ALFRED HITCHCOCK¹S BLACKMAIL w/ ALLOY ORCHESTRA
Sept. 24, The BelcourtDoes it seem odd that the movie event that excites us most in fall 2009 surrounds a movie made 80 years ago? It doesn't if you've seen Alfred Hitchcock's exciting 1929 thriller Blackmail—or if you've heard Cambridge's Alloy Orchestra, a three-man commando unit that turns live accompaniment for silent films into a sonic whirlwind of bells, whistles, clanks and clatters. People who heard their miraculous 1995 score on VHS for Dziga Vertov's experimental Soviet silent Man with a Movie Camera—one of the most playful and dazzling films made in any era—have longed to see Alloy work its magic live with an assemblage of musical saws, junkyard percussion and other gadgetry.
After showcases around the world, from the Louvre to St. Petersburg to New York's Lincoln Center, the Alloy's Ken Winokur, Terry Donahue and Roger Miller set up for one night only next week at The Belcourt. That should give the entire city a surge of pride. When Nashvillians banded together 10 years ago to save the historic Hillsboro Village theater, this is exactly what they dreamed it could do: show outstanding works of classic cinema, while bringing world-class artists to a hometown audience. Go, and have a ball.
• International Black Film Festival of Nashville This event only began in 2006, but it's enjoyed impressive growth since then, moving this year from The Belcourt to Opry Mills. This year's ambitious theme "Defining Our Stories, Transforming the Image" emphasizes the long struggle of black creators to offer alternatives to stereotypes and expand the thematic options available for performers, writers, directors and producers. Attractions include the Alfre Woodard drama American Violet and the premiere of A Mother's Prayer. Those who want to take in the entire fest can do so for $225. For more details, call 565-9215 or ibffnashville.com. (Sept. 30-Oct. 4)
• Horror Month at The Belcourt The Belcourt salutes the last Golden Age of movie terror with weekend screenings of prime '70s and early '80s shockers, including John Carpenter's The Thing, Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and one of the greatest horror films you've probably never seen, David Cronenberg's 1979 The Brood. (October)
• Zombieland This horror-comedy pitting bad-ass Woody Harrelson against armies of the undead has the kind of trailer few movies ever live up to—but you just gotta see it to find out. (Oct. 2)
• More Than a Game What was supposed to be a 10-minute short documentary about Lebron James' early days on a scrappy high-school team evolved into a highly touted look at a superstar in the making, before he became the NBA's marketing czar. (Oct. 10)
• Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak's Max gets home in time for a late supper, thanks to one of the fall's most intriguing pairings: director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Dave Eggers. (Oct. 16)
• Ong Bak 2 Muay Thai martial-arts star Tony Jaa directs himself kicking mucho ass in the sequel to the head-bustingest action movie ever. (Oct. 23)
• Antichrist It made a pariah (if not a laughingstock) out of director Lars von Trier at Cannes, but his unnerving horror movie about a couple (Willem Dafoe and the astonishing Charlotte Gainsbourg) driven by tragedy to a hellish remote-cabin getaway is too intermittently haunting and poetic to dismiss—talking animals, impromptu clitorectomies and all. (Oct. 23)
• Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire You could well see comic Mo'Nique at the podium next year on Oscar Night for her anything-but-funny breakthrough role as the monstrous mother of a troubled teen. (Nov. 6)
• Nashville Jewish Film Festival Now getting a programming assist from former Nashville Film Festival ace Mandy McBroom, the festival gears up for its ninth year of documentaries, guest filmmakers, and movies from the international circuit at The Belcourt. (Nov. 7-12)
• Pirate Radio The Sixties swing in this mod aquatic farce from Love Actually hitmaker Richard Curtis, again employing half the British film industry, only this time aboard an offshore pirate-radio boat. (Nov. 13)
• 2 x Seijun Suzuki Sarratt's International Lens series pays tribute to the legendary Japanese stylist once fired by the Nikkatsu studio for making incomprehensible films. With films as visually dynamic as Gate of Flesh and Tokyo Drifter, who needs sense? (Nov. 17 & 19)
• The Fantastic Mr. Fox George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Owen Wilson give voice to Roald Dahl's children's tale about a vulpine trickster who eludes a trio of dim-witted farmers. Wes Anderson (Rushmore) directed this stop-motion animated fantasy, co-scripted by Noah Baumbach. (Nov. 20)
• New Moon One guy sucks, the other one bites—what's Bella (Kristen Stewart) to do in the hyped-to-hell Twilight sequel? (Nov. 20)
• Nine A musical version of Fellini's 8 1/2? Well, it wowed 'em on Broadway back in the day—and that was without a dream-team cast including Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren. (Nov. 27)
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