Thursday, July 02, 2009

July revivals: musicals edition

Mike here, trying to quickly post something for the next week or so. Luckily, a limited schedule narrows stuff down for me. I'll try to keep things to a minimum. And to let you know, its musicals only for this post. Here we go:

SINGIN IN THE RAIN- Fri July 3 at 10:30AM- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- This classic kicks off their weekend long series of musicals from across the decades. A studio print, though I don't think its the vivid 3 strip Technicolor print that impressed me when I first saw the picture. It took a long time to get me interested in this film. Aside from the classic title number and Donald O' Connor's "Make Them Laugh" number, I had trouble getting into this on tv. Then I saw this on the big screen some years ago at AMMI in Astoria, and it's become one of my all time favorites. When someone says they hate musicals, they obviously never saw this (and they still might not like it, so they can go fuck themselves). On every American best film list, whether its musicals, comedy, or just films in general.

The time is NOT a typo. If you've never seen it, and you can get up and go early on the Friday of the 4th of July weekend, let's go. Don't mind me if I'm rushing in with a giant coffee.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW- Sat July 4th at Midnight- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Yes, there are always at least one midnight screening somewhere in NYC. But this is a new print, as opposed to some DVD projection or some old print that's been used twice a week for three or four years. I've gotten the idea that the Walter Reade is not encouraging anyone to perform a show in front of the screen, or to throw toast, toilet paper, etc. Costuming is one thing, but nothing that requires the limited staff to clean up. The idea this weekend is to celebrate different kinds of successful musicals, and if this transvestite musical comedy can't up hold to scrutiny by people watching without visual aids, then it sucks. But after three decades of being the most successful cult film ever, the last three words of the previous sentence doesn't hold water, now does it. Quick how many other films from 1975 do you remember? Jaws, Cuckoo's Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, maybe Tommy, Barry Lyndon or Return of the Pink Panther, then good luck after that. If you want to end the 4th of July in a fun way, but not the typical way you'd usually see Rocky Horror, then let's go for it. Buying tickets ahead of time, either online or even a few days or hours in person, might be advisable.

BYE BYE BIRDIE- Sun July 5 at 5:30, 7:45 and 10, and (maybe) Tues July 7 and Thurs July 9 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum- A new 35mm Scope Restoration. Ann-Margaret became a star, as the number one fan (in a non-Misery way), of the Elvis-like star, whom she gets to kiss on The Ed Sullivan Show, before he goes to the Army. I have no idea if this film holds up, or if it's creaky, with more ancient cracks in it than the Liberty Bell? Though goodness knows, women who were around when the film opens, or watched it on tv for about 15 years after its release, all wanted to be Ann-Margaret. An ex talked about how she could still play Ann-Margaret despite being over ten years and 25 pounds inappropriate for the role. My first response was a raised eyebrow and one word: "Really?". Boy did I find out how a size nine shoe could fit into my mouth . . .

Where was I? Oh yeah, the film. If interested, I'll go for it. If you can't do Sunday, then Tuesday or Thursday only, for those who know me. If its Tuesday, I must know by Monday night. If its Thursday, I must know by Wednesday night. Let me know.

HAIR- Sun July 5 at 7:15- The Walter Reade- An archive print. Milos Forman's 1979 attempt to depict the late 60s and what was going on in the country he had at that point, recently began to call home. So the combination of an outsider's perspective and the attempt to make the story as linear as the stage musical is not, makes this to me, a noble failure. I can't hate this film, unlike the musical's creators, who felt Forman "didn't get it". It took big chances, and has many good moments; thanks to choreography by Twyla Tharp, impressive cinematography (done by three different people) and a standout lead performance from Treat Williams as Berger. Good reviews didn't save it, and only movie musical fans give any respect. If you'd like to take a chance and prefer this over Bye Bye Birdie, let me know. Unless you prefer . . .

TOMMY- Sun July 5 at 9:45- The Walter Reade- That's right, you can't buy one and stay for another with this musical retrospective. You can buy one ticket for every film on ONE of the three days for one price, or you can buy one ticket for up to five films of the series, but no double features for you!

Ken Russell's version of the famous Who rock opera. Was successful at the box office, but had more of an impact as a midnight movie for years after its 1975 release. Basically, Tommy goes deaf dumb and blind after seeing his dad die accidentally because of his mother's lover. But after that, shit gets strange, including dealing with Tina Turner's Acid Queen and Elton John's Pinball Wizard. But because it's a Ken Russell film, things gets BAT SHIT CRAZY after that! You may never want to eat baked beans again after you see Tommy. Unless you can eat them off of Ann-Margaret. If you haven't seen this film and don't know what I'm talking about, see for yourself.

Not the best film of the bunch, but memorable to be sure. Oscar nominations for Ann-Margaret for Best Actress and Pete Townsend for the music. But I can see why Pete was jealous of Roger Daltrey here (and in general). If I create the bulk of the music, but I'm not hot enough to pull of the lead like Roger, I'd be jealous too.

That's all for now. Let me if there's interest this weekend, if any. Later all.

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