Best of Bay Area Film — March 2014

Raise your warm glass of mayonnaise in salute to Hollywood! It is no longer February! The Oscars are just about to Oscar; everyone who is worth a plug-nickel is about to receive a gold statuette and everyone else will cry themselves to sleep in a giant pile of cut-rate baloney.

‘When, oh when’ the losers will sob in their luncheon-meat cocoons, ‘will I ever release a film that anyone in their right mind would want to see?’

Perhaps in March? Yes! You have guessed correctly. In March there will be movies you—an intelligent consumer of film in San Francisco, Berkeley, the Land of Oaks, and other thereabouts—would eagerly choose to view projected in a motion picture house.

If you only go see a few films in the theater this month, Stand By For Mind Control recommends it be these:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Opens March 7

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Oh Wes Anderson, you kooky, quirky, miniature-obsessed man-child! When will you delight us with a whimsical journey that merges all of the fandango of your previous films, only combined in one non-stop twee-fest what causes our organs of whimsy (the pancreas, parts of the uvula) to melt like 1/20th scale replicas of the Basilica of Constantine crafted out of heritage bee’s wax and set under a cozy knit from free-range alpaca dander? What?!? On March 7th? Hooray!

The Grand Budapest Hotel has every actor known to man (and alpaca) in it. Pretend that I’ve listed them all. Also, it sure does look cute.

(I hope that Max Fischer shows up to torch the eponymous hotel in the third act, but admit that that is unlikely to occur. Still; worth the price of admission just in case.)

The Producers / Take the Money and Run

The Pacific Film Archive: March 7

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The Producers may well be the funniest film ever made. And no, I’m not talking about that Nathan Lane / Matthew Broderick stuff, which is to the Mel Brooks original what Gus Van Sant’s Psycho was to Hitchcock’s. The original is Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, and my favorite of all the Hitlers. If you’ve not seen it, well kid, get your ass to the PFA on March 7th for a screening that pairs the film with one of Woody Allen’s earliest and funniest, Take the Money and Run. Trust me; this is a very different Woody Allen than the one who made Blue Jasmine. Plus, he made this before he married his not-daughter so you’re allowed to like it.

Child’s Pose

Opera Plaza: March 21

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What was the last really great Romanian film you saw? 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysPolice, Adjective, maybe? No? You haven’t felt drawn to any Romanian films thus far, you say? Well, perhaps Child’s Pose is your chance to stretch yourself a little. See what I did there? I made a stretching joke. Because this film is called Child’s Pose—which is a yoga thing. Except this film isn’t about yoga, it’s about affluenza and over-protective mothers and corruption. So put on your yoga pants, fill your flask with țuică, and prepare for the 2103 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear winner.

Nymphomaniac Volume 1

Embarcadero: March 21

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I’m fairly certain that if there are two things I don’t want associated in my brain, they’re rumpty-pumpty and Lars von Trier. I’ve haven’t been to see one of his films in the theaters yet and I’m not likely to start now—but don’t let my disregard for self-clitoridectomy dissuade you from this two-part, four-hour exploration of what von Trier thinks of women and sex.

Here’s a friendly hint though: this is probably an exceptionally shitty first date film.

King of Comedy / Play Misty for Me

Castro Theatre: March 25

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Once again, the Castro serves up a double bill worthy of our adoration. Scorsese’s underrated King of Comedy puts Robert DeNiro in Rupert Pupkin’s shoes—yes the Rupert Pupkin. Pupkin knows how funny he is but needs one break to shine; so he gets Sandra Bernhardt to help him kidnap famous talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), as one does. It’s the funniest unfunny film you’ll ever see, unless you’ve seen About Schmidt, which is also hysterically unfunny. King of Comedy is paired with another tale of over-eager fandom, Clint Eastwood‘s Play Misty for Me. It’s not my favorite Eastwood film, but it does star Jessica Walter, whom you’ll recognize as a much younger Lucile Bluth from Arrested Development and the voice of Malory Archer on Archer. As you’ll see, she started working up her crazy when she was young, so if you aspire to be Bluth crazy one day, better get started now.

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Embarcadero: March 28

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If there ever was a film created just for Stand By For Mind Control readers, it’s the version of Dune that psychedelic screwball Alexandro Jodorowsky didn’t get to make. He didn’t make it, so you can’t see it, but you can see this documentary about his attempt to make your favorite film that you never saw. You can envision how he got H.R. Geiger to design creatures for him (before Alien), you can glimpse his wonderfully insane take on Frank Herbert’s book—which he never read—and then fall asleep dreaming of what might have been. And completely block the existence of David Lynch’s ghastly version from your memory.

Noah

Opens 3/28

Russell Crowe as Noah

Based on the trailers for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, you might reasonably expect it to be both the worst film of all time and a prequel to Roland Emmerich’s 2013, just with shittier special effects. I, being a film critic of wide renown, will hold off on judgment until I witness this spectacle for myself. Aronofsky has made some exceptionally good films and it seems unlikely (yet possible) that he’s gone totally batshit crazy. Either way: I predict this one will be worth the price of admission, if only so we can all crack ourselves up doing biblical Russell Crowe impressions, which I bet involve a lot of yelling ‘forsooth!’.

Or I hope they do.

 

And that, gentle readers, is what we recommend vis-a-vis the best of Bay Area film this March. We should have early reviews of some of these coming shortly, so stay tuned.

 

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.