As our year winds to a close with a (relatively) slow week of specialty film screenings in our area, it's heartening to know there are plenty of exciting and varied alternative cinema events to look forward to in the first few months of 2018.
What kind of "exciting and varied" fare, you may ask? Well, here are some very worthwhile big-screen happenings taking place over the next couple of months (which we'll cover in greater detail in future installments of Film Scene):
SCAD Cinema Circle
Between Trustees Theater and its neighbor the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, the folks at SCAD have booked one-show-only engagements of a couple of handfuls of noteworthy features, starting with the art school's Cinema Circle presentation of Tim Burton's beloved 1990 dark coming-of-age fantasy "Edward Scissorhands" (7 p.m. Jan. 13), followed by Hal Ashby's wondrous 1971 counterculture romantic satire "Harold and Maude" (8 p.m. Jan. 25), and Tomas Alfredson's mesmerizing 2008 Swedish-made vampire drama "Let the Right One In," which is not to be confused with its subsequent, inferior U.S. remake "Let Me In" (8 p.m. Feb. 8).
All SCAD Cinema Circle screenings are hosted by a rotating selection of the college's film and TV department faculty, cinema studies grad students and/or local film historians, who provide background info and historical context for each selection, as well as moderate post-show audience discussions.
Oscar-winning sound editor David Stone will host "Edward Scissorhands," SCAD professor Michael Chaney presents "Harold and Maude," and yours truly will do the honors for "Let the Right One In." These screenings are a wonderful resource and are becoming increasingly popular with the public. Think of them as short, informal classes in film appreciation and criticism for the price of an $8 ticket (or free with a valid SCAD ID). Save those dates now, and we all hope to see you there.
Epics at the Lucas
Around the corner at the Lucas, they're offering the flat-out amazing, restored version of pioneering German filmmaker Fritz Lang's futuristic 1927 silent sci-fi allegory "Metropolis" (7 p.m. Jan. 7), David Lean's masterfully made 1962 war drama "Lawrence of Arabia" (5 p.m. Jan. 28) and "Patton," Franklin J. Schaffner's 1970 biopic of U.S. General George S. Patton (7 p.m. Feb. 2), as well as showing all eight "Harry Potter" films in order (!), spread across the first three weekends in February.
That's not to mention such highly anticipated annual events as the 2018 Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah (Jan. 18-20 at Trustees Theater) and the 15th annual Gray's Reef Film Fest (Feb. 9-11 at Trustees and Tybee Post Theater). So much to see!
'Wonder' at the Post
Now, as for specialty screenings taking place over the next seven days: the Tybee Post offers up the 2017 family drama "Wonder" from Dec. 28 to 30. The tale of a severely deformed young boy who grapples with the social challenges that come as a result of his situation has been praised for the strong performances of its main actors and is described as an unapologetic tearjerker. 7 p.m. shows on each night plus a 3 p.m. Saturday matinee Dec. 30. Admission for all our featured events can be found in the accompanying sidebar listings.
'Forrest' comes home
On Jan. 4, the Post presents a one-show-only revival of director Robert Zemeckis' blockbuster dramedy "Forrest Gump," which earned critical praise for stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise.
The film won a half-dozen Oscars, including Best Picture, and has become a cable TV mainstay. It's now regarded as a classic American film and one that prominently features images and extras from Savannah and its surrounding areas, which served as principal shooting locations. Included with admission to this 7 p.m. show is a glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage) and a piece - not a box - of chocolate.
'Doctor Who' telefilm
Those in the mood for something only slightly more unrealistic than the sage of "Forrest Gump" may want to avail themselves of the big-screen debut of the latest installment of the almost impossibly long-running "Doctor Who" saga, which, since the early 1960s, has resulted in an incredible 36 seasons as a BBC-TV series and two feature films.
The tale of a time-traveling "doctor" who battles all manner of foes (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial) will soon continue in a new incarnation, featuring the first-ever female actress to portray the hero. However, the final telefilm to feature the most recent series lead (actor Peter Capaldi) is the Christmas-themed "Twice Upon a Time," which was broadcast in the U.K. and elsewhere on Christmas Day.
Three days later, on Dec. 28, that same TV special will be shown in cinemas here in the States by Fathom Events. Our area's participating multiplex is the Regal Stadium 10 behind the Savannah Mall. They'll stream the film at 7 p.m., and while hardcore "Doctor Who" fans are encouraged to show up in costume, Fathom cautions anyone considering doing so that because of safety concerns, any use of "masks, face-concealing make-up, fake weapons as well as any costumes that conceal what you are carrying, your natural body shape or face" are strictly prohibited. Those in violation of these policies will not be admitted to the shows. So play nice, folks.
And finally, on Jan. 3 at The Sentient Bean, the Psychotronic Film Society's ongoing Wednesday night series of underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from around the globe continues with a Special Mystery Screening.
That usually means the PFS will not announce the exact title being shown until the moment it hits the screen, encouraging adventurous viewers to trust the organization's judgment and take a chance by purchasing a ticket without knowing just what they'll be watching. That's certainly the case this time around, but, in an added twist, the film being shown is itself a "mystery film." Meaning that the plot of this extremely little-known minor gem of suspense and tension centers around a perplexing murder and the authorities' attempts to identify and arrest the killer.
An extremely well-made B&W British film, this title is almost completely forgotten in Great Britain and essentially unknown here in the U.S., where it only received a short theatrical release in the late 1950s before vanishing unceremoniously. It stars the charismatic character actor and occasional leading man Peter van Eyck, a German-born thespian who enjoyed a distinguished big-screen career before his untimely accidental death at the rather young age of 57. Van Eyck was previously seen a year or so ago in the PFS' screening of the overlooked European WWII action flick "Red Roses for the FÃ¼hrer."
Anyone who digs early Hitchcock thrillers (or even the clever whodunnits of old "Perry Mason" TV episodes) will likely find much to like about this deserving nail-biter. Hope some of you give it a try and are pleasantly surprised. 8 p.m. showtime, with a full vegetarian menu and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.
Until our next issue (which means next year), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 28-29; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 30
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.
What: "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time"
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 28
Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.
What: Mystery 1950s British thriller
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 3
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
What: "Forrest Gump"
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 4
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.