10 most wanted

A local to-do list for the blockbuster averse

1. Japanese Movies at the Crest
May 18 and 19

This mini-fest is one of many summer treats in store at the historic and historically cinephile-friendly Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street. Don’t you dare miss Kenji Mizoguchi’s gorgeous, rigorous, deeply spirited portrait of feudal tyranny, Sansho the Bailiff (1954), on the big screen. For that matter, see everything else, too, since you can for only 25 bucks. Learn more at www.thecrest.com.

2. Mira Nair, in person, in Davis
May 21

Spend an evening with India-born world-cinema luminary Mira Nair. Start at 4 p.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall with “Cinema Diaspora,” a panel discussion between Nair and UC Davis faculty about movies and cultural assimilation. Then, at 5:30, Nair introduces a screening of her joyful, critically adored 2000 breakthrough, Monsoon Wedding, at Davis’ Varsity Theatre. Finally, it’s back to Mondavi at 8 for her solo presentation, Between Two Worlds. Visit www.mondaviarts.org for more details.

3. David Lynch’s Inland Empire
May 25-31

Here are some words critics have used to describe Lynch’s latest opus, which finally arrives in Sacramento for a week’s run at the Crest: abstract, impenetrable, aggressively surreal, interminable, Gothically creepy, dazzling, multifractured, unwholesome, savagely uncompromised, fertile. Lynch himself has said it’s a movie about “a woman in trouble,” and we know the woman is portrayed by Laura Dern. Actually, that is all we need to know.

4. CHiPs: The Complete First Season
On DVD, June 5

Sometimes there’s no better way to spend a glorious summer day than by squandering it at home in front of the tube like when you were wee. And what says sunny California better than a pair of late-'70s TV motorcycle cops—one all-American, one non-threateningly ethnic—dispensing 10 lanes worth of highway justice in knee-high boots and winning smiles? Let Ponch and Jon (Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox) show you the way. OK, maybe CHiPs isn’t your bag. Point is, there’s something to be said for good, old-fashioned home-entertainment time wasters, of which this season offers plenty. The DVD’d first season of The Fall Guy drops that same day, for instance.

5. The Trash Film Orgy
Saturdays from June 30 through August 4

As this summer’s new studio offerings tend to suggest, movies without any redeeming value sure ain’t what they used to be. Seriously, there is garbage and then there is trash. Hence, the annual TFO. Suit up for the original 1966 Batman, with Boy Wonder Burt Ward and future Quahog, R.I., mayor Adam West. Or get your grindhouse on with trash-tastic writer-director Jack Hill’s Foxy Brown (1974), staring buxom blaxploitation babe Pam Grier, and 1975’s Deathrace 2000, a dystopian points-for-pedestrians road-race with pre-Rocky Sly Stallone and pre-obscurity David Carradine. Plus, Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night is what they’re calling this year’s Trash Till Dawn event. Have a peek at www.trashfilmorgy.com.

6. Movies on a Big Screen with Shiny Object and Fools Foundation
Fridays, ongoing

The best basement movie club in town continues. We look forward to filling up our summer Friday nights with more challenging, goofy, obscure, politically charged, cult-favored, unpredictable, affordable silver-screen fare, and so should you. See what’s on at www.shiny-object.com/screenings.

7. The Sacramento French Film Festival
July 20-22 and July 28-29

It took 37 years for writer-director Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows to get distribution in the United States—and, quelle surprise, another year after that for it to hit Sacramento. The great precisionist’s World War II drama of the French Resistance wouldn’t be here at all if not for this tasteful, consistently satisfying festival. We bet it’s worth the wait. And speaking of decades-old treasures revisited, did you ever imagine you’d get to see 1974’s Emmanuelle, at of all places, the Crest? Skinemax always will have a place in our hearts, but, well, screen size matters. To coin a phrase, au yeeeah. These and other Francophilic rhapsodies await. Visit www.sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org for the details.

8. Sacramento Film & Music Festival
August 8-12

Smartly, you voted it Sacramento’s own best film fest just last year. This five-day genre-bending showcase also plays an essential role in nurturing local moviemaking talent. In the Sac Music Seen program, for instance, local filmmakers make music videos for local bands. The task of the 10x10 Filmmaker Challenge is to make a 10-minute movie in 10 days—based on a theme determined by the festival staff on day one. It’s such fun that even artsy-fartsy SN&R staffers have participated. But don’t let that stop you from attending. Check www.sacfilm.com for festival itinerary updates.

9. The Nevada City Film Festival
August 16-19

It’s “the hippest little fest in the old west” according to the guy who sent us a press release about it, and we’re not arguing. Headquartered in the historic Magic Theatre, this year’s NCFF packs about 30 films into three days. But wait, there’s more: Concerts and after parties courtesy of the Grass Roots Record Co. Check in at www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com.

10. Rocky—no, the other one
Sometime this summer, says the rumor mill, regular showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be back in Sac. Good to know that when the evenings get hot, so too shall the patootie.