Friday, June 01, 2007

June revivals: first half. Small list.

Mike here with a list of what to catch in the first half of June. Small list. Please note, this is based on what I can definitely or tentatively make as of this writing. For example, Faces and The Conversation are playing at MOMA this weekend, but I can't make it, so forget it. Same with a Midnight screening of Fight Club at Landmark Sunshine, unless there's someone dying to go this Friday and can at least drive me home.

Since there aren't a lot of films listed here, let me talk about the screening of Barry Lyndon at the Walter Reade in Lincoln Center Tuesday night, May 29. Don't know why the 7pm screening had to start so late. Yes I know it was sold out, but if people can't get to their computer-bought tickets in a timely manner, or if it takes forever to get popcorn, that's not a reason to at least start the intros late.

That said, I got to revise my outlook on Barry Lyndon. I'm slightly more mature to appreciate it more. But only slightly. It helped that with this new inter-negative print, this was the best looking print of Lyndon I've ever seen. One of my favorite film logos from that era, from Lyndon that night, is posted above. Superior in sight and sound to the mediocre prints I saw years ago at Cinema Village and the late Screening Room, early this decade.

What also helped was no intermission. The "intermission" title card was shown, and the intermission music was played, then the film continued. I didn't get a break, then had to re-engage 10-15 minutes later. It forced me to concentrate more, and kept me interested. Granted, I gave up on any help for my back, and I'm sure other people's bladders went into knots. Nice job not announcing this.

But not only was the print worth catching, so was the post-film Q & A with co-star and now producer(Little Children) Leon Vitali. One of the most interesting Q & A's I've been to in the past 4 years. An engaging man who enjoys talking about whatever was brought up, whether it was Kubrick, the film, or the process of preserving the film, among the many topics brought up. It ended after 25 min, but it felt like if it was possible, Mr. Vitali and a lot of us would stayed even longer. Though my empty stomach appreciated it enough that I ate at the nearest diner. God, a turkey burger and the world's greasiest chicken fingers never tasted so good.

Because of the lateness of the time, half the people had to leave. And due to an apparent lack of preparedness, early hand raisers were ignored. Except for the one clean-shaven, 20something film school-type schmuck with brown hair, some kind of British dialect, who showed up with other male friends, who raised his hand constantly, repeatedly and emotionally, to the point where it seemed he would die on the spot if he was ignored. Even while Vitali was busy answering a previous question as long as he needed to take. I'm thinking "Yes, please pick this idiot and put him out of his misery. And ours." And then the kid couldn't spit out the question coherently, IDIOT!!! This is for the moron and the rest of you as a helpful suggestion. If you can't ask your question in 10-15 seconds, don't pollute the air with your babble.

Now I've vented, so on with the list. Here we go:

SHOCK CORRIDOR and THE BIG RED ONE- Sun June 3 at 4(Shock) and 6:30(Big Red)- AMMI- A double feature of 2 Samuel Fuller films. First, Shock Corridor. A 35mm archival print from UCLA will be screened. A film considered important enough to be included in the Criterion Collection, along with the 7 Samurai, Salo, Life of Brian, Fat Girl, and Armageddon. So yeah, take that as you will. Never seen it, but very curious. A reporter tracks a killer to an insane asylum. So he decides to commit himself to get closer to the killer. And guess what? An insane asylum is NOT A NICE PLACE TO BE!!! SCHMUCK!!! Anyway, wouldn't mind seeing this.

Double featured with The Big Red One. A restored 35mm print. A semi autobiographical Fuller film that is episodic in nature, covering the exploits of the famous WW2 Army unit. Among their exploits, were being part of the first to land in North Africa, being stuck on the beach on D-Day, and being the first Allied unit to see a concentration camp. Starring Lee Marvin as the tough, cigar-chomping Sgt., Mark Hamill in his only non-Star Wars performance worth noting (Joker voice overs don't count), and Robert Carradine as the pseudo-stand-in for Fuller.

Came out and flopped in the summer of 1980. It was either the original backers, Lorimar, or the film's distributor, United Artists(bracing for a period where they would have every summer flick bomb, plus the coming of Heaven's Gate), that took the picture away from Fuller, and tore almost an hour away. 45 min have been restored, and it gives the viewer an impressive odyssey. Maybe not better then Private Ryan, but a more personal, emotional and embracing war picture, then say, Eastwood's decent Flags of our Fathers.

Now I've seen this version already. I'd like to see it again with someone who's never seen this. I'd really like to see this with Shock Corridor, but you'll tell me.

MY BEST FIEND- Thurs June 7 at 7:30- Film Forum- One of the more explosive actor director collaborations, was between director Werner Herzog, and actor Klaus Kinski. To call this a love/hate relationship, might be an insult to the terms love and hate. We see behind the scenes footage from all 5 films, and none of it quiet. To give you an idea, the natives of Aguirre, The Wrath of God, offered to kill Kinski for Herzog! You see the offer. Should be very interesting to watch. Double-featured, with Herzog's Grizzly Man, a runner-up for me for my Top 10 of 2005. Stirring and worth catching, if you think you can take it.

LET'S GET LOST- Fri June 8 at 7, plus 9:30 on all weekdays from Fri June 8- Fri June 15, and 3:30 and 4:30 on Wed June 13- Film Forum- An Oscar nominee for Best Documentary, now in a restored 35mm print. NOT available on home video, except for out of print VHS from the early 90s. Photographer Bruce Weber covers the life of jazz great Chet Baker. A star in the 50s, we see him in the last 2 years of his life; ravaged by alcohol and heroin addiction. You see clips and photos of him from the 50s. You see interviews with him, his kids, his colleagues, his 3rd wife, and his former girlfriend, singer Ruth Brown. Not everyone loves the guy, as you might imagine. And of course, you hear the music. Would REALLY like to catch this. According to the Forum website:

This performance Director Bruce Weber will introduce the 7:00 show of Let's Get Lost on Friday, June 8. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Bruce Weber and LGL's director of photography Jeff Preiss.

It's questionable if I can catch that screening, but there are others during this engagement. I list the above paragraph for those who are interested.

BACK TO SCHOOL- Fri June 8 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- For 80s film fans, here the surprise comedy hit of the summer of 1986. Rodney Dangerfield plays a rich businessman, who sees the only way to keep his son interested, is to enroll himself. Fun, amusing, and surprisingly warm at times. Interesting cast: future director Keith Gordon as the son, Burt Young as the chauffeur, Robert Downey Jr. as the son's punkish best friend, DS9's Terry Farrell as the son's dream girl, Sally Kellerman and Sam kinison as professors, Ned Beatty as the dean, and Danny Elfman (who did the score) with his band Oingo Boingo, performing.

Let me know if there's interest. Later all.

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