Weekend Film Agenda February 27

One of my favorite films of last year’s SIFF was Ben X, the visually stimulating, emotionally engaging story of a teenaged boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and his struggles with life around him, particularly the bullies who make his every school day a burden. How long can he bear this weight before he snaps and what happens when he does? Director Nic Balthazar’s provocative film plays this week at SIFF Cinema and I highly recommend seeing it. (For some additional background on the movie, check out the story I wrote after speaking with Balthazar.)

NWFF continues their tribute to the creative spirit of filmmaking in 1969 with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin as a pair of Depression-era drifters struggling to keep their feet during an extended dance marathon and Midnight Cowboy, one of the best and yet also the bleakest stories of male bonding ever put to film with brilliant performances by Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman as two unlikely pals united in a struggle for survival in seedy NYC.

Also at NWFF: an extension of Medicine for Melancholy, a thoughtful character driven study on class, race and place played out as a just-met pair get to know each other while they walk through San Francisco.

Midnight at the Egyptian: quirky, glossy sci fi actioner Starship Troopers, tarted up from a book by Robert Heinlein by noted AND notorious director Paul Voerhoven.

Another week, another Akira Kurosawa classic at the Grand Illusion. This time it’s Yojimbo, a gripping tale of a samurai who exploits a war between rival clans for his own advantage.

At Central Cinema: three very different women stuck in varying ruts are linked together by the gym steamroom they all share and the need to find a way out of their go-nowhere lives.

Upcoming: Metro Cinemas brings back their Wednesday night classics series March 4 with The Maltese Falcon; following weeks bring Barbarella, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, My Own Private Idaho, Forbidden Planet, Kiss Me Kate, A Fistful of Dollars, The Fly (the 1986 version), and Pennies from Heaven.

The Metro also presents a special preview screening on Thursday March 5th of The Watchmen, one of the most highly anticipated and hyped films in recent memory. At this point there’s probably no middle ground left for this adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic comic miniseries about an alternate earth where costumed superheroes are just another part of ordinary life and a disturbing conspiracy threatens the lives of everyone on the planet–it is either going to be a smash sucesss or a big bust. If you don’t already have tickets, you’re not getting in Thursday (and probably not on official opening day March 6, either), but you could always swing by to gauge the existing audience’s reactions.

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