarr?”
Here’s what the Roxie has to say about this upcoming week-long program “Béla Tarr, the Hungarian master of the measured-pace, real-time dramas that penetrate the murk of human existence has announced he has finished with film. Bad news for us who have already clocked in countless hours shadowing the desperate lives of his proletariat protagonists as they negotiate their beautifully bleak, black & white environs. As we incredulously bid Béla bye-bye, the Roxie proposes two, little-seen titles from this titan of long-form minimalism and his longtime collaborator, the novelist László Krasznahorkai, both presented in 35mm.“
July 11th: A Clockwork Orange (Cinearts @ Empire/Century San Francisco Centre)
My sentiments for this film mirror those of Kubrick’s chief antagonist/protagonist, Alex, and his love for his favorite composer, Ludwig Van, “Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeously made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!” Restored and remastered, this one night only screening of Stanley Kubrick‘s cult classic is finally my chance to see this in an actual theatre, just as the master filmmaker intended.
July 11th: Thief/Straight Time (Castro Theatre)
After seeing Nicolas Winding Refn‘s extraordinary take on a career criminal/loner/bad ass, I couldn’t help but make comparisons to Michael Mann‘s criminally overlooked, Thief, in where James Caan‘s role of the professional criminal trying to do the right thing is backed by one hell of a soundtrack, and a restrained script that relies heavy on atmosphere and character development, yet when the action pops off – look out!
As for Straight Time, haven’t seen it yet, but being that it contains two of my favorite elements, Dustin Hoffman and late-1970s aesthetics, I think I’ll stay and get my double-feature money’s worth.
July 13th: Ballplayer: Pelotero (SF Film Society Cinema)
It’s July and you still haven’t been to a baseball game yet? Well, I give you permission to substitute a day spent out in the sun, yelling at millionaires for an air-conditioned dark theatre ,where silence is considered golden, as long as that theatre is playing Ballplayer: Pelotero, that is. Truth be told, whenever word of a baseball movie comes our way, we have to take notice, being that there is at least one pretty big fan of the game who writes for the site. This documentary is narrated by John Leguizamo and tells the story of two top baseball prospects from the Dominican Republic and their struggles with fierce competition and corruption. Now if only the concession stand sold watered down beer and curly garlic fries.
July 20th: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Lumiere Theatre)
Out of all the films I enjoy re-watching only a few of them are comedies, mostly because once the joke has been delivered it’s hard for the movie to ever have the same impact again. The Holy Grail, however, still manages to provide genuine laughs scene after scene, even after I have seen it at least 50 times. Sadly, none of my viewing have been in a theatre, until now, that is. Asking if this is my favorite comedy ever, is like asking if Swallows can carry coconuts. The answer is pretty obvious, is it not?
July 20th: The Dark Knight Rises (Major)
The bat is back, baby! Has Christopher Nolan made a bad film yet? I didn’t think so, and I have no reason to think that his third installment into The Dark Knight trilogy will be any different. Let’s face it, the villan probably won’t be as bad ass as Heath Ledger‘s Joker, but that’s not to say that the film won’t deliver the goods as far as being a top-notch blockbuster, or at least I have high hopes of it doing so, or else it wouldn’t even be highlighted in this post.
July 21st: Fantasia (Presidio Public Library FREE SCREENING)
Best Disney movie of all time! Scratch that, more like Best Animated Film ever! A bold statement, I know, but one that I firmly stick by. Hippo ballet! Hippo ballet!