With Prisoners last week, Rush and Enough Said this week and Gravity next week, we’re definitely in the full thick of the fall moviegoing season. But if you look beyond the high-profile, you’ll find just as much waiting out there in limited release. Here are some of this week’s best screening bets to seek out. (Note: Watch for Jonathon Sharp’s review later today for the latest in Take-Up Productions’ hyper-prolific “Trylon Premieres” series — Il Futuro. It’s described on their website as “The story of two orphaned teenage siblings left to care for themselves among the ruins of Rome, this adaptation of a Roberto Bolaño novel treads familiar territory with fresh eyes. In a ruse designed as a heist, the sister strikes up an unlikely friendship with an aging B-movie star played with spark and subtlety by Hauer.” Yeah, that’s probably another can’t miss.)
Wednesday, September 25: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (Trylon Microcinema)
Earlier this year, actress P.J. Soles stopped into the Twin Cities for a special screening of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and was gracious enough to allow me to interview her in anticipation of the event. Of this, perhaps the cultiest of her cult film favorites, she said: “It really is a combination of the characters, its campy style, and the Ramones. They make the film. What teen wouldn’t want to have them come to their school and defy the principal? Every new generation can relate to that. And it helps that now the Ramones are fully recognized for starting punk music. It’s their Hard Day’s Night. It’s pure fun. That’s what makes it last.” It’s this month’s Trash Film Debauchery selection, so for just one night pretend disco does actually suck.
Thursday, September 26: Dracula (Heights Theater)
“Children of the night, what music they make.” Still perhaps the most famous silver-screen sucker of all time (once the proper demotions have been made for Edward Cullen and his Eddie Bauer-clad clan), Bela Lugosi holds court as Count Dracula in Universal Studio’s 1931 shocker. While it reflects some of the birthing pains of early talkie cinema (F.W. Murnau’s unauthorized adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel Nosferatu runs visual circles around the Hollywood version), and it lacks the depth James Whale brought to the Frankenstein films, Dracula still epitomizes the Universal horror touch. Get yourself a jump on the Halloween spirit by taking a candelabra-lit stroll through the cobwebs.
Wednesday, September 25 & Thursday, Sept. 26: Scarface (Parkway Theater)
As I alluded to in last week’s best bets column, I yield to no one in my love for Brian De Palma. So when I say that I consider his garish 1983 remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic to be probably among the 3 or 4 worst films on his C.V., that still means I’m only somewhat ambivalent about it. (At the very least, it owns up to its excesses, whereas another of my least favorite De Palma movies — The Untouchables — just about scrubs away anything resembling directorial personality from the template.) So go ahead and say hello to your little friend. I won’t call the coppers on you … but you can probably hold out for a more nuanced Al Pacino performance by catching The Godfather at the Parkway starting this Friday.
Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29: Love Streams (Trylon Microcinema)
The Trylon wraps up their month-long John Cassavetes retrospective with a screening of what is probably the director’s warmest, most sanguine effort, a tribute to both his callous brand of empathy and his endearing affection for actress-collaborator Gena Rowlands, who at one point in the film points out that “Love streams. It doesn’t stop.” Emphasizing themes of patience, unchecked emotions and connectedness that run through all of Cassavetes’ films, Love Streams is as close as he ever came to a valediction of the grand mess that is being human.
Sunday, September 29: Manhattan Short Film Festival (St. Anthony Main Theater)
It isn’t every day you can join over 100,000 people to attend a film festival, but that’s just what the Manhattan Short Film Festival aims to do, connecting audiences worldwide to screen the 10 shorts that were selected from 628 submissions. Everyone will get to vote, with the winner being announced on Sunday, Oct. 6.