Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dec revivals: first half

Mike here with a long list of films to catch for the first half of December. Some conflict with each other, and some might be difficult for me to catch. But in the end, I'll just throw a whole bunch if titles and let's see what sticks. Here we go:

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT- Fri Dec 1 at 6:30- MOMA- 11 W. 53 St., between 5th and 6th ave.- Part of the producer Walter Mirisch's retrospective. As socially relevant as they come, but that ignores what at the core is a well crafted character study between black detective Sidney Poitier and white sheriff Rod Stieger, with a murder mystery that serves the social story and character work, not vice versa. Don't underestimate the importance and strength of this film. 7 nominations, including Best Director for Norman Jewison (lost to Mike Nichols for The Graduate). 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Actor for Stieger.

EASY RIDER- Fri Dec 1 and Fri Dec 8 at 11pm, and Fri Dec 30 at 9- Two Boots Pioneer- E. 3rd St., between Avenues A and B (closer to A)- I brought this up last time, so I bring it up again. Read the previous list for more info.

LOST HIGHWAY- Fri Dec 1 and Sat Dec 2 at Midnight- IFC Film Center- W. 3rd st. and 6th Ave.- In honor of the upcoming release of David Lynch's upcoming Inland Empire, IFC Film Center will have a midnight screening of Lynch's 1997 film. Similar to Mulholland Drive, where dreams push the film and put the "plot" on the back burner, not that far in the case of Highway. Better clarity of dreams and reality that combine more effectively I think. The best I've heard this described, was Lynch's idea of "O.J's dreams after he committed the murders" (it came out about a year and a half after the criminal trial's verdict). Note that Lynch himself never said this, but judge for yourself.

Strong cast includes Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Richard Pryor, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Robert Loggia, and in a post-film ironic twist, Robert Blake. He has the most outlandish role, and he is good. But since then, you could now replace O.J's name from the previous paragraph with Blake's. Gives the film an additional edge.

WEST SIDE STORY- Sat Dec 2 at 3- MOMA- Part of the producer Walter Mirisch's retrospective. If you want to re-read the hard sell I made in the first list I made in this blog, the details are there. I've already talked about how much better it is on the big screen as opposed to tv. Now we're not talking about the Ziegfeld, but MOMA's will do just fine. Especially if you've only seen it on tv. In my personal top 100.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS- Sun Dec 3 at 2- AMMI in Astoria- 35 Ave. at 36 St.- Martin Scorsese’s film, The Departed, is actually a remake of this character driven thriller from Hong Kong. I've never seen it and would like to. The first of a trilogy, the other two films only had small portions used by Scorsese for The Departed. With Tony Leung (Hard Boiled, The Lover, In The Mood For Love).

INLAND EMPIRE- Wed Dec 6- Tues Dec 19 only- IFC Film Center- Times TBA- Not a revival, but this is the best way to mention this, and to find out if there's any interest in Lynch's new film. Will it be top tier like Blue Velvet, bottom of the barrel like the Twin Peaks prequel and Mulholland Dr., or smack in the middle like Wild at Heart or Lost Highway. You don't know until you see for yourself. Mondays and Thursdays are out for sure for me. Any other days are TBA. Performance times are unknown to me at this writing. Note that the film is 2 hrs. 59 min. long, so plan ahead if you're interested.

For the rest, I'll just quote from the IFC Film Center website:

"The latest hallucinatory vision from the iconoclastic director of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, INLAND EMPIRE stars Laura Dern in a tour-de-force performance as, perhaps, an actress who lands a dream role that quickly devolves into nightmare. Intrigued by the texture and freedom of consumer-grade DV, Lynch started out shooting tests with Dern; over the next two years, he grafted on scenes encompassing Hollywood machinations, conjugal intrigue, Polish curses, and even a rabbit-headed sitcom parody. The result is as dark, unpredictable, and utterly compelling as anything he's ever done, both a masterful recap of a career -- including appearances by Lynch veterans Justin Theroux, Laura Harring, Grace Zabriskie, Diane Ladd, and the inimitable Harry Dean Stanton -- and his most radical and experimental movie since Eraserhead."

William H. Macy, Jeremy Irons and Nastassja Kinski are also in the cast.

AMORES PERROS- Fri Dec 8 at 7:30- AMMI in Astoria- Part of the director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s retrospective. I'm tired, so I'll just quote from AMMI's website: "With Gael Garcia Bernal. Three stories, all including dogs, intertwine in the margins of Mexico City in Iñárritu’s dynamic debut film, which established him as a major international director."

The first of these types of inter-connecting films this director has done, like his recent "Babel". Note that this is a long one, 2 hrs 33 min, so plan ahead if you're interested.

SUNSET BLVD.- Fri Dec 8 at Midnight for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- W. 23rd and 8th Ave.- For those who haven't seen this on the big screen, you now have a chance to catch this film at a reduced price. An AFI Top 100 film, 3 Oscars including Best Screenplay, 8 other nominations including Picture, Director for Billy Wilder, Actor for William Holden and Actress for Gloria Swanson. It lost to another film on this list. In my personal top 30.

MOONSTRUCK- Mon Dec 11 at 6 and Wed Dec 13 at 8- MOMA- Part of the Made in New York series. From director Norman Jewison. One of the better romantic comedies around, as well as one of the better made in New York films as well. Of the city and universal at the same time. Cher won an Oscar as the widow engaged to Danny Aiello, but in love her brother, the hammy but still interesting Nicolas Cage. Olympia Dukakis also won an Oscar as her mother, as did John Patrick Shanley for his screenplay (probably the only good screenplay he's ever written).

THE PINK PANTHER- Fri Dec 15 at 6:15 and Wed Dec 20 at 8:15- MOMA- Part of the producer Walter Mirisch's retrospective. Blake Edwards's hit comedy plays again. The David Niven vehicle, that ended up making Peter Sellers an international comedy icon instead. The rest of the film is funny too, but Sellers as Inspector Clouseau is on another level. With a memorable, Oscar-nominated theme from Henry Mancini, and a certain memorable animated cat, both in the opening credits.

21 GRAMS- Fri Dec 15 at 7:30- AMMI in Astoria- Part of the director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s retrospective. Another of the director's interconnecting story. Believe it or not, I still haven't seen all of this, so now might be a good chance. Assuming no one is interested in the pink panther instead. Oscar nominations for Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro.

ALL ABOUT EVE- Fri Dec 15 and Sat Dec 16(tentative on my end) at Midnight for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- The acclaimed bitch fest starring Bette Davis that beat Sunset Blvd. for Best Picture. Try to pick between those two films; almost like which flavor satire you prefer, acidic with visual style, or acidic with verbal flair. If you've never seen it on the big screen, you can now at a reduced price. Sat is tentative for me at the moment.

6 Oscars. Most nominations in Oscar history, Titanic could only tie it. An AFI Top 100 film and in my personal top 30.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN- Sat Dec 16 at 5:30- MOMA- The James Whale- Boris Karloff horror classic that's probably better then the first film; a rarity among sequels. Famous for the final sequences involving Elsa Lanchester as the Bride.

THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN- Mon Dec 18 at 4 and Wed Dec 20 at 3:45- MOMA- Rainer Werner Fassbinder's biggest commercial success. Definitely his most assecisble and possibly his best. Imagine after the movie Downfall ends, a woman trying to survive and prosper in post WW2 Berlin. Career best from Hanna Schygulla in the title film.

Lots of choices, so you tell me. Coming up later in Dec and early Jan is a Woody Allen retrospective at the Film Forum. No time to break it down, so here's the link:

Let me know. And please don't be afraid to click the ads. No obligation to buy. Later all.

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