April Cinema in San Francisco: Here’s What We’re Looking Forward To

April 1st: Wrong (Roxie)

Screen-shot-2011-12-01-at-12.58.08-PMPlot for Wrong: Man loses dog and has to find him.  Yes, it is that ingeniously simple.

Quentin Dupieux, director of Rubber, is back and so is the cinematic concept of “no reason”. Quentin is a rebel against mainstream cinema whose cause seems to be letting people know that films don’t have to follow the Hollywood norm.  Having seen this earlier in the year at SF IndieFest, I can say with confidence that not only does this movie play directly into all of my comedic sensibilities, but I am quite certain that I will not laugh at any other comedy this year, no, make it this decade, as much I did while watching Wrong.

April 5th: The Place Beyond The Pines (Embarcadero)

Plot for A Place Beyond the Pines: A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician.

So it’s essentially Drive, only with a motorbike instead of a car?  I am so cool with that.  Once again, another great cast for Cianfrance to work with.  His first feature-length, Blue Valentine (2010) earned Michelle Williams an Oscar nomination and showed that he has what it takes to direct.  On the off-chance this movie completely tanks, which I don’t think will happen, at least we’ll be left with the visual pleasures of Gosling, Cooper and Mendes to ogle at for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

April 5th: Evil Dead (Balboa Theatre)

theevildead2_jpg_630x372_q85Plot for Evil Dead: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.

Yes, I’m one of “those people” who thinks Sam Rami‘s original Evil Dead films are in a class all by themselves, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited for what has the potential to be as IMDB’s Parental Guide Page puts it, a movie that is “creepy cringe worthy hard to look at and probably one of the scariest movies to watch.”  Speaking as a big horror fan, if the best movie I see from this genre is a remake, then so be it!

April 5th – 7th: Roman Polanski Films (Roxie – 3 Days Only!)

April 5th: Repulsion/The Tenant April 6th: Chinatown/Frantic + Polanski in person via Skype April 7th:TBA

pollpolanskiFrom the Roxie’s website: “Gear yourselves up for the cinema event of the season as the Roxie brings legendary director Roman Polanski to you directly from Switzerland LIVE via telephone hook-up on SATURDAY, APRIL 6 (exact time yet to be determined)! Mr. Polanski has graciously and generously agreed to join us here at the theater for a week-end long tribute to him! We’ll show a handful of his greatest films (stay tuned for details!!) including a couple of fascinating documentaries. We hope to have a few incredible special guests along for the ride, so stay in touch!!!”

April 11th: Talk To Her/All About My Mother (Castro – One Day Only!)

talktoher1_600x391Plot for Talk To Her: Two men share an odd friendship while they care for their girlfriends who are both in deep comas.

Plot for All About My Mother: Young Esteban want to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father, carefully concealed by the mother Manuela.

Double features showcasing the masterful and the extremely good don’t happen all too often, but when they do you can be damn sure that I will be in attendance.  How does one distinguish a masterful work of cinema from that of something that is just extremely good?  It’s easy, Pedro Almodovar‘s Talk To Her is a masterful work of cinema, whereas his film All About My Mother is just extremely good.  It’s just that simple.

April 12th: Touch of Evil/Blood Simple (Castro – One Day Only!)

stranglewellesPlot for Touch of Evil: Stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in Mexican border town.

Orson wellesJanet Leigh and Charlton Heston in yet another Welles-directed classic I still haven’t seen.  I’m not letting this opportunity to see this classic pass me by.  Also, apparently the single shot opening scene is supposed to be one of the best opening scenes in cinema.  I’ll see about that.

Plot for Blood Simple: A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Even if this weren’t one of the most mature and accomplished directorial debuts, this 1980s classic would still be my first recommendation choice to anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with a great crime film.  It just so happens that it’s a great Coen Brothers film as well.

April 12th: To The Wonder (Embarcadero)

Ben Affleck and Rachel WeiszPlot for To The Wonder: A romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.

While Malick’s films can split audiences there is no denying that he is one of the most unique filmmakers working today. Many movie fans can’t tolerate the slow pacing and poetic feel of Malick’s work but those can should be in for a real treat.

April 13th: Moonrise Kingdom/Rushmore (Castro – One Day Only!)

moonrise-kingdom-wes-andersen-3Plot for Moonrise Kingdom: A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.

Yes, it’s loaded with Wes Andersonisms; long tracking shots of diorama set designs, quirky characters dryly spitting one-liners, at least one slow motion walking shot, and of course, a lead character with daddy issues.  But at the heart of this story, and overshadowing all the distinctive traits of this auteur there’s an exceptional story of puppy love, one that captures that first true crush of someone’s life more accurately than anything I have ever seen in cinemas before.

Plot for Rushmore: The king of Rushmore prep school is put on academic probation.

April 17th: Blow-Up/Deep Red (Castro – One Day Only!)

profondo-rosso1Plot for Blow-Up: A mod London photographer seems to find something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park.

Plot for Deep Red: A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a feisty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.

I’m quite sure that more people are familiar with Antonioni‘s now cult classic plot twisting thriller of a fashion photographer thrusted into a murderous adventure, Blow-Up, but the real draw her for me is watching Dario Argento‘s Deep Red, which as far as I’m concerned is his most realized piece of horror (sorry fans of Suspiria, but it’s true). Just having a chance to hear The Goblin soundtrack to this film on the Castro’s upgraded sound system is worth the price of admission.

April 18th: The Shining (Roxie – One Day Only!)

ShiningPlot for The Shining: A grounds keeper becomes possessed and terrorizes his family in an isolated hotel.

The Shining is not only the ultimate haunted house movie, it is also the ultimate horror movie! The first film to make proper use of the steady cam, Kubrick delivers brilliant shots gliding effortlessly through the vast empty hallways. The hypnotizing shots slowly draw you in, and as you watch Jack Nicholson transform into a monster the horror is unleashed.

April 19th: Room 237 (Roxie)

room-237Plot for Room 237: A subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining.

Given the fact that we here at Filmbalaya are all too eager to shout out praises for Kubrick’s The Shining whenever mentions of greatest horror films arises in conversation, it’s only natural then that we would be more than intrigued about a documentary on some of the theories behind this terrifying masterpiece.

April 19th – 20th: The Big Lebowski (Clay Theatre – Two Days Only!)

the-big-lebowski-movie-image-jeff-bridges-600x445Plot for The Big Lebowski: “Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Few films are powerful enough that they inspire a new religion, The Big Lebowski is. Dudeism, now an official religion is growing quickly and is similar to Buddhism.  Dudeists pay respect to not one but many historical figures such as Kurt Vonnegut, Julia Child, Buddha, Snoopy, Quincy Jones, and of course, The Dude. Point being, if you haven’t seen The Big Lebowski or if you didn’t fully grasp the power of this mighty film the first time around, you are getting a second chance.

April 26th: Deliverance/Duel (Castro – One Day Only!)

spielberg_duel04Plot for Deliverance: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

If it weren’t for that pesky little film called The Godfather (heard of it?) Deliverance would have been a shoo-in for the 1973 Best Picture Oscar. Appealing to a mass audience with its simulated pig rape scene, some dueling banjos, and a mustacheless Burt Reynolds, it’s still a mystery as to how this film did not bring home the Academy Award?

Plot for Duel: A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

For those of you who think Steven Spielberg‘s exceptional knack for creating thrills was first seen in Jaws, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Forget about man vs. shark.  How about man vs truck?!

April 27th: A Clockwork Orange/Barry Lyndon (Castro – One Day Only!)

600full-a-clockwork-orange-screenshotPlot for A Clockwork Orange: In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem… but not all goes to plan.

Plot for Barry Lyndon: An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband’s position in 18th Century aristocracy.

My sentiments for these two films mirror those of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange‘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!

April 28th: Casablanca/The Year of Living Dangerously (Castro – One Day Only!)

casablanca02Plot for Casablanca: Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Plot for The Year of Living Dangerously: A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.

Depending on how I feel after finally taking in one of the must-see movies before you die on just about everybody’s list, Casablanca (No, I have not seen it yet, sue me!) I may or may not stay for Peter Weir‘s 1982 sweeping romance starring Mel Gibson. At least I’ll end the month of April being able to finally put into context those iconic one-liners such as “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine“, “Here’s looking at you, kid“, and “Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time


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Categories: Monthly Movies

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