Love scary movies? This is your month! The Kimball starts out with a few intellectual films and then rounds out the month with good old-fashioned scares and camp. Have a great month!
Mr. Holmes – The latest film from Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters; Chicago; Twilight: Breaking Dawn) adapts Mitch Cullin’s Sherlock Holmes novel A Slight Trick of the Mind. Ian McKellen (Richard III; Lord of the Rings) portrays Holmes, long retired, reflecting back on his career, and attempting to write an account of his last case to correct his dissatisfactions with the version written by his ex-partner, Dr. John Watson. Taking treatments to address his failing memory, Holmes forms relationships with his housekeeper (Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me; John Adams) and her son (Milo Parker, Robot Overlords) while learning to deal with his own past. Mr. Holmes is showing from October 5th to the 11th.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie – On October 10th and 11th, the Kimball screens the sole theatrical release from the Best Brains team, responsible for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K to the cognoscenti) TV show produced from 1988 to 1997. The premise, ably summarized by the opening credits to the show, pits the show’s host (Mike Nelson, replacing original host Joel Hodgson) against “cheesy movies, the worst we can find” armed only with his own wits (and those of his robot friends Tom Servo and Crooooooooooooooow) The TV incarnation feasted mostly on a diet of public domain and cheap b-feature schlock, but for the theatrical release, the gang face off with This Island Earth, the Technicolor space opera from Universal Studios, starring Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow (both of whom also starred in The Creature Walks Among Us, last in the Black Lagoon series) and Faith Domergue (Where Danger Lies; It Came from Beneath the Sea; Cult of the Cobra). MST3K can be a very funny and enjoyable series, making great entertainment out of cinematic junk, but sometimes while watching this feature you wish the peanut gallery would shut up so you can enjoy the movie.
The End of the Tour – In the mid-1990s, journalist-writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; The Squid and the Whale) interviews David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall; The Muppets) during the tour for his second novel, Infinite Jest. The two engage in a wide-ranging conversation, jousting on topics personal and professional, as well as those in between. The interview dramatized in this movie eventually resulted in Lipsky’s memoir, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, from which The End of the Tour is adapted. The film concludes with Lipsky recounting stories from the interview on a tour for his own book after Wallace’s suicide in 2008. The End of the Tour, and its literary source material, is one of several recent releases exploring the life, work, and public persona of Wallace, one of the most notable writers of his generation. The End of the Tour is at the Kimball from Oct. 12th to 18th.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – This film, adapted from a 2009 novel of the same name written by Jonas Jonasson, stars acclaimed Swedish comedian Robert Gustafsson as the title character. Finding himself stuck in a nursing home on his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson ducks out of his party to renew a life of adventure that is explored in flashbacks to his past encounters with Francisco Franco, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Joseph Stalin, like a Scandinavian Forrest Gump. Karlsson’s modern-day adventure involves a suitcase full of cash, an elephant, a motorcycle gang, and lots of explosives. One of the high-grossing films in Swedish history, The 100-Year-Old Man… was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. It’s showing from Oct. 19th to 24th.
Alien – Ridley Scott’s 1979 chilly classic sci-fi horror film closes out the month at the Kimball, screening from Oct. 25th to the 31st. The weary crew of commercial spaceship Nostromo encounter the wrecked remains of another craft on a remote planet and end up fighting for their lives against an extraterrestrial killing machine. The film combines literary references as varied as H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness), Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None), A.E. van Vogt (Voyage of the Space Beagle), with cinematic influences such as Howard Hawkes (The Thing from Another World), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey), and Mario Bava (Planet of the Vampires). An often neglected strength of the movie is its solid cast: Veronica Cartwright (The Birds; the previous years’ Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire; Lord of the Rings), John Hurt (Midnight Express; The Elephant Man), Yaphet Kotto (Blue Collar; Live and Let Die), Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas; Repo Man), and Tom Skerritt (MASH; Top Gun), as well as Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters; Working Girl). Scott recently returned to the Alien universe with his prequel film Prometheus, and a sequel to that is scheduled to appear in 2017.
The Day the Earth Stood Still – “Klaatu barada nikto!” October’s entry in the classic series is the original 1951 science fiction plea for peace in the nuclear age. The alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie, Les Miserables [no, not that one]; The Lost World [also, not that one]) comes to Earth in a flying saucer with his enormous robot Gort and a message to save the world. After his efforts to meet with world leaders fails, Klaatu escapes and takes a room at the boarding house of a young widow (Patricia Neal, Hud; A Face in the Crowd) and her son, giving his name as “Mr. Carpenter” (subtlety is not this film’s strong suit). Befriending the boy, he embarks on a plan to speak to the world’s greatest scientists with a warning about the dangerous course Earth has followed. The Day the Earth Stood Still is showing October 25th.
Halloween at the Kimball
On the 31st, the Kimball presents a full day of programming. In the auditorium, a steady stream of episodes of The Munsters, a Casper special, and Bugs Bunny cartoons provides entertainment for the whole family. Also showing is F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent classic Nosferatu, complete with musical accompaniment. Based (without authorization) on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Nosferatu (subtitled A Symphony of Horror) keeps much of the basic structure of the story while dispensing with most of the secondary characters. It’s a genuine masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema. Finally, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of the original midnight movies (after El Topo) makes an appearance at the Kimball. Starring Tim Curry (Clue; It), Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise; The Hunger), and Barry Bostwick (seen on TV in Spin City and as the title character in the miniseries George Washington), Rocky Horror is true cult phenomenon known for its long tradition of audience participation (although the Kimball’s list of acceptable audience props excludes toast and rice). As 1970s cult camp sci-fi/horror/musical/comedies go, however, it rates second after Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. Tickets for Nosferatu and Rocky Horror are $4 each.
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