Here is a full list of upcoming screenings with Film Club at our local Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for the month of March 2016.
Click the link of the title below to purchase tickets! Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:00pm
A touching, melancholy meditation on the life of the same woman at ages 10 and 27. With the subtlety of a novel, it shows a working woman on vacation, going to a relative’s farm, where she’s not really wanted, and remembering with bittersweet sharpness her childhood, when life was still ahead. Notice the way Takahata uses stillness, silence and a long pause in an early sequence where the little girl sees a boy she likes and realizes he likes her, too.
Sunday, March 6th at 3:00pm
Ask someone who recently attended a Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift show about the experience and you’ll probably hear about choreography, special effects, costume changes and elaborate sets. That’s what most superstar concerts are all about these days. The music is there, certainly, but it’s been pushed into the background, dwarfed by giant video screens, background dancers and a circus-style presentation.
That was not always the case, as director Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST WALTZ reminds us. Filmed over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1976 and released almost two years later, the documentary captures the final concert by The Band, the group that rose to prominence backing up Bob Dylan in the late 1960s and went on to score a few hits of their own with “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Weight.”
By 1976, however, the quartet had been on the road for 16 years and, as Scorsese tells us through brief but insightful interview segments, the rock ‘n roll lifestyle had taken its toll. “The numbers start to scare you,” sleepy-eyed frontman Robbie Robertson tells Scorsese. “I mean I couldn’t live with 20 years on the road. I don’t think I could discuss it.”
THE LAST WALTZ, staged at San Francisco’s Winterland hall, was a star-studded love letter not only to The Band, but also to a style of music that was rapidly disappearing in the second half of the 1970s. The Band’s folkified brand of rock, beautifully encapsulated in Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” still had its followers, but it was being eclipsed on the charts by Elton John’s glitzy pop, the “New West” anthems of the Eagles and the disco thump of Donna Summer.
No wonder The Band was ready to hang it up. “We did eight years in bars, dives, dancehalls, eight years of concerts in stadiums, arenas,” Robertson tells Scorsese. Throughout the film, Robertson and the guys reminisce about their adventures: the performance at a dump in Texas that featured a one-armed go-go dancer; being broke and having to shoplift groceries; their hunt for bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson.
“The music, it took us everywhere,” Robertson admits. “It took us to some strange places, physically, spiritually and psychotically.”
The luscious, luminous look of THE LAST WALTZ is no accident. Rather than simply setting up a few cameras to record the moment, Scorsese actually scripted and storyboarded the film, transforming the Winterland into a makeshift soundstage and planning out the sequences as precisely as he did the musical numbers in “New York, New York,” which he was in the process of completing at the time.
Remarkably, the performances show no signs of being reined in or rehearsed. In fact, as Scorsese’s cameras swirl around the musicians, all we see is joy and high spirits. Although Robertson and the rest of The Band are mostly low-key in their interviews, they spring to life onstage. There’s palpable passion in drummer Levon Helm’s singing on “Dixie” and “Ophelia,” and in the playing of bassist Rick Danko and multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson. Robertson spends much of the concert with an astonished smile on his face, as if he can’t believe he’s at the center of this celebration.
THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD! declares a title at the beginning. Believe it.
The Band’s energy level infects many of the guest stars as well. Midway through “Who Do You Love?” Ronnie Hawkins lets loose with a four-tiered scream that even he seems surprised he was capable of. Neil Young rips into the heart-rending “Helpless” as if it’s the only chance he’ll ever have to sing the song; he’s joined by Joni Mitchell, who performs achingly perfect backup vocals from backstage, her sylph-like figure silhouetted against a light purple curtain. Later, Mitchell returns to take center stage with an enthralling version of “Coyote,” her arresting voice cascading over The Band’s percolating beat.
A spry Eric Clapton sits in on “Further On Up the Road,” indulging in a good-natured guitar duel with Robertson. Emmylou Harris (“Evangeline”) and the Staple Singers (“The Weight”) contribute their own special sparkle in mesmerizing segments that were shot after the concert.
Ninety minutes into the movie, Bob Dylan appears, sporting curly hair, a beard, a leather jacket and a ghetto fabulous white fedora with a feather. He sings “Forever Young,” and tinges the optimistic lyrics with an unmistakable solemnity. He seems to speak directly to The Band, well-aware there’s a lot more hard-won experience on that stage than there is youthful idealism.
But his song might have been directed at the music industry itself, a plea to the movers and shakers not to lose sight of the essential glory of music. If you think his message hit home, you obviously haven’t been following the pop charts in recent years, as questionable but photogenic talents are routinely anointed as superstars and singer-songwriters who’ve learned their craft the hard way, the way The Band and most of their peers did, are generally left behind in the stardust
Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm
Saturday, March 12th at 11am
Tickets to this Screening Benefit THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL OF WINCHESTER
In his youth Mr. Fox (George Clooney) was a wily rebel who stole chickens from coops and wrecked havoc on unsuspecting farmers. All that changed when Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) became pregnant. Now Mr. Fox spends his days working a respectable post writing a column for the local newspaper and living a well-mannered, responsible life with his wife and son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman), but how long can this wild animal be caged by marriage and family?
As a reward to himself Mr. Fox buys a nice treehouse in a pretigious part of the valley for his family to live in. There’s only one catch: the tree overlooks the farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, three men described by Mr. Fox’s realtor, Badger (Bill Murray), as ” three of the meanest, nastiest, and ugliest farmers in the history of this valley.” Soon, Mr. Fox can’t resist going back to his old ways of causing trouble, giving the three farmers reason to retaliate. They bomb Fox’s house and destroy the valley, making all the animals that inhabit there homeless. The only chance the animals have for survival is to band together and fight back against the oppressive farmers.
Using the retro device of stop-motion animation writer/director Wes Anderson uses his knack for visuals to create a feast for the eyes. Added to that are a soundtrack that includes The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys and Anderson’s usual wit and comedy. The final product is a film that feels timeless, yet refreshingly new.
Sunday, March 13th at 3pm
A profound, essential work of art ANOMALISA follows Michael Stone, a man going through an existential mid-life crisis, what seems to be an unsuspecting business trip in Cincinnati. Charlie Kaufman turns what should be a straightforward, even bland, story into a beautiful, subtle and deep look at ego and human connection, but the movie’s impressive elements don’t stop there.
The film is told through stop-motion animation using puppets developed and executed by animation wizard Duke Johnson. The culminating effect is a film that’s equal parts visual stunner and emotional masterpiece.
Wednesday, March 16th at 7:00pm
Eight year old Anthony is somewhat uneasy about spending the weekend with his alcoholic, down-on-his-luck carpenter dad Walt while his mom Bonnie and her new husband Kyle go to a Catholic retreat together. Walt is just as uneasy about spending time with Anthony, especially since their first day together is a series of characteristically unfortunate events, including his truck breaking down, his landlord locking him out of the house, and the theft of his toolbox, which he needs for an upcoming job. As Walt and Anthony set about finding the guy who stole the tools and improvise around their other misfortunes, they begin to discover a true connection with each other, causing Walt to become a better father and Anthony to reveal the promise and potential of the good man he will become.
Saturday, March 19th at 11am
TICKETS BENEFIT AAUW!
Sunday, March 20th at 3:00pm
SPECIAL DIRECTOR INTRODUCTION BY JUSTIN LERNER