Welcome back, folks, to another weekly installment of Film Scene. There are a ton of noteworthy alternative cinema screenings taking place around the area over the next seven days, so let’s just get right to them, shall we?

 

'Rebel' and more

Fathom Events has four different high-def digital programs to choose from at the Regal Stadium 10 out behind the Savannah Mall, starting with a 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 showing of “MOSES,” a filmed document of an extremely involved live stage production of the tale of the biblical leader. How involved, you ask? Well, the filmmakers are boasting of “massive sets, spectacular special effects and live animals” all being key elements of the play. It runs a bit over two hours in length, so think twice before bringing little kids.

A few days later, Fathom once again partners with the respected cable TV network Turner Classic Movies to present a restored version of a respected Hollywood gem from decades gone by. This time out, it’s esteemed director Nicholas Ray’s stunning 1955 portrait of the emotional torment of small-town American teens, “Rebel Without a Cause.”

A stone classic, boasting a marvelous and nuanced script and naturalistic, evocative acting on the part of the entire cast (including Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood, Jim Backus and a young Dennis Hopper), it marked the only time in his short, fiery career that star James Dean actually received top billing. As with all of the TCM Presents series, that network’s on-air hosts will provide a bit of informed commentary before and after the film screens. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. both Sept. 23 and 26.

Speaking of fine acting, on Sept. 27, Fathom offers up a professionally filmed live stage production of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy “King Lear” from Britain’s National Theatre in London’s West End, starring Sir Ian McKellen in the title role. This violent and at times disturbing production was honored with many five-star reviews during its run of packed shows, and was billed as a somewhat contemporary retelling of this political bloodline power struggle. The presentation runs nearly four hours in length, and screens at 7 p.m.

Not speaking of fine acting, Sept. 27 finds the Regal multiplex hosting a Fathom presentation of 1986’s underrated animated feature-length film known simply as “The Transformers: The Movie.” Essentially an expanded episode of the old 1980s animated TV series based on the shape-changing alien robots (whose modern-day CGI-and-live-action-hybrid incarnations collectively make up one of the most financially successful feature film franchises in history), it’s a gloriously janky, retro vision of the action-packed Transformers saga, featuring the voice acting talents of Monty Python’s Eric Idle, iconic radio DJ Casey Kasem, “Breakfast Club” member Judd Nelson, “Unsolved Mysteries” host Robert Stack and “Star Trek’s” Leonard Nimoy. Oh yeah, and it contains the final voice role of the late, great Orson Welles. If this sounds like your jam, it probably is. 7 p.m. showtime.

Classics on Tybee

Heading out to Tybee Island, their historic Post Theater presents four different beloved, classic American films over the next week or so, starting with a Sept. 20 screening of “Sunset Boulevard,” famed director Billy Wilder’s iconic 1950 film noir starring Gloria Swanson as a faded and delusional early film star and William Holden as the younger screenwriter who winds up caught in her doomed dreams of a massive comeback. One of the most respected and finely crafted movies of its time (or any other, for that matter), watching this movie carefully is akin to taking a master class in how to craft a Golden Age Hollywood motion picture. Dark, moody and unforgettable, it’s well worth catching on the big screen. 7 p.m. showtime, and admission prices include your choice of a beverage (beer, wine or soft drinks).

 

Then, looking ahead to next weekend, the Post pays tribute to the late, beloved actor (and former Savannah resident) Burt Reynolds, who passed away recently at the age of 82. In his honor, they’ll screen three of his most popular feature films for one show each over three consecutive nights. This “Memorial Weekend” kicks off Sept. 27 with esteemed director John Boorman’s 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” based on the James Dickey novel of the same name. It stars Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jon Voight and Ronny Cox as four men who take an extended canoe trip down a remote northern Georgia river and run violently afoul of a group of simple-minded rural residents of this backwater area. A tough and demanding film, it was a massive box-office hit that received three Oscar nominations and helped cement Reynolds’ career as a hunky leading man.

The next two nights find the Post screening Burt’s 1977 slapstick comedy “Smokey and the Bandit,” followed by Paul Thomas Anderson’s gritty look at the early days of California’s adult film industry, 1997's “Boogie Nights,” which gave Burt a surprise comeback, and a Best Supporting Actor nomination. 7 p.m. showtimes for each film, with a discounted admission price if you buy a pass to all three.

 

The 'Meg' at Mars

The Mars Theatre out in nearby Springfield will screen the recently released giant shark flick “The Meg” at 7 p.m. each night Sept. 20-22. A PG-13 film that many critics and audience members alike seem to wish had pushed itself further and gone for an R rating, it has nonetheless done solid business and left viewers suitably frightened.

Then, from Sept. 27-30, the Mars offers up the faith-based drama “God Bless the Broken Road,” which has been savaged by critics as being a crass, ineptly made message movie that ham-fistedly smashes everything from NASCAR to country music to military service into a reductive stew aimed squarely at patriotic Christian viewers looking for reassurance in a complex and frightening world. Seriously, the critics all agree — this is a total artistic dud. 7 p.m. showtimes Sept. 27-29, with a 3 p.m. matinee Sept. 30.

 

A Muppets first

Moving downtown, SCAD’s Trustees Theater celebrates that private art school’s 40th anniversary through its Cinema Circle series, with a rare public showing of 1979’s “The Muppet Movie,” the first full-length theatrical adventure featuring Jim Henson’s pioneering puppet characters. The Cinema Circle is an ongoing selection of noteworthy feature films that are introduced by SCAD film department faculty and local cinema historians, who then lead audience discussions afterward on the merits and impact of these movies. Oscar-winning sound editor (and SCAD professor) David Stone will host this family-friendly presentation, and offer historical context and insight into the creation of this British-American co-production (which was made during the third season hiatus for TV’s original “The Muppet Show”) and its extended legacy. Showtime is 7 p.m.

 

Musical matinee

Right around the corner at the Lucas Theatre, that historic, balconied movie palace will present two distinctly different features this week. First up, on Sept. 23 is the 2002 musical crime comedy “Chicago,” starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. Based on the stage musical of the same name, it’s a bold, exciting visual representation of the glitz, glamour and yes, seediness of celebrity and scandal in jazz-age era Chicago. The film took home six Oscars, including Best Picture, and was the first musical to win that honor in over 30 years. This is a matinee screening at 3 p.m., and is part of the Lucas’ new Musical Matinee series.

 

New arthouse series

Then, a couple of nights later on Sept. 26, the Lucas’ recently launched Arthouse Cinema series continues with a special, one-show-only presentation of “Puzzle,” the latest small-scale drama from respected screenwriter Owen Moverman. An American remake of a 2010 Argentinian film of the same title, it’s the tale of a suburban mother and housewife who learns she has an amazing skill for solving jigsaw puzzles, which opens her life up into unexpected, deeply emotional directions. It has gotten strong, positive reviews from critics after its high-profile premiere at the most recent Sundance Film Fest. 7 p.m. showtime.

 

Nonsensical ninjas

And finally, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly series of underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from around the globe continues Sept. 26 at The Sentient Bean. On that night, they’ll salute the career of Hong Kong’s Godfrey Ho, one of the most infamously strange and prolific writer-directors of all-time.

Although he retired from filmmaking years ago, Ho is both revered and reviled worldwide for crafting (often under assumed names) well over 100 “cut-and-paste” movies, in which he shoots a small amount of original footage (usually, of masked “ninjas” fighting) and then brazenly mixes in pre-existing scenes from other Asian filmmakers’ obscure works — often without their knowledge or permission. Then, to make some sort of cohesive plot out of the ensuing celluloid mess, he writes new dialogue and clumsily dubs the whole thing over into a new language in hopes this will help to obfuscate his filmic thievery.

That night, the PFS will screen Ho’s 1987 rarity “Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire,” which has something to do with a “confidential blueprint” in the possession of a Vietnam vet and the “Black Ninja Empire,” which will go to any lengths to obtain it. Filled with shoddy camerawork, a nonsensical plot, poor-quality English dubbing and copious amounts of incredibly silly martial arts sequences, it’s a guilty pleasure for fans of movies that are “so-bad-they’re-good.” 8 p.m. showtime.

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. 20

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark (Bluffton)

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

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

 

What: “The Muppet Movie”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21

Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.

Cost: $5-$8

Info: trusteestheater.com

 

What: “Chicago”

When: 3 p.m. Sept. 23

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $2-$8

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Rebel Without a Cause”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 23 and Sept. 26

Where: Regal Stadium 10 and Cinemark (Bluffton)

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Puzzle”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 26

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $5-$10

Info: lucastheatre.com

 

What: “Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire”

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 26

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: National Theatre Live "King Lear”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 27

Where: Regal Stadium 10

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “The Transformers: The Movie" (1986)

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 27

Where: Regal Stadium 10

Cost: $13.38

Info: fathomevents.com

 

What: “Burt Reynolds Memorial Weekend”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 27-29

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $8 per screening or $20 for all three

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “God Bless the Broken Road”

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 27-29; 3 p.m. Sept. 30

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com