The Reel Less Traveled – January 2023


Islands of Love and War

    One of the things I usually do when writing this column is to find a commonality between the films I write about. Sometimes it’s easy – but not this month. On this, the start of the New Year, both the International Film Showcase and the Chiller Diller Theatre have seemingly conspired together to present two films which could not be further apart in nearly every way.
    I must admit my curiosity is such that I genuinely wonder if there’s anyone who would admit to going to both of them. If you do, I would truly like to hear about it.
    We’ll lead off with quality. The International Film Showcase has an offering from Finland, although it takes place in Ireland. My Sailor, My Love is a film which demonstrates once again that no one is too old for love.
    This overall theme is a well-established one and yet one cannot deny that love later in life is usually approached with caution, and even resentment – at first. My readers may also, at this point, think they might know where this is going already, and in part, they would be right.
    Where the surprise lies, however, is where the central conflict comes from. More than that, I’m reluctant to say, though the trailer alone, easily viewed on the International Film Showcase,, does much to give what I’m purposefully withholding away.
    Still, I feel this theme of love later in life should not be dismissed. The film will have its premier showing at the Orinda Theatre on Jan. 20. Check the aforementioned website or for further details and show times.
    The next movie should not, in any reasonable world, even be mentioned in the company of the first film, but that’s never stopped me before, so here goes.
    I have written about the cheaply done, drive-in movies of the ‘50s and ‘60s, but I’ve neglected to write about another genre that is just as ripe for ridicule, namely the fine, high-class work from Japan’s Toho Studios.
    The studio’s output is probably a staple of most generation’s adolescent memories of sitting in front of the TV and watching giant monsters trample entire cities beneath their feet. Well, Lord Blood-Rah invites you to relive those memories with a showing of King Kong vs. Godzilla.
    This film involves icebergs, Big Pharma, ape-napping and, of course, an epic battle between an iconic American monster and an equally well-known Japanese giant lizard.
    This latest installment of The Chiller Diller Theatre is at the Orinda Theatre on Jan. 21, at 9:30 p.m.
    So now you know what you are doing for at least two days in January. For the rest of the time I, as always, encourage you to go towards those wonderful images made of sound and light, for that’s where the reel magic lies.

Tom Westlake can be reached at

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