December is here, leaving critics and industry insiders to sort through the year's offerings, separating the contenders from the pretenders in the race for Oscar gold. This weekend brings to the Bay Area a popular dark horse: The Artist, a love letter to the era of silent cinema that could upset expected favorites War Horse, The Descendants and Hugo this February at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
Still stuffed from Thursday's annual binge? Try a strictly popcorn diet (minus the artery-clogging globs of movie-theater butter) this weekend at one of the city's indie theaters, where you can choose between some of the year's rumored Oscar contenders (Hugo and The Descendants, both playing at the Sundance Kabuki) or seek out more obscure delights (C. Scott Willis' award-winning documentary The Woodmans, at the Roxie through Monday).
1. The Sing-A-Long Sound of Music
When you've got Netflix streaming or Apple TV, it's easy to forget that going to a movie used to be an actual event. But at the Castro Theatre, the lost art of live cinema music is still going strong thanks to organist David Hegarty, who's been playing intermissions there for the past 33 years. And he'll continue to do so tonight at a free screening of '60s classic Elmer Gantry as part of Turner Classic Movies Road to Hollywood Road Tour (which culminates later this month at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood).