Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Feb revivals: first half

Hey, all. Mike here with what to catch for the first half of February. No time to waste, here we go:

MOULIN ROUGE!- Thurs Feb 5 at 7 and 9:30- Chelsea Clearview for 7.50- A cheap screening of what seem feel is the best musical of the decade. The musical that breathed life into the genre for the first time in a live action way since All That Jazz. I strongly disagree with that, I'm just stating others' feelings on the matter. Whether you pick Chicago, or Once, or even Across The Universe instead, I personally prefer that to choosing this. Not that I hate it, mind you. I've only seen this on TV. After the Can-Can sequence, the film dips into ok at best, and never goes back up.

I also have a bias regarding Baz Lurhman films. Rome and Juliet is ok, but overrated, and I don't care about the rest. When catching Quantum of Solace (merely decent; a disappointment when compared to Casino Royale), I walked into the closing credits of Australia. Hearing the music and seeing the giant Australia map behind the letters, I thought "What pretentious crap", so good luck getting me to see that. But I've told others before that I'd give Moulin Rouge a chance on the big screen. And so it's posted here, waiting for someone to call me on it.

I'M NO ANGEL- Fri Feb 6 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum for 35 cents- The start of the Forum's series of Depression-era films. And to kick it off, the Forum starts off with this Mae West film, and tries to do something special around it. Along with the film, there will be trailers from other films in the series, as well as old time Movietone News shorts from the era. Then, the film itself.

Screenplay fully credited to West (a rarity for a studio film to be written by a sole female, so just think of how rare in 1932!), and the second teaming of Mae and Cary Grant. Simple comedy, as West's character basically goes from the outhouse to literally the penthouse. But remembered and liked for the suggestive lines. "When I'm good, I'm very good. But, when I'm bad... I'm better." and "It's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men." are just some of the memorable lines. A big hit that helped Paramount Pictures get through the Depression, and supposedly helped caused the need for the Production Code to put more censorship, er I mean, put restrictions on racier and/or violent elements, yeah, that's it . . .

And the cost of all this? Thirty Five Cents. Not a typo. 35 cents. This needs to be decided ASAP. If you don't decide by late Wed afternoon, good luck getting in, especially if you're not a member. It's 25 cents for members, by the way.

MY MAN GODFREY with or without EASY LIVING- Sat Feb 14 at 4:35 (Godfrey), 6:25 (Easy), and 8:20 (Godfrey)- Film Forum- More from the Forum's Depression-era film retro. My Man Godfrey is the one I'd really like to catch. In this screwball comedy classic, Carole Lombard's rich girl character (think Paris Hilton, minus STDs and plus 100+ I.Q. points), on a whim and in scavenger hunt mode, brings in homeless man William Powell to become the family butler. He turns out to be more than meets the eye, not the least of which being brighter then the rest of the family. Why Powell's a hobo probably wouldn't hold up today, not without a big storyline about him getting treatment, put on medication, etc. But the rest of the comedy holds up quite well. Powell may always seem to have the upper hand on Lombard, but that's the script, and not for lack of trying. But Powell has the advantage of playing a straight man while also going into depth with his character, while everyone else around him are batshit nuts.

6 Oscar nominations; Powell for Actor, Lombard for Actress, Gregory La Cava for Director, plus 2 for Supporting Actress and one for the Screenplay. When this is shown on TV, it looks every bit it's age of over 70 years. While we're not getting a new 35mm print here, I'm hoping it's a lot better here then on TV.

Double featured with Easy Living, co-written by Preston Sturges and has been argued as the best screwball comedy of the 30s that doesn't get acknowledgement. Basically, you have Jean Arthur who works in a Wall Street firm, who is accidentally thought of as her boss' mistress, who ends up living in a fancy hotel, and falls in love with Ray Milland who works in the Automat, but is actually the son of the man people think has Jean Arthur's character for a mistress . . . Confused yet? Anyway, you can see with My Man Godfrey for one admission.

GONE WITH THE WIND- Sun Feb 15 at 4- Symphony Space- Do I really have to go on about this. If you're looking at this page at all, you know this. The question is, will you be willing to spend the three hours, forty-six minutes to see this classic? The Leonard Nimoy Thalia may not be the Ziegfeld or even the old AMMI, but it will do.

There you go. Short list. You have little time to tell me if there's interest in I'm No Angel, more time regarding the others. Let me know. Later all.

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