FALL ARTS In 2010, I wrote a long piece on what Hollywood had in store for fall, and relegated rep houses to a shorter sidebar. But after a summer which produced exactly one truly great wide release (that'd be Attack the Block), and eye-bleeding amounts of unnecessary 3D, a switcheroo seemed only fair.
Artists' Television Access (www.atasite.org; www.othercinema.com) Escape Valencia Street's hipster-foodie menace by supporting ATA, home of Craig Baldwin's subversive Other Cinema (fall season begins in Sept.) Also look out for the latest "Mission Eye & Ear," spotlighting local film/video and music collaborations (Sept. 16).
Castro (www.castrotheatre.com; www.midnitesformaniacs.com) This majestic joint won a 2011 Best of the Bay award for a reason: anything screened here feels like a special event. Fall notables include a tribute to Tony Soprano's favorite actor ("Cary Grant: Definitive Star," Aug. 31-Sept. 6) and what's possibly Jesse Hawthorne Ficks' most insane Midnites for Maniacs season to date, with in-person tributes to Edgar Wright (Fri/26) and Joe Dante (Oct. 7) in the mix. Marc Huestis hosts a pre-Halloween gala screening of The Bad Seed (1956) with star Patty "Braids of Fury" McCormack in person (Oct. 15).
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (www.cafilm.org) The North Bay hotspot has a few special events for cinephiles leading up to the 2011 Mill Valley Film Festival (Oct. 6-16; www.mvff.com). Catch former First Lady of San Francisco Jennifer Siebel Newsom's feminist doc Miss Representation before it heads to the Oprah Winfrey Network later this year (Sept. 20; proceeds benefit Huckleberry Youth Programs).
Film Night in the Park (www.filmnight.org) There are some stellar selections left as this outdoor series winds down (Sept. 10 at Washington Square Park: 1964's Dr. Strangelove). But the season-ending screening of 1986's Top Gun (Sept. 24) is an absolute don't-miss. Highway to the danger zone ... in Dolores Park. MAVERICK!
Mechanics' Institute (www.milibrary.org) Now in its 11th year, the library's "CinemaLit Film Series" lures intelligent film geeks with a September series of films and conversation, "Euro Passages" (kicking off Sept. 9 with Pedro Almodóvar's 1997 Live Flesh). The October series pays tribute to 1930s screwball darling Myrna Loy.
Pacific Film Archive The PFA says adios to summer with a garden screening of Roger Corman's 1956 It Conquered the World, starring the world's coolest alien sympathizer, Lee Van Cleef. Indoor programming looks just as spectacular: "The Outsiders: New Hollywood Cinema in the Seventies" (Sept. 2-Oct. 27) gathers up classics and rarities; and "Alternative Visions" (Sept. 7-Oct. 13) brings animator Martha Colburn in person. Plus: selections from UCLA's preservation series, a tribute to Russian silent pioneer Dziga Vertov, and a chance to see the entirety of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz (1979-80). Time to move to Berkeley!