Howdy again, adventurous and inquisitive movie lovers. This week’s Film Scene is overflowing with specialty screenings throughout the greater Savannah area, so all apologies in advance if we don’t have the space to go into too much detail about each of the attractions.

‘Bandstand’ musical

Let’s begin with the latest batch of high-def digital programming coming to corporate multiplexes courtesy of Fathom Events. On June 28, the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall and the Cinemark in nearby Bluffton, S.C., will simultaneously show the premiere of “Bandstand: The Broadway Musical." This is a professionally filmed production of the well-received, inspirational period piece that was performed on the New York City stage 166 times during 2016 and 2017.

Set just after WWII, it follows a group of traumatized and disillusioned veterans who have just returned home to the USA and decided to form a band specifically to enter a nationally broadcast radio contest promising fame and fortune. Directed by the critically adored choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, it won the Tony, the Drama Desk and the Chita Rivera awards for Best Choreography in a Broadway show. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission prices to all screenings mentioned in this column are in the accompanying sidebar.

 

New anime ‘Fireworks’

A few nights later on July 3, both of those same venues kick off a three-day engagement of the new Japanese anime feature “Fireworks” from respected producer Genki Kawamura. He is best known here for 2016’s smash young adult anime “Your Name,” a romantic teen fantasy with sci-fi elements that has gone on to become the ninth-highest grossing film worldwide ever made that is not in English. Yep, it was that massive a hit; $355 million and counting. J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are working on a live-action American remake of “Your Name” as I write this.

“Fireworks” follows in the footsteps of that earlier film in that it focuses on young lovers determined to be together despite logistical difficulties, and in that process discover a magical talisman that affords them the ability to alter the time-space continuum and create their own private universe in an effort to remain in each other’s lives. It will screen at 7 p.m. July 3 and 5 in the original spoken Japanese with English subtitles, and again at 12:55 p.m. July 7 dubbed in English.

 

‘Jaws’ on Tybee

Heading out to Tybee Island, the historic Tybee Post Theater presents an old standby, the aforementioned Spielberg’s massive 1975 blockbuster action thriller “Jaws” twice July 1. Now, some may question the karmic logic of a theater on beautiful Tybee Island gleefully presenting a movie (right before July 4) that’s about a small, seaside community whose all-important tourist economy is imperiled by a series of grisly and deadly Great White shark attacks that take place just before Independence Day weekend — but hey, it’s a classic, right?

Other than some admittedly wonky and stiff mechanical special effects, the original “Jaws” remains to this day a legitimately scary and entertaining popcorn flick with memorable performances from Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and the late, great Roy Scheider. So, what are you wading for? (See what I did there?) Shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 

Family films

The Post’s summertime series of recently released kid-friendly pictures continues as well, with encore big-screen presentations of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on June 28, the animated fairy tale “Ferdinand” on July 3, the CGI fantasy adventure “Coco” on July 4 and the recent superhero reboot “Wonder Woman” on July 5. Each of those films screens at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on their respective days, except for “Coco,” which will only be shown at 3 p.m.

 

 

 

Hitchcock thriller

Downtown’s Lucas Theatre launches its new “Hitchcock or Hepburn” series June 29 with a 7 p.m. showing of famed director Alfred Hitchcock’s beloved and suspenseful mystery “Rear Window,” starring Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr. Further installments in this series will alternate between pictures directed by Hitchcock or those which star Audrey Hepburn.

If you’ve never seen this gloriously manipulative 1954 thriller about a professional photographer who becomes convinced he has stumbled upon a grisly murder — but lacks ironclad proof of the crime — do yourself a favor and see this restored version on the big screen. It’s an absolute masterpiece of cinematic art, and deserves to be seen projected properly, as its creator intended. Furthermore, if you are unfamiliar with “Rear Window,” do not Google it! It will be instantly spoiled for you. Go in blind, as they say, and enjoy the plot as it unfolds point by point. Therein lies the beauty of the film.

 

Disney’s ‘Tarzan’

A couple of days later at 3 p.m. July 1, the Lucas’ Sunday afternoon series of animated Disney matinees continues with that studio’s 1999 adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic tale of jungle savagery and true love, “Tarzan.” This version stars — get this — Tony Goldwyn as the voice of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. That’s President Fitzgerald Grant III, for my fellow “Scandal” enthusiasts.

 

Zombie summer rolls on

Around the corner at Trustees Theater, the latest series of SCAD’s wonderful Cinema Circle continues with its four-film look at the “zombie apocalypse” genre. After having already screened two darkly serious titles (George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” and Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” — which is not technically about zombies, but, well, whatever ...), the selections shift toward a comedic tale on the world as we know it ending due to hordes of bloodthirsty reanimated corpses, starting with 2009’s “Zombieland.” This box-office success stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin as a ragtag team of human survivors of said zombie apocalypse who travel all over, winding up in Hollywood and battling undead ghouls all the way.

Both funnier than most gore films and gorier than most comedies, it’s a surprisingly fun flick that revels in well-written and witty banter. The film will be hosted by myself and SCAD film professor Michael Chaney, and we’ll both moderate an audience discussion afterward. Hope some of you can make it. Showtime 7 p.m. June 30.

 

Chipmunks are back

Moving out to the small, nearby town of Springfield (the Effingham County Seat), the historic Mars Theatre has three titles on tap over the next seven days. First up, on July 3, is the execrable semi-animated kid flick “Alvin and The Chipmunks: Road Chip,” which is generally regarded as an interminably low-brow and phoned-in attempt to make some quick cash off of young children, who don’t know any better, and their parents, who should. Listen, I grew up loving The Chipmunks. I played an original 1950s 45rpm single of “Witch Doctor” until the grooves were worn raw. And, to this day, I even own the “Urban Chipmunk” LP. But come on. These ain’t my daddy’s Chipmunks. And this is one case where we’d all be better off if they were. It’s no wonder I long ago made the switch to Shirley, Squirrely and Melvin. Shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

 

Fundraising doc

Later that same day, at 6 p.m., the Mars will host a special fundraising screening of “Descendants of Men of the Forest — The Legacy Continues,” a one-hour follow-up documentary to the 1952 U.S. government-funded hour-long doc “Man of the Forest.” The original was a realistic look at the day-to-day difficulties of an African-American family in Georgia making their money from harvesting timber. Immediately following the follow-up film, there will be a reception at the nearby Effingham County Recreation Building. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 912-667-1955.

 

'Book Club' ensemble comedy

At 7 p.m. July 5 to 7, the Mars will screen the new female-centric ensemble comedy “Book Club,” starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Alicia Silverstone. It’s the tongue-in-cheek tale of four older women friends who find themselves reinvigorated after discovering the world of rough sex through the embarrassingly bad bestselling novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Seriously.

 

Mystery screening

And finally, the Psychotronic Film Society’s long-running Wednesday night series of underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from around the globe continues at 8 p.m. July 4 at The Sentient Bean with a special Independence Day event. It's a mystery screening of a hilarious and almost completely forgotten futuristic comedy from decades past that amazingly predicted much of the chaos and absurdity that now plagues our federal government.

 

The exact title will not be revealed until showtime, but here are a few hints: It was co-written (and based on a stage play) by two key members of the pioneering underground comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre. It was directed by the same guy responsible for ’80s hits like the original “Police Academy” film and “Real Genius.” It boasts an amazing cast of comedic actors and actresses and rock musicians. And, it’s one of the most brutal satires of American greed and hypocrisy ever put on film.

A flop when first released, it was unavailable on home video for decades, despite being an influential precursor to such later comedy smashes as the “Airplane!” and “Naked Gun” series. This is a rare opportunity to celebrate Independence Day by poking fun at the crass and ugly side of U.S. leadership and popular culture.

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 the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah.

 

IF YOU GO:

What: “Bandstand: The Broadway Musical”

When: 7 p.m. June 28

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.; Cinemark, Bluffton

Cost: $19.26

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Jaws”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 1

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$8

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 28

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Rear Window”

When: 7 p.m. June 29

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$8, $2 with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Zombieland”

When: 7 p.m. June 30

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $5-$8, free with SCAD ID

Info: trusteestheater.com

 

What: Disney’s “Tarzan”

When: 3 p.m. July 1

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$8, $2 with SCAD ID

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Alvin and The Chipmunks: Road Chip”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 3

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

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Ferdinand”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 3

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Fireworks”

When: 7 p.m. July 3 and 5; 12:55 p.m. July 7

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.; Cinemark, Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Descendants of Men of the Forest — The Legacy Continues”

When: 6 p.m. July 3; reception to follow at Effingham County Recreation Building on Hwy. 119.

Where: Mars Theatre, Springfield

Cost: $10-$20

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Coco”

When: 3 p.m. July 4

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: Mystery Independence Day Comedy

When: 8 p.m. July 4

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Book Club”

When: 7 p.m. July 5-7

Where: Mars Theatre, Springfield

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Wonder Woman”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 5

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: tybeeposttheater.org