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There were many cinema options for Valentine’s Day 2016, but as I told the divine Maureen Langan on KGO-AM radio, my pick was the latest big-screen offering from the Marvel universe, DEADPOOL. Yes, it’s violent (in a comic book way), yes the sex is graphic, but it’s also surprisingly playful, even sweet. Plus, Ryan Reynolds, while being a snarky smart-ass as the eponymous character, adds a little vulnerability to the part, grounding the action with his palpable love for Vanessa, the stripper who can hold her own in many sense of the word. I also loved how Reynolds called out his crash-and-burn disaster, GREEN LANTERN in DEADPOOL. It’s where he met his wife, Blake Lively, leading Mo and I to surmise that this couple must have a great sense of humor going for them.
We went on to talk about a fine pair of horror films. NINA FOREVER, a wry British comedy about a dead woman not quite ready to let her boyfriend move on that took the Best Foreign Film at SFIndie’s Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, and SOUTHBOUND, an anthology homage to the Twilight Zone that tells four tangentially related stories of lost souls on a desert highway of the damned. I also explained why I love horror films. Think limbic system.
And, finally, amid memories of black-light bowling at Japantown’s late, lamented Rock-N-Bowl, planetarium laser shows, and a plug for the special screening of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH at the fabulous Castro Theater next month, I described the daring content to be found in HOLLYWOOD BEFORE THE CODE: SEX! CRIME! HORROR! a series of Wednesday night programming of early 1930s films at the ci-mentioned fabulous Castro Theater here in San Francisco. Content such as interracial romance, government corruption, and portions of the secondary sexual characteristics of the female that would not be permitted on the silver screen again for decades. Noteworthy, THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN, in which christian missionary Barbara Stanwyck falls for a Chinese war lord, and the original SCARFACE, which broke so many rules it sent that it sent the censors into a hissy fit of epic proportions, and Todd Browning’s FREAKS, which was deemed too disturbing for audiences in the post-code world.