Sunday, July 12, 2009

July revivals: a few days worth

Hey all. Mike here with what to catch over the next four days. I wanted to include more titles, but I just realized that if I did that, I'll never get anything out in time. So I'll post this for now, and hope I can spit out a few more titles later in the week. Here we go:

ALIEN- Mon July 13, Tues July 14 and Thurs July 16 at 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- Not sure which day and time I can do, but I have to post this anyway. A new 35mm print. I believe it's a new print of the original 1979 release, as opposed to the "director's cut" from about 6 years ago. My guess because the original trailer has been playing at the Forum for at least 5 weeks from this date. It means we don't get more establishment shots of the soon-to-be claustrophobic ship interiors, more signs of dislike and/or disrespect of Ripley, and the final fates of a few characters. All worked when restored to the film, but not essential to the film's enjoyment. Especially the extra interiors.

I've seen this with several of you before, but that doesn't stop me from posting this again. This film works, better than anything Ridley Scott as ever done. Excellent combo of look, pace and sound. In my personal top 100. C'mon, it's fun.

THE LION IN WINTER- Wed July 15 at 8- MOMA- Part of a series of films honored by some form of New York Film Critics award; a favorite of mine. A few years ago, the people who ran the Makor by the 67th st, did a poll about what they thought was the best performances that deserved to win an Oscar, but didn't. Peter O'Toole's performance in the Lion in Winter was one of them. He plays the same role he did in Becket, King Henry II of England, but as an older man despite only aging 4 or 5 years himself. Henry wants to name his successor, and his scheming sons and plotting wife at times back stab each other, just to have the chance to curry favor or back stab Henry. Hardly the happiest Christmas Day movie you'll ever see, but definitely the bitchiest.

I've told some of you about films I watched a lot at home, back when we had a CED disc collection (Google or Youtube what I mean). There were films I saw in heavy rotation, semi- heavy, and monthly. The Lion in Winter was one I tended to see seasonally; enough to enjoy without tiring of it.

Verbal fireworks from writer James Goldman (who adapted his play), played to terrific heights from O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn. Their scenes are the highlight of this film, spitting more acid at each other and others then the creature in Alien. Kate probably was given the best lines of her career in this film. One of her better ones:

. . .even made poor Louis take me on Crusade. How's that for blasphemy. I dressed my maids as Amazons and rode bare-breasted halfway to Damascus. Louis had a seizure and I damn near died of windburn... but the troops were dazzled.

Also featuring Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton in their screen debuts, as Richard the Lion-Hearted and King Louis II of France, respectively. 7 Oscar nominations, including Picture, Director, and O'Toole. 3 Oscars; for the Screenplay, Hepburn for Actress (Hepburn became the third performer to win consecutive awards, the first to win three awards for lead roles and tied with Barbara Streisand for Funny Girl that year.), and John Barry's terrific score. A note about Barry. It was considered a bit of surprise that someone known for light scores like the James Bond theme would get the gig, but he was friends with director Anthony Harvey. Barry's score just feels like it belongs in the Middle Ages, and I mean that in a good way. If you've never seen it, go. Go now. Unless you prefer . . .

ROMEO AND JULIET (1968)- Wed July 15 at 9 and Sun July 19 at 6:20- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Walter Reade's Shakespeare on screen series. The best of the bunch of the retrospective. The Zeffirelli version, as opposed to the Baz Luhrmann version. Now some of you might feel the Leonardo version is better. For those of you still living off the mid/late 90s memories of Leomania. It will also be screened in this retrospective. I'm not a big fan of it, so I'm moving on.

This version struck a nerve with audiences back in 1968, with its mostly age appropriate leads (let's be glad Paul McCartney supposedly said no), as well as its heavy leaning toward the romantic, than most other stage and screen versions. Even the ABT version doesn't veer that much toward romance as this does. Which makes the rising emotion become all the more tragic, when it veers to violence. Despite the brief nudity, this is the version shown in high school more often than not. Leads Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting may have had little major success afterwards (especially Leonard whose career seemed to end in the mid 1970s), but they'll always have this. Also in the cast: Michael York as Tybalt, Milo O'Shea as the Friar, and Pat Heywood (Richard Attenborough's wife from the last post's 10 Rillington Place.). I also don't think Zeffirelli made a better film either, though the schlock value of Endless Love deserves another post.
Oscar nominations for Picture and Franco Z. for Director, Oscars for Cinematography and the Costumes. While my number one choice that Wed night is to see Lion, this would be a good backup or second choice, though there is a Sunday night screening.

That's my order of preference. Let me know. Later all

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