Reel World

That on-again, off-again entertainment complex in the Western Addition -- starring an eight-screen AMC multiplex and a Blue Note jazz club -- is on again, with construction scheduled to begin next May. When the AMC 8 opens at Eddy and Fillmore -- just a few blocks south of the popular AMCKabuki at Post and Fillmore -- in July 2000, it will seat 2,500 (by comparison, the AMC Van Ness holds 3,146 in 14 rooms). "There used to be several movie theaters on Fillmore before 1964," points out Shirley Wysinger, senior project manager for the Western Addition Redevelopment Area, "before the Redevelopment Agency's Urban Renewal Program commenced." The city will ante up $5 million for new sidewalks, lighting, and benches on Fillmore from Post to Golden Gate. And since Geary presently "creates an invisible barrier for pedestrians" (to use Wysinger's graceful phrase), a promenade over the boulevard is also planned. If that isn't enough to lure the Pacific Heights crowd, the Jazz District complex will also include a 466-stall garage.

Frankenstein Conquers the World
Universal's vintage horror series unfolds at the Castro in a few weeks, and other monsters lurk in the shadows. Local filmmaker and Euro-darling Lynn Hershman Leeson optioned the rights to Theodore Roszak's Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein and is busy lining up financing and mulling her dream cast. Her screenplay explores 21st-century hot buttons like artificial life and human consciousness -- themes that also surfaced in Leeson's visionary Conceiving Ada (starring a luminous Tilda Swinton), now scheduled for an early 1999 theatrical release. ... Update on B. Ruby Rich and her new book, Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement: The feisty critic will moderate a panel discussion at the Mill Valley Film Festival titled "Chicks & Flicks: Tricks of the Trade." Secrets will be revealed beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3; tix are available from BASS for $15. ... S.F. filmmaker Sarah Jacobson thought she'd hit the big time earlier this year when her debut feature, Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore, jumped from ATA to the Opera Plaza. Now the princess of self-distribution (and self-promotion, some would say, but hell -- everybody this side of Sofia Coppola and Tiffanie DeBartolo has to earn what they get) has really scored with a January booking at the Cinema Village in NYC.

Sweet Smell of Success
A tale of two papers: The New York Times saluted the revised and restored rerelease of Touch of Evil with a lengthy feature on Walter Murch, wizard sound designer, ace editor, multiple Oscar-winner, and Bay Area denizen; the San Francisco Chronicle opted for a fluff piece on supporting actress Janet Leigh. ... The Examiner, meanwhile, ran this pathetic teaser above the masthead: "Love letter to mother: Meryl Streep, in S.F., shares 'One True Thing,' a look at how a daughter copes with mom's cancer." Goodness, Gladys, a movie star came all the way from Los Angeles to our town. Well, I'll be. We must be almost as big as Harrisburg by now.

By Michael Fox

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