Ten. That’s the number of specialty film screenings taking place around town over the next seven days. And it’s quite an assortment, with a little something to suit most any tastes. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, and an air-conditioned setting, you’ll likely find something in the next few paragraphs that floats your boat.

Action at the Mars

We start out in the small nearby town of Springfield. A few years back, the townsfolk in this hub of Effingham County put a great deal of effort and money into restoring and reopening a vintage, single-screen movie house called the Mars Theatre, and it now functions as a comfortable, updated multi-purpose venue presenting both first-run and older family-oriented movies as well as live music concerts and stage plays. At just about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah, it makes a nice alternative to the usual corporate multiplexes out on the Southside.

Starting Aug. 23, the Mars plays host to a three-night engagement of the latest entry into the blockbuster action-espionage franchise based on the old 1960s “Mission Impossible” TV series. “Fallout” is the name of the sixth big-screen “MI” adventure, and (as always) lead actor Tom Cruise heads up an extremely photogenic cast, which this time around includes Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett.

 

This is the second in this series to be both written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who also wrote the screenplay to “The Usual Suspects” as well as wrote and directed the unexpectedly entertaining Cruise time-travel vehicle “Edge of Tomorrow”), and so far has grossed over a half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. It’s been called the finest “MI” movie to date, and one of the most entertaining action films ever made. It screens once each night, at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, 24 and 25, and at a flat $7 admission, it’s a great deal (admission prices to all Film Scene events can be found in the accompanying sidebar listings).

Looking ahead to next week, on Aug. 30, 31 and Sept. 1, the Mars presents 7 p.m. showings of “Christopher Robin,” the just-released Disney live-action/CGI hybrid based on the classic “Winnie the Pooh” children’s books of beloved British author A.A. Milne. While serving as a well-deserved reboot of the Pooh universe for a new generation of young people, the somewhat dour tone of this big-budget effort and the storyline of a sad-sack adult Christopher Robin (played by Ewan McGregor) being reunited with his childhood pal of a bear has been likened by some critics to the melancholic and slow-paced celluloid ruminations of no less than Terrence Malick (!), which is to say that it may not be everyone’s jar of honey.

 

'Book Club' on Tybee

Heading out to Tybee Island, the area’s other intimate, single-screen restored historic movie house, the Tybee Post Theater, shows the recently released, adult-oriented and rather raunchy romantic dramedy “Book Club,” starring Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Don Johnson and Diane Keaton at 7 p.m. Aug. 23. Admission price includes a beverage of your choice, from water and soft drinks to beer and wine.

Music and more with Fathom

Moving out to the Regal Stadium 10 multiplex behind the Savannah Mall near Georgetown, Fathom Events has several interesting programming choices on deck, starting with two screenings of director Peter Yates’ ambitious, flawed 1983 sci-fi fantasy dud “Krull,” which has inexplicably been brought out of mothballs for the purpose of being heckled onscreen by the cast of snarky comedians and film geeks who got their start on the old cult TV series “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (which mercilessly bashed embarrassingly bad movies), and are known collectively as the RiffTrax Crew. At 8 p.m. Aug. 23, they’ll crack wise over the film’s original soundtrack, and then the whole thing will be rebroadcast for a matinee at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 25.

Then, Aug. 26 and 29, Fathom and cable network Turner Classic Movies celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original release of the wildly popular 1958 film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s adored 1949 stage musical “South Pacific,” which was in turn inspired by the writings of best-selling novelist James A. Michener. Nominated for three Oscars, it boasts a chart-topping soundtrack of memorable songs, including “Some Enchanted Evening,” and also stars Ray “Mr. Hand” Walston,” who just might also be some readers’ favorite martian. In addition to the restored version of this gorgeous color film, bonus educational material created by TCM will be screened as well. Showtimes at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days.

 

Aug. 27, the Regal hosts a one-show-only premiere of the new low-budget documentary “Making the Five Heartbeats.” It’s the behind-the-scenes tale of the making of pioneering black indie filmmaker Robert Townsend’s 1991 cult musical drama about a fictional African-American vocal pop group’s rise to fame in the 1960s. Clearly based on the real-life careers and exploits of such established real-life pop groups as the Temptations, the Four Tops and the Dells, as well as R&B singing sensations of that time such as James Brown, Sam Cooke and Frankie Lymon, the $8 million film was a surprise hit that has earned a loyal following worldwide through video sales and cable airings. This new doc features recent interviews with original cast and crew members and was also directed by Townsend. 7 p.m. showtime.

And finally, on Aug. 28 and Sept. 2, Tristar Pictures salutes its 1993 sports biopic “Rudy,” starring a young Sean Astin (“The Lord of the Rings”) in the title role as a real-life Notre Dame University football player who, in the mid-1970s, triumphed over extreme adversity (and a serious undiagnosed learning disability) to become one of the most beloved players on the school’s team.

The film is unabashedly mawkish, but strong performances from the likes of Ned Beatty, Robert Prosky and Charles S. Dutton make up for that saccharine taste. It was written and directed by the team responsible for the earlier (and superior) feel-good high school basketball period piece “Hoosiers,” which, like “Rudy,” also boasted an original score by iconic composer Jerry Goldsmith. It has become a classic sports flick with a large fanbase, and screens both days at 2 and 7 p.m.

 

Local premiere

Heading back toward downtown, a trio of fiercely independent DIY screenings wrap up this week’s noteworthy alternative film events.

First up on Aug. 25 is local organization CinemaSavannah’s southeastern premiere of the new, critically praised comedy “Support the Girls,” which opens in New York City just the night before it plays here at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery on Bull and West Henry streets, just south of Forsyth Park. Written and directed by the buzz-worthy “mumblecore” filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, this naturalistic film takes a look at one day in the life of the staff of a “Hooters”-style sports bar and eatery.

Boasting a diverse cast of veteran actors and up-and-comers — including Regina “Girls Trip” Hall, James “Drugstore Cowboy” Le Gros, Lea “Orange is the New Black” DeLaria and Brooklyn “Ugly Betty” Decker — it’s been hailed as a rough-and-tumble workplace comedy that doesn’t pull its punches, while simultaneously offering up some tender and empowering moments that posit the film as an unambiguous message movie about gender parity and the politics of sex in the workplace. Don’t miss this chance to see it before most everyone else in the country. Shows at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., with cash-only admission.

 

The Look Back series

The very next night, Aug. 26, just a few blocks south on Bull Street at the Savannah LGBT Center, The Look Back (a “queer cinema” series taking place the final Sunday of every month in the center’s cozy meeting room) continues with a rare public screening of writer-director Jamie Babbit’s hilarious 1999 dark comedy “But I’m a Cheerleader,” starring Natasha “The Slums of Beverly Hills” Lyonne, RuPaul of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, Michelle “Manchester by the Sea” Williams and Cathy “Raging Bull” Moriarty. The slightly surreal tale of a female high school cheerleader whose religiously conservative parents (played by none other than “Harold and Maude” star Bud Cort and “Pink Flamingos” star Mink Stole) suspect her of being a lesbian and send her off to a “conversion therapy” camp designed to help scare her “straight.”

A sharp and witty send-up of the paranoid and repressed mindsets that create and promote such cruel and inhumane treatment, the film functions as an homage to the glory days of John Waters’ most seditious cinematic efforts. It’s both a campy treasure (see what I did there?) and a powerful message movie.

 

The Look Back is a joint effort between locally based performance artist/provocateur Maxine Fishpaw of the House of Gunt and the Psychotronic Film Society, Savannah’s longest-running and most award-winning independent cinema organization, and is designed to engage the community at large with queer theory, in hopes of demonstrating not only how far queer culture has come in the USA, but how far it has to go to achieve complete acceptance and parity. Free admission, popcorn and drinks at this 7 p.m. show, but voluntary donations in any amount are always appreciated, and help defray the costs of the screening. If you’d like to receive advance info on upcoming titles in the series, please email thelookbacksav@gmail.com.

Mary Shelley tribute

And last, but not least, the Psychotronic Film Society’s own Wednesday night series of underappreciated or downright obscure features from around the globe continues Aug. 29 at The Sentient Bean on Forsyth Park with a special 122nd birthday tribute to the famed English writer Mary Shelley, author of the inestimably influential 1818 novel “Frankenstein.” In honor of the legacy of her creation, they’ll show one of the sleaziest and least-known entries in the long line of motion pictures based on Shelley’s reanimated monster: “Frankenstein ’80,” a low-budget Italian-made shocker from 1972 that is generally regarded as one of the most unintentionally funny horror films ever made.

The film, which bears only a slight resemblance to the plot of Shelley’s book, concerns a doctor who obsessively experiments at stitching body parts from a number of corpses together into a human-ish creature he calls “Mosaic.” As one might imagine, “Mosaic” is brought to a sort of life, and promptly escapes the doctor’s supervision and sets about attacking a wide variety of buxom Italian and German women, much to the chagrin and bewilderment of onlookers. Although the special makeup effects in this guilty pleasure of a grindhouse flick were handled by a young Carlo Rambaldi (who’d later earn three Oscars for his stunning effects work on the 1976 remake of “King Kong” as well as 1979’s “Alien” and 1982’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”), the rest of the film is a gonzo mess of nonsensical character development that is ineptly dubbed into spoken English. Come prepared to chuckle and gasp at the depraved stupidity of it all. 8 p.m. showtime, with discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.

 

And, don’t forget, tickets for the inaugural Graveface Psychotronic Fright Fest are now on sale at the Savannah Box Office! That 13-hour marathon of cult classic horror films takes place on Sept. 29 at the lovely Lucas Theatre, and marks the first time locally based Graveface Records and the PFS have joined forces for the greater good. All-day passes to this way-cool showcase of fan fave thrillers are $20 in advance (or $50 for a limited-edition VIP package including $100 worth of collectible merchandise like shirts, pins, silkscreened posters and rare DVDs). Hope to see you there ...

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: “Mission Impossible 6: Fallout”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 23, 24, 25

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Book Club”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 23

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “RiffTrax: Krull”

When: 8 p.m. Aug 23; 12:55 p.m. Aug. 25

Where: Regal Stadium 10, 1132 Shawnee St.

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Support the Girls”

When: 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Aug. 25

Where: S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, 9 W. Henry St.

Cost: $8, cash only

Info: tomwar@bellsouth.net

 

What: “But I’m a Cheerleader”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 26

Where: Savannah LGBT Center, 1515 Bull St.

Cost: Free, donations appreciated

Info: thelookbacksav@gmail.com

 

What: “South Pacific”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 26, 29

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Making the Five Heartbeats”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 27

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Rudy”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 28; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 2

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark Bluffton

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Frankenstein ‘80”

When: 8 p.m. Aug. 29

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

Cost: $7

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Christopher Robin”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 30, 31; 7 p.m. Sept. 1

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com