Close the laptop, drop that tablet, pause the smartphone and join your fellow humans in Bay Area theaters this week with recommendations from our film critic Michael Fox.
Roxie Theater, San Francisco
In the nick of time, before that big ‘ol wall goes up to block people (and everything else, presumably) from south of the border, the Hola Mexico Film Festival Tour rolls into the Mission for the Aug. 26-28 weekend. Claim your preferred seat at the Roxie to binge on all 10 films gleaned from the May fiesta in Los Angeles, or take the temperature of current Mexican cinema with a few choice selections.
The highest-profile names, writer-director Diego Luna and actor Danny Glover, open the touring series (appropriately) with a road movie that premiered at Sundance. Sr. Pig (Mr. Pig) follows an aging, forcibly retired California farmer and his porcine companion on a north-to-south journey. If you crave more edge, Te Prometo Anarquía (I Promise You Anarchy) depicts the street-level exploits of a gay couple of skateboarding Mexico City stoners. In Mexico, as in many countries, there isn’t a film industry so much as an amorphous array of determined, intrepid, independent filmmakers.
I had a brainstorm a few years back to print and sell T-shirts that said “Make Hollywood Great Again!” (Not a true story.) But if you like the idea, and can move fast enough to get ‘em on the Castro Street sidewalk by Sunday, Aug. 28, you might have a moneymaker on your hands when they run a marathon double bill of the immortal, color-saturated epics The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind.
Some film historians rate 1939, the year of their release (along with Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Only Angels Have Wings, Young Mr. Lincoln, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Midnight, Destry Rides Again, Dark Victory, The Roaring Twenties, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and Goodbye, Mr. Chips) as the high point of Tinseltown’s Golden Age.
Ah, the good old days of nickel Cokes -- along with segregated theaters, no air conditioning, smoking permitted (not marijuana, medical or otherwise), and Hitler on the march.