Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 49 / 8 December 2016

Triple-feature threat

Out There

Sally Hawkins plays a helpline call worker in the 2013 short film Phone Call.
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The Mostly British Film Festival will offer a free holiday triple feature on Wed., Dec. 14, 7 p.m. at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle movie correspondent Ruthe Stein, who recently wrote her Oscar predictions for the Chron's Pink Pages, will discuss leading nominees in all of the top categories, and show trailers from frontrunners like La La Land, Fences, Arrival, Manchester by the Sea and Silence.

Stein also will preview the 2017 Mostly British Film Festival and screen trailers from opening and closing nights, as well as from special programs like The Beatles on Film. Series passes can be purchased for the reduced price of $125 for that night only. Individual tickets will also be for sale. The first 35 people to buy a pass on Dec. 14 will be invited to be guests at the residence of the Consul General of Portugal for a port-tasting party in conjunction with the festival screening of A Year in Port. That's what we call a perk!

Finally, intrepid triple-feature-goers will be treated to three British and Irish shorts that won Oscars in the "Best Short Film, Live Action" category. Out There knows them all, and they are touching and unforgettable films.

Six Shooter (2006) is written and directed by the esteemed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh (The Beauty Queen of Leenane). Brendan Gleeson stars as a man whose wife has just died. On the train going home from the hospital he encounters a chatty young man whose violent tirades upset a young couple who have just lost their baby.

In Phone Call (2013), Sally Hawkins stars as a support person at a helpline call center who fights her shyness to be able to connect on a call from a mystery man (Jim Broadbent). And the final Oscar winner is The Stutterer (2015), which focuses on a handsome young man who feels isolated from the world because he can't control his stutter, but who is able to sustain an online relationship.

For free tickets, e-mail, put "triple feature" in the header, and indicate if you want one or two tickets. You will receive a response. Thanks, MBFF!


Reagan National

While we were in Washington, DC, last week, we enjoyed reading Finale – a Novel of the Reagan Years by Thomas Mallon, newly out in a Vintage paperback. This is delicious historical fiction covering all the craziness of the Gipper years, including "Star Wars" defense, "Just Say No," AIDSphobia, Iran-Contra, and a long central set-piece on the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik. Some of this is filtered though the consciousness of the late great journalist/man of letters Christopher Hitchens , who pursues multiple assignments including the Iceland summit, a profile of political courtesan Pamela Harrison , and a purported Homintern (homosexual cabal) in the National Security Council. Ronnie, "Mommy" (Nancy Reagan) and a secret underground of gay "Hill Rats" – the federal fun just never stops!

In the Tower of the National Gallery of Art (through Jan. 22): artist Barbara Kruger's The Future Belongs to Those Who Can See It – except the future of the U.S. government, which belongs to the ethically blind.


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