Friday, April 27, 2007

May revivals: first half

Mike here with a very long list of revivals to catch for the first half of May. Very Bond heavy, but not just that. Some conflict and one is even repeated, but if there's interest. You'll tell me. But first, a couple of reminders for this month. Here we go:

GOLDFINGER- Sat Apr 28 at 7:30 and 9:40- Film Forum- 209 W. Houston St., bet. 6th and Varrick- A reminder of one of the best Bonds ever playing.

DR. NO- Sun Apr 29 at 5:20 and 7:30- Film Forum- A reminder to try to catch the first Sean Connery Bond film. One update, Bruce Eder, who handled the commentary for the Criterion Disc version of Dr. No, will introduce the 5:20 screening.

LIVE AND LET DIE- Tues May 1 at 4:20, 7 and 9:40- Film Forum- The first of the Roger Moore Bond films. Has more then a little dead weight (everything involving the red neck sheriff), and the joke of James Bond in Harlem seems dated now. But there are some good sequences, a kick ass theme song from Paul McCartney (Oscar nominated), and a beautiful Bond girl in Jane Seymour. I could on and on about how much I love her at any age and any time, but I could be arrested in some states with those comments, so I'll move on. But also, 6 Bond trailers will be screened as well. Whether they are Connery, Moore or Lazenby, I have no idea.

DIRTY DANCING- Tues May 1 at 7:30 for 10 dollars- Regal E-Walk at W. 42nd St., Union Square Stadium 14 at 850 Broadway, and Kaufman Astoria Stadium 14 at 3530 38th St.- This is one of two different ways the 20th anniversary of the sleeper hit of 1987. For a brief moment in time, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey with her original nose, were stars, and you can see why here. Won an Oscar for the song Time of my Life, and made The Contours' Do You Love Me memorable for whole new generations. Directed by Queens College alumni, the late Emile Ardolino.

This is the more expensive way, though you might be able to sneak in, with a coupon for another film with regards to Union Square and Kaufman Astoria. Not grammatically correct, but I think you get the idea. I think this is will be digitally projected, but the Regal Cinemas website is unclear. Apparently deleted scenes and new interviews are also included in this.

KILLER OF SHEEP- Wed May 2- Sun May 7 at 6 and 7:50- IFC Film Center- W. 4th and 6th Ave.- A highly praised film from director Charles Burnett, in a restored 35mm print. Never released in theaters until recently, and never available on home video, and yet still added to the Library of Congress. A black and white film from 1977 covering a family's efforts to survive in the Watts ghetto in L.A. It seems to be in the Army of Shadows category: an unknown film that once it's caught by critics, they deem it a must see. Not much time to catch it. Here's the link to the trailer on you tube:

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME- Wed May 2 at 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- Arguably, the best of the Roger Moore Bond films. Definitely the best of the 70s Bond films, though it admittedly doesn't have a lot of competition. One of the better stories, Moore's best Bond performance, great Egypt and Canada/Switzerland locations shots, a standout opening stunt, and one of the better Bond villains in Jaws (you know, the one with the metal teeth). Would have been the big hit of 1977, if that art house film Star Wars hadn't come out.

Oscar nominations for Marvin Hamlisch's score, song (Nobody Does It Better) and the opulent Art Direction/ Set Decoration. But if you're a Connery/Craig purist, you hate this film with a passion, so I'll move on.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE- Fri May 4 and Sat May 5 at 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- In my opinion, the Best Connery Bond. Yes, even over Goldfinger, but it's so close, this opinion could change the next time you ask me. Has the best fight scene, between Connery and Robert Shaw. If you know Bond, you know how good this is. Nuff said. Oh yeah, after the film at each screening, there will be a From Russia With Love sing-a-long. I kid you not.

VANISHING POINT- Fri May 4 and Sat May 5 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- 143 E. Houston St. bet. 1st and 2nd Ave.- One of the films that inspired Tarantino to direct his part of Grindhouse (a similar model Dodge Charger is used for the major car chase), gets a rare screening. A cult hit from 1971, Barry Newman agrees to deliver the charger from Colorado to Frisco in less then 15 hours on a bet. Cops and highway patrolmen plot to catch him. Throw in gay hitchhikers, a few naked chicks and a boatload of car chases, and you'll see why Tarantino wanted in part to do Grindhouse.

NOTE: Because of schedule conflicts, I need a yes on From Russia With Love and/or Vanishing Point absolutely no latter then Tues evening on May 1, 3 or 4 days before the screening. Otherwise, I may have to plan differently.

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD and OUR MAN IN HAVANA- Mon May 7 at 5:35 (Havana), 7:40(Spy) and 9:45(Havana)- Film Forum- A change of pace from the Bond films in the Forum's retrospective. The first film, is a successful adaptation of a John le Carre film; possibly the bleakest atmospheres in a Cold War film. Richard Burton was Oscar nominated, as a British spy who might be defecting, who might be faking it, but definitely can't take the job anymore, and wants to feel human again.

Double feature with Our Man In Havana from 1959 (1960 in the U.S.). A comedy/drama from director Carol Reed (The Third Man), and starring Alec Guinness (yes kids and others, Sir Alec did more then just Star Wars and David Lean epics). He plays a vacuum salesman in Havana, hired by super spy Noel Coward to spy for them. Guinness has trouble uncovering secrets, so the best way to keep his job is to make secrets up! The cast includes Maureen O'Hara, Ernie Kovacs, Burl Ives, and Ralph Richardson as C. No, not M, C. Shot on location in part in Havana.

HARRY AND TONTO- Tues May 8 at 8:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- W.67th st. or there about- Part of the Paul Mazursky retrospective. The year Pacino was nominated for Godfather 2, along with Nicholson for Chinatown, Hoffman for Lenny, and Albert Finney for Murder on the Orient Express, the surprise winner was Art Carney for this film. A character study about a retired New York teacher, travels cross country with his cat to see his adult children, visit America and say good bye to old friends. Mazursky was also nominated for Original Screenplay. Ellen Burstyn co-stars.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY- Wed May 9 at 9:30- Film Forum- In my opinion, the best of the Moore Bond films. The last of the United Artists Bond films, no thanks in part to Heaven's Gate. Less high tech compared to the other Moore films. With a nice homage to previous Bond films in London, and a terrific middle sequence involving skiing in Veneto, Italy. Arguably with the most and least capable Bond girls (Carole Bouquet and Lynn-Holly Johnson respectively). Also a well done credits sequence with Sheena Easton and Oscar-nominated title song.

THE IPCRESS FILES and BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN- Thurs May 10 at 7:40(Ipcress) and 9:45(Brain)- Film Forum- A double feature of one of the more popular cash-ins on 007, Michael Caine's Harry Palmer. A glasses-wearing, non-physical spy who uses his smarts to overcome villains and superiors who underestimate him. First is The Ipcress Files, as red tape and upper class snobs prove just as difficult to fight, as the villains who use Manchurian Candidate-style methods. The second is Billion Dollar Brain, as close as you'll get to a mainstream film from director Ken Russell. Haven't seen all of the later, but I've liked what I've seen, and I wouldn't mind catching both.

DIRTY DANCING- Fri May 11- Wed May 17 at 12:15, 2:30, 4:45, 7:30, and 10 for 7.50- The Ziegfeld Theater- W. 53rd and 6th- This is the other way to catch this film this month. A remastered film print on the Ziegfeld's large screen. Cheaper as well. Doubt I'm available for every day and showtime I wrote, but it's easier to list them this way. Before the 7:30 screening on Friday May 11, there will be a Q and A with actress Kelly Bishop (she played Jennifer Grey's mom) and Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE- Fri May 11 at 7:40 and 9:50- Film Forum- The last of the Connery Bond films from the 60s. Not the best Connery Bond, but still pretty good. Perhaps the best sets from the 60s set of films with SPECTRE's underground lair, a well-done helicopter battle sequence, and Donald Pleasence as Blofeld.

POINT BLANK- Fri May 11 at 6:15- Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- Part of the Lee Marvin retrospective. An adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel that launched John Boorman's directorial career big time. A cool action-crime drama, where a gunman with a code (Marvin) is set up and cheated out of his money. Left for dead, he comes back demanding payment and revenge. Most of you don't know this one, and it's time to know this better then the mediocre Mel Gibson remake, Payback. Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, and John Vernon (Dirty Harry) are also in the cast.

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON in 3-D- Fri May 11 and Sat May 12 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- Not every film has to taken seriously. Cheesy 1950s fun with a memorable humanoid fish creature terrorizing poor Americans. The cheesy 3-D effects will supposedly happen again for these screenings. And no, this was not Clint Eastwood's film debut, he appeared in the sequel.

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE- Sat May 12 at 4 and Mon May 14 at 3:30- Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- Part of the Lee Marvin retrospective. John Ford/John Wayne with James Stewart in the Western classic. Giving more of an idea of how the West was tamed. It required people like Stewart's character to have the ideas, but it also required people like Wayne's character to do the dirty work, and kill the bad guys. The latter will be feared, but then forgotten and ignored. Marvin plays the title character, as despicable a bad guy as you can imagine. Made the saying "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." part of the lexicon.

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE- Sat May 12 at 9:40- Film Forum- For me, the best Bond film. Not necessarily the best Bond in George Lazenby, though I thought he was the best Bond, physically and fight-wise. I've done this one before, so if someone really wants to do it, they'll have to let me know ASAP.

THE ICEMAN COMETH- Mon May 14 at 6:30- Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- Part of the Lee Marvin retrospective. Marvin and director John Frankenheimer come together for this ambitious adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's classic, daunting play. Marvin plays a man in 1912 who comes to an old haunt, a dead-end bar full of drunks, with intentions that may not be honorable. Almost 3 hours, but if you're willing to take the risk. The cast includes Jeff Bridges, as well as Fredric March's last performance, and one of Robert Ryan's last performances.

CASINO ROYALE (1967)- Mon May 14 at 7- Film Forum- If you're into fun bad movies, here's one for you. 5 different directors, including John Huston, and at least 7 different screenwriters, including Ben Hecht, Billy Wilder, Joseph Heller and co-stars Huston, Orson Welles and Peter Sellers. Many Indians and very few chiefs helped blow up the budget and extend shooting far longer then scheduled. Also not helping was Sellers being an asshole on set. He and Welles didn't get along, and it got so bad on set, the producers fired him before filming ended, and re-wrote his part.

There are parts of the film that work. Some involve Sellers, as well as David Niven as Sir James Bond, and a lot of hot chicks, including Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet and Jacqueline Bisset. But a lot of the big laughs come from Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond. Possibly his funniest screen performance.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN- Wed May 16 at 4:30(tentative) and 9:30- Film Forum- Not the best Bond to be sure. Not crap like A View To A Kill (which I won't list), but this certainly has its problems. Too much of the wisecracking sheriff from Live and Let Die, now vacationing in Japan (are we KIDDING?!?!?!?), Britt Ekland is beautiful in her bikini, but she grates quickly and often, and everyone has their own pain threshold for Herve Villechaize. Mine just happens to be very high. Plus, Christopher Lee makes a very good Bond villain, and his showdown with Moore as Bond works well, including the slight homage to Welles' Lady From Shanghai.

Could do the 4:30, in theory, but I might have to bolt afterwards. The 9:30 would probably be easier.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN- Thurs May 17 at 7 and 9:40- Film Forum- The last of the Bond films in the Forum's retrospective of spy films. Basically, it's the 1983 remake of Thunderball (too many lulls, plus falling on Mother's Day is why I'm not listing it.), directed by The Empire Strikes Back's Irvin Kirschner. A lot more fun, even if the visual effects look cheap now, with a more interesting cast. Klaus Maria Brandauer makes a good villian, as does Max von Sydow as Blofeld. Rowan Atkinson makes a fun extended cameo in his film debut. Barbara Carrera makes a good, hot villianess. There's a terrific middle involving a motorcycle. And Kim Basinger (years before she gave birth, and along with Alec, tries to ruin their daughter's life) is arguably the hottest Bond girl from the 80s. When she gets out of the pool in that tiger swimsuit, OH . . . . . MY . . . . . GOOOOOOOOOOOD. That's why there's a photo of her in the suit right here. Not the best one around, but the one I could find that wouldn't get me in trouble.

And oh yeah, Sean Connery returns to the Bond role after a 12 year absence, already making it better then most of the Roger Moore/Timothy Dalton Bond flicks.

Like I said, long list. Let me know ASAP, especially with regards to May 4th and 5th. Later all.


geomop said...

Hi. I enjoyed your post and hope we can get some folks in the NYC area to go see "Our Man In Havana". I run The Ernie Kovacs Blog and mentioned it in my latest update.

You can always visit us at:
The Ernie Kovacs Blog
The Ernie Kovacs Tribute Site
and The Ernie Kovacs MySpace Page.


mike said...

Thank you. Sorry I didn't see it earlier, I'm not used to be reading this. I hope to helpful with these picks in the future. Take care.