High-toned accents prevailed yet again at the Oscars, as Brits Danny Boyle and Kate Winslet and Aussie Heath Ledger stole the spotlight. (So says our crystal ball; we went to press right before the telecast.) Its curious that for all the great actors and movies that have come out of the U.K., no one has thought to present an annual program of new flicks. Until now. Plugging a heretofore-unseen gap in our chock-a-block film calendar, the Mostly British Film Series makes an ambitious and far-reaching debut, with a dozen Bay Area premieres (plus two oldies but goodies) packed into eight days. Todays fulsome threesome leads off with Stone of Destiny, a family-friendly tale of Scottish pride set in the 1950s that showcases Robert Carlyle and Brenda Frickers softer sides. French provocateur François Ozon directed Angel, a pre-World War I melodrama inspired by the life of the questionably talented yet very successful romance novelist Marie Corelli. And Not Quite Hollywood is an exuberant, sexy survey of the wide-open 70s and 80s in Aussie cinema, when liberation and exploitation went hand-in-hand; it lassoed the best documentary trophy from the Australian Film Institute. While youre celebrating the vitality of the British, Irish, and Australian cinemas, the series organizers hope youll also fall in love all over again with the allure of single-screen neighborhood theaters.
Feb. 26-March 5, 2009