The original 1990 pilot for David Lynch’s mystery series, with 15 minutes of extra footage, including a solution of sorts. It’s a lot better than what followed. 113 min. (JR)
Released in 1975, near the end of Arthur Penn’s most productive period (which began in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde), this haunting psychological thriller ambitiously sets out to unpack post-Watergate burnout in American life. Gene Hackman plays an LA detective tracking a runaway teenager (Melanie Griffith in her screen debut) to the Florida Keys while evading various problems of his own involving his father and his wife. The labyrinthine mystery plot and pessimistic mood suggest Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald, and like them screenwriter Alan Sharp has more than conventional mystery mechanics on his mind. One of Penn’s best features; his direction of actors is sensitive and purposeful throughout. With Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars, and James Woods. 95 min. A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Northwestern Univ. Block Museum of Art, 1967 South Campus Dr., Evanston, Thursday, January 31, 9:00, 847-491-4000.
Hearing in advance about the formal experimentation by independent writer-director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness) in this feature raised my hopes, but I was disappointed to find that Solondz is now reduced to treating his characters like puppets. His lack of regard for them fits in fairly well with his division of the universe between sadistic predators and hapless victims, but not with the viewer’s desire to consider the fates of actual people. In the first and better episode, Fiction, sexual intrigues interface with a creative-writing class, and Solondz tweaks various PC reflexes about race and disability. The second, Non-Fiction, which is roughly twice as long and three times as loose, involves a disgruntled documentary filmmaker taking on a dysfunctional suburban family with a maid from El Salvador. There’s undoubtedly food for thought here if you dig for it, but the things Solondz does to his actors, supposedly in the interests of satire, didn’t make me want to reach for a shovel. With Selma Blair, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom, Paul Giamatti, Mark Webber, John Goodman, and Julie Hagerty. 88 min. (JR)
Kon Ichikawa’s odd and magisterial docudrama of 1963 (also known as My Enemy, the Sea), beautifully filmed in ‘Scope and color, follows the true adventures of a young Japanese who sailed a 19-foot yacht from Osaka to San Francisco over 94 days in 1962. Alternating between scenes of this journey and flashbacks showing the hero’s various preparations and his overall estrangement from his family, Ichikawa makes this story a fascinating and often comic study of obsession and a striking portrait of a solitary consciousness, full of graphic and compositional brilliance. 97 min. A new 35-millimeter print will be shown. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Wednesday, January 23, 6:00, 312-846-2800.