Greetings, fellow adventurous film lovers. The total number of alternative cinema events taking place throughout our neck of the woods is decidedly lower than last week; however, there are still options for those who prefer to either enjoy programming which falls outside the normal offerings of mainstream corporate multiplexes. Or, if mainstream fare suits your tastes, but you appreciate giving your business to independently run venues, we can help guide you to those community-supportive options as well.
Mainstream at Mars
In fact, our first two listings fall right into that category. On Aug. 29, the Mars Theatre in nearby Springfield continues its extended run of the recently-released Disney Studios' new animated remake of its beloved 1994 animated musical classic “The Lion King.” This new version was directed by Jon Favreau, and while many diehard fans of the original have gone on record as preferring the hand-drawn imagery of the first “Lion King” to the eerily photorealistic approach of modern CGI that Favreau and his team have employed at tremendous expense, many young children who are unfamiliar with that initial take on this tale of familial politics among a pride of African lions may have an easier time of appreciating the visual style of this blockbuster. Showtimes 7 p.m. Aug. 29 through 31.
A few nights later, the Mars presents a four-day engagement of the brand new live-action dramedy “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” starring Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Martin Donovan, Gary Cole and Kathy Baker. Based on Garth Stein’s 2008 novel of the same title, it’s the extremely sappy tale of a would-be Formula One race car driver who must battle with his in-laws for custody of his young daughter after her mother — his wife — dies prematurely.
Did I mention the film is narrated by the spirit of the race var driver’s elderly dog? Yup. The pooch is played by the disembodied voice of “The Postman” himself, Kevin Costner. Poetic justice? Shows 7 p.m. Sept. 5-7, with a 3 p.m. matinee Sept. 8. Bring Kleenex. It’s not just a knee-jerker. It’s a tear-jerker.
PFS: Double feature
Heading into downtown, on Sept. 4 at the Sentient Bean Coffeehouse on Forsyth Park, the Psychotronic Film Society continues its long-running and award-winning weekly series of overlooked, underappreciated or downright obscure feature films from around the globe with an unusual double-feature that’s geared toward fans of old-fashioned murder mysteries.
That night, they’ll screen “Dilemma,” a critically acclaimed but essentially unknown low-budget British thriller from 1962 that fell through the cracks almost immediately after its theatrical release. Clocking in at just a few minutes longer than an hour, this well-acted and well-made B&W tale of a respected schoolteacher who returns home one day to discover a complete stranger near death in his bathroom was a B-picture that was originally paired with another feature at British cinemas and drive-ins. Over the decades, it has reportedly only been screened twice on British television, and has never been shown or released in the USA.
The late, respected actor Peter Halliday, who plays the lead in “Dilemma,” was a member of the extremely influential Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company alongside more well-known dramatic icons as Richard Burton, Michael Redgrave and Ralph Richardson. That organization later became the Royal Shakespeare Company. While he gained most of his later fame from appearing in popular British TV movies and series, including several seasons of “Doctor Who” and the sci-fi cult classic “A is for Andromeda,” he was also seen in such esteemed cinematic fare as 1993’s “The Remains of the Day,” and such ultra-obscure guilty pleasures as 1974’s camp oddity “The Swordsman,” which the PFS of SAV gleefully screened a few years back to an appreciative crowd.
Immediately preceding “Dilemma,” the PFS will screen “Night of the Execution,” an unjustly overlooked 30-minute B&W American-made crime drama from 1957, featuring a tremendous performance from a young Pat Hingle, the craggy-faced character actor best known for his work decades later as Commissioner Gordon in the original “Batman” films franchise directed by Tim Burton. The double-feature begins at 8 p.m.
The Post don’t give a damn
And finally, on Sept. 5, Tybee Island’s historic Tybee Post Theater presents a special one-night-only screening of director Victor Fleming’s legendary 1939 romantic drama “Gone with the Wind.” Based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, it’s an acknowledged classic from Hollywood’s Golden Age, which cost less than $4 million to make and has to date grossed almost $400 million. The story of a determined female plantation owner in Civil War-era Georgia took home a record-breaking eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Interior Decoration and Best Editing, plus two honorary awards for technical achievement.
Despite all the accolades heaped upon the film, it must be said that to this day there remains a great bit of controversy surrounding the depiction of “Old South” mores, particularly in regards to the harsh realities of Plantation-style slavery and a distasteful outlook on forced intercourse between a man and wife. These days, what passes in “Gone with the Wind” for the passionate, demanding behavior of a stern husband would be regarded as rape, so potential first-time viewers should be advised in advance of the dichotomy between today’s enlightened perspective and those of yesteryear.
This film runs “damn” near four hours in length, so think twice before bringing small kids to this one. Showtime is 7 p.m., and admission price includes a drink of your choice (hard or soft).
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.
The documentary “Out Lost Years” will screen at the Armstrong Georgia Southern campus on Sept. 26. In the print version and first digital version of last week’s Film Scene, the date was incorrectly printed as Aug. 26.
IF YOU GO
What: “The Lion King”
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 29-31
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St., Springfield
What: “Forgotten Murder Mysteries Double-Feature”
When: 8 p.m. Sept.4
Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
What: “Gone with the Wind”
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 5
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
What: “The Art of Racing in the Rain”
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 5-7; 3 p.m. Sept. 8
Where: Mars Theatre, 106 S. Laurel St. Springfield