One of the world’s most respected film writers, British expat and longtime San Francisco resident David Thomson, will travel across the Bay to the Pacific Film Archive on Saturday December 5 for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Thomson is promoting his new book, The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder, and will be signing copies after the film, which begins at 8pm. This is bound to be a popular event, so buying tickets in advance is recommended.
PFA also offers a rare big screen showing of Jean-Luc Godard’s pop-art classic Made in USA (1966) (pictured left) on Thursday December 3 at 7pm. Rrecently issued on DVD by The Criterion Collection, this is one of Godard’s best and will particularly appeal to admirers of the director’s Weekend (1967) and Tout Va Bien (1972).
If you’re in the mood for a revival screening of something a little less Gallic and a little more Hollywood, the Elmwood Rialto offers noon showings of family favorite Home Alone (1990) on Saturday December 5 and Sunday December 6. Kid-friendly films are rather thin on the ground this Yuletide season, so this is as good an option as any — especially when the primary alternative is a Jim Carrey movie.
This week’s new release of note is Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog’s unlikely re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 feature about a policeman with some very, very bad habits. Herzog, best known for art-house hits such as Aguirre the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982) — as well as low-budget documentaries examining such outré topics as the Loch Ness Monster and Timothy Treadwell (the man eaten by the Alaskan grizzly he considered his friend) — experienced rare mainstream exposure with 2006’s Vietnam War drama Rescue Dawn. He will be hard-pressed to match that film’s box-office success with Bad Lieutenant, so catch it this week or wait for the DVD, because I suspect it’s not going to be on the big screen for long.
The Shattuck also continues to host Grant Heslov’s immensely enjoyable comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats, in which George Clooney uses the power of his mind to mesmerize farm animals. If you haven’t given these livestock a look yet, hurry up and do so before they surrender their screen to fresher produce.
John Seal writes a weekly film recommendation column at Box Office Prophets, as well as a column in The Phantom of the Movie’s Videoscope, an old-fashioned paper magazine, published quarterly. He will be writing a regular column for Berkeleyside.