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Film Scene: Marilyn Monroe, ‘Dirty Dozen’ and plenty of kids’ flicks to choose from this week

 

Film Scene: Marilyn Monroe, ‘Dirty Dozen’ and plenty of kids’ flicks to choose from this week

07 Jun 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it’s finally started to get hot out there, folks. Savannah hot. Hot enough to fry an egg on a battalion of palmetto bugs.

So, there’s never been a better time to while away a significant portion of one’s day in what we can only hope will be the cool, refreshing, air-conditioned climate of a movie theater or non-traditional venue. You’ll have plenty of choices over the next seven days to do just that — all the while eschewing standard corporate multiplex fare — if you use the following list of notable independent and/or alternative programming as your guide.

World’s best pianists

First up, on June 8 at both the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall and at the Cinemark multiplex across the river in Bluffton, S.C., Fathom Events presents a live, high-definition simulcast of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Held in Fort Worth, Texas, this once-every-four-years event draws the very best classical pianists in the entire world to compete for the incredibly coveted Cliburn Gold Medal. The competition lasts well over two weeks, and now, for the first time in the organization’s history, the six finalists’ performances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Maetsro Leonard Slatkin) will be beamed live worldwide.

Fathom’s landmark 5 ½-hour broadcast of this major artistic happening will also include exclusive interviews with the Maestro and a handful of other classical music luminaries. Anyone even remotely interested in piano music won’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to witness the Van Cliburn finals in superb audio-visual clarity on the big screen. Showtime is 12:55 p.m., with $19.26 admission for adults (or $16.05 for seniors and children younger than 12).

Disney encore

A bit later that same day out on Tybee Island, the historic Tybee Post Theater continues its summertime series of kid-friendly pictures with two screenings of Walt Disney’s 2016 live-action-meets-CGI remake of its own 1967 animated fantasy classic “The Jungle Book.” It is based on the classic Rudyard Kipling tale of an orphaned boy who sets out on a lengthy and unpredictable journey of self-examination, with a variety of wild animals serving as his guardians and guides. This version was directed by Jon Favreau, and features the voice talents of everyone from Bill Murray to Sir Ben Kingsley and Christopher Walken to Giancarlo Esposito. Showtimes are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., with $7 admission ($5 for kids 12 and younger).

Peter Pan & Marilyn Monroe

June 11 finds Fathom offering another awesome cultural opportunity, when they present a live simulcast of the acclaimed British stage production of JM Barrie’s beloved tale of “Peter Pan,” as co-presented by the inspired pairing of Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre and England’s National Theatre, and directed by Sally Cookson (who also helmed the recent National Theatre production of “Jane Eyre.”) No Savannah engagement for this event, but if you’re willing to make the drive to Bluffton, S.C., the Cinemark will screen this for one show only at 11 a.m. with $12.50 admission for adults ($11.50 for seniors and students, $10.50 for kids younger than 12).

Fathom’s reign continues later that same day with the first of a special, two-day-only re-release of 1959’s Oscar-nominated box-office smash “Some Like It Hot.” Directed by Billy Wilder (“Double Indemnity”), it stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two Chicago musicians trying to outrun a violent mobster. Desperate to vanish, they tart themselves up in rather unconvincing drag and, vaguely disguised as women, slip into an all-girl band heading to Florida by train. The movie is a zany romantic comedy that nabbed its (actually) female lead, the late, great pin-up icon Marilyn Monroe, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and served as a key influence on a great many films and TV shows since. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. both June 11 and June 14. Admission is $13.38 for all ages.

Rarely seen on the big screen

Shifting gears, the restored Mars Theatre in Springfield gets in on the whole “classic film revival” bit on June 11 as well, with a single showing of the standout 1967 American-made war film “The Dirty Dozen.” Directed by Robert Aldrich (“The Longest Yard,” “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”), the gritty picture was based loosely on the real-life exploits of a motley group of brash and ornery WWII paratroopers and stars a flat-out amazing ensemble cast — including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Robert Webber and Donald Sutherland.

The plot concerns a “suicide mission” taken on by a hastily assembled gaggle of some of the U.S. Army’s most inveterate and anti-authoritarian convicts. MGM’s highest-grossing film in the year of its initial theatrical release, the film was met with praise from audiences, while a healthy number of established critics were openly derisive of the movie’s extreme (for the time) levels of onscreen violence and what many perceived as needlessly glamorized sadistic behavior. Rarely seen in a theatrical setting these days, this is a great opportunity to see it as its creators intended. Showtime 3 p.m., with $7 admission.

Storks, turtles on Tybee

Back out on Tybee on June 13, the Tybee Post screens two different family-oriented features. First, at 3 p.m., they’ll show the 2016 animated comedy “Storks,” written and directed by Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and the recent, big-screen reboot of “The Muppets”), and starring the voice talents of Key and Peele, Danny Trejo and Jennifer Aniston. Then, at 7 p.m., the Post offers an encore viewing of the respected and mesmerizing aquatic nature documentary “Turtle: The Incredible Journey.” That celebrated 80-minute doc from 2009 is narrated by esteemed British actress Miranda Richardson and features breathtaking underwater cinematography. Its emotional and inspirational storyline about the 25-year saga of a Florida-born loggerhead turtle that swims the entire North Atlantic to Africa before returning to her birthplace to lay eggs makes it ideal for inquisitive children, while still appealing to adults. Admission to “Storks” is $7 ($5 for kids 12 and younger), while admission to “Turtle: The Incredible Journey” is a suggested $5 donation to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

‘Trolls’ for $2

On the very same day, the kid-friendly summertime movies continue in Springfield at the Mars with two screenings (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) of 2016’s animated comedy “Trolls,” starring the voices of Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. It’s not even worth getting into the details of the plot of this film. I mean, it’s about trolls. Not actual trolls, mind you (for that, see the phenomenal 2010 Norwegian horror film “Trollhunter”), but the vibrant-haired, miniscule and completely non-threatening children’s dolls created by Danish designer Thomas Dam. Admission is only $2.

Japanese sci-fi

The next day, June 14 at The Sentient Bean, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly series of underappreciated features continues with the ultra-rare 1949 Japanese sci-fi action picture “The Invisible Man Appears.” Produced by a relatively small, independent studio and never released outside of Japan, this low-budget B&W flick clearly uses Universal Pictures’ 1933 hit “The Invisible Man” starring Claude Rains as its inspiration, as many of its key sequences and special effects are openly reminiscent of that beloved “pre-code” horror-thriller. However, as one might expect, this adaptation injects some distinctly Japanese subject matter into the proceedings — namely, an espionage subplot involving Japanese organized crime.

When a brilliant scientist develops a special formula that renders people invisible, a gang of jewel thieves becomes obsessed with acquiring the formula to help them steal a valuable diamond necklace. Mixing tension, action, thrills and even a bit of romance, “The Invisible Man Appears” (which was followed by at least two sequels in Japan) is a minor gem of its genre and almost completely unknown outside of its home country. The PFS will screen the full, uncut version in spoken Japanese, with English subtitles (sourced from a vintage, long out-of-print Japanese laserdisc). Showtime is 8 p.m., with $6 admission, and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the film.

RiffTrax special event

And finally, the following night, June 15, the RiffTrax crew (an offshoot from the original “MST3K” TV series) hosts an onstage “riffing session” in Nashville, Tenn., that will be simulcast to select theaters via Fathom Events. For this “Summer Shorts Beach Party,” the RiffTrax guys (who operate a popular website offering tongue-in-cheek audio “commentary tracks” on which the participants continuously crack wise in real-time over the soundtracks of lackluster motion pictures), they’ll add their pithy retorts and cheeky callbacks to a selection of retro short subjects.

In addition to the main cats from the website, they will be joined onstage for witty banter by additional “MST3K” veterans and quick-on-his-feet stand-up comic (and “Mr. Show with Bob & David” veteran) Paul F. Tomkins. Locally, this event can be seen at both the Regal Stadium 10 and the Cinemark in Bluffton at 8 p.m. June 15 (that’s the live broadcast) and again (in a taped repeat) at 7:30 p.m. June 20. Admission is $13.38.

That’s it for this week’s Film Scene. Until 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 Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Email psychotronicfilms@hotmail.com.

JIM’S NOTES

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was launched in 1962, and initially held at Texas Christian University. It is named in honour of Van Cliburn, winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. Traditionally, winners and runners-up in the Van Cliburn competition receive substantial cash awards, plus assistance in booking concert tours at world-famous venues. During these subsequent concerts, they are encouraged to perform pieces of their own choosing.

Of “The Dirty Dozen,” the Time Out Film Guide says, “(Director Robert) Aldrich appears to be against everything: anti-military, anti-establishment, anti-women, anti-religion, anti-culture, anti-life. Overriding such nihilism is the super-crudity of Aldrich’s energy and his humour, sufficiently cynical to suggest that the whole thing is a game anyway, a spectacle that demands an audience.”

Eiji Tsuburaya, who designed the way-cool special effects sequences for “The Invisible Man Appears,” had been blacklisted during the Allied Occupation for what many here in the States felt were efforts to aid Japan’s “propaganda films” during WWII. Five years after his work on this “Invisible Man” picture, he was finally allowed to work for the major Toho Studios, and it was there he co-created the original “Godzilla,” as well as the timeless “Ultraman” TV series. “The Invisible Man Appears” is considered to be one of his greatest pre-“Godzilla” achievements.

IF YOU GO

What: “The Jungle Book”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 8

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and younger

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — LIVE

When: 12:55 p.m. June 8

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $19.26 adults, $16.05 seniors and kids 12 and younger

Info: fathomevents.com

What: National Theatre Live presents “Peter Pan”

When: 11 a.m. June 11

Where: Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $12.50 adults, $11.50 seniors, students, $10.50 kids younger than 12

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “Some Like it Hot”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 11 and 14

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

What: “The Dirty Dozen”

When: 3 p.m. June 11

Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

What: “Storks”

When: 3 p.m. June 13

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 and younger

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary presents “Turtle: The Incredible Journey”

When: 7 p.m. June 13

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5 suggested donation

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

What: “Trolls”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 13

Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

What: “The Invisible Man Appears”

When: 8 p.m. June 14

Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: $6

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

What: RiffTrax Live presents: “Summer Shorts Beach Party”

When: 8 p.m. June 15 and 7:30 p.m. June 20

Where: Regal Savannah Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee Ave., and Cinemark, 106 Buckwalter Pkwy., Bluffton, S.C.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

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