It’s all the way on the other side of a body of water, and not even one of the ones with public transportation that you can bring your bike onto, but damn if the Mill Valley Film Festival doesn’t consistently make it work braving the existential terrors of Marin. Opening night highlights in this 39th year include the Bay Area premieres of Denis Villenueve’s thoughtful science fiction epic Arrival, starring Amy Adams, and Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land. Closing night will feature Jeff Nichols’ drama Loving, about the court case that helped to dismantle miscegeny laws in the land of the free. Garth Davis’s Lion will be presented as part of a tribute to Nicole Kidman, though whether David Thomson will be asked to please stand back is not yet known. (Thomson digs Kidman, to put it mildly. Look it up.) Since it wouldn’t be a 2010s edition of the MVFF without throwing in an original Star Wars movie — and after showing nobody’s favorite, Return of the Jedi, last year — this year they’re presenting a marathon of the original trilogy. Granted, it will be of the icky Special Editions, but they’re being shown at the Lucas-beloved yet soon-to-be-shuttered single-screen Century Cinema in Corte Madera, so it’s worth the trip.
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