Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May revivals: first half

Mike here with what to catch for the first half of May. Not a lot of time, so I'll just get to it. Here we go:

CITY LIGHTS with or without MODERN TIMES- Thurs May 1 at 4:40 (City), 6:30 (Modern) and 8:20 (City)- Film Forum- The last of the main United Artists retrospective. A Chaplin double feature of 2 of his best films. Saying which of the two is better would be a long argument that I won't get into here. Not when one can see both on the same day. First, City Lights. It is a silent film, but Chaplin's first with recorded music and sound effects. Basically, Chaplin's Little Tramp goes through various trails and tribulations, all for the love of a blind flower girl. Chaplin and blind girl actress Virginia Cherrill hated each other with a passion, but since she was the only one who could play blind without looking like a joke, he was stuck. He fired her at one point, only to later rehire her. One of the all time favorite films of both Kubrick and Tarkovsky; either I got someone real interested or turned them off on this film completely. Apparently, Woody Allen modeled that last scene of Manhattan on this film's final scene. A comedy classic that's on both AFI Top 100 lists.

The exact same thing can be said of Modern Times. Featuring Chaplin's first bit of sound speech, even if it is gibberish. This time, the Little Tramp tries to work in automated factories, and the hilarity results. Sounds like a cliche, but for those who have seen it know this is just bad writing on my part. Granted, it does have a heavier political hand then any of Chaplin's previous films. But when it results in a funny scene such as when the Tramp accidentally leads a Communist parade, it's easily taken. And sorry, no matter how dirty her face was made, Paulette Goddard is still the most beautiful homeless person that has ever been. Since I've done Modern Times a few years ago, my emphasis is on City Lights. Especially since I didn't catch it at the Forum at the end of 07. Caught 4 other films instead. Now granted, I was thrilled to catch All That Jazz, and Juno was ok, but just ok. But the Walk Hard/ Charlie Wilson's War double feature I did (pay for the first, sneak into the later afterwards) over City Lights? Not the best choice I ever made. So let me know.

BREATHLESS (1959)- Fri May 2 and Sat May 3 at 4:40, 6:30, 8:20 and 10:10, plus Sat May 3 at 2:50- 8:20 SHOW ON FRIDAY INTRODUCED BY FRENCH DESIGNER AGNÈS B.- Film Forum- The official beginning of the Jean-Luc Goddard retrospective, and probably the only film from here that I'll put on the list. Since I started out with catching American films on my own and took a class or two of (mostly) American films long before I caught a nice share of foreign language pics, this was has fallen through the cracks. Have seen portions of it, but never from start to finsh. Sorry that I'm more familiar with the lousy Richard Gere remake. I'm sorry, there was a hot naked chick in it.

Written by Goddard from a screen story from Francois Truffaut. It was incomplete when filming began; some scenes were written in the morning to be shot later in the day. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a cool car thief who shoots a policeman, attracts Jean Seberg to run away to Italy, where coolness prevails until the law catches up. Belmondo would play a similar type of cool criminal in Le Doulos; while the gorgeous Seberg was made an It girl forever, for better and for worse in her short life. Is credited for introducing the jump cut, based on editing advice given to Goddard by Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Doulos, Army of Shadows). Instead of cutting out scenes that slowed down the action, Goddard cut out shots in most scenes that slowed things down. A classic I'd like to catch.

Designer Agnes B., whose career was launched in part by copying Seberg's look in Breathless, will introduce the 8:20 screening on Fri May 2. If you want to try for this one, some early planning must be done.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?- Sat May 3 at 10 for 8 dollars- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- 260 W. 23rd- A-list Campfest incarnate. the plot is simple enough that I'll just copy it from imdb: In a decaying Hollywood mansion, Jane Hudson, a former child star, and her sister Blanche, a movie queen forced into retirement after a crippling accident, live in virtual isolation. Shot in terrific black and white, it deserves attention just on the teaming of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I don't know if the simmering rivalry that exploded into a full-fledged feud is obvious in Crawford's performance, but the rage certainly fuels Davis performance as the former child star/ alcoholic/ tormentor. An Oscar for Costume Design. 4 other nominations, including Black and White Cinematography, and Davis for Best Actress. The story of what happened with that category, as well as the whole making of the picture itself is too damn long to go over here. Just see the film if you haven't.

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY- Sun May 4 and Tues May 6 at 7:50 and 10- Film Forum- Part of the United Artists Back By Popular Demand retrospective. A good British drama from 1971 that's unknown here these days, unless you stumbled on it either on PBS or TCM. Forgotten in part because it wasn't A Clockwork Orange or The French Connection, and maybe because it wasn't American like The Last Picture Show. A quiet film that John Schlesinger choose to cash in his Golden Ticket (so to speak) for, after the success of Midnight Cowboy.

Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch (Howard Beale from Network) fall in love with the same man (Murray Head; best known for stage work and one hit wonder 80s song, One Night in Bangkok). Unfortunately for them, the guy is self-centered to the point of not caring about the emotional damage he leaves behind. A simple story, well told. 4 Oscar nominations: Best Actor for Finch, Actress for Jackson, Director for Schlesinger and Original screenplay. You probably have never heard of it, but you should check it out, if not here, at least on Netflix.

PUTTING LOONEY IN THE TOONS- Monday May 5 at 7:30 for 5 dollars- The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International- I've always been semi-serious to people when I told them that I think Bugs Bunny is the best American actor. He could do anything. Sing, dance, do comedy, action, sports and even pull off drag better than most queens. I make this comment partly in tongue in cheek mocking of some current actors, and partly in embracing childhood memories. But I know full well the character is not only great because of the work of Mel Blanc, but also of writers and directors like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Michael Maltese. A number of these cartoons that are Oscar winners or just nominated will screened for only 5 dollars. Call 1-888-778-7575 for ticket reservations, otherwise it will be a pain in the ass to get in. Doors open at 7 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

For the rest of the info, I'll cut and paste from the Oscars website:

Academy Award®-winning animator John Canemaker (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, 2005) will host this double centennial tribute to Tex Avery and Michael Maltese, which returns to the big screen some of the short cartoons the pioneering pair worked on together as well as selected highlights from their prolific individual careers in animated films. Avery and Maltese, both born a century ago in early 1908, crossed paths at the Warner Bros. animation studio back when it was Leon Schlesinger Productions (now affectionately referred to as “Termite Terrace”). Among their collaborations and individual career achievements are many of the wackiest moments (animation or live action) ever devised for the film medium. Avery’s directorial approach to animation was to celebrate the medium’s unique energy and limitless possibilities at a time when Disney animation was striving for increased pictorial realism. Maltese, who wrote dozens of animated shorts over the course of his career, was perfectly suited to incorporating Avery’s madcap style into the evolving stable of Warner Bros. characters, which included Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd.

The evening will include screenings of such Avery and Maltese classics as Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937), Heckling Hare (1941), Oscar winner For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) and What’s Opera, Doc? (1957).

BLUE VELVET- Fri May 9 and Sat May 10 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- Once again, I put up the David Lynch film that resurrected his career and Kyle McLaughlin's after Dune flopped. In my own top 5. Will anyone be talked into this? We'll see.

ALL ABOUT EVE- Thurs May 15 at 7 and 9:30 for 6.50- 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. But unless you prefer a different film with more blood and guts and less intellect, then there's always . . .

FIRST BLOOD- Thurs May 15 at 7:30- Regal E-Walk 13 on 42nd st, Regal Union Square 14, Regal Kaufman Astoria 14, Chelsea Clearview Cinema 1st & 62nd and Chelsea Clearview on 260 West 23rd- A digital screening of the Stallone film. Less bloody then the awful fun (figuratively and literally) of Rambo, here's the one that started the series. There was no intention to create a series, it was a minor miracle that they could cut the film down to make it watchable. And a major miracle that it came out of nowhere to be a big hit of the fall of 82. Maybe the combination of Stallone with a machine gun, the fact that it was just E.T. and fill-in-the-blank in playing in theaters at the time, and the story of an unappreciated Vietnam vet doing a variation of Travis Bickle and Charles Bronson, hit the cultural zeitgeist at just the right time.

The story: Rambo comes into town up North, just passing through. Sheriff Brian Dennehy arrests him when not necessary. Behind their boss's back, his redneck-ish deputies torture him (pulling out the whip?!?!?), Rambo goes nuts and gives payback to the town, while Richard Crenna shows up with monologues about how tough Rambo is and how much dead meat the town will be. Ending with Stallone giving the most incomprehensible monologue known to man. Kenny speaks clearer on South Park!!! Just check your brain at the door and have fun.

For the rest of what the evening has in store, I'll quote from the Event website:

"Following the film, see the alternate ending (where Rambo dies!) for the first time ever in theatres. Plus - this one night event will include an exclusive, never-before-seen interview with Sylvester Stallone on First Blood, the new film Rambo and the iconic Rambo series."

Emphasis on Chaplin, the Brit drama, the cartoons, and something on the 15th. Anything else is a bonus, but you must move fast and reserve for the cartoons. Later all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April revivals: second half

Mike here with what to catch in the second half of April. Won't waste time, so let's go:

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME- Tues April 22 and Thurs April 24 at 8- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- W. 54th and 6th Ave.- I think this is a digital screening of the flick, but DON'T QUOTE ME because I could be wrong. I've done this before, but I'm open to doing this again, especially on this screen.

This is what a summer blockbuster should be; Pirates of the Caribbean and Spider-Man 3 are embarrassing next to this. Arguably, the best of the Roger Moore Bond films. A lot of fun without insulting your intelligence, unless you're an annoying Connery/Craig purist. 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 title credit sequence and song, 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. I wish you gave it a chance, but I move on.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY- Wed April 23- Tues April 29 at 1, 3:15, 5:30, 7:50 and 10- Film Forum- 209 Houston St.- Part of the United Artists retrospective. A new 35mm print. It played earlier, but now gets a one week run where it will be the only film playing on one of the Forum's 3 screens. The only X rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, as well winning for Director John Schlesinger and Screenwriter Waldo Salt. Depicting the relationship between hayseed male prostitute Jon Voight and sickly slickster Dustin Hoffman. On both AFI Top 100 lists. Chances are, if you're looking at this post, you know the film. But there's also a good chance you haven't seen this film, except for maybe Hoffman's "I'M WALKING HERE!!!" clip. Now would be a good time to change this.

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920) and/or TOM JONES- Thurs April 24 at 7:45 (Zorro) and 9:40 (Tom Jones)- Film Forum- Part of the United Artists retrospective. A double feature for one admission. I don't have to catch both. I'd like to, but it's not a priority.

First, The Mark of Zorro. One of UA's early hits from the silent era. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. stars in one of the more popular versions of the story. Tyrone Power is probably the best remembered Zorro, except for idiots who can only think of Antonio Banderas's versions. That might be harsh, but let's not put Antonio's big budget, heavily edited version, with the more athletic Fairbanks Jr. version. With live piano accompaniment, as opposed to some canned synthesized music for "modern audiences".

Followed by Tom Jones. The Forum refers to this romantic farce as Barry Lyndon with laughs. Never seen this, so I couldn't tell you. But now is as good a time as any to catch up. I do know this is what made Albert Finney an international star forever. For those who just think of him as some older, overweight actor in small roles from The Bourne Supremacy to Before The Devil Knows You're Dead., here's the chance to see him young and vibrant.

11 Oscar nominations, including Finney for Best Actor. He lost to some guy named Poitier for Lilies Of The Field. Winner of 4 Oscars, including Picture and Director for Tony Richardson, and Screenplay Adaptation for John Osbourne. Not a great year for film 1963, considering the other films included Cleopatra, How The West Was Won, Bye Bye Birdie and Come Blow Your Horn. Ok, Hud , 8 1/2 Charade, The Birds, Dr. No and The Great Escape salvage the year. Anyway, let me say, catch this film.

Note: Yes, I know Dr. No is mostly considered a 1962 film, but since it wasn't released in New York until 63, tough titties. The next film is generally considered a 1963 film, but since it didn't come out in the U.S. until 1964, again, tough titties.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE- Fri April 25 at 8, Sat April 26 at 2 and Sun April 27 at 5- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- In my opinion, the Best Connery Bond. Yes, even over Goldfinger. Has the best fight scene, between Connery and Robert Shaw. If you know Bond, you know how good this is. Nuff said.

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE- Sat April 26 at 5- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- For me, the best Bond film. Not necessarily the best Bond in George Lazenby, though I thought he was the best, 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.

DR. NO- Fri April 25-Thurs May 1- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- Caught already and not going again. Hasn't aged well in and at times, moves like molasses. Luckily, Connery's characterization, the theme, some action/fight scenes, and Ursula Andress rising from the ocean in a swimsuit makes this worth catching. It also makes this the weakest of all the films on this list, and not by a little bit. But if you have the time, go.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN- Tues April 29 at 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- A new 35mm print. 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). From the director of The Great Escape. If you've caught up with Steve McQueen with both that and Thomas Crown, you might as well complete the journey for this retrospective.

THE LONG GOODBYE and/or THIEVES LIKE US- Wed April 30 at 5:25 (Thieves), 7:35 (Long Goodbye, with a pre-film intro by Jim Bouton) and/or 9:40 (Thieves)- Film Forum- An Altman double feature. First, The Long Goodbye. Some of you have done with me before, so I won't push too hard. If you haven't seen it, catch it. Imagine Phillip Marlowe, now in the swinging, more violent, early-1970s, while he still seems to carry the values and ideals of a Bogart-esque era. Now, instead of having Bogart as your private eye, you have Elliott Gould. Altman felt Gould was perfect for it. He said (I got this from the Forum website):

“Everyone said Elliott’s not Philip Marlowe and I wasn’t being true to Chandler, but what they were really saying was that Elliott Gould wasn’t Humphrey Bogart. I believe we were closer to Chandler’s character than any of the other renditions.”

That apparently was the feeling back in 73, because the film was a box office flop. Their loss, your gain if you go see it. Jim Bouton, the ex-Yankees pitcher who plays Marlowe's friend will introduce the screening. The only thing I'll add is this quote I previously wrote from the Forum's email system. From Terrence Rafferty of the New York Times: “Watching The Long Goodbye in 1973, you could feel Philip Marlowe dancing on his own grave. Watching it now, you can see Robert Altman dancing with him.”

Followed by Thieves Like Us, an Altman film from 1974. Unfortunately, this was also a flop. An adaptation of Edward Anderson's novel. While it might be considered a more faithful adaptation than the Nicolas Ray film They Live By Night, most of us have never read it. This film feels like a more realistic version of Bonnie and Clyde. 3 bank robbers elude the law. One of them falls in love with a girl. But instead of the sexiness of a Warren Beatty-Faye Dunaway couple, we have a more realistic Keith Carradine-Shelley Duvall pairing. You feel for them, but you know in this time period it won't work out. Lots of Mississippi locations and superior art direction and costume design help with the authentic feel. Catch this, though if it's inconvenient now, it plays for a week in May at the Forum.

I'm also leaving out Sunday Bloody Sunday at the Forum, because it will play later on at more convenient times in May. Otherwise let me know. I lean toward Tom Jones, the western and the Altman double feature, but anything else is a bonus. And I must know if there's any interest in Her Majesty's ASAP. Later all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

April revivals: first half

Mike here with what to catch for the first half of April. Sorry for being a little late, spent a little time working background on the new Tony Gilroy film, Duplicity. A film shoot where earlier in the week, lead Julia Roberts mocked someone for watching cartoons. According to Ms. Roberts, any grown man who watches animation is absurd. So apparently any male over 21 who watches animation, whether it's Tom and Jerry, or South Park, or Family Guy, or something from Pixar, or something like Persepolis. She didn't specify and I don't need her to. The attitude gives me a clear enough picture. But that doesn't make her a bad person. Anyone on Duplicity who came up with idea of having hundreds of people work while deprived of access of food (and at one point, water except from the bathroom sink) for over seven hours, those people are far worse. Oh, we could try to get something from the overpriced snack machine, as long as they were the first 50 people on line. Or we go to the tent area on 36th st. That is, if you managed to dodge traffic, stick your hand in the cooler and hope it's just soda, or fight the ravenous mob of people, desperate for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Wow, this experience just sucked.

At least Paul Giamatti was professional with his mini monologue/speech. He never flubbed his lines, had his character well set, with some takes lasting several minutes at a time (with massive coverage for editing purposes.). And when a frustrated female extra (who babbled behind me earlier on about how she screwed up taking off from her babysitting gig for this job, which paid about 80 percent less) yelled during a take "WE HAVEN'T EATEN ALL DAY!!!", Giamatti just took a beat, and resumed as though nothing happened. It felt like if it wasn't for him, we would be shooting through midnight. Part of me knows that's not true; but as I was desperately filling the empty cavern I was calling my stomach with a patty melt from a nearby greasy spoon, it was hard to believe at times. Thank goodness I knew some people at this gig. Best to share the misery I always say.

Anyway, I'm done ranting. Here we go with the list:

DR. NO and GOLDFINGER- Sat April 5 at 5:15 (Goldfinger), 7:25 (Dr No) and 9:30 (Goldfinger)- Film Forum- A new 35mm print for both. Yes, both films will be playing at the Ziegfeld later this month. But either you want to spend 8 dollars for each film separately, or pay 11 dollars to see both. I leave that decision to you, I'll just post.

First, Dr. No. The first of the Bond films (No I'm not counting the Barry Nelson version done for TV, Bart. Shut up about it already!) with Sean Connery. Featuring the Theme, and Ursula Andress, rising from the sea like a goddess. Luckily, there will be no sing-a-long after each screening of Dr. No. I'd hate to imagine how stupid that would be.

Next is Goldfinger. Arguably one of the best Bonds, though that argument won't be made by me after seeing this and From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service on the big screen. The cheese factor is notably higher then in the previous installments; as Sean Connery battles the title character, Odd Job, a castrating laser, and in his own way, Pussy Galore. But it's still a lot of fun. Following the 2 listed evening performances on each day, there will be a Goldfinger sing-a-long. It not only shows the god awful song writing, but makes us think what kind of a miracle worker Shirley Bassey is, by turning this chicken shit song into chicken salad.

THE GREAT ESCAPE- Tues April 8 at 7:20- Film Forum- A new 35mm print. 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 Bronson. Oscar nominated editing was well deserved.

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. It's a long night, but if you're for it, please say yes.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY- Wed April 9 at 7:30 and 9:40- Film Forum- Part of the United Artists retrospective. A film that show the seedy side of NYC circa late 1960s. Flower power didn't seem to extend here. The only X rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, as well winning for Director John Schlesinger and Screenwriter Waldo Salt. Depicting the relationship between hayseed male prostitute Jon Voight and sickly slickster Dustin Hoffman. On both AFI Top 100 lists. Chances are, if you're looking at this post, you know the film. But there's also a good chance you haven't seen this film, except for maybe Hoffman's "I'M WALKING HERE!!!" clip. Now would be a good time to change this.

ANNIE HALL and WHERE'S POPPA?- Thurs April 10 and Fri April 11 (Friday tentative on my end) at 6:15 (Poppa), 7:50 (Annie), and 9:40 (Poppa)- Film Forum- Both films part of the United Artists retrospective. First, Annie Hall. Not going too much into this. Blah blah, Woody Allen's best film right along with Manhattan. Blah blah, on both AFI Top 100 lists and in my own personal top 100. Blah Blah, Multiple Oscar winner including Best Picture. Blah blah, Diane Keaton becomes movie icon and feminist icon of all time. Blah blah, the Annie Hall character was to women then as Juno is to young women right now. Blah blah, one of the best romantic comedies ever made, despite the dramatic/sad tinges to it. Blah blah, just see it, all right.

Next is Where's Poppa, from director Carl Reiner. A film that could only have been made in the 1970s. Well, let me rephrase that. The idea of an adult trying to take care of their senile and/or elderly parent has been covered before, most recently in The Savages. But the black comic depths could not be done today. George Segal plays a failing lawyer, going nuts over taking care of his senile old bat of a mother, played by Ruth Gordon. He finally gets help from a nurse, who turns out to be his dream girl. But wait till Momma does things her way. Ron Liebman, Barnard Hughes, Vincent Gardenia and Paul Sorvino are among the cast of this cult film. I don't know which ending this screening will have. Those with the laser disc know exactly what I mean. Anyway, let's make time for both films please.

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY- Sat April 12 at 1 and 8:30- Film Forum- Part of the United Artists retrospective. The epic of Leone's Man With No Name trilogy; you definitely go on a journey here, aided with Morricone's most famous score, especially the theme. Eastwood's not so nice Good, Lee Van Cleef's evil to the core Bad, and Eli Wallach's not much better Ugly, fight each other, and try to work their way around something called The Civil War, to get their hands on buried gold. Probably, the best of the Spaghetti Westerns, due in no small part to Wallach's great performance (note that I RARELY use that phrase), the cinematography and Morricone's score.

This is the Reconstructed Italian version (don't worry, the words are still spoken in English). 2 hrs. 55 min. long, including 15 restored min. that Eastwood and Wallach had to go back and re-dub a couple of years ago. The print has been cleaned up, and has a remixed 5.1 Digital Dolby sound. I've done this at the Forum a few years ago, but I need no excuse to go back. A favorite of mine.

PINK FLOYD: THE WALL- Sat April 12 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- A film from United Artists, after it was sold and became part of MGM. That's the only connection this has with the other films on this list. You can't get much more bizarre than this collaboration of Alan Parker's visual style and Roger Waters' music. Among the last of the midnight movies to make any kind of impact. Waters hated this film so much, he bad mouthed it every chance he had. I don't think Parker can say Roger's name without some form of bile buildup. Amazing visual sequences, not just in the famous We Don't Need No Education scene. The film is barely coherent from the start, and makes less sense as it goes along. But good music and visuals go a long way with me.

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER- Mon April 14 at 9:30- Film Forum- Part of the United Artists retrospective. One of the better film noirs. Robert Mitchum's best performance as a corrupt preacher willing to kill, as he marries widow Shelley Winters to force her kids to tell him where their late father hid money from a robbery. Any comparisons to Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks, where evil creeps into little America is understandable. It's easy to think of film villains like Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter and Gollum, or get caught up in a newer one, like Capitán Vidal from Pan's Labyrinth. It's sometimes easy to forget the older villains. I find Mitchum's preacher more insidious than his later turn in the original Cape Fear.

When I watched Do The Right Thing when it first played in theaters, I admired the Radio Raheem monologue about Love and Hate on his hands. Didn't realize it was stolen from Mitchum's character here. The moral: keep watching good films. And also, if we keep giving Spike Lee less credit, the world will be a happier place to live in.

Initial reaction from 1955 audiences made this film a huge bust. It prompted first-time director/ acting legend Charles Laughton to never direct again. A cult classic today and maybe even more than that. Selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 1992. if you haven't seen it, let's do it.

TOPKAPI and/or THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968)- Thurs April 17 at 7:05 (Topkapi) and 9:20 (Crown)- Film Forum- 2 heist films that are part of the United Artists retrospective. First Topkapi, from the recently deceased Jules Dassin. Raffi may his best film, and probably the best heist film ever made, but this comedy/thriller deserves some love. A small timer (and possible idiot), played by Peter Ustinov spies on a group of jewel thieves (Melina Mercouri, Maximillian Schell and Robert Morley, among others) involved in a caper in Istanbul. The complications rise, the police apply more pressure, and this little idiot actually thinks he's controlling the situation. Featuring a heist scene that De Palma would expertly copy (I mean do a homage to) in the original Mission: Impossible. In fact this film inspired the original series. Great location shooting, and an Oscar for Ustinov for Supporting Actor.

Next, the original Thomas Crown Affair. The Pierce Brosnan remake is ok, but nothing matches the original. A new 35mm print for Thomas Crown. Steve McQueen plays the title role, and is in ultra-cool mode. He's a bored multi-millionaire who gets his kicks from planning bank robberies. But he might meet his match in high class private eye Faye Dunaway. The rest of the film becomes a cat and mouse game between them.

I enjoy Norman Jewison's film very much. But I'll admit to some dated moments here, though thanks to 24, the multiple pictures in picture isn't one of them anymore. Has a very 60s feel to it, especially in the Oscar nominated score, the Oscar winning "The Windmills of your Mind", and the ending.

The leads help this endure. McQueen may not be the prototype for the polo playing 60s-esque Master of the Universe. But he's Steve McQueen, so he's cool. And Faye Dunway gets to be stylish, sexy, and smart as whip. Mix the 2 together in that chess seduction scene, and it becomes unforgettable. I'm confident that if you're reading this, you probably haven't seen this. And I'm just as confident you'll enjoy it.

Emphasis on the McQueen films and the Annie Hall/Where's Poppa double feature. Anything else is a bonus. Let me know. Later all.