Wednesday, October 03, 2007

October revival list: the only films on the list for now.

Mike here with a list of October films. A very small list for now. The 400 Blows can still be caught at the Film Forum through Tues Oct 9, but there are 2 others I want to catch more. So much so, that I'm not putting up another list until I see at least one of the two below. Let's not waste time, here we go:

BLADE RUNNER:THE FINAL CUT- The Ziegfeld theater- W.53rd and 6th- Sat Oct 6- Thurs Oct 20- Weekends- 4, 7, and 10; Weekdays- 5:30 and 8:30- The film will be digitally projected at the Ziegfeld for 2 weeks only.

I've been looking forward to this for quite a while. Not because this is a great film. It wouldn't make my Top 10 and maybe not my Top 20 of 1982. But this might be in my top 10 for most visual appealing films ever shot in my lifetime (take that for what it's worth.). Along with Brazil, the most influential film with regards to art direction to come out of the 1980s. Whenever you want to depict a decaying metropolis, you must check out those two films Sorry, Batman and Dark City, you must bow before your masters. Blade Runner also belongs in that hallowed place of dystopian sci-fi films, along with Brazil, Children of Men, A Clockwork Orange, 1984 and Soylent Green. Yes, I said Soylent Green, I'm not stuttering.

Anyway, this is the kind of film I've talked to some of you about. Give me a film with a good score and quality visuals, and you've got me for quite a while. I should mention Vangelis' score. Chariots of Fire might have won him the Oscar, but this has a greater degree of difficulty that he succeeds with. You'd almost want to get the soundtrack afterwards. Futuristic after all this time. Unobtrusive, and at times beautiful. An L.A. of 2019 that seemed so far away, but now kind of fits the vision of An Inconvenient Truth. Throw it into the world of the film-noir, where you can't always trust those with badges, and even the "villains" are looking for redemption, if not longer life. Don't forget the cast. Harrison Ford as your burn-out lead, an ex-blade runner, forced back into the job to kill off deadly illegal androids or "replicants". Rutger Hauer as your main, but not unsympathetic lead villain. And give kudos to the casting director for pulling out newcomers like Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Edward James Olmos, as well as character actors like M. Emmet Walsh, the late Brion James, William Sanderson (Newhart, Deadwood) and Joe Turkel (Paths of Glory, The Shining).

Director Ridley Scott's film is VERY loosely based on the novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. A very good and quick read where the hero is married and more like an accountant then a cop. Which would explain why Scott tried hard to cast Dustin Hoffman in the lead. Despite the massive changes in some aspects of the stories, Dick himself felt the look of film matched what was on the page and in his head.

Not an easy film to shoot. The producer's didn't like Scott's exacting ways, and his going over budget. The crew referred to this as Blood Runner, and made the joke that Will Rogers never met a man he didn't like but he never met Ridley Scott (the joke was later made into a t-shirt worn by most of the crew throughout the shoot). Harrison Ford didn't get along well with Scott and Sean Young, and Young hated Ford, especially during the shooting of their major kissing scene. Supposedly, Hannah nearly broke Ford's neck in their fight scene. When the film went over budget, the rights to the film went from the director to the producers, who convinced Ford to do a last second voiceover narration. Ford has vigorously denied doing a half-assed job on the narration over the years, blaming a bad cold for the crappy work.

This is the 4th or 5th version of the film, I've lost count. I'm sure there's a cut with just penguins that I don't know about. The first version was the June 1982 U.S. release, which when it faced off against the likes of E.T., Poltergeist, Rocky 3 and Star Trek 2, it was DOA. It had the narration, the snowy ending, and several minutes of violence removed by the producers in order to avoid the X rating. It received Oscar nominations for Art Direction and Visual Effects, then went away, except for midnight screenings like at the late St. Marks Cinema. Then you have the version that came out in Europe in 82, that had the extra minutes of violence, which was released in in the U.S. on video, except on CED for some reason. This was the version that mostly started the cult following here. Except for edited for TV versions, the only other cut I remember seeing was the "Director's Cut" from 1992. Which was more of a studio editing job as opposed to Scott doing the reworking itself. Except for an added dream sequence, the dropping of the narration (A very good thing), and a changed ending. It works in tone, but with one significant difference that splits fans down the middle. I agree with those that don't like it, but mainly because it manages to step even further away from Phillip K. Dick's original vision. That's my feeling anyway. But this version is what made a lot of critics change their original bad or mixed reviews to good ones (Leonard Maltin still sticks to his 1 1/2 star rating), and it's the cut that was probably looked at when it made AFI's second Top 100 list.

Now what kind of ending will the Final Cut this will have, I have no clue. I know 4 minutes were added. Some of it is corrections, like using Ford's son to help with the dialogue correction of one small scene. Also, Joanna Cassidy's stuntman has been replaced with an actual stuntwoman with Cassidy's head CGIed in there. After that, I have no idea. Ridley Scott promises this will be the last and most complete version of this story. Yeah, whatever.

All I know is that there will not be a better way to catch this film on the big screen ever again. Not this style of projection, and not in a better theater. Film buffs, I'm telling you. This is one of those things you say yes to.

BLUE VELVET- Sat Oct 6 and Sun Oct 7 at Midnight- IFC Film Center- I thought Blade Runner would be the only film I would write about. But if you think I would ignore David Lynch's best film, and something in my personal top 2, then you're nuts. I wrote about this on a previous list in this blog, so go back and look it up. If you haven't seen this twisted modern noir on the big screen and you can stay awake, let's go do it. Don't worry, if you get sleepy, they sell David Lynch's Organic Coffee there; it's a kind of espresso. C'mon, don't be shy.

So those are the 2. 3, if you count the 400 Blows. For those who know me, if you are interested in Blade Runner. Try to arrange a time with me directly. Saturdays are best for me, with this Saturday night being the best. With the Ziegfeld, you never know if they decide to close on a weekday "Just because". I think Wed and Thurs nights would be doable, but Mon and Tues nights (except for Columbus Day night) would be risky. Either first come first served, or by majority vote, whatever fits for me the best. Let me know. Later all.

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