The next seven days offer no less than six different alternative cinema events taking place around our area. These range from popular favorites from decades past and brand-new blockbusters being shown at historic, restored theaters to an ultra-obscure and controversial cult film to be screened at an award-winning DIY venue downtown.

Madea’s funeral, maybe

We start out in the nearby city of Springfield where their single-screen community venue known as the Mars Theatre presents a three-day run of the latest installment of comedic writer-actor-producer-director Tyler Perry’s massively successful “Madea” franchise. “A Madea Family Funeral” is exactly as it sounds: a bawdy slapstick affair that finds his cross-dressing character of Madea (a foul-mouthed, aggressive black southern matriarch) getting all up in the business of her family and friends while attending the funeral of one of their distant relatives.

As is his wont, Perry utilizes prosthetic makeup to play several other characters in this film, an act which some folks will see as taking its lead from earlier Eddie Murphy star vehicles, but which some older folks will recognize as drawing inspiration from the late, great Peter Sellers. If you’re familiar with the 10 prior films in this cottage-industry series, you will likely enjoy this film significantly more than if you come into it blind as a standalone affair. However, it’s bound to induce chuckles either way. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. April 11 and 12, with a 3 p.m. matinee April 14.

 

Marvel at Ms. Marvel

Then, on April 18, the Mars opens another three-day run of a major first-run motion picture: “Captain Marvel,” the latest in the ever-expanding Marvel Comics Universe. This film is set in the 1990s and centers on the origin story of Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel. This character was originally known as Ms. Marvel in the 1968 comics on which this story is extremely loosely based. In this filmic incarnation, she’s brought back into the superhero fold after years spent as a brainwashed super villain in outer space. No. Seriously.

In this first cinematic presentation of this character, she unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the middle of a galactic war between two competing alien lifeforms, and must rise to the occasion to save the day, or something like that. Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, and the film contains plenty of supporting roles filled by MCU regulars, such as Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. This film has already become the 30th highest-grossing film ever made, and the 10th highest-grossing superhero film of all-time. It’s also the first female-led superhero movie to generate over $1 billion in box-office receipts.

The Mars is only charging $6 per person to see this movie, which is a heck of a lot less than other corporate-owned multiplexes in the area, so why not take a leisurely drive and see it there instead? Showtimes at 7 p.m. April 18 through 20.

 

Mrs. Robinson

Heading out to Tybee Island, the historic Tybee Post Theater has three extremely different selections to choose from in the upcoming week, starting with an April 11 showing of the timeless romantic dramedy “The Graduate,” starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft. This envelope-pushing 1967 gem about a promising young man who winds up romantically involved with both a lovely young woman and her vivacious mother was co-written by the great Buck Henry and directed by the beloved Mike Nichols. It remains a topical, atypical time capsule of that era’s social mores. Showtime is 7 p.m., and admission price includes your choice of beverage (hard or soft) and a piece of chocolate.

 

Do the Time Warp

The next night, the Post presents an encore screening of a wonderfully entertaining motion picture adaptation of a fabulous rock opera that they first showed just about a year ago to the day. It’s the original 1975 theatrical film version of Richard O”Brien’s provocative, gender-bending British stage play “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a raunchy, sex-drenched musical homage to the hokey 1950s and 1960s sci-fi and horror flicks he adored as a young man.

The story of this film is now enshrined forever in the hearts and minds of untold millions worldwide, but at the time of its initial release, it was a complete flop. However, slowly, over time, the unabashedly progressive and unapologetically ribald motion picture developed into a cult phenomenon quite unlike anything before or since. Its terrific cast of (at the time) minor stage and screen actors — including Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and future Oscar winner Susan Sarandon — became stars in large part due to this film’s simmering, smoldering creep into international consciousness.

While it has been remade (horribly) as a TV movie, and stage productions of the original play now take place routinely across the globe, this original motion picture stands as the single longest-running movie in ongoing theatrical release. Which is to say that it has been made available to movie theaters constantly since 1975, with some showing it once or twice a week for months or years at a time.

Some diehard fans of the movie dress up in full costume and mimic their chosen characters’ onscreen actions in front of the projected film, while others get a kick out of screaming insults or retorts at the film as it unspools, and tossing a wide variety of props into the air (and onto other patrons), including raw, uncooked rice, toasted bread and rolls of toilet paper. You know, kind of like at a Greta Van Fleet concert.

Seeing “Rocky” in a theater has become something of a rite of passage for sexually conflicted and/or curious teens and a comforting slice of non-conformist nostalgia for those of us old enough to remember the birth of the phenomenon. This venue is encouraging folks to come in costume and engage in audience participation, as long as they do not bring and use any cigarette lighters or squirt guns nor throw liquids of any kind. After all, this is a beautiful, nicely restored cinema. Showtime is 8 p.m.

 

Southern women strong

And finally, on April 18, the Post will screen the saccharine 1989 chick-flick “Steel Magnolias,” starring Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Tom Skerritt and Sam Shepard, among many others. Based on the 1987 play of the same name, “Steel Magnolias” is a dramedy about the close relationships a group of women in a small Southern town share and how their strength is tested after the untimely death of one of their close-knit gang.

A perennial favorite on cable TV, most folks have never had the chance to see this film on the big screen as was initially intended. Showtime 7 p.m.

 

PSF: Good luck

We head back downtown for our final entry in this week’s column, to the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on the south end of Forsyth Park, where the Psychotronic Film Society hosts their award-winning, ongoing weekly series of obscure and overlooked feature films from around the world every Wednesday night.

On April 17, they’ll show an intense psychological drama that many may find shocking, but which contains some masterful moments of acting and one of the more provocative storylines of any film the PFS has screened in its 15 year existence.

“Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff” is an almost completely forgotten independent film released to theaters 40 years ago this week. It’s set in Kansas in 1956 and deals with the complex situation surrounding an older, white spinster schoolteacher (British actress Anne Heywood) and her forbidden attraction to a young black male janitor in that ugly time of segregation. As the teacher struggles to come to grips with her loneliness and her aversion to sexual intimacy, she must also grapple with the issues of perceived power and domination over minorities and the ramifications of such repressive conditions on proud, able-bodied persons of color.

Truth be told, it would have made a perfect story for a transformational director, such as Douglas Sirk (“Imitation of Life”) to tackle. In the end, this film was deemed so upsetting to certain patrons that many theaters simply refused to show it. In later years it would be re-released under different titles, such as “The Sin,” “The Shaming” and “Secret Yearnings,” but these fared just as poorly at the box-office, as they had been re-edited to remove virtually all of the explicit subject matter which closed-minded people found objectionable. The result was a much shorter and quite confusing mess of a movie which simply excised anything having to do with Miss Wyckoff’s Stockholm Syndrome, and thus made little to no sense whatsoever.

For this rare pubic showing, the PFS will screen the full, uncensored original theatrical cut of the film, with all its graphic depictions of adult situations intact. It is recommended for mature viewers only. Look for the exceptional character actors Donald Pleasance and Robert Vaughn — as well as Marlon Brando’s sister — in small, yet key roles. Showtime at 8 p.m., with discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the film.

 

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: “A Madea Family Funeral”

When: 7 p.m. April 11, 12; 3 p.m. April 14

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “The Graduate”

When: 7 p.m. April 11

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

When: 8 p.m. April 12

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff”

When: 8 p.m. April 17

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav

 

What: “Steel Magnolias”

When: 7 p.m. April 18

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave. Tybee Island

Cost: $10

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Captain Marvel”

When: 7 p.m. April 18-20

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

Cost: $6

Info: marstheatre.com