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January dawns at the Castro Theatre

by David Lamble

January dawns at the Castro Theatre

The Castro Theatre kicks off the new year with a mix of award-season contenders leading up to the theater's annual Film Noir festival.

"Roma" Fans of the Mexican gay-themed teen road-comedy-romance "Y Tu Mama Tambien" should be thrilled that its creator, Alfonso Cuaron, has returned with a melancholy film memoir. Cuaron puts us inside a Mexico City clan unsettled by a cheating dad and nurtured by an angelic servant, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), against the backdrop of a bloody political uprising.

A genius at weaving tales where hopes for love and freedom are thwarted by a bleak and chaotic political landscape, Cuaron here provides a love latter to the country of his youth, the inspiration for more than a quarter-century of comedy, romance and struggle. In a highlight, the servant wades into the ocean to save a child from being swallowed up by heavy surf at high tide.

The Castro features "Roma" in a 70mm print, which, according to its director, "shows unique details not available in any other version. Shot in 65mm, these prints bring live detail and contrast only possible using a big-format film. It is for sure the most organic way to experience 'Roma.'" (1/2-5)

Walt Disney's animated "Moana" with all the lyrics onscreen, plus goodie bags and a costume contest! Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker ("The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin"), and starring the voices of Auli'I Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson. (2016) (1/6)

"Rear Window" In the most physically challenging of his four turns for Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart is a world-class magazine photographer who, restless from wheelchair-bound inactivity, lets his imagination, binoculars and high-speed camera get him into mortal danger when he spies a neighbor (a pre-"Perry Mason" Raymond Burr) completing the murder and dismemberment of his nagging invalid wife. Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey round out an A-level supporting cast in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that retains its bite over endless viewings. (1954)

"Panic Room" Long before his Facebook expose "The Social Network," David Fincher scored with this Hitchcock-worthy thriller about a recently divorced woman (Jodie Foster) whose attempt to reboot her life by buying a stylish brownstone comes a cropper in a terrifying home invasion. Foster and daughter (Kristen Stewart) retreat to a recently installed hidden "panic room" when attacked by a ruthless home gang (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam). Takes magnificent advantage of our edgy new era's built-in paranoia and fear of strangers. (2002) (both 1/6)

"Bohemian Rhapsody" In a year with a small tidal wave of queer-themed features, this sublime portrait of openly gay British rocker Freddie Mercury, lead singer for UK rockers Queen, is a prime example of a modern classic that benefits from a Castro showcase. In Bryan Singer's production we follow young Freddie (a breakout for Remi Malek), born in Zanzibar to Pakistani parents, as he attempts to carve out a career for himself in the volatile early-70s world of UK bands known for flamboyant dress and hairstyles.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a captivating mix of pop music history, an upbeat immigrant story, a high-wire coming-out tale, and finally, a rousing London concert when Freddie and Queen were a huge hit at the 1985 LiveAid concert. (1/8-10)

"Labyrinth" The talents of Jim Henson, George Lucas and Monty Python's Terry Jones joined together for a fable about a young teen (Jennifer Connelly) who has 13 hours to penetrate an enormous maze and rescue her young brother from the Goblin King (David Bowie). Bowie recorded five songs, including "Underground," "Magic Dance" and "As the World Falls Down." (1986) (1/8, David Bowie's 72nd birthday)

"A Star is Born" In this fourth version of the timeless Hollywood tale, Lady Gaga reaches for the heavens in a Golden Globe Nominee for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor and Song. (1/15-16)

"Race Chaser Live!" Drag queens Alaska and Willam bring their hit podcast "Race Chaser" to the Castro. (1/22)

"The Shining" Stanley Kubrick puts his unique stamp on a pop classic. From the kid on his tricycle, to the elevator full of blood, to Jack Nicholson's maniacal ax-wielding lunatic ("Here's Johnny!"), Kubrick provides two-and-a-half hours of thrills set in a snowbound haunted hotel. With a scared witless Shelley Duvall (Kubrick reportedly kept urging her to make her expressions of terror more and more outlandish), Danny Lloyd and Scatman Crothers. (1980)

"The Dead Zone" Adapted from Stephen King's bestseller. A schoolteacher (Christopher Walken) comes out of a coma able to "see" the past, present, and future. David Cronenberg gives the film his trademark unsettling atmosphere, emotionally grounded by Walken's melancholic performance. With Brooke Adams, Herbert Lom, Tom Skerritt, and Martin Sheen. (1983) (both 1/23)

"Noir City 17" This year's festival includes classics from Hitchcock, Don Siegel, Otto Preminger, William Wyler, Robert Aldrich and Stanley Kubrick. Look for upcoming coverage. (1/25-2/3)

"Trapped" Dir.: Richard Fleischer

"The File on Thelma Jordon" Dir.: Robert Siodmak (both 1950; 1/25)

"The Well" Dir.: Russell Rouse

"Detective Story" Dir.: William Wyler (both 1951; 1/26)

"The Turning Point" Dir.: William Dieterle

"Angel Face" Dir.: Otto Preminger (both 1952; 1/26)

"Pickup on South Street" Dir: Samuel Fuller

"City That Never Sleeps" Dir.: John H. Auer (both 1953; 1/27)

"Pushover" Dir.: Richard Quine

"Private Hell" Dir.: Don Siegel (both 1954; 1/28)

"Kiss Me Deadly" Dir.: Robert Aldrich

"Killer's Kiss" Dir.: Stanley Kubrick (both 1955; 1/29)

"The Scarlet Hour" Dir.: Michael Curtiz

"A Kiss Before Dying" Dir.: Gerd Oswald (both 1956; 1/30)

"Nightfall" Dir: Jacques Tourneur

"The Burglar" Dir.: Paul Wendkos (both 1957; 1/31)

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