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.
Perhaps Norman Bates said it best: “We all go a little mad sometimes.” And though Bates, the dangerously eccentric inheritor of his family’s motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho, will neither be featured nor, we hope, attending the ninth San Francisco Film Noir Festival, which opens at the Castro tomorrow, his cryptic wisdom will echo in every one of Noir City’s 24 selections.
This year’s theme? Who’s Crazy Now, celebrating two-dozen tales of stark, raving madness, all with gloriously restored 35-milimeter prints, presented over 10 nights of double features priced at an insanely reasonable $10.
Welcome, dear friends, to the first Indie Theater Roundup ever (partially) written and published from 30,000 feet above – hold on, let me check – Michigan! Will the wonders of technology ever cease to amaze? Let us all take a moment of silence to thank Richard Branson for this thrilling innovation to modern flight, then turn our attention to the matters at hand: movies! You want 'em, and the city's indie theaters have 'em. Check these out:
The eighth Film Noir Festival kicked off Friday night at the Castro Theatre with a double bill featuring André de Toth's Pitfall, a nerve-racking depiction of adultery and its messy aftermath, and George Sherman's Larceny, a crowd favorite from years past about two grifters targeting a wealthy widow. The festival continues through the end of the month with a collection of doomed romances and lurid thrillers, starring the genre's best-known stars (among them, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Veronica Lake) and directed by some of cinema's earliest innovators, including Fritz Lang, Henry Hathaway and John Huston.