Looking for unusual, alternative cinema events in our area? Film Scene has you covered. Below are all the noteworthy screenings we are aware of which take place over the next seven days. Look sharp! There’s some really great stuff on display here at a wide variety of venues. Hopefully there is at least one title that suits your fancy.
Up with a twist
First up, let’s head out to nearby Springfield, Ga. in Effingham County, where the restored historic Mars Theatre will screen the latest M. Night Shyamalan action-fantasy, “Glass,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and James McAvoy. It’s a direct sequel to Shyamalan’s cult 2000 superhero thriller which starred Willis and Jackson as unlikely super-adversaries possessing incredible powers. Spoiler alert: Bruce is the good guy. Sorta. but it is also connected to the director’s 2016 thematic sequel “Split,” which is where McAvoy’s character was introduced.
“Glass” has been received well by many viewers, but savaged by many critics who are labeling it as the latest disappointing feature from this inconsistently brilliant writer/director. However, some critics appreciated the clever and campy vibe of this film and found it to be an extremely true filmic vision of comic books’ abilities to create and suspend disbelief in their readers. You be the judge. Showtimes at 7 p.m. on March 7 and 9.
A few days later, the Mars kicks off a three-day engagement of the brand-new Rebel Wilson effort “Isn’t It Romantic,” a clever-clever rom-com about a cynical, sharp-witted female architect in New York City, who suffers a head injury and wakes up to find herself living in some sort of bizarre, heightened awareness. Both critics and audiences have been divided on the merits of this heartfelt date movie, but most agree Wilson’s performance is a winner. Showtimes at 7 p.m. on March 14 through 16.
Moving out to Tybee Island, the area’s other small, single-screen historic movie house, the Tybee Post Theater, continues its ongoing “Date Night” series of beloved American feature films, with a stone-to-the-bone classic: director Elia Kazan’s unforgettable crime drama “On the Waterfront.” Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1949 series of investigative newspaper articles on corruption in the New York City Longshoremen’s Union, the 1954 feature earned a whopping 12 Oscar nods, ultimately taking home eight Academy Awards.
Marlon Brando plays a dockworker haunted by missed opportunities of his life and Eva Marie Saint his love interest, who’s determined to expose the illegal practices of the mafia-controlled ports. It’s a landmark piece of cinema, and a must-see for anyone interested in the golden age of Hollywood. Showtime is 7 p.m. on March 7, and your admission price includes a choice of beverage: wine, beer or soft drinks.
Then, on March 10, the Tybee Post offers a matinee of “Convinced,” a low-budget independent documentary from 2015 that follows the story of several well-known converts to Catholicism as they move from skepticism to belief. It asks the probing question: “Why would intelligent, successful people give up their careers, alienate their friends, and cause havoc in their families, to become Catholic?” The film screens once only at 3 p.m., and admission is free to the public, as it is sponsored by St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
Shifting gears in a pretty spectacular way, on March 9, Trustees Theater offers the latest in the SCAD Cinema Circle’s ongoing series of important and influential feature films from around the world. Their current theme is “The Silent Winter,” which means they are offering rare public viewings of significant motion pictures made before the age of synchronized sound. So far, attendance to these silent films has been terrific, with upwards of 300 people showing up for both the Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton nights.
The selection for March 9 is a spectacular piece of cinematic history and one of the creepiest and most phantasmagoric motion pictures ever made: director Robert Wiene’s masterpiece of psychological horror, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Most film academics agree that the cinematography, set decoration, makeup and production design of this tale of an insane hypnotist who commands a troubled sleepwalker to do his evil bidding conspire to make it the quintessential example of German Expressionist filmmaking.
Even if you have never seen this film before, you have likely seen its echoes in thousands of films and television programs made in the almost 100 years since its release. One of the first true international success stories in the movie industry, it is considered perhaps the first “true” horror film, and the genesis of the notion of so-called “arthouse cinema” in the USA. It is still just as thought-provoking and mesmerizingly beautiful as the day it was made, and seeing this lovingly restored version on the big screen in a restored 1940s movie palace like Trustees will be a treat indeed.
Before “Caligari,” they’ll show the 1912 silent short film “Making an American Citizen,” a standout effort from the person many consider to be the first female film director, Alice Guy. I’m honored to have been asked to host this screening, and will introduce both films as well as moderate an audience discussion afterwards. Hopefully plenty Film Scene readers can attend this 7 p.m. double-bill, which is also free with valid SCAD ID.
The next day, March 10, in the auditorium of the Jewish Educational Alliance building on Abercorn St., just north of DeRenne Ave., local film organization CinemaSavannah will present the esteemed 2018 documentary “Over the Limit,” which takes a very revealing look at the behind-the-scenes drama and extreme manipulation that goes into Russia’s incredibly successful approach to training their competitive athletes.
Focusing on the star gymnast Rita Mamun and her late-career bid to nab an Olympic Gold medal for her country, it is said to be a somewhat disturbing expose on the “win-at-all-costs” mentality of that country’s government that must be seen to be believed. Showtime is 4 p.m.
Moving back downtown to the Lucas Theatre, their popular “Arthouse” series of recently released independent and foreign films continues on March 13 with a single showing of “This Magnificent Cake!” a stunning stop-motion animated dramedy set in the violent, ugly realm of the Congo under Belgian occupation in the late 19th Century. A portrait of the various servants, merchants, beggars and royalty who pass in, out and around a luxury hotel constructed in the middle of a deep jungle, it is a withering indictment of the mentality of imperialist greed and control that is said to be at times brutal and at times darkly funny.
Well-received at several major film festivals, such as Sundance and Toronto International, it looks like a beautiful and haunting picture that likely gets away with way more than it easily could have were it shot with live actors instead of puppets and figurines. Showtime is 7 p.m.
PFS: An Irish mystery
An hour later that same night at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on Forsyth Park, the Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing Wednesday night series of underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from across the globe, for 15 years and running, continues with its annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Each year around this time, the PFS programs a Mystery Irish Cult Film. Now, that doesn’t mean the film’s genre is mystery, it just means the exact title will not be revealed until showtime, and that adventurous movie lovers are encouraged to take a chance, buy a ticket and prepare to be pleasantly surprised by an Irish-made feature film of some sort that is not widely known in the U.S., but enjoys a loyal cult following worldwide.
It could be a mystery, sure, but it could also be a comedy, a drama, a sci-fi movie, an animated lark, an action flick, or really any kind of film you can imagine. It just has to have been made in Ireland and unjustly overlooked. Showtime is 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
When: 7 p.m. Mar. 7, 9
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St. Springfield
What: “On The Waterfront”
When: 7 p.m. Mar. 7
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave. Tybee Island
What: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”
When: 7 p.m. Mar. 9
Where: Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St.
Cost: $5 - $8 (Free w/SCAD ID)
When: 3 p.m. Mar. 10
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave. Tybee Island
What: “Over the Limit”
When: 4 p.m. March 10
Where: Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St.
Cost: $10 (cash only)
What: “This Magnificent Cake!”
When: 7 p.m. Mar. 13
Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
Cost: $5 - $10
What: “Mystery Irish Cult Film”
When: 8 p.m. March 13
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
What: “Isn’t It Romantic”
When: 7 p.m. Mar. 14, 15, 16
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St.