Over the next seven days, there are a half-dozen noteworthy alternative cinema events taking place in our area. As always, Film Scene is your weekly snapshot of all those options, so that adventurous movie lovers can make plans to attend any that appeal to them. Don’t forget that admission info to all our featured events can be found listings below.
Finest film ever
We’ll start things off with a rare public screening of famed writer and director Steven Spielberg’s highly respected 1993 Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List,” which will be shown once only on Feb. 7 at the Tybee Post Theater on Tybee Island. If you’ve not yet caught a classic motion picture at this cozy, historic cinema that was restored and upgraded a few years back into a state-of-the-art single-screen venue, perhaps this is the right time to do so.
This heart-wrenching tale of real-life businessman Oskar Schindler, a German living in what later became known as Czechoslovakia who used his influence and opportunity to personally save the lives of more than 1,000 Jewish refugees from Poland during Hitler’s murderous assault on European Jews during WWII. The beautifully made black and white film, which took home seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, stars Liam Neeson in the Oscar-winning role of Schindler. It is now universally regarded as one of the finest motion pictures ever made. Bring some Kleenex, because you’ll need them. Showtime 7 p.m..
That same night, out in the nearby Springfield, the Mars Theatre kicks off a four-day engagement of “On the Basis of Sex,” the just-released biopic of iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg starring Felicity Jones as the young Ginsburg, Armie Hammer as her husband Martin, and featuring such acclaimed actors as Sam Waterston, Kathy Bates and Justin Theroux in key supporting roles. The film has received generally positive reviews and is said to be both inspirational and surprisingly faithful to the details of Ginsburg’s life story and her fabled ascent to the highest judicial bench in the land. It screens at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 to 9, with a 3 p.m. matinee Feb. 10.
The following week, that exact same schedule is filled with the just-released dramedy “The Upside,” starring “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston and the easily annoyed superstar standup comic Kevin Hart as — respectively — a paralyzed, wheelchair-user billionaire and a recently paroled convict, who winds up caring for the wealthy man. It’s an almost point-by-point remake of a 2011 French film which has already been remade in two other countries, and so far, most critics have praised the chemistry between the two male leads, but panned the script for being disappointingly treacly and extremely cliched.
Interestingly enough, this film was completed in mid-2017, but sat on the shelf for almost two years due to the bankruptcy of The Weinstein Co., following Harvey Weinstein’s legal troubles, and is only seeing release now that another distributor was able to purchase the finished movie and handle its rollout themselves. If you’re a fan of either Cranston or Hart, you’ll likely want to catch this one on the big screen.
Moving out to the Southside of town, on Feb. 9 and 10, the AMC Classic Savannah 11 multiplex presents two encore screenings of the recently released high-definition concert film “Love Yourself in Seoul,” starring the worldwide phenomenon that is the South Korean boy-band septet BTS. Shot at the Olympic Stadium in that capital city, this huge-budget production gives their fans a behind-the-scenes look at the hip-hop-inspired R&B group said to be one of the biggest financial factors in South Korea’s current economy. Showtimes at 11 a.m. both days.
Make death proud to take us
Heading downtown, on Feb.12, the stately Lucas Theatre for the Arts on the corner of Abercorn and Congress presents another of their larger-than-life high-definition filmed stage performances, which have, at long last finally become rather popular draws at this 1920s movie palace. This time around it’s an encore presentation of the just completed British stage production of Shakespeare’s political tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra,” starring the powerhouse duo of Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in the title roles.
Critics and audience members alike adored this “modern dress” version of the classic tale of destiny, regret, romance and greed when it was performed on the stage of London’s National Theatre Company, and now, through the miracle of crystal clear audio and crisp digital video, we can appreciate every sublime inflection for ourselves, at a fraction of the price of attending the play.
In fact, as I have mentioned before, as if that wasn’t a good enough deal, the Lucas charges a fraction of what most other theaters around the country do to get in and see one of these high-def filmed plays. Only $5 for those with SCAD ID, $10 for other schools' students, military and seniors, and just $15 for the general public. That’s a steal. Showtime 7 p.m.
A hokey $3 falcon
And finally, on Feb. 13 at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on the southern end of Forsyth Park, the Psychotronic Film Society’s long-running and award-winning Wednesday night series of overlooked, underappreciated or just plain oddball feature films continues with an exceedingly rare public showing of esteemed director Robert Clouse’s 1974 international action-adventure flick “Golden Needles.”
Clouse, who is best known for helming the Bruce Lee classic “Enter the Dragon,” does an admirable job of marshaling this bizarre and rather convoluted hoot of a picture. The titular golden needles are a set of accessories attached to a small golden idol which reveals seven secret pressure points on the human body which, when simultaneously pierced by these solid golden acupuncture needles, provides the ultimate in sexual stamina and power. As a result, all sorts of wealthy older men around the world are desperately seeking this idol and the ancient Asian treatment it provides. However, if the procedure is done incorrectly, the result is an instantaneous, excruciating death!
Gloriously hokey and ridiculous, this low-budget 1974 drive-in gem stars the pudgy, stiff leading man Joe Don Baker (“Walking Tall,” “Charley Varrick,” “Mars Attacks!”), Elizabeth Ashley (“Evening Shade”) and Burgess Meredith (“Rocky,” TV’s “Batman”) and was an attempt to blend the popular Hong Kong kung-fu movies of the day with more traditional American mystery movies. In that respect, it’s essentially a very loopy and over-the-top remake of “The Maltese Falcon,” with a lot of risqué subject matter and martial arts thrown in for good measure.
It was something of a flop in the USA, but that’s nothing compared to Hong Kong, where it infamously played in theaters for only one day before being pulled. Get this, when the exchange rate is factored in, “Golden Needles” only made a total of $3 at the Hong Kong box office. Hopefully it will do better than that at the Bean! Come prepared to laugh and cheer at the strangeness of it all. Showtime 8 p.m.
Until next week, 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: “Schindler’s List”
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 7
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
What: “On the Basis of Sex”
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 7-9; 3 p.m. Feb. 10
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield
What: “BTS World Tour – Love Yourself in Seoul”
When: 11 a.m. Feb. 9-10
Where: AMC Classic Savannah 11, 1150 Shawnee St.
What: “National Theatre Live: Antony & Cleopatra”
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 12
Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
What: “Golden Needles”
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 13
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
What: “The Upside”
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 14-16; 3 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield