Whether you're in the mood for something light or something almost incomprehensibly heavy, our area's alternative cinema offerings for this upcoming week likely have at least one option that will appeal to you.
In the mood for a full-throated belly laugh? You'll probably enjoy more than a few at the Jan. 11 one-night-only engagement of "Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception," the new "documentary" about the purported nexus between UFOs and Christianity. Narrated by none other than country music singer (and "The Dukes of Hazzard") John Schneider, this modern-day version of an exploitational Sunn Classic Pictures schlock-fest like "Chariots of the Gods" purports (according to its advertising) to "solving" one of "the most haunting and persistent mysteries of our time."
What might that be, you may well ask? It's not exactly clear, as the producers have refused to let any critics see the film ahead of its release (always the sign of a quality product). However, they do offer that it has something to do with "things seen on radar, what happened at Roswell, alien abductions, government cover-ups, and even a 'new' religion." I don't know about you, but that sounds like awfully important information to be entrusted to a good ol' boy like Bo Duke.
But hey, who am I to judge, right? Showtime is 7 p.m. at both the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall and the Cinemark in nearby Bluffton, S.C. Admission info can be found in the sidebar to this column.
Secrets of the opera
Fathom Events presents the debut of the documentary "The Opera House" on Jan. 13 at both the Regal Stadium 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton, S.C. Directed by award-winning documentarian Susan Froemke (whose lengthy career began as an associate producer on the cult classic nonfiction film "Grey Gardens"), it features little-known archival footage, rare still photography and newly conducted first-person interviews, all of which are used to paint a vivid portrait of the actual building which has housed the iconic Metropolitan Opera for the past half-century.
Boasting an amazing soundtrack of musical performances drawn from throughout that time period, it's said to be a revealing look at the cultural history of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as an invaluable glimpse at some of the legendary figures of city planning and architecture who contributed to the development of this landmark location. The film will be shown in high-def at 12:55 p.m. on Jan. 13 and 17. There will also be an evening screening at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17.
Gold and greed
Fathom's final specialty cinema event during this time period comes Jan. 14 and 16, and it's a doozy. To mark the 70th anniversary of the release of writer-director John Huston's 1948 neo-Western "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (he won the Oscars for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for his efforts), starring Humphrey Bogart and Huston's own father Walter, Fathom will show a restored version of this acknowledged classic big-screen tale of gold lust, greed, paranoia and manipulation.
As an added bonus, cable network Turner Classic Movies' host Ben Mankiewicz will appear in specially shot informative bonus material meant to help audiences better appreciate the movie. The entire program runs just shy of 2 Â½ hours. It will be screened twice daily, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. As with all of Fathom's events, tickets are available in advance online, but are also usually available at the door.
The night before Huston's black-and-white gem is unveiled, "Edward Scissorhands" is shown by SCAD's Cinema Circle, an ongoing series of noteworthy feature films hosted live by the art school's Film, TV and Cinema Studies faculty and grad students, as well as select local film historians. The one-show-only viewing of writer-director Tim Burton's dark and lovely 1990 horror fable stars Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Alan Arkin, Diane Weist and Vincent Price.
A box-office success that became an immediate cult sensation (whose visual influence resonates to this day), it's the fantastic, romantic tale of a young, artificial human (Depp) whose scientist creator/father figure perishes before completing his masterwork. Cursed with sharp steel blades in place of normal hands, the misunderstood "monster" is taken in by a kind-hearted husband and wife in the pristine suburbs in the shadow of the dark and foreboding mountain laboratory where he was built. "Edward" is forced to grapple with typical teenage emotions and the torment that can come from being profoundly different in a homogenous environment.
A touching parable that offers surprising emotional depth, it helped to mainstream some of the lighter aspects of the previously existing Goth subculture, and stands as one of Depp's finest performances. Oscar-winning sound editor David Stone will introduce the film and moderate a post-show audience discussion on its production and enduring legacy. 7 p.m. showtime Jan. 13 at Trustees Theater.
The afternoon of Jan. 14 at the Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St., there will be a free screening of the new, 30-minute film "Women's March," which was shot during the historic Jan. 21, 2017, Women's March on Washington, D.C., in protest of Donald Trump's presidency and in support of human rights, dignity and justice for all, regardless of gender. Hundreds of thousands of women (and men who supported their cause) rallied on that day in our nation's capital and in other cities around the globe, making it the single largest one-day protest in the history of the U.S.
This screening is held in tandem with a display and discussion on Georgia State University Library's special collection of historic archives and materials on such matters, hosted by the school's Women and Gender Collection Archivist Morna Gerrard. She and her team have collected tons of digitally stored research, including oral histories, ephemera and photos, and much of this is drawn from activists and artists who reside here in the greater Savannah area.
Gerrard will explain how the public can access her library's research guide and thus, these materials. The event is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. For more info on the movie, head to womensmarchfilm.com.
On Jan. 15 (which is both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s actual birthday and this year the day the federal holiday is in his honor), local musician and budding impresario Shena Verrett's company Girls On. Media presents the exclusive local public showing of "Whose Streets?"
The film is a tough and unflinching independent documentary focused on the 2014 unrest and street protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer.
Basic tickets for this one-show-only event at The Stage on Bay (a large venue primarily designed and used for large live music shows) are available in advance, as well as at the door. Additionally, for an extra fee, VIP passes are available, which allow the bearers to stick around afterward for a wine reception and live Q&A with social justice activist Brittany Ferrell, whose story is a centerpiece of the critically admired film. Showtime is 6 p.m. For more info on this special screening, see my feature article elsewhere here on dosavannah.com.
It's a mystery
Now you may recall that just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote of the Psychotronic Film Society's special Mystery Screening of an obscure, unnamed B&W British thriller from the late 1950s at The Sentient Bean. That was part of the long-running organization's weekly Wednesday night series of underappreciated feature films from around the globe. Well, unfortunately, that show had to be canceled because it fell on the night of the big snow and ice storm, and The Bean closing early that evening.
On Jan. 17, the PFS has rescheduled that great little Hitchcockian tale of a bizarre murder and the subsequent investigation. While the exact title will not be revealed before showtime (folks are encouraged to take a chance, buy a ticket and be pleasantly surprised), it can be said that it's essentially unknown outside of Great Britain and barely remembered there, despite being a taut little shocker boasting terrific performances from all involved. See the full, uncut version just as it was seen in theaters almost 60 years ago. Showtime is 8 p.m., with a full vegetarian menu and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.
Civil War classic
And finally, the following night, Jan. 18, Tybee Post Theater presents a one-night-only engagement of director Victor Fleming's legendary 1939 romantic Civil War drama "Gone with the Wind."
Based on Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this acknowledged classic from Hollywood's Golden Age stars Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland. It's grossed close to $400 million, and is ingrained in America's pop-culture consciousness like few films before or since. Those interested in this 7 p.m. show can either purchase basic tickets (which include your choice of wine, beer or soft drink), or for an additional price, can include pre-show dinner reservations at an upscale restaurant a few blocks from the theater. Details on these options at tybeeposttheater.org.
Until our next issue, see you at the movies, be kind to those around you and don't forget to turn off that cell phone.
Jim Reed directs the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
What: "Alien Intrusion - Unmasking a Deception"
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 11
Where: Regal Stadium 10; Cinemark Bluffton
What: The Metropolitan Opera presents "The Opera House"
When: 12:55 p.m. Jan. 13; 12:55 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17
Where: Regal Stadium 10; Cinemark Bluffton
What: "Edward Scissorhands"
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 13
Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.
Cost: $5-$8 or free with SCAD ID
What: "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"
When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 14 and 16
Where: Regal Stadium 10; Cinemark Bluffton
What: "Women's March"
When: 3 p.m. Jan. 14
Where: Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St.
What: "Whose Streets?"
When: 6 p.m. Jan. 15
Where: Stage on Bay, 1200 W. Bay St.
What: Mystery 1950s British Thriller
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 17
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
What: "Gone with the Wind"
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 18
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.
Cost: $10, includes glass of wine; $35, includes dinner