The Week in Film is a column dedicated to bringing awareness to award-winning films, special movie screenings, rereleases, limited-distribution runs and avant cinema that should be seen in theaters to be properly appreciated.
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”
What darkness does gold stir in the hearts of men? Directed by John Huston, the 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” sought to investigate the corruption and greed that so often accompanies the search for those little golden nuggets. Following the lives of two financially bankrupt men—Fred C. Dobbs (played by Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (played by Tim Holt)—as they join forces with an old-timer (Walter Huston, the director’s father) to look for gold in Mexico in the ’20s, the film traces their successes and failures as they set themselves on a collision course with desperation and paranoia. It was one of the first big Hollywood films to be shot on location, as the crew traveled to both the state of Durango for some scenes and filmed on the streets of Tampico, Mexico. A stark and often-brutal depiction of the evil that comes from a fixation with money, the movie holds up brilliantly as an indictment of unfiltered obsession and avarice.
When: Sunday, Jan. 14
Where: Regal Hamilton Place 8, AMC Chattanooga 18
Rating: Not rated
Have you ever had a friend tell you that you just had to see this movie that is so awful they couldn’t believe it ever got made? The achingly bad movie “The Room” will screen in a couple of theaters this week. Brought back into the light recently thanks to James Franco’s acclaimed “The Disaster Artist,” which tells the story of the making of the film, it can be difficult to see any value lurking in the shadows of this movie. Painfully acted and with a script that will continually make you question your tolerance for discomfort, “The Room” is a wild and nigh-incomprehensible slog of a thing. Fascinating and mesmerizing at times, though for all the wrong reasons, it will haunt your nightmares with memories of incompetent special effects, hideous direction and a nonsensical story. Enjoy it, you masochists.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 10
Where: Regal Hamilton Place 8, UEC Theatres 14
“Big Trouble in Little China”
One of the oddest films in director John Carpenter’s oeuvre—and that’s saying something—”Big Trouble in Little China” is a supernatural martial arts comedy starring Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall. And if that description doesn’t get your ’80s nostalgia going, I don’t know what will. Russell plays Jack Burton, a truck driver who agrees to help his friend rescue his fiancée from a street gang in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and throughout the film, they experience numerous mystical encounters, including fighting an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan who needs the green-eyed fiancée to lift a centuries-old curse. Weird and wonderfully DIY-minded, the film uses old-school special effects and meta-action set pieces to pay homage to Carpenter’s influences while also carving out a strange little niche in his own filmography.
When: Monday, Jan. 8
Where: Speed Deluxe
“The Passion of Joan of Arc”
One of the most spellbinding films ever created, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is a testament to the boundless possibilities offered by the art of cinema. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, the 1928 silent movie stars Renée Jeanne Falconetti as Joan and follows her as she finds herself a prisoner of England and on through her trial and execution. The film was shot on one giant concrete structure, which was done to mimic the Rouen prison where she was held. The director also didn’t allow the actors or actresses to wear makeup and used close-ups to give each character a more naturalistic (and in some cases grotesque) appearance. A haunting and miraculous movie, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” deserves its reputation as one of the most iconic and lauded films of all time.
When: Sunday, Jan. 14
Where: Heritage House Arts & Civic Center
Rating: Not rated
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.