January of every year brings a wide mix of disparities to local movie theaters, and this month is no exception. Your choices include Oscar nominees, trashy exploitation and a variety of Sundance Film Festival offerings.
The Oscar nominees range from November releases (“Lincoln,” “Life of Pi”) to December openings (“Les Miserables,” “Django Unchained”) to films that played only in Los Angeles and New York before the end of the year, then headed to the hinterlands in January (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Impossible”).
And, of course, the newest, official 2013 releases have also started arriving this month, led by gory horror (“Texas Chainsaw 3D”), mindless action (“The Last Stand”) and sleazy spoofery (“A Haunted House”).
So if you are up to date on your Oscar contenders, have no interest in the trash and aren’t really into Sundancing, are there any theatrical alternatives? As a matter of fact, local theaters are still showing some golden oldies, though many are single-day screenings.
How about Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” or Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or Harold Lloyd in “The Freshman” or a wisecracking dialogue track under what many consider to be the worst movie of all time, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”?
Those and many more are coming up during the next few weeks.
• “To Catch a Thief” (1955, not rated, PG-level violence). Alfred Hitchcock’s gorgeous, highly entertaining mystery has a retired jewel thief known as “The Cat” (Cary Grant) being accused of new burglaries, so he sets out to find who’s framing him. Meanwhile he meets and falls for a young heiress (Grace Kelly) and begins to wonder whether he’s on the hunt or being hunted. All of which is filmed against the beautiful location backdrop of the Riviera. (Wednesday, Jan. 23, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
• “Manos: The Hands of Fate” (1966, not rated, PG-level violence, language). The RiffTrax guys (formerly “Mystery Science Theater 3000”) provide a snarky narration, making fun of this horrible ’60s horror film, a ridiculous cheapjack yarn about a vacationing family held hostage by a bizarre cult. (Thursday, Jan. 24, Cinemark Theatres, 7:30 p.m., www.cinemark.com/movies.aspx?flag=NCM)
• “Rubber Tires” (1927, b/w, silent, not rated, G-level film). Cecil B. DeMille produced this silent picture, which features future Oscar nominees Bessie Love and May Robson, along with Harrison Ford (no relation to the “Indiana Jones” star of the same name). Nice, light comedy of errors follows a family on a road trip running into a series of obstacles that slow them down — but the real treat is the mini-history lesson about the 1920s thanks to the unusual step (at the time) of location filming up and down the California coast. (Thursday-Friday, Jan. 24-25, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)
• “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969, PG, language, violence). “Who are those guys?” The revisionist Western that made Robert Redford a star and solidified Paul Newman’s place in the Hollywood firmament remains a hilarious and exciting classic, loaded with memorable sequences (thanks to director George Roy Hill’s staging) and snappy dialogue (thanks to William Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplay), along with gorgeous cinematography of southern Utah (which won an Oscar for Conrad L. Hall). (Wednesday, Jan. 30, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
• “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1959, b/w, not rated, PG-level violence). More snarky fun from the RiffTrax crew, but even without them this preposterous sci-fi yarn is unintentionally hilarious, with flying saucers that look like wobbly pie tins and an over-the-top introduction by campy prognosticator Criswell. Written and directed by the notorious Ed Wood, with horror star Bela Lugosi in his last role. (Thursday, Jan. 31, Cinemark Theatres, 7:30 p.m., www.cinemark.com/movies.aspx?flag=NCM)
• “PT 109” (1963, PG-level violence). Cliff Robertson stars as John F. Kennedy before his presidency, chronicling his World War II exploits as captain of the title PT boat. Enjoyable, if routine, action picture was released just months before President Kennedy’s assassination. (Tuesday, Feb. 2, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)
• “Saturday Night Fever” (1977, R, language, violence). As if you didn’t know, this was John Travolta’s starmaker, about an overconfident Brooklyn kid who shines at the local disco, with all of those memorable Bee Gees songs. An alternate PG cut of this film is in circulation, but according to Cinemark’s schedule this is the R-rated version. (Wednesday, Feb. 6, Cinemark Theatres, 2 and 7 p.m., www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series)
• “The Freshman” (1925, b/w, silent, not rated, G-level film). One of Harold Lloyd’s best comedies (and his biggest moneymaker) is this tale of a naïve college freshman who thinks he’s popular but is really mocked behind his back. When he gets on the football team (first as a human tackle dummy, then as the waterboy) he finds an opportunity to prove himself on the field. Hysterically funny, loaded with clever sight gags. (Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7-8, The Organ Loft, 7:30 p.m., www.edisonstreetevents.com/silent-movies)Comment on this story
• “All That Heaven Allows” (1955, G-level film). This romantic melodrama tells the story of a middle-aged, affluent widow (Jane Wyman) who is romanced by a younger man, her gardener (Rock Hudson), setting off a storm of gossip in her elitist social circle. Slick, well-directed (by Douglas Sirk) look at class-consciousness in America circa 1955, with excellent performances. (Tuesday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem, www.scera.org/events/view/322)