Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jan revivals: first half

Hey all. Mike here with what to catch for the first half of the first month of the new year. Here we go:

UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948)- Tues Jan 30 at 8- Film Forum- A reminder to catch the Preston Sturges original. And speaking of his films . . .
THE LADY EVE and THE PALM BEACH STORY- Mon Jan 1 at 6:15 (Lady Eve), 8:10 (Palm Beach) and 10 (Lady Eve)- Film Forum- The last of the Preston Sturges retrospective. As close as Sturges could get to sex comedies back in the early forties. There's The Lady Eve, where con artist Barbara Stanwyck targets rich "dope" Henry Fonda. Naturally there's all that falling in love, the thawing of cold cynical hearts, misunderstandings, none of this necessarily in that order and often repeated. Then there's The Palm Beach Story, where Claudette Colbert runs away from husband Joel McCrea to Palm Beach for a quick divorce, after being refused to let her use her sex appeal for raising money for his inventions, only to be pursued by rich Rudy Vallee, whose sister Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon) chases McCrea, who is introduced by Colbert as her brother. Confused? Then wait till the action is ratcheted up.

You can go wrong with seeing either screwball comedy. So imagine if you see both?

BIGGER THAN LIFE- Fri Jan 2, Mon Jan 5 and Tues Jan 6 at 5:40, 7:50 and 9:50- Film Forum- A new 35mm scope print of this 1956 CinemaScope film. A film I've surprisingly never heard of before. I mean, I know the film's lead James Mason, his co-star Walter Matthau, and the film's director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause). And according to imdb, the average shot length is eleven seconds. But aside from being an inspiration to Godard, I know nothing else. Haven't seen a frame of it. But I'm very curious to try it. NOT available on DVD in this country, and 4 minutes longer then the version occasionally shown on Fox Movie Channel. So this is the only way to see this as originally intended. Okay, because it was shot in Cinemascope, the screen would usually be bigger than any of the Forum's screen, but still. as for anything else, I cut and paste the following from the Forum website:

(1956) “God was wrong!” proclaims James Mason — but then he’s in the grip of all-out 50s mediocrity: a too-intellectual, bow-tied grade school teacher, his house festooned with travel posters for places he’s never been to; forced to spend odd afternoons as a cab dispatcher to make ends meet; his job, friends, family, and even himself, self-described as dull. But then there’s bad news and good news: he’s got a rare arterial disease that will probably finish him within a year. The good news? There’s this miracle drug (cortisone) that might just save his life. But there could be some little side effects… Time capsule of the 50s: the d├ęcor, the blocky suits and omnipresent hats for the men, the gowns that wife Barbara Rush tries on during the new Mason’s ill-advised splurge fest, the hat she wears on Sunday, the conformity (everyone in town seems to attend the same church) — an unexpected setting for Mason’s tour de force performance, as he moves from frumpy nice guy to full-blown, drug-induced megalomaniac. Color; Approx. 95 minutes.

ANGEL HEART- Fri Jan 2 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- A favorite of mine. Though not well known by those under 30, and not necessarily liked by those over it. Consider it a horror noir, from director Alan Parker, back in 1987. Also, on my second straight list, I have a Mickey Rourke film, where he gives a very good performance, and the audience wasn't there for it. Reviews were better, but the film was no less controversial.

Rourke plays a slimy NYC private eye, hired by mysterious Robert de Niro, whose character goes by the name Louis Cypher (get it, get it? Not that hard.). Louis hires the private dick to search for a missing man. The mystery goes from NYC, to New Orleans (good location shooting), with a conspiracy, voodoo, and a hot girl played by Lisa Bonet. The controversy came with the nude sex scene between Rourke and 19 year old Cosby girl Bonet. See every part of her, have a little blood drip down on her back and butt. Nope, the MPAA was NOT thrilled by this at all. The movie was sold for the scene, and then promptly rejected.

For me, Parker did a good job having the noir and horror elements work in tandem. The scenes between de Niro and Rourke are too cool for school. It helped that they hated each others guts. Allegedly, de Niro felt Rourke was letting his talent go to waste ,and both felt the other was a dick. If Bobby was any other actor, Rourke would have throttled him, but since Bobby wasn't . . . Forgotten now, but if you're into a change of pace and can stay up . . . I totally understand that I'm in the minority in terms of liking this, but like it I do.

EUROPA EUROPA and/or FROZEN RIVER- Wed Jan 7 at 6 (Europa) and 8:30 (Frozen)- MOMA- Not exactly a pairing of happy to be alive flicks to be sure. A potential double feature of two different retrospectives at MOMA. I have seen neither film, and you don't have to see both. 1 admission covers both films, so I'll try to be brief about both.

First, Europa Europa. Part of the Agnieszka Holland retrospective. She's best known for both directing this film and The Secret Garden (not the musical), as well as co-writing parts of the French Three Colors trilogy (White and Blue). Since her films are not what you call commercial hits, she's worked on American TV recently, directing episodes of The Wire and Cold Case.

I'm very curious to see this. Based on a true story, of a young Jewish boy, who hid in plain sight from the Nazis. By becoming a member of the Hitler youth. Co-starring Julie Delpy (White, Before Sunrise/ Sunset) as an Aryan girl he falls for. Won both New York Film Critics and National Board of Review for Foreign Film, and Holland was Oscar nominated for Screenplay Adaptation. I wouldn't mind seeing both, but if I had to choose one, I'd pick the older film then the newer release.

Not that I wouldn't catch Frozen River. Part of MOMA's Contenders series: 2009 films likely to get critic's awards and/or Oscar nominations. A drama written and directed by Courtney Hunt. Starring Melissa Leo (a character actress whose husband supposedly funded the film), as a desperate single mother, who involved in smuggling illegal aliens from New York to Quebec. Strange how when first screened at Sundance this January, or at MOMA this March, or even in its August 1st release, that this film was considered way too dark in showing the economic strife that forces someone to do this. Now, not so much. Is in this series for its critics awards, Independent Spirit and SAG nominations, and the possible Oscar nomination for Leo.

ALL ABOUT EVE- Thurs Jan 8 at 7 and 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- Another cheap screening of another classic, in my personal top 35. I've brought it up before on previous lists, which I why I won't go into it further, and I know some of you have caught this before. But for those who haven't, here's a good place and time. Also, if you want, this is good to use as an unofficial double feature. Pay to see this at 7, then sneak into a potential Oscar nominee afterwards, probably something that starts between 9:15-10. Afraid it doesn't work the other way around, since the revival tickets are checked a second time before you can sit. You'd have to settle for one of the best American films ever made.

THE HUSTLER- Fri Jan 9 at 1:30- MOMA- Classic Paul Newman film as he plays "Fast" Eddie, cocky incarnate, and the rise and fall as he tries to become the best at pool. A lame synopsis, I admit. But to go further without spoiling the film for some is bad form. And to go on about the snappy dialogue and the grimy ambiance of this sports noir, requires a better writer than myself. I just want you to go. I'm just sorry this isn't playing at a more convenient time.

Oscars for Art Direction and the terriffic Cinematography. Nominations for Picture, Robert Rossen for Director and Adapted Screenplay, Newman for Actor, Piper Laurie for Actress. This was the year where for the Supporting Actor nominees were George C. Scott as the slimy manager, Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, plus Montgomery Clift for Judgement at Nuremberg and Peter Falk for Frank Capra's last film, Pocketful of Miracles. They all lost to George Chakris from West Side Story. They might all have been better actors, but could they dance Jerome Robbins' choreography and sing Sondheim? I guess NOT!

Let me know if there's interest. Later all. And Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December revivals: now thru the end of the year.

Mike here, running late with the list for the second half of December. No time to go into details with all films, so I will put the list into an easy to read breakdown: by date and by time. If I want to go into details with any of them, I will. Hear we go.

Friday December 26:
3:05- MEAN STREETS at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center.

4:30- THE GREAT MCGINTY (maybe for me) at Film Forum.
6:05- SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS at Film Forum.

7:55- THE GREAT MCGINTY at Film Forum.

8:45- GOODFELLAS at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center.

9:30- SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS at the Film Forum.

12Midnight- YEAR OF THE DRAGON at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

Mean Streets, I've brought up before. Part of the start of the Martin Scorsese retrospective, though the retro is limited to De Niro-Scorsese, with few exceptions. No double features either, otherwise the idea of doing Mean Streets-Goodfellas, or Goodfellas-King of Comedy, is salivating for a film buff.

Sullivan's Travels and The Great McGinty isn't the start of the Preston Sturges retrospective, but they're the first films in it I can get to. Consider Sturges to be the Sandy Koufax of film directors. A few years where he was one of the very best, then gone. Sullivan's is considered (arguably) the best in his career. Joel McCrea plays the director of simple entertaining films, who dreams of making an Important Film. He goes out on the road, posing as a hobo, to learn about the common man, and gets a rude awakening. He also gets Veronica Lake, nice if you can get it. A classic in the comedy genre, though it works more than as just a comedy.

Year of the Dragon is a film I like, despite it's controversy. Michael Cimino, directed this, years after his Heaven's Gate as his splashy return to the Hollywood A list. It didn't work, thanks to the EXTREMELY mixed reviews at the time. Some praised it, but others attacked the depiction of Chinese in Chinatown, and not the movie from start to finish. It depicts a world where the main good guy is a Vietnam vet who hates all Asians, and is now a NYPD Captain assigned to take down gangs based in Chinatown. I agree its depiction of Chinese does cross the line of good taste on occasion. And misogynistic? Definitely. But we're not talking about something offensive on the level of Birth of a Nation here (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about.). The story and its execution, along with Mickey Rourke's performance, make it worth catching. Rourke plays the police captain who will step on toes, especially on those on his side, to take down Chinese gangsters. But he has an adversary in the new young Chinese boss (John Lone of The Last Emperor), who is willing to escalate the violence. These two violent men will let the bullets fly to take the other down, and God help the friends, subordinates, and civilians who get in their way.

Written by Cimino and Oliver Stone, just two years after Scarface. As you can tell, this isn't a film with PG-13 lightness to it. With as many bullets flying as a typical John Woo flick. But instead of Woo poetic lyricism, we're in violence with consequences territory. Not always, but enough to make you feel the pain behind each attack and loss. And now, with all the praise Rourke is getting as the burned out has been in The Wrestler, you can see a more vital Mickey, pulling off a complex character with much physical vitality. Partially shot in North Carolina on sets made to look Chinatown. In part to avoid the potential anger from the natives, and partially to stage some the complicated parades and/or gunfights.

For the record, some of the reviews were really brutal. To the point where it got several Razzie nominations. Some complained about Mickey, others complained about the casting of the hot model Ariane as a TV reporter. I disagree with it. You may not like the film as much as I do, but you would be seeing potent film making not seen a lot these days from a Hollywood studio.

Saturday December 27:
4:30- THE GREAT MCGINTY (maybe) at Film Forum.

5:30- GOODFELLAS at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center.

6:05- SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS at the Film Forum.

7:55- THE GREAT MCGINTY (maybe) at the Film Forum.
9:30- SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS at the Film Forum.

12Midnight- YEAR OF THE DRAGON at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

Goodfellas I won't go much into. Until Return of the King, the last new release I paid three times to see in a theater. If you're reading this, you've probably heard of it. On both AFI Top 100 lists. On my personal top 35, and probably much much higher then that. Used as an example of what Oscar got wrong for Best Picture. As much as I like Dances With Wolves (I'm annoyed with the attacks it gets), it was NOT Best Picture of 1990. Oh HELL NO! If Friday is not doable, Saturday is great.

I'm not into The Great McGinty, by the way. I don't have to see it, but if we were to catch Sullivan's Travels and one insisted on staying for this I wouldn't mind too much. I've cut and pasted a description from the Forum's website:

"(1940) “If you don’t have graft you’d have a low type of person in politics. Men with no ambition.” Boss Akim Tamiroff helps crooked bum Brian Donlevy become an even crookeder governor, until honesty rears its ugly head. Written seven years before, Sturges sold the script for $10 (upped from $5) for the chance to direct. Result: his only Oscar (the first-ever Original Screenplay award) and the first of seven smash hits. “Capra with the gloves off.” – Raymond Durgnat. Approx. 81 minutes"

Sunday December 28:
6:45- THE KING OF COMEDY at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center.

Part of the Scorsese retro. Big flop from early 1982, but also one of that year's best film. Similar to a musical where the songs all happen in the context of a show or in fantasy. Here, most of the comedy is in the context of the talk show or in fantasy. Mostly it's a dark drama. Robert de Niro plays an obsessed fan, who takes a chance encounter with his talk show host idol too much to heart. This lets his fantasies of becoming a comedy icon grow bigger than usual, and his behavior becomes more irrational, and potentially dangerous.

De Niro is loser incarnate, and it cuts close to the bone. It's almost like Willy Loman never did anything, then kidnapped his brother for those riches.. But most critical attention went to Jerry Lewis, in his first serious role of note, as the talk show icon. A role Johnny Carson turned down after much deliberation, because the role was written to close to his reality (at least when he hosted The Tonight Show in NYC). Lewis was long dismissed at this point, and this role gave his career a whole new lease on life. When the Academy Awards show clips from Jerry's career when he gets his honorary award, they will be at a decent clip from this film to show. We see him in de Niro's fantasy scenes, and is just as impressive as someone not happy with his celebrity status, and even less happy by his privacy being interrupted by this nut. Stealing scenes from both de Niro and Lewis was Sandra Bernhard, as an even more obsessed fan.

Came out in Feb. 1982 to major praise. When it expanded beyond 2 or 3 screens, it was DOA. I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of love for an ending that neither went to the comfortable Hollywood route, nor did it go a Taxi Driver-esque route. Maybe the stalker story was too close after John Lennon's murder by a crazed fan. Home video and TV could only do so much. Not the coolest in comparison to other Scorsese-de Niro, and because it was made by Fox instead of Warner Bros, it doesn't get packaged with their other works. But I'm guessing most of you haven't seen this ever, or since the 80s or early 90s. Now is the chance to change that.

Monday December 29:
4:20- GOODFELLAS at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center.

Last chance to catch this if you haven't by now.

Tuesday December 30:
1pm- THE KING OF COMEDY at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center

4:05 OR 8- UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) at the Film Forum.

Unfaithfully Yours is part of the Preston Sturges retrospective, and the film I want to see the most on this date. The last of the standout Sturges comedies. Harrison plays a conductor who thinks his wife is cheating on him. As he conducts his orchestra, his imagination on how to kill his wife and suspected lover plays out for us. Then he tries to actually pull it off, which is even funnier. Ignore the Dudley Moore remake, no matter how beautiful Nastassja Kinski is. Catch this, especially if you've never seen it before.

Too many to choose from. Basically, Goodfellas is my top choice, The Great McGinty is my last choice, Mean Streets is my next to last choice, and everything else is a runner-up to Goodfellas. One can have a pretty good week of film watching if you follow this plan. Let me know. Later all, and Happy Festivus.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December revivals: now until Xmas.

Mike here with what to catch in December, from now before Christmas. The rest of the year gets a separate list, and a lengthy one at that. Let's not waste time, here we go:

AMARCORD- Thurs Dec 18 at 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:40- Film Forum- One last chance to catch the 35mm restoration of Fellini's last film of note.

BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)- Fri Dec 19 and Sat Dec 20 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- What seems to be a developing tradition at Landmark Sunshine: holiday season midnight screenings of the original version of this horror film from 1974. For the rest, I'll cut and paste from another source about this (honestly, I don't remember where I got it, but I claim no credit):

Black Christmas was a film ahead of its time. Four years before Halloween, Bob Clark (who also directed A Christmas Story) ushered in the holiday horror genre with this blood-curdling tale.
Three sorority sisters (Andrea Martin Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey) have nowhere to go for the holidays. As if that weren't bad enough, Hussey is having problems with boyfriend Peter Smythe (Keir Dullea), one of their housemates is missing, and someone keeps making unsettling prank calls. Oh, and there's a dead girl in the woods.

Unlike the 2006 remake of the same name, Black Christmas is both truly terrifying and surprisingly original. It features well-developed characters and exceptional performances, among them the always great John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon) as local cop Lt. Kenneth Fuller.

GREMLINS- Fri Dec 19 and Sat Dec 20 at Midnight- IFC Film Center- Part of the 80s horror film retrospective. Works well in making one both laugh and jump. Recently appeared in a list blog among the worst gifts ever given in a movie set in Christmas time. Cute little Gizmo given as a gift to a son by screw-up Dad, who just can't keep his pet from getting wet, thus multiplying, or keeping them from eating after midnight. Turning them into evil little things. I steal this from someone on imdb who talked about this: like The Matrix, be careful with your ever improving technology, or else you're screwed.

Laugh either loudly, at say, when the Gremlins enjoy Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or darkly, at Phoebe Cates' monologue involving her dad, a Santa Claus suit, and a chimney two sizes two small, so to speak. No laughing when the film came out, but now . . . And make you jump, when say, Mom is attacked by multiple Gremlins. One of the big hits of the summer of 1984, from director Joe Dante, and writer Chris Columbus.

AUTUMN SONATA- Sat Dec 20 at 11AM- IFC Film Center- Part of the Ingmar Bergman retrospective. Another well done dark drama from Bergman (gee, did make any other kind?) back in 1978. An almost claustrophobic, definitely naturalistic film, where world famous pianist Ingrid Bergman (Oscar nominated) visits her daughter, Liv Ullman. Let the recriminations and the passive aggressive behaviour begin! Mother and daughter dance around between real and imagined crimes, and questionable pains. Ullman's competent pianist still gets taken to task for her playing by her mother, the world famous concert pianist. The scene where Bergman plays exactly how Ullman's character does ok, and yet not good enough devastates. All this, while Bergamn's granddaugther/ Ullman's daughter suffers real agony, thrashing about from an extremely painful degenerative nerve disorder with no cure. Merry Christmas!!!

An Oscar nomination also to Ingmar for his screenplay (NOT for his direction).

BABY DOLL- with post film Q and A with Eli Wallach and Carroll Baker- Mon Dec 22 at 7- Film Forum- A night night only screening and Q and A at the Forum. If this isn't agreed upon and planned out within minutes of you reading this, the chance of getting in will be minimum. A screenplay from Tennesse Williams, and directed by Elia Kazan. Carroll Baker plays the title role, as a 19 year old child bride, who refuses to give in to husband Karl Malden's "demands". She ends caught in the middle, as her virginity becomes a prize, between Malden, and an angry Mexican business rival (Eli Wallach in his film debut) who tries to take revenge, by taking Baby Doll. Funnier then you might expect, but as well acted, written and directed as you might think from all the names I mentioned here.

Controversial back in the mid 50s for the subject matter (in the 1950s? Gee, you THINK?!?!?!). Condemned by the Legion of Decency, this arm of the Catholic Church tried to organize a nationwide boycott. Cardinal Spellman in St. Patrick's Cathedral condemned the film during mass, telling Catholics to not see Baby Doll "under pain of sin". A surprising indirect ally was Time Magazine, who called the film the dirtiest American picture ever legally screened. The boycott didn't completely work. The backlash eventually killed the Catholics out of giving films the Production Code seal of approval; a step that would eventually lead to the ratings system and board we have today. But it did kill any chance Baby Doll ever had to be profitable. The boycott succeeded to the point that over 50 years later, this film is still criminally under seen. You might have heard of this film, but you have to be an ardent buff to anything about this film. For the record, a bit on the tame side, and far from pornographic.

After this one night screening, Wallach and Baker will have a Q and A. Tickets on sale via credit card on the forum's website, with a small number tickets to be sold once the box office opens on Monday afternoon. If we do this, mucho planning needs to be done.

That's all for now. Let me know if there's interest. Later all.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December revivals: first half

Mike here with what to catch for the first half of December. Let's not waste time, here we go:

AMARCORD- Thurs Dec 4, Mon Dec 8, Tues Dec 9, Thurs Dec 11, Sat Dec 13 and Tues Dec 16- at 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- A 35mm restoration of Fellini's 1973 film (released officially in the US in 75), his biggest hit. Originally shot in the same 3 strip Technicolor style of previous films such as Singin In The Rain and The Godfather Part 2. I use these two films as previous examples of restored films shown at the Forum. While Rain's new print was on the muted side compared to the vivid 3 strip print, Godfather 2's was suppose to look terrific. Which way Amarcord's restored print will turn out , we'll have to see for ourselves, won't we?

The film itself is heavy on visual vignettes, as opposed to a linear story. Amarcord, essentially meaning I remember, is a semi-autobiographical tale of one year in the life of a small Italian town, similar to the one Fellini grew up in. The autobiographical part Fellini had denied, but did say there were similarities, whatever that means. Ending specifically in April 1933, which tells us this is a slice of life tale, which would change forever just a few years after the film's end. Unlike Rules of The Game, where a similar change in this world wasn't entirely apparent during the making of it, this feeling can't help but be there off and on throughout Amarcord. Though easy to forget at times for such a visual heavy film.

Won the Oscar for Best Foriegn Film in 75, nominated in 76 for Director for Fellini and Screenplay for Fellini and Tonio Guerra. But NOT for Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno (The Leopard), who was involved in the restoration. I'm not saying it should have beaten Barry Lyndon, and I wouldn't drop The Day of The Locust or Cuckoo's Nest for sure. But I guess it was hard for American Cinematographers doing the nominating to not vote for the respected James Wong Howe (Funny Lady) or Robert Surtees (The Hindenburg). This plays for two weeks total, so there's time to catch Amarcord.

THE DARK KNIGHT- Mon Dec 8 at 8:15- MOMA- One of the best films of 2008 gets one last screening in a theater before it comes out on DVD. Part of MOMA's series of 2008 Contenders for critics' top 10 lists and/or Oscars and other awards. You probably saw this already, and probably more than once if you made your second trip to Dark Knight at an IMAX screen. Now this film is scheduled for a smallish re-release sometime in January, to make it fresh again in the minds of Academy voters. But I can't not post this film, it's too good. Especially in such a comfortable screening area as MOMA's.

AUNTIE MAME- Thurs Dec 11 at 7 and 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- A cheap screening of the non musical form, of the story of a young orphan boy, who is raised and taught love and tolerance from her beloved Auntie Mame. Cute at times, and I prefer the music and songs, though there's no way in hell do I prefer the 1975 musical version of the film, Mame. Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Picture, Supporting Actress, Editing and Cinematography. This was in 1958/59 when Auntie Mame competed for Best Picture against flicks such as The Defiant Ones, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and lost to Gigi. The only film remembered and admired most by the way, is Vertigo, a flop back then. Go figure.

Anyway, the main reason to catch this is for Rosalind Russell 's Oscar nominated title performance. A career performance as the lovable eccentric, and almost indomitable Auntie. There are very few scenes where she isn't onscreen, and you'll go wherever she and the story will takes us.

POLTERGEIST- Fri Dec 12 and Sat Dec 13 at Midnight- IFC Film Center- Part of IFC's retro on horror films of the 1980s. A little over the top in its last half hour, but still quite effective. Just enough humor to set you up for more scares. Cited as one of the reasons for the creation of the PG-13 rating; can you believe it was rated PG? Directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Tobe Hooper, though how much of the film was made by Hooper and how much was made by producer/co-writer Steven Spielberg still seems to be a topic for conjecture. Though there's nothing as creepy here, as when a clip was used for DirectTV's series of commercials. My first thought: "This commercial is freaking me out. They're using the little dead girl to sell DirectTV. You have to be kidding!". 3 Oscar nominations, including the visual effects and Jerry Goldsmith's score.

CRIES AND WHISPERS- Sat Dec 13 at 11AM- IFC Film Center- Part of the Ingmar Bergman retrospective. Far from a happy film. A family gathers for a death watch, waiting for a woman to succumb to her cancer. The wait for the family members to inherit the dying woman's fortune is especially tortuous for her two sisters, whose feelings of repressed hatred and jealousy come bubbling forward. As the dying sister slips into further pain and agony, the sisters become more apathetic, to the point of will she die already? Like I said, not a happy film, but a well acted, well written one. If you can take it, it is a good one. Nominations for Picture, Director, Screenplay and Costume Design (losing all to The Sting). An Oscar for Sven Nykvist's Cinematography.

I would have included Fanny And Alexander (the director's cut) at IFC Film Center, but then I actually saw part of Bergman's film on TCM late Sunday night. Now this was the 1983 U.S. cut, which is two hours shorter, but still. I saw 10 minutes that I really liked, then 5 minutes I didn't. Followed by 5 minutes I thought "Eh.", followed by 5 minutes that were better to look at than anything else. Then after another 10 minutes I was getting bored, and I moved on. Then when it came time to put this list together, I had Fanny and Alexander as an early possibility. At that point, I thought "If I'm squirming in the comfort at home after thirty plus minutes, how will I feel during a five hour plus version?" Which is when I deleted the title from this list. Maybe another time. If you want to catch it, go ahead. It plays from the 5th through the 11th.

Biggest push for me for Amarcord and the midnight screening of Poltergeist. Most looking at this list have probably never seen it on the big screen. It may not scare like it did on tv when you were younger, but it's still good. And anything else is a bonus. Let me know. Later all.