As I write this week’s installment of Film Scene, Hurricane Florence is nearing the Southeastern coast and bringing with it the threat of serious destruction to the Carolinas. At nerve-wracking times like these, it can be hard to focus on such ephemeral distractions as motion pictures. However, a life without art and a life without silliness is not much of a life at all.

So, with that in mind, my thoughts go out to everyone who’s concerned about what the upcoming week will hold for our immediate area, and those who may be scrambling about trying to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

For the sake of this column, we’re going to assume the greater Savannah area gets little more than a big, bad rainstorm, and that all of the following alternative cinema events take place as scheduled. Deal?

Four from Fathom

First up we have four different high-def digital programs coming to the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall, courtesy of Fathom Events.

On Sept. 13, that venue begins a three-day engagement of “MOSES,” a professionally filmed, 130-minute live stage production on the life and times of the fabled biblical figure, complete with “massive sets, spectacular special effects and live animals.” Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13 and 20, plus a 12:55 p.m. matinee Sept. 15.

 

Sept. 15 also marks the first of a two-day national theatrical release of the 1993 Japanese anime feature “Dragon Ball Z: Broly the Legendary Super Saiyan.” How’s that for an unwieldy title? This is a fairly epic (for the time) animated sci-fi fantasy about a group of warriors fighting to protect the universe from domination by an evil foe. Many fans of the Dragonball Z franchise have a soft spot for this particular entry into the long-running series, and it’s recently been restored and remastered for a deluxe Blu-Ray release. That souped-up version is the one which will grace big screens across the USA for just two shows, both of which will be shown in spoken, dubbed English. Showtimes are 12:55 p.m. Sept. 15 and 7 p.m. Sept. 17.

That same night, Fathom presents a live four-hour championship boxing simulcast at the Regal. The main event is “the rematch of the year”: “Canelo vs GGG 2,” a highly anticipated battle for the World Middleweight Title between Mexican and Russian opponents. The entire event gets underway at 8 p.m.

 

And finally, on Sept. 19, Fathom presents a new outdoor adventure documentary that’s one of the most acclaimed features of its type in recent years. “The Dawn Wall” tells the intense true story of two top American rock climbers who attempted in 2015 to scale a 3,000-foot rock face in Yosemite National Park — a goal most agreed was “seemingly impossible” to accomplish. The two spent more than six years planning this daring and life-threatening ascent, which was made all the more difficult by the fact that one of the mountaineers had lost one of his fingers in a tragic accident, which made climbing significantly more difficult.

Critics have called this film “riveting and spectacular,” “a genuine crowd-pleaser,” “thrilling” and “profound.” Others have noted the copious amounts of brevity on display in the relationship between the two obsessed athletes, who actually lived for several weeks on the steep side of this giant cliff as they scaled it. Given the size and scope of the subject matter, this sounds like something that would work infinitely better on a big screen than on a TV or laptop monitor, so if this sounds like something you’d be into, I’d make a beeline for this one-show-only presentation at 7 p.m.

New releases at Mars

Heading out to the small, nearby town of Springfield, their restored historic Mars Theatre will screen the new comedy “Dog Days” for a three-day run starting Sept. 13. The fictional film’s script looks at the lives of a broad swath of Los Angeles residents, all of whom own and are heavily involved with canines. Dog walkers, dog doctors and foster dog owners all appear in this lightweight summer flick that is earning high marks from dog lovers (there’s a shocker, huh?).

Eva Longoria, Vanessa Hudgens and Thomas Lennon appear in key roles. Plus, you know, tons of cute dogs. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Sept. 13 and 14, and a 3 p.m. matinee Sept. 16.

 

A week later, the Mars hosts another three-day engagement of a recently released feature. This time it’s “The Meg,” an action-packed and fright-filled giant shark movie that some are likening to “Jaws” for a new generation and others are dismissing as a ho-hum PG-13 movie that pulled its gory punches in order to secure a rating that would allow teenagers to buy tickets, thus negating the very things which make giant killer shark movies most appealing.

In other words, if you liked the hokey ridiculousness of the “Sharknado” franchise, then “The Meg” may be right up your alley. Either way, I am sure it offers some guilty-pleasure fun. Showtime is 7 p.m. each night from Sept. 20-22.

Honoring Burt Reynolds

Moving downtown, the Psychotronic Film Society has two different intimate screenings taking place over the next seven days at The Sentient Bean on the southern end of Forsyth Park. First up, on Sunday, Sept. 16, is a special memorial tribute to the late, great leading man, stuntman and film director Burt Reynolds, who recently passed away at the age of 82.

A beloved figure for decades who got his start in the early days of live television and went on to become one of the biggest box-office stars of all time before personal troubles and health problems derailed his career and left him appearing in shoddy, low-budget straight-to-video duds (and the occasional high-quality and high-profile smash, like “Boogie Nights”), Reynolds has a strong connection to Savannah. The Florida native loved our city and kept a home here for an extended period of time in the mid-1970s.

While the exact title of the film the PFS will screen will remain a closely guarded secret until showtime, it can be revealed that it’s an extremely entertaining film that showcases one of Burt’s most naturalistic and relaxed performances — and which is almost completely forgotten by most folks. Romantic, thrilling and quite funny, it’s an American-made film helmed by a legendary director but shot entirely overseas. Think you know what it is? Come on out, buy a ticket and find out! Even if you’re wrong, you will likely enjoy this little-known slice of Burt that has not been seen in theaters for decades. 8 p.m. showtime.

 

'Wedlock' anniversary

A few nights later at The Bean, on Sept. 19, the PFS’ long-running Wednesday night series of underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from around the world continues with a 27th anniversary screening of the way-cool 1991 British-made romantic sci-fi thriller “Wedlock,” starring Rutger “Blade Runner” Hauer, Mimi “The Original Mrs. Tom Cruise” Rogers, Joan “Twin Peaks” Chen, James “The Warriors” Remar and Stephen “Damn Near Everything Cool” Tobolowsky.

Also known as “Deadlock,” this inventive little flick was not released theatrically here in the States, but on cable instead. Don’t let that fool you, though, it’s clearly worthy of the big screen, as it did well in theaters throughout Europe and the U.K. Essentially, it’s a futuristic remake of “The Defiant Ones,” but with a bizarre twist: Two inmates at an experimental prison camp (one male, one female) escape in search of a hidden stash of diamonds. However, they are both fitted with electronic collars that will explode if they ever get more than 100 yards from one another. The PFS will show the rare, uncut widescreen version, which has never been seen in the USA. 8 p.m. showtime.

 

National Theatre Live

The night before, Sept. 18, the Lucas Theatre presents a high-definition digital film of Britain’s National Theatre Company’s acclaimed live stage performance of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a play based on the best-selling novel of the same name by author Mark Haddon. The fictional tale of a young boy on the autism spectrum who investigates the killing of a neighbor’s dog was rethought for the stage as a play within a play, and beginning with its 2012 British premiere has received near universal acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. In fact, its original production won the most ever Laurence Olivier Awards (for excellence in London’s professional theater world), including Best New Play.

As with all National Theatre Live digital broadcasts at the Lucas, this beautiful venue charges substantially less for tickets to these special events than is normally the case at any other area cinemas which may happen to host them. That means even if you wind up paying for downtown parking to attend this show at the Lucas, it will still cost much less than if you caught it anywhere else around these parts — especially if you qualify for a student, military or senior discount. 7 p.m. showtime.

 

'Sunset' on Tybee

And last, but certainly not least, two nights later, Sept. 20, the Tybee Post Theater’s Girls’ Night Out series of beloved Hollywood features continues with a bona fide timeless classic: director Billy Wilder’s iconic 1950 film noir “Sunset Boulevard,” starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden as, respectively, a delusional silent film star in extreme denial of her fall from popularity and an unsuccessful screenwriter who attempts to help rehabilitate the actress’ career.

The dark and dread-filled film, which posits Swanson as a woman so haunted by her past successes that she becomes a hermit, boasts unexpected cameos by a handful of real-life silent film-era stars and big-name cinema directors. It was described by Time Magazine as “Hollywood at its worst told by Hollywood at its best,” and went on to be one of the very few films to receive Oscar nominations in all of the following categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Writing, Best Art Direction, Best B&W Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Musical Score. It won three of those Oscars. So yeah, it’s like, real good and stuff.

Don’t miss this rare chance to see it on the big screen as its creators intended almost 70 years ago. 7 p.m. showtime. Admission includes your choice of a beverage (beer, wine or soft drinks), and a limited number of pre-show three-course dinner packages at the 80 East Gastropub a few blocks from the Post are available for an additional fee. Those dinner packages must be reserved online in advance through the theater’s website.

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: “Moses”

When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13 and 20; 12:55 p.m. Sept. 15

Where: Regal Stadium 10, Cinemark (Bluffton)

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Dog Days”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 13 and Sept. 14; 3 p.m. Sept. 16

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Dragon Ball Z: Broly the Legendary Super Saiyan”

When: 12:55 p.m. Sept. 15; 7 p.m. Sept. 17

Where: Regal Stadium 10, Cinemark (Bluffton)

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Canelo vs GGG 2”

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 15

Where: Regal Stadium 10

Cost: $21

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: Burt Reynolds Memorial Tribute

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 16

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

Cost: $9

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: National Theatre Live "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 18

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$15

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “The Dawn Wall”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 19

Where: Regal Stadium 10

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Wedlock” aka “Deadlock”

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 19

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Sunset Boulevard”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 20

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “The Meg”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 20-22

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com