"You must remember this"

The BSR February 2023 movie repertory roundup

5 minute read
‘Princess Bride’ Actors Cary Elwes and Robin Wright pose in character and medieval costuming against a floral backdrop.
‘The Princess Bride’ screens at Colonial Theater this month. (Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.)

February is the coldest month of the year, and while we may all be celebrating a big parade in the middle of the month for our beloved Eagles, there are plenty of opportunities to stay inside and watch some great older movies. Here is an in-depth look at five of the biggest repertory films this month, as well as some other showings.

Thursday, February 2, 7:30pm
Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Film Society’s yearlong presentation of the entire Sight and Sound 100 list continues, and while it won’t reach Casablanca until sometime in the middle of the year, Michael Curtiz’s 1942 classic is screening this month at PFS, in 4K, as part of the Film Essentials series.

It’s 1942 at the height of World War II and Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) runs Rick's Café Américain in the titular city. One night, “in all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world,” his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) returns, accompanied by her new flame Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid)—a key figure in the Resistance against the Nazis.

Will the former couple reunite? Which choice will Rick make between a woman he once loved and the success of the anti-Nazi effort? Do the problems of three little people amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world?

Enjoy the great one-liners, the famous songs, and one of the most beautifully choreographed films ever made.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Friday, February 3, 8pm
Media Arts Council, 11 East State Street, Media

When Ardmore’s late, lamented Viva Video closed its doors in 2021, the final night featured a screening of UHF along with a session of Weird Al Yankovic karaoke with the store’s regulars. So it’s apropos that State Street Movie Night, run in part by Viva alum Bryan Way, will be showing the other Weird Al movie, last year’s fantastical biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which was the joint choice of both Way and series co-creator Dani Rementer as the top movie of 2022.

Yes, the film is on the Roku Channel, but as someone who attended its midnight premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, I can assure you it’s one that should be seen with an enthusiastic audience.

The Princess Bride
Saturday, February 4, 1pm and 7pm
Sunday, February 5, 1:30pm, 4pm, and 7pm
Colonial Theater, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville

If you’re anywhere close to my age, you’ve probably seen this film dozens of times, most of them on VHS tapes or DVDs on old tube TVs. Now’s a great time to revisit 1987’s The Princess Bride on the big screen or, better yet, introduce a kid in your life to it. Just leave the iocane powder at home.

Directed by Rob Reiner and written by William Goldman, who adapted his own novel, The Princess Bride is simultaneously a sendup of classic knights-and-princesses fairytales, and a sincere example of one, featuring a dynamite cast led by Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and wrestling legend Andre the Giant.

When Harry Met Sally…
Tuesday, February 14, 7:30pm
Hiway Theater, 212 York Road, Jenkintown

What better film to see on Valentine’s Day than this 1989 romcom classic starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Written by Nora Ephron and directed (once again) by Rob Reiner, the film follows years in the lives of the titular couple, who start out as friends, argue about whether or not opposite-sex friends can stay that way, and you know exactly how it turns out.

And if you’re looking for something the exact opposite of romantic, the chronological order version of Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible is playing in town the same night at PhilaMOCA.

Blue Velvet
Tuesday, February 21, 7pm
PFS Bourse, 400 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia

When that Sight and Sound 100 list was announced, it was noticed by some that it was completely devoid of any films set in Philadelphia, shot in Philadelphia, or directed by Philadelphia-native filmmakers. Probably the closest was David Lynch, who is not a native but did spend enough time in the city as a young man that he has a whole neighborhood named after him. Two films of Lynch’s made the list, neither of them the Philly-inspired Eraserhead, but rather Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr.

Blue Velvet, released in 1986 and starring Lynch perennial Kyle MacLachlan as an all-American boy who discovers the hidden, perverse side of both his hometown and himself, dealt with all sorts of ever-present themes in the director’s work, and also featured go-for-broke performances from Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini.

Number 84 on the Sight and Sound’s list, Blue Velvet will be shown at the Bourse, with its subterranean screens the perfect location for this particular movie.

Other notable screenings this month

Wednesday, February 1 at Ambler Theater

Friday, February 3 at Lightbox Film Center

Poetic Justice
Friday, February 3 at Philadelphia Film Center
Saturday, February 25 at PFS Bourse

Thursday, February 9 at Hiway Theater

Moulin Rouge
Saturday, February 11 at The Colonial Theater

The Iron Giant
Saturday, February 11 and 25 at Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Irreversible: Straight Cut
Tuesday, February 14 at PhilaMOCA

The Maltese Falcon
February 20 at Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The 400 Blows (with a Cinema Classics Seminar)
February 22 at Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Celine and Julie Go Boating
February 25 at PFS Bourse

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