Thursday, September 21, 2006

September Revivals: Second Half

Here's a list of September revivals to catch. I list the days and times I think I can catch, but you have to get back to me as to when. I'd really like to catch one of the Ziegfeld's films or Monty Python, but we'll see. Here we go:

ARMY OF SHADOWS- Now thru Oct 3 at 6:45 and 9:30- Film Forum- 209 west houston- bet. 6th and Varick- Director Jean-Pierre Mellville's 1969 film received its U.S. release for the first time this spring to a ton of well-deserved acclaim. Film Forum has brought it back for a limited release. Telling the story of desperate members of the French resistance (based on the semi-fictionalized events of Joseph Kessel's book mixed with Mellville's own experiences fighting in the Resistance) through the filters of a film-noir, creates a memorable film experience. Not always "fast moving", but patience pays off big time.

I've seen this before and there are two or three others I really want to see, so I'm not rushing again. Only if If you've never seen this, try to find the time at some point. Because i've seen this already. When its time to cough up a top ten for 06, I might be bringing this up again.

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL- Fri Sept 22, Sat Sept 23, Tues Sept 26 and Thurs Sept 28 at 7 and 9, plus Wed Sept 27 at 3:20- Film Forum- The start of the Monty Python retrospective. The group's best film and in my personal Top 100. You always find this film in a list of Top 50 comedies, and if you haven't seen it, now is the time. Done on a shoestring, the group embraces it and uses to comedic success. Watch as King Arthur gathers men together to form the knights of the Round Table. See as they deal with such as enemies as the Black Knight, a Rabbit, virgins, and their most cunning opponent, the FRENCH!!! Co-directed by Terry Gilliam.

The following is cut and pasted from the Forum's website. This is what they offer for those who come on certain days and times:

Voucher good for two tickets to MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT will be given away to one lucky ticketholder at each 7:00 show of MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and at the following shows: 9 pm on Fri/Sat, Sept 22/23 & Wed, Sept 27; 3:20 on Sun, Sept 24.

2nd prize: Killer Rabbit Hand Puppet, 3rd prize: SPAMALOT Limited Edition SPAM, 4th prize: SPAMALOT T-Shirts! or SPAMALOT clicking coconut shells.

Drawings for Killer Rabbit Hand Puppets, Limited Edition SPAM, Clicking coconut shells and T-shirts will be held at all other shows.

BATMAN (1989)- Fri Sept 22 at 8, Sat Sept 23 at 1 and Wed Sept 27 at 4:30- at the Ziegfeld for 7.50- 141 West 54th St- Part of the Ziegfeld Classics series. Part of Superheroes week. Hopefully this is the 70mm version they'll be screening, but i'm not sure. Not as good as Batman Begins, but still one of the best films of 1989. The psychological analysis and battle of wills between hero and villain seems to just scratch the surface compared to the Christopher Nolan film from last year, but back in 89, this was heavy. And considering its history, it's amazing it even came out the way it did.

A difficult shoot. Took years for Warners Bros. to find someone who could tackle the project, until they noticed Tim Burton's work on Beetlejuice. Burton brought along Michael Keaton for Bruce Wayne/Batman; a move that made studio heads a little nervous, and pissed off most fans worldwide.
Jack Nicohlson and Kim Basinger were cast in part to help out the box office. During shooting, Burton tussled (and sometimes lost) in the struggle between bringing Dark Knight mood and angst, against producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber's desire for more action and adventure. Luckily, Nicholson tended to side more with Burton.

The struggle brought out that rare thing, the modern Hollywood summer blockbuster that works big time. Wonderful cinematography, good songs from Prince and a terrific score from Danny Elfman don't overwhelm the film; they enhance and improve. Keaton is no Christian Bale, but you can see why for one brief instant, he became a superstar.

What does overwhelm the film, but not in a bad way was Nicholson's Joker and the Art Direction. Talk about one performance dominating a film, check out Jack. The cast and crew must have felt the same way. Those who had a day off made sure to be there to watch the scenes Jack had with Jack Palance as the other crime boss. As for the Art Direction, you had a fully imagined Gotham City, with minimal help from CGI. This film took the visual concepts of both Blade Runner and Brazil, and along with those films, influenced neo-noir or dark forbidding city design ever since. A deserved Oscar for the Art Direction (but its only nomination?!?!?!)

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE- Fri Sept 22 at 4:30, Sat Sept 23, Tues Sept 26 at and Thurs Sept 28 at 8:15- at the Ziegfeld for 7.50- Part of the Ziegfeld Classics series. Part of Superheroes week. My first and the best of the Superman films. Some prefer Superman 2, and i don't blame them. Some prefer the recent Superman Returns, still out on IMAX. It's very good as well, but it's seems almost desperate to be it Superman 3 or Superman 2.5. This is what all superhero films are and should be compared to. Terrific production values, a pitch perfect cast (Reeves and Kidder in career performances, Hackman having fun, Glenn Ford in his best {only good?} performance. Oh yeah, Brando's here too- in full paycheck mode, but that's better then some others.), and a John Williams score that puts some others to shame, and the one new score from Superman Returns feel uninspired. Fun on TV, a must-see on the big screen. The Ziegfeld's screen should sufficient.

OLIVER!- Sat Sept 23 at 11AM- IFC Film Center W. 4th st and 6th ave.- From the IFC Film Center's Children's film series. It's getting late. I'm just going to cut and paste this from the IFC Film Center's website and say 'Yes, it should be on the list'.

"Adapted from Dickens's novel, OLIVER! is a drama and song-filled adventure on an almost monumental scale, one of the last great musicals, and an enormously entertaining film. Waifish runaway orphan Oliver Twist is befriended by the pick-pocketing Artful Dodger and recruited into a gang of boy thieves. The film features brilliant casting, glorious performances, seat-gripping drama, and a bevy of infectious songs including Consider Yourself, Got to Pick a Pocket or Two, and Reviewing the Situation. Quoting at length from Roger Ebert: "A treasure of a movie. OLIVER! is one of those rare films like The Wizard of Oz that appeals in many ways to all sorts of people. Not for a moment, I suspect, did Reed imagine he had to talk down to the children in his audience. Not for a moment are the children in the cast treated as children. They're equal participants in the great adventure, and they have to fend for themselves or bloody well get out of the way. This isn't a watered-down lollypop. It's got bite and malice along with the romance and humor." OLIVER! received eleven Academy Award nominations and took home five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Music, and Best Art Direction. Hard to argue with that.".

LAURA and/or KEY LARGO- Tues Sept 26 at 5:15(Laura) and 7(Largo)- The Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space- W. 95th st. and Broadway.- 2 film noirs. One classic, the other successful and good.

First, Laura. One of my favorite noirs. I cut and paste the following from a list of revivals i wrote out a while back, which may or may not have been cut and pasted from the Film forum's website. It's not playing there now, but just want to give proper credit:

Clifton Webb's elitist columnist Waldo Lydecker acidly narrates, as detective Dana Andrews falls in love with portrait of murdered Manhattan smart-setter Gene Tierney. And then . . . far be it for me to spoil the rest for you. Standout film noir from director Otto Preminger with Oscar winning cinematography and one of the best scores from that period.

Next, Key Largo, from director John Huston. Bogie's engaged in a battle of wills with gangster Edward G. Robinson inside an old friend's hotel, while Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor (who won an Oscar for her role) look on, and a hurricane threatens them all. An adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play, written by huston and future director Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood)

JAWS- Sat Sept 30, Mon Oct 2 and Thurs Oct 5 at 8- at the Ziegfeld for 7.50- Part of the Ziegfeld Classics series. Part of their Steven Spielberg week. Yes, E.T. and Back to the Future are playing there that week as well. But this film is most convenient to catch. An AFI Top 100 film and in my personal Top 30. The summer blockbuster that started it all. If you've only seen it on TV, it doesn't compare. "It's only a shark film" my ass, Ed.

Let me know, either here or personally. And if you see an ad, please click. No obligation to buy. I might make enough to buy a stick of Bazooka gum. Later.

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