Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dec. revivals: second half

Mike here with a list of what to catch for the second half of Dec. The more I saw this, the more I drooled at the possibile combos. Then I began to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume. So to make things a little easier, I broke it down by dates. Some films you notice I am pushing harder than others. All you have to do is say what date you want to see a movie and I can tell what and when. I can't make this any easier. I know things conflict, so it's first come, first served. Here we go:

Fri Dec. 15:
THE PINK PANTHER- 6:15 at MOMA- 11 W. 53 St., between 5th and 6th ave.
21 GRAMS- 7:30 at AMMI in Astoria- 35 Ave. at 36 St.
ALL ABOUT EVE- Midnight- Chelsea Clearview Cinema for 7 dollars- W.23rd St. and 8th Ave.

I talked about these three last time, so you'll let me know.

Sat Dec 16:
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN- 5:30 at 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.

JULES AND JIM- 9:40 at Film Forum- 209 west houston- bet. 6th and Varick- The Truffaut classic involving the love between two men and one woman (too long to try to go into detail) gets a week long screening, with a new 35mm print.

ALL ABOUT EVE (tentative)- Midnight- Chelsea Clearview Cinema for 7 dollars.

Mon Dec 18:
JULES AND JIM- 5:20 at Film Forum

Only times I can do either Truffaut's best or Fassbinder's best on Monday. It's available on another day for both.

Tues Dec 19:
JULES AND JIM- 7:30 and 9:40 at Film Forum

Wed Dec 20:
JULES AND JIM- 9:40 at Film Forum

Thurs Dec 21:
BELL BOOK AND CANDLE- 7 at Two Boots Pioneer- E. 3rd St., between Avenues A and B (closer to A)- Fun romantic comedy from 1958. Witch Kim Novak casts a spell on mortal Jimmy Stewart, only she accidentally falls in love with him instead. Strong support from fellow witches Elsa Lanchester and Jack Lemmon, and mortal Ernie Kovacs. Stewart's last film as a romantic leading man.

JULES AND JIM- 7:30 and 9:40 at Film Forum

Fri Dec 22:
IT'S A WONDERFULL LIFE: IFC Film Center- W. 3rd St. and 6th Ave.- If you're not sick of this AFI Top 100 Christmas classic (to the post WW2-era people what A Christmas Story is today), it gets a rare weeklong screening for you to catch here. I don't have times, but if there's interest, you'll tell me. Showtimes should come out no later then Wed Dec 20th. But think evenings for this.

THE MAGNIFICENT 7: 8:15 at MOMA- Part of the producer Walter Mirisch's retrospective. Well made remake of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. Yul Brynner leads the group of hired guns, defending the poor Mexican village from despicable Eli Wallach and his evil henchmen. Served as a kind of template for future spaghetti Westerns. Also served as a springboard for the film careers of several of the 7: James Coburn, Charles Bronsan, Robert Vaughn, and . . . oh yeah, Steve McQueen. Also with one of the best film scores of all time from composer Elmer Bernstein(no exaggeration).

WALKABOUT- 9:10 at Film Forum- A terrific underrated film from 1971 in a new 35mm print. I wrote about it in Oct. I'll just repeat that it's best seen on the big screen and that if you've never seen it, go. There are multiple days to go, not just this night. For the rest, I'll just cut and paste from the Forum's website:

"Nicolas Roeg’s breathtakingly-shot solo directorial debut. Amidst the vast emptiness of an unending plain, a stressed-out Australian urbanite interrupts his family’s Outback picnic to kill himself and blow up their car, leaving his teenage daughter and six-year-old son… alone. Thus begins a memorable emotional and physical odyssey for a girl just old enough to take matters in her own, very proper hands — and for her little brother, zestfully plunging into this brand new game. But it's no game for the third member of the eventual trio: an Aborigine boy on his coming-of-age “walkabout.”

A Rousseauian evocation of Nature vs. Civilization, WALKABOUT ascends to a mystical, magical plain that transcends the banalities of what has become, in other hands, a threadbare genre. The first solo credit of Nicolas Roeg (who co-directed PERFORMANCE), his previous cinematographer career (including 2nd unit work on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA) evident in the luscious color and sweeping vistas and in the teeming, near-microscopic views of Outback life. And he evokes striking performances from his basically three-person cast of newcomers: his son Lucien John; Jenny Agutter, later British-Oscared for EQUUS; and David Gulpilil (an Aborigine from the greener North, and so nearly as at sea in the desert as the castaways themselves) with Agutter and Gulpilil feverish with an adolescent longing that breaks against the barriers of language and race."

THE DARK CRYSTAL- Midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema- 143 East Houston St bet. 1st and 2nd Ave.- If you're a fan of Lord of the Rings kind of fantasy, or a fan of 80's films, here's this effort from director Jim Henson. Puppetry effects at their height for this sword and sorcery film, with the Muppet-esque cuteness cut down very low.

Sat Dec 23 (all tentative):
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and/or THE GREAT ESCAPE- 5(Heat) and 7:30(Escape) at MOMA- A potential double feature, both part of the producer Walter Mirisch's retrospective. Heat I talked about before. The Great Escape plays afterwards. A well-crafted mix of fact and just enough Hollywood(it lays that right out for you in the beginning) to create a rousing adventure-thriller. Depicting the true story of the mass escape of Allied POWs from a German stalag during WW2. Big cast includes James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasance, James Coburn and Charles Bronsan.

In retrospect, all of this has been pushed aside by the presence of Steve McQueen. With this picture, you can literally pinpoint the moments where McQueen goes from leading man, to American Movie Star, to International Film Icon, all in the course of 2 hrs, 57 min.
Both films are doable, but that's a long day into night, so be careful before speaking up about both films.

WALKABOUT- 7 and 9:10 at Film Forum
THE DARK CRYSTAL- Midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Wed Dec 27:
OLIVER!: 1:30 at AMMI in Astoria- From the director of The Third Man, this family musical adaptation of Oliver Twist plays for the entire holiday season at AMMI. 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Director.

LAW OF DESIRE: 4 and 8:30 at the Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- Part of the Pedro Almodovar retrospective. Too strange to come up with my own writing here, so I will use the Walter Reade's website:

"Set against a backdrop of a mad, mad Madrid, this film swirls around a cast of characters we haven’t seen the likes of since What Have I Done to Deserve This? Our hero is absorbed in a cat-and-mouse game with an obsessive lover that before long entangles his transsexual brother/sister, father/son detective team and a mother who makes the Spider Woman look tame. Almódovar moves his story with a deft hand and a twinkle in his eye as he examines the idea and the attractions of absolute desire. A kind of preliminary sketch for the later masterpiece Bad Education . . ."

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK) and/or LOVE AND DEATH: 6:15(Sex), 8(Death), and 9:45(Sex) at Film Forum- Part of the Woody Allen retrospective; a possible double feature of his 70's work. First, Sex, a series of sketches based on or inspired by the successful sex manual. The popular sketches include Gene Wilder falling for a sheep, Allen desperately trying to open Lynn Redgrave's chastity belt, Allen fighting a runaway breast, and Allen as a neurotic sperm cell. The cast includes Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, John Carradine and Regis Philbin.

Next, Love and Death, a kind of spoof of Russian classics. Another re-teaming with Diane Keaton, the last of the pure comedies of Allen, before he turned to more serious work, starting two years later with Annie Hall.

WALKABOUT: 7 and 9:10 Film Forum

Thurs Dec 28:
WALLACE AND GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT: 11AM and 1:30PM at MOMA- Winner of Best Animated film at this year's Oscars, and one of my favorites from 2005. For the kids and the kids at heart.

OLIVER!: 1:30 at AMMI in Astoria
LAW OF DESIRE: 1:45 and 6:45 at the Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center
WALKABOUT- 7 and 9:10- Film Forum
BELL BOOK AND CANDLE- 7 at Two Boots Pioneer

Fri Dec 29:
OLIVER!: 1:30 at AMMI in Astoria
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN: 2:15 and 6:30 at the Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- Part of the Pedro Almodovar retrospective. The first major U.S. art house hit for Almodovar. You've probably heard of this, so I'm not going into detail. Just don't feel like it. Next.

THIS IS SPINAL TAP: Midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema- I've done this before, but for those who are interested, here's the midnight screening of the best of Christopher Guest's mockumentary comedies, directed by Rob Reiner. And no, the theater will not have the volume turned up to 11. God, that was lame. I'm so burned out . . .

Sat Dec 30:
OLIVER!(tentative): 1:30 at AMMI in Astoria
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY- 2 at Symphony Space in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia- W. 95th St. and Broadway- For once, the children's cult-hit musical starring Gene Wilder is being screened in a reasonable hour.

RADIO DAYS and/or BROADWAY DANNY ROSE: 6:15(Broadway), 8(Radio) and 9:45(Broadway) at Film Forum- Another potential double feature that is part of the Woody Allen retrospective. Both films nominated for Best Original Screenplay. First, Radio Days. Allen's look at his Far Rockaway's childhood, as influenced by Radio. Seth Green plays the young Allen-like person, with a cast that includes Julie Kavner, Tony Roberts, Mia Farrow, Dianne Weist, Larry David, Danny Aiello, Mercedes Ruehl, William H. Macy and Diane Keaton.

Broadway Danny Rose I talked about previously, so you know it, or you click back and read it again.

SAYONARA: 6 at MOMA- Romantic drama depicting culture clashes, surrounded by Marlon Brando's Korean war pilot in love with a Japanese woman.

EASY RIDER: 9 at Two Boots Pioneer
THIS IS SPINAL TAP: Midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

So many choices, so little time. Let me know. Later.

And also, have yourself a Merry Kwanzaa and a Happy Festivus; tell me the holiday's date, what's done to celebrate it or as much as I think is enough, and where I heard of this holiday and I'll take you to one of these films for free. Unless it's AMMI; depending on who you are, I may have to figure out something else.

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