Hello again, movie lovers. The next seven days make for a relatively slow week as far as specialty screenings in our area go. However, there are still a handful of programming choices worth serious consideration taking place at four different venues — each of which has its own unique vibe, and all of which are distinctly different from the standard corporate-owned multiplexes most folks are used to patronizing.
We start off this round-up of notable cinematic options with Disney’s brand-new live action remake of its own 1992 animated smash “Aladdin.” It opens May 23 at the restored, historic, single-screen Mars Theatre in the small, nearby town of Springfield.
Directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie of “Sherlock Holmes, “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” fame, this is the time-honored romantic-fantasy tale of a fleet-fingered street urchin who’s charged with finding an all-powerful, magical lamp-squatting Genie.
This version boast an unusually diverse cast, including Will Smith as the Genie, the Egyptian-Canadian TV actor Mena Massoud (Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” series) as Aladdin and the Iranian-American actor Navid Negahban, who’s known from roles in TV’s “24” and “Homeland,” as well as for his take on the super villain known as the Shadow King on the Marvel Universe cable series “Legion.” Showtimes are at 7 p.m. May 23-25, plus May 30-June 1, and at 3 p.m. May 26 and June 2.
On May 23, the Tybee Post Theater will show the classic 1959 romantic-comedy “Some Like it Hot” for one-show-only. Directed by Billy Wilder (“Double Indemnity”), this zany road-trip flick stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two Chicago musicians trying to outrun a violent mobster. Desperate to vanish, they tart themselves up in rather unconvincing drag. Disguised poorly as women, they slip into an all-girl band heading to Florida by train.
Soon, Tony Curtis, in drag no less, is trying to woo a singing female ukulele player, without letting on to his true identity. The actress playing the object of his desires? The late, great pinup icon Marilyn Monroe, who nabbed a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for this role. Considered a minor classic, it also scored six Oscar nominations. Showtime is 7 p.m., with your choice of a complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink included in the ticket price.
The following day and night at the Tybee Post, see something called “Off Tha’ Block.” It’s a special one-day-only film event featuring both a compilation of mostly never-seen-before short films created by current and recent SCAD students and graduates. It will also be the area’s premiere of “Nesting Doll,” a low-budget, independent horror feature that has not yet been commercially released, but is earning high praise on the film festival circuit. Showtimes are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the short films compilation and 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the horror feature. For more details, read my feature article at dosavannah.com.
NESTING DOLLS - Test Trailer from DAS HAUS Productions on Vimeo.
PFS: Seedy and tense screening
And last, but not least, on May 29, the Psychotronic Film Society’s long-running weekly series of overlooked or downright obscure feature films from around the world continues with a rare public showing of one of the most notoriously sleazy and unsettling Hicksploitation movies ever made: the regionally-shot 1975 drive-in and grindhouse gem “Poor Pretty Eddie.”
Also known under such alternate titles as “The Victim,” “Redneck County” and “Heartbreak Motel,” “Poor Pretty Eddie” is a rather infamous slice of twisted backwoods nastiness. Each title was re-edited in such a way as to change the original intent of the picture, and each with its own different running time.
It stars respected singer and actress Leslie Uggams (TV’s “Roots” and “Empire,” as well as the recent unconventional superhero movie “Deadpool”) as a famous R&B singing star whose car breaks down in a tiny, remote deep southern town filled with violent, racist hillbillies.
Stuck with no way to leave and without any friends or family knowing her exact whereabouts, she finds herself at the mercy of a motley bunch of thuggish, poorly educated losers who expect their unexpected celebrity guest to help make one of their local musicians, a wannabe Elvis Presley knockoff, famous. Or else.
It was shot on a shoestring budget in and around Athens, with a handful of experienced actors, including Shelly Winters, Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor and “Lurch” himself, Ted Cassidy. They appear alongside a number of D-grade porn stars who were trying to make the leap to legit Hollywood careers, as well as untrained locals who received speaking roles in order for the producers to save money on talent. The film is a minor masterpiece of so-called revenge pictures such as Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish.”
Seedy and tense, it’s packed with dread and all manner of emotional ugliness. However, there is something about “Poor Pretty Eddie” that appeals to fans of dark and dirty pictures made during a different time of political incorrectness and unabashed exploitation. In honor of Uggams’ 76th birthday, the PFS will screen the full, uncut theatrical version of this underappreciated film, just as it originally appeared in run-down theaters 44 years ago. Showtime 8 p.m., with discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show, and a full vegetarian dinner menu available.
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. May 23-25, 30-31, June 1; 3 p.m. May 26, June 2
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield
What: “Some Like it Hot”
When: 7 p.m. May 23
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
What: “‘Off Tha’ Block’" film event
When: 2-5 p.m. May 24 (short films); 7:30 p.m. May 24 (feature film)
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
What: “Poor Pretty Eddie” aka “Redneck County”
When: 8 p.m. May 29
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.