Friday, November 27, 2015

The Puzzle Within the Castro Theater's December 2015 Calendar

The clues in the Castro Theater's December calendar is inconclusive.

December 7 - Mickey Rooney is instantaneously recognizable.

December 15 - I didn't recognize this woman.  I searched her image and discovered it is Minnie Riperton, a singer whose two claims to fame are her song "Lovin' You" from the mid-1970s and being the mother of comedienne Maya Rudolph.

Deccember 21 - although I have seen several of his films, I did not recognize Donald Pleasence and had to search on his image.

Initially, I thought the clues might be Christmas themed.  Mickey Rooney birth name was Joseph Yule, Jr. and Minnie Riperton went by the name Minnie Riperton-Rudolph after she married.  Yule and Rudolph are definitely Christmas themed but what about Pleasence?  Donald Pleasence used his birth name as his stage name.  Even if one makes the assumption that Pleasence is a homonym of pleasant, it's not very holiday themed.

On second inspection, I suspect the names refer to Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck.  There are no films with those three characters on the December calendar.  I only see one film which I recognize as being a Disney production - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I'm at an impasse.

For the record, I immediately recognized the photo on Christmas Day.  It's from Trading Places.  The man in the background is Eddie Murphy and Denholm Elliott is the man in the foreground.  I had to look up his name because to me he will forever be Dr. Marcus Brody from the Indiana Jones' films.


I did not see any films at the Castro Theater in November but I'm certain I will see a few there in December.

December 5 - the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's winter event is called A Day of Silents and features five films starring Douglas Fairbanks, Harry Houdini & Anna May Wong.  I have already purchased my pass.

December 16 - Noir City holds its annual Xmas kickoff with a double bill consisting of Max Ophüls The Reckless Moment and Richard Widmark in his screen debut as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death.  Noir City will be held from January 22 to 31.  I've never seen the Udo performance which launched Widmark to stardom and is most memorable for a scene where he pushes a wheelchair bound woman down a flight of stairs.

December 17 - two concert films make up the program Stop Making Sense was directed by Jonathan Demme and features performances by Talking Heads whose music I am fond of.  Home of the Brave was directed by and features performance by Laurie Anderson.


The long anticipated opening of the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco comes to fruition on December 17.  I first wrote about Alamo's plan to renovate the New Mission Theater in early 2012.  It took almost four years and at times I was skeptical it would ever open but it is happening.

Their calendar is up and all that is listed are 2D and 3D screenings of Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  Not only that but all the screenings from December 17 to 20 are already sold out.  I believe the Alamo will have 5 screens and their calendar gives the impression that one screen will be dedicated to screening Star Wars.  I'm curious what will screen in the other, smaller auditoriums.

The Alamo is located at 2550 Mission Street (between 21st and 22nd Streets).  It's a few storefronts away from Foreign Cinema.

In a bit of counter-programming, the Roxie is presenting Far, Far Away and Yet So Close: Science Fiction in San Francisco.  I'm not sure if they are counter-programming Star Wars or the Alamo Drafthouse's first week in operation.  From December 18 to 23, the Roxie will be screening Star Trek IV, Innerspace, Cloud Atlas, Time After Time and THX 1138.

I've long wanted to see THX 1138 which was George Lucas' feature length directorial debut.  Some of the scenes were filmed in BART tunnels which were being excavated at the time of the filming.  My only disappointment is that all four screenings are scheduled to be in the Little Roxie.

Time After Time was supposed to be screened during the 2015 Mostly British Film Festival as part of their tribute to Malcolm McDowell.  Audio difficulties forced the cancellation of that screening so this will be an opportunity to see it.


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