Looking to either catch an unusual movie that one might not ordinarily have a chance to see on the big screen? Or perhaps you’d rather choose to support independently-owned or nonprofit venues over garden-variety corporate-owned multiplexes? Well, there are eight specialty screening events taking place over the next seven days in the greater Savannah area to choose from.

On the coast

We start our roundup of these events out on Tybee Island, where the restored, historic Tybee Post Theater hosts a pre-broadcast theatrical screening of the brand-new Georgia Public Broadcasting educational TV program “Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change” on June 20. The show looks at the future of climate change and how it will affect Georgia’s coastal communities. The executive producer and host of the show will attend this showing and speak to the audience afterwards. Free admission to this 7 p.m. show, but the Post Theater suggests you reserve your seats in advance through their website.

 

Local red carpet

Three nights later on June 23, the Post presents a special cast and crew screening of the recently completed, locally-produced short film “Soldier’s Heart.” This red carpet event includes the first public showing of the film, along with a behind-the-scenes making of a featurette which includes interviews with the filmmakers. The fictional film takes place post-Civil War and deals with a soldier who returns home after that awful conflict a broken person and the efforts of his daughter to build a meaningful relationship with her emotionally damaged parent.

“Soldier’s Heart” was made by area production company Moon River Media, and this high-profile event is free. In addition to the screening, a silent auction will  benefit a locally-based charitable organization designed to help suffering veterans. Showtime 6:30 p.m. for this two-hour event, with online reservations suggested.

The Tybee Post is by far the busiest independent film venue in our area this week, as they have two more recent Hollywood releases on tap as well.

Spoonful of sugar

First up is “Mary Poppins Returns,” Walt Disney’s sequel to the beloved 1964 romantic fantasy musical which starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Released late last winter, 55 years after the original film appeared, this well-received follow-up features a fairly stellar cast, including Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Emily Mortimer, Angela Lansbury and David Warner.

This lighthearted, family-oriented lark about a magical British nanny was in the works for almost 20 years, and once revealed, turned out to be something of a pastiche of the original film rather than a full-blown sequel. It grossed well over a third of a billion dollars and seems destined to remain a sturdy addition to the franchise. There will be four shows only, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 25 and 26.

 

Your song

Then, the following night, the Tybee Post opens a four-day engagement of the just-unveiled Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman.” The audience will find the British pop-rock tunesmith’s early, classic hits repurposed in service of a dramatized portrait of his rise to fame and fortune as a talented, young, classically-trained pianist and singer with a flair for flamboyance and a knack for collaborating with acclaimed lyricist Bernie Taupin.

Produced by Elton John himself, this authorized look at the star’s formative years and rise to the top of the charts veers stylistically from straightforward biography to wild, surreal flights of fancy via elaborately staged interludes based around staged performances of some of John’s best-loved singles and album cuts. It’s designed to be an uplifting and uproarious packaging of a larger-than-life persona, and attempts to recreate the international box office success of the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Showtimes at 7 p.m. June 27 through 30, with 3 p.m. matinees on June 28 and 30.

 

More pets

Heading out to the nearby city of Springfield, their restored, historic Mars Theatre opens an eight-day engagement of the just released CGI animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” This time around, the character which was voiced by disgraced comedian Louis C.K. in the first film, has been recast using the voice of C.K.’s real-life pal, comedian Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille”), along with such other well-known comedic actors and voice actors as Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Dana Carvey, Lake Bell, Hannibal Buress and Bobby Moynihan — many of whom reprise their roles from the first film in the kid-friendly franchise.

The film show sthe continuing misadventures of a group of domestic pets who all live with their respective owners in a high-rise Manhattan apartment building. It has charmed the majority of critics, most of whom seem to find it a worthy successor to the first in the series, if a slightly lesser achievement all around. It screens at 7 p.m. June 20 through 22 and again June 27 through 29, with 3 p.m. matinees on June 23 and 30.

 

Squatch

Smack dab in the middle of that run, the Mars Theatre finds time for the next installment of the summertime series of low-priced, youth-oriented films. Known as Two For Tuesdays, this series offers popular, escapist entertainment geared toward elementary and middle-school-aged children. Each film is shown twice on a single Tuesday, with admission only $2 (get it?) for all ages. This week, their selection is the 2019 CGI animated adventure flick “Missing Link,” which received warm praise from many critics, who championed its beautifully illustrated set designs and laid-back mood, but which for some reason did extremely poorly at the box office.

The film features the voice talents of Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Fry and Zach Galifianakis, among others. It’s the tale of a late-1800s British explorer who happens upon a Bigfoot in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and resolves to reunite him with his distant relatives, the Abominable Snowmen of the Himalayan Mountains. Showtimes at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 25.

 

Foxy night

Heading back towards downtown Savannah, our two last featured events take place at coffeehouses. First up, at Foxy Loxy, their monthly outdoor “Movie Night” will be at 8 p.m. June 21. Held in the establishment’s back courtyard, these regular screenings are on the third Friday of each month, weather permitting. The movies they present are, generally speaking, popular mainstream titles ranging in age from as recent as one year ago to several decades old. Because the exact selections are determined each month in advance by an online vote, the venue sometimes does not know until just a day or two before the scheduled screenings what they will be presenting, and they suggest interested Film Scene readers check the coffeehouse’s social media sites on the day of these shows for updated info.

No admission is charged for these screenings, but they do ask that you support the business by purchasing food or drinks. It is also worth noting that many people in the viewing area are merely there to visit with friends or enjoy the restaurant and not necessarily for the movies themselves. So, if you’re looking for a quiet and respectful environment to pay close attention to a movie, know in advance that the inherent chatter and ambient noise of this environment may not be to your liking.

PFS: African sands

And finally, on June 26, at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse a few blocks north of Foxy Loxy, the Psychotronic Film Society’s long-running weekly showcase of underappreciated or marginalized feature films from around the world continues with a rare public screening of one of the more gripping survival movies ever made, director Cy Edenfield’s intense 1965 action drama “Sands of the Kalahari.”

It was filmed on location in Southwest Africa, in what is now known as Namibia, and Spain, this tale of a plane crash in a desolate, desert region of Africa that leaves a small group of adult strangers fighting for their lives against starvation, dehydration, jealousy, greed and a large troop of incredibly strong and angry baboons. It stars Stuart Whitman, the American actor who almost became James Bond, Stanley Baker, one of the most beloved British dramatic actors of all-time, Susannah York, the beautiful blonde actress who came in many ways to epitomize the “Swinging London” scene of the late 1960s, and Theodore Bikel, among others. It’s something of an overlooked gem packed with solid acting and believably dangerous situations in seemingly harsh physical conditions.

Shown to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of Stanley Baker’s untimely demise at the age of 48 from lung cancer, the PFS will screen the full, uncut, widescreen theatrical cut. 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.

 

What: “Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change”

When: 7 p.m. June 20

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

Cost: Free (online reservations suggested)

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “The Secret Life of Pets 2”

When: 7 p.m. June 20-22, 27-29; 3 p.m. June 23, 30

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

Cost: $7

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Movie Night”

When: 8 p.m. June 21

Where: Foxy Loxy, 1919 Bull St.

Cost: Free

 

What: “Soldier’s Heart”

When: 6:30 p.m. June 23

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

Cost: Free (online reservations suggested)

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Mary Poppins Returns”

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 25, 26

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

Cost: $5-$8

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Rocketman”

When: 7 p.m. June 27-30; 3 p.m. June 28, June 30

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

Cost: $8

Info: tybeeposttheater.org

 

What: “Missing Link”

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 25

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

Cost: $2

Info: marstheatre.com

 

What: “Sands of the Kalahari”

When: 8 p.m. June 26

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

Cost: $8

Info: instagram.com/pfssav