Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jason previews upcoming events--why the Roxie is the place to be for the next month or so

One thing I'm really bad at on the blog and wish I did more was letting you all know what the cool upcoming film events are. I know that way too often I write about a one-night-only or limited-run program after you no longer have a chance to see it. And I'm sorry about that, but knowing my nature that will probably continue (I don't mean to self-analyze too much, but it has to do with my background in science and never wanting to state any results before the experiment.) But right now there's such a full schedule I'm even struggling to decide what to see, so I might as well let you know at least some of the rich array of film watching choices in the Bay Area.

First, as I wrote in the headline, The Roxie will be the main place to be until pretty much the end of the year. Besides their always interesting regular programming, things are really going to take off with their Not Necessarily Noir III festival, starting Friday until Halloween. A mix of classic and forgotten-but-uncovered neo-noir, crime, and horror movies for a lucky 13 days. I missed Not Necessarily Noir I a couple years ago, but caught a lot of Not Necessarily Noir II last year, and this year looks to be an exceptional program.

The one downside of Not Necessarily Noir III is it relegates BEL BORBA AQUI to the Little Roxie. This documentary on "The People's Picasso" was one of my favorites from Cinequest this year, and really deserves the bigger house. But still, if you're interested in art and an interesting character (or if you're already at the Roxie and are tired of crime films) go see this.

Shortly after Not Necessarily Noir III ends, Docfest comes to both houses of the Roxie, as well as the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley (for my East Bay friends.) They always have a really interesting program, proving truth is stranger than fiction. A good mix of local interest films, politically inspired films, and (my favorite) just really weird-but-true stories. Sadly, with conflicts and previous personal commitments I won't make it to a whole lot of Docfest this year. I haven't bought my pass yet but it looks like I'll probably just get a 10-film pass instead of the full pass (sorry, Jeff.)

If I can single out one highlight of Docfest, it's another film that was one of my favorites from Cinequest--JASON BECKER: NOT DEAD YET. No word on if Jason Becker will actually be there (he did attend Cinequest, but obviously it depends on his schedule and his health.) Coincidentally, this film will also be playing in the SFFS program Cinema By The Bay.

The whole SFFS Fall Season is in full swing as well. I actually haven't made it to any of it so far, and probably won't make it to very much. That's not a reflection on the quality of their programming, but just how crowded the fall calendar is. But the two films I will be sure not to miss are in Cinema By The Bay--AMITY and CXL. In fairness, I'm seeing these because I know the filmmakers, so I'm a little biased. I mean, I know the filmmakers and they always do great work so their films are sure to be exceptional works of unadulterated brilliance.

Back to the Roxie, ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD is returning at the end of November/first week of December. Their schedule is not out yet, but I do know a little bit about what they'll play. No spoilers here, though. This has moved from June to December, and scaled down to a single week. Hopefully it will be successful here as a bit of counter-programming to the creeping Christmas cheer (IMHO, it all comes down to the quality of the films, and I know they'll get some good ones this year.)

Other acceptable places to be (instead of the Roxie) are:

The Vortex Room: They're halfway through their October-long program Don't Fear The Vortex. Every Thursday night a double-bill of classic and/or forgotten horror films from the 60's and 70's. Plus the best damn martinis in town.

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum: Okay, this is actually the place to be every Saturday night for silent film fans. This coming Saturday (October 20th) is comedy shorts night, and I'd highly recommend buying tickets in advance if you want to see that, because it does sell out (it's only a ~120 seat theater, and I have had to turn people away before. That's never fun.) Then the 27th--the last Saturday before Halloween, they have Lon Chaney in THE MONSTER which promises to be awesome. But what I'm really looking forward to is on Sunday the 28th at 4:00 pm Bob Wilkins' Creature Features is coming back to the big screen there. A whole reconstructed program with the Bob Wilkins bumpers and vintage commercials. John Stanley will host the program with local documentary filmmaker Tom Wyrsch (WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP AMERICA STRONG!) And Ernie Fosselius will be there with his classic spoof HARDWARE WARS.

Then, although details aren't out yet, the next Sunday November 4th, will feature The Great Nickelodeon Show by Dr. Russell Merritt. I don't want to promise anything, but the last time they did this they even busted out their vintage hand-cranked 35 mm projector and used that.

The Stanford Theatre: Another place that's always awesome to be. But what I'm really excited about is the Nov. 2 show of Lon Chaney's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) with Dennis James on the organ.

The Castro: No list of bay area film events would be complete without this movie palace. But I haven't actually studied their schedule enough to know what the best bets there will be. I will give a shout-out to the Midnites for Maniacs "End of Days" triple bill of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, INCEPTION, and HALLOWEEN 3: THE SEASON OF THE WITCH. Unfortunately, this is also Nov. 2 so I'll  probably be at the Stanford for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. But maybe I can get from there to the Castro in time for the midnight show of HALLOWEEN 3.

Oh yeah, and not film but I love them like they were a film, The Thrillpeddlers are well into their run of Shocktoberfest 13: The Bride of Death. Live Grand Guignol theater. Damn, I love this town.

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