Welcome back to the Film Scene, all. Hopefully everyone had a swell Labor Day Weekend. See any good films since our last issue hit the stands?
I've been up to my eyeballs in obscure and overlooked horror flicks as I dig through my archives and prepare the schedule for the Psychotronic Film Society's annual October run of frightful treasures. Look for a total of eight noteworthy screenings on Wednesdays and Sundays that month at The Sentient Bean leading up to Halloween.
And of course, let's not forget the 2013 Savannah Film Festival, which runs Oct. 26 through Nov. 2 at Trustees and Lucas theaters. SCAD always outdoes itself with that beloved (and, increasingly, internationally recognized) yearly blowout of shorts and features in both the documentary and narrative styles from across the globe. Look for full coverage of the massively impressive SFF in upcoming issues of DO, and grab some passes quickly before they're all sold out.
But for now, there's plenty for adventurous and inquisitive movie lovers in our fair city to take in over the next seven days, starting with a weeklong engagement of the acclaimed filmmaker Susanne Bier's latest feature, 2012's warm-hearted romantic drama "Love Is All You Need" aka "The Bald Hairdresser" (the title it was released under in Europe). To date, she is the only female Danish director to have two movies nominated for "Best Foreign Language Film" at the Academy Awards. Bier, who's known for such critically lauded films as 2004's "Brothers," 2006's "After The Wedding" and 2007's "Things We Lost In The Fire," also wrote the original story on which the screenplay to this multinational production (financed by producers from Denmark, Sweden, Italy, France and Germany) was based.
The plot? A hairstylist recently recovered from cancer learns her husband has been cheating on her, right about the same time she meets a dashing widower - who's the father of her daughter's fiance. Salon.com calls the film "a lightweight but non-insulting date movie (that's) nifty entertainment ... always easy on the eyes."
It certainly helps that "Love Is All You Need" was shot on location in the picturesque Amalfi Coastal area of Southern Italy. Film.com brands the film "irresitably entertaining" and Time magazine praises the "exciting adult chemistry" of co-stars Trine Dyrholm (whom Alec Baldwin famously called "the best actress ever" for her turn in 2008's "Troubled Water") and Pierce Brosnan (007 to some, but always Remington Steele to me).
Local indie film organization CinemaSavannah co-sponsors the opening night's screening at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Eisenhower's Spotlight Theatres. Mention their organization's name to get in for the discount price of just $7. The film is in spoken English, Italian and Danish with English subtitles.
The next night, CinemaSavannah presents another exclusive, one-night-only engagement of a renowned Danish film at Muse Arts Warehouse. This time around, it's "The Hunt," from infamous director and screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg (co-founder of the Dogme film movement).
Made in 2012 but not shown widely in the states until recently, it's been hailed as a disturbing tale of the dastardly consequences that can overwhelm innocent lives when lies and malice are allowed to flourish through gossip.
It's been described as a nail-biting, "thoroughly gripping" drama, and garnered wins at several major international film festivals - including lead actor Mads Mikkelsen's ("Casino Royale," TV's "Hannibal") Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Fest for his performance as a a former school teacher who must fight to reclaim his reputation after his life is shattered by mean-spirited rumors swirling through his small town.
Empire Magazine calls the movie "beautifully performed and tough as nails, (a) social drama (which) could not be any more timely."
The film, which is in Danish with English subtitles, screens twice only, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at Muse. Admission is $8.
And finally, on Sept. 11, the PFS of SAV salutes the life and legacy of the great, forgotten black Hollywood actor Mantan Moreland with a screening of his 1941 B&W horror-comedy gem "King of the Zombies" at The Sentient Bean.
A Louisiana native who got into showbiz at a very early age, Moreland worked from the 1920s on in vaudeville, on Broadway and as a touring actor throughout Europe. However, from the 1930s through the 1960s, he made a steady stream of comedy, mystery and horror films for the legendary, low-budget studio Monogram Pictures. Despite his quick wit and impeccable comedic timing, by the late '50s, Moreland's brand of over-the-top screen humor had fallen out of favor with "enlightened" audiences, and he struggled to find work. His last featured role was an unforgettable cameo in the 1968 exploitation cult classic "Spider Baby."
Mantan was perhaps more "enlightened" than the public, for it's now obvious to many that he was often intentionally mocking black film stereotypes of the time, unbeknownst to the industry - all the while getting paid for it!
This particular flick is a treat for those who've never seen any "Pre-Romero" zombie movies (meaning those made before director George Romero's 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead" codified the "rules" for such ghouls' behavior), as the scores of black living dead men found on this movie's remote island - controlled of course by an evil white scientist - are downright cuddly compared to Romero's flesh-eating creatures.
Moreland provides comic relief in this clunky, campy shlockfest which is suitable for ages 13 and older. Craft beer and wine will be available to adults. 8 p.m. showtime, $6 admission.
See you at the movies.
Jim Reed directs the award-winning Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah. Read more at filmsavannah.com.
IF YOU GO
What: "Love Is All You Need"
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6
Where: Spotlight Theatres, 1100 Eisenhower Drive
Cost: $7 (mention CinemaSavannah to get this discounted price)
What: "The Hunt"
When: 5 and 8 p.m. Sept. 7
Where: Muse Arts Warehouse, 703 Louisville Road
Cost: $8, mature audiences only
What: "King of the Zombies"
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 11
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
Cost: $6, ages 13 and older