Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November revivals: Thanksgiving weekend

Kim Greist as Jill Layton http://www.premiere.fr/var/premiere/storage/images/cinema/photos-film/photos-acteur/images/l-argent-de-poche-1975__4/11815961-1-fre-FR/l_argent_de_poche_1975_reference.jpg

Hey all. Mike here with what to catch this Thanksgiving weekend, and a few days after that. I didn't plan for most of this list's selections to come from IFC Center, but that's what's happened. This is also the latest I can go before posting. 2 days after I posted the last list, an AMC theater in Fresh Meadows posted an ad in the News and the Post for a revival screening of It's A Mad Mad Mad World for Sunday November 22 at 1. But this was the only way most people heard about, since it wasn't on AMC's website, and there were no earlier announcements anywhere. An ad in the paper, what is this, 1960 or 1970something? Maybe I could have gone, maybe I could have posted it, but if not given the chance . . . Oh well. I like the intentions, but if they don't draw anyone, I don't feel sorry for them. Anyway, here we go with this list:

M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY- Wed Nov 25, Sat Nov 28, and Tues Dec 1 - Thurs Dec 3 at 8:20 and 10:10- Film Forum- A restored 35mm print of the classic French comedy classic I brought up on the last post. I won't go into it again now, I still haven't seen it, and I'd like to catch this. Therefore, I'm re posting it.

SMALL CHANGE- Wed Nov 25, and Tues Dec 1 at 7:05 and 9:30, and Sat Nov 28 at 9:30- IFC Center- A new print of Francois Truffaut's 1976 hit. Episodic in nature, so don't go in thinking you'll get a linear plot here. Consider this as a slice of life over the course of a few summer months, following the lives of some of the kids, mostly of elementary school age. Not only are the kids the focus, the story is interrupted as though we're looking at this as a kid, at about the time just before they make the change to more adult ideas and decisions. Meaning little things take on greater importance. If something goes on that the kids don't understand, like first love or child abuse, and if one of the adults can't explain it clearly, then it will go misunderstood, or the kids will just move on. Might be frustrating for the audience, but stick with it.

Not the highest praised of Truffaut's canon, but much beloved to those who know it. Runs for one week only, I've listed the days and time I'm most likely available.

THE SHINING- Wed Nov 25 and Fri Nov 27 at 11:50 pm- IFC Center- Yet another chance to catch this Kubrick-Nicholson film. If you can't catch this Thanksgiving weekend, it will play again sometime soon. It's been popular for this theater so far in 2009, so I'm sure they'll continue with other, mostly unannounced midnight screenings for the foreseeable future. Also playing around the Midnight time at the IFC Center is . . . .

BRAZIL- Wed Nov 25 - Fri Nov 27 at 12:05AM- IFC Center- The last of the Monty Python retrospective. A little surprised that it hasn't run a little longer. I guess either the IFC Center couldn't find a good print of Time Bandits, or didn't think Time Bandits was good enough, or that Time Bandits could draw. Won't bother to go into the other stuff from Python people that might be too obscure (like Clockwise or A Private Function: look them up on IMDB on your own time.).

A commercial failure back in 1985-86, for reasons widely published that I won't bother getting into now, one of my favorites from the 1980s. Unfortunately, as the years go by, the world (major cities, anyway) seems to take a step at a time toward becoming the world depicted in Brazil. A funny version of Orwell's 1984, but with all the horrific implications to those who cross the Big Brotheresque government, though this government is more concerned with paperwork than surveillance. You can also be an innocent bystander to get screwed, like the poor man in the beginning of Brazil, that eventually leads us to our day dreaming hero, played by Jonathan Pryce.

If you've never seen this on the big screen, man it's so different. This is no tv skit film, this is a full blown cinematic experience. With an art direction (the look, people) that, along with Blade Runner and Batman, set the standard for large decaying Gothams. And I haven't even gotten into the cast; whether its actors we know, like de Niro, Michael Palin, Ian Holm and Katharine Helmond, or those we Americans weren't very familiar with back then, like Bob Hoskins and Jim Broadbent. Oscar nominations for its Screenplay and its Art Direction. If you can stay up this Thanksgiving weekend, let's go for it. If you're really adventurous, we can do it Thanksgiving night. An odd choice, but worthwhile.

Let me know. Happy Thanksgiving all, later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November revivals for the next few days.

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Mike here with another list, a small one. I don't have time to do a full list for the rest of the month, but if I wait any longer, I'll never get this out in time. Only 2 more films to add, but that will have to wait for a few days from now.

In the meantime, I caught The Red Shoes and I should apologize for just dismissing this as a chick flick or for dancers only. This is also for those who love film. Fantastic looking print, but the story is more about people, willing to sacrifice pieces of humanity and possibly their life to feed an addiction to make art. Well, not just art, but art at the highest quality. This just happens to take place in the ballet world. Interesting to see the most interesting character was the impresario who happens to be a rich cold fish. Also interesting to see the male dancers here smaller than what I'm used to seeing at ABT. Also, I wouldn't call the ballerinas in ABT anorexic, but let's just say the ballerinas in The Red Shoes look like they at least eaten a meal. Ah, different times. Anyway, you still have two days and nights to catch this print at the Forum, and if you haven't by now, I hope you catch it now. So let's go with the list:

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY- Thurs Nov 19 at 7:30- Queens Theater in the Park- The last of AMMI's series of classic films for the fall at Queens Theater in the Park. Take the 7 to the old Shea Stadium stop (I have no idea if there will be a shuttle bus or not) or try to park somewhere near QTITP, the U.S. Open, or the Hall of Science and walk over. And if you do that, you'll see a digital projection of one of my all time favorite films. I've brought this up before, so I won't go into this further.

BATMAN (1989) for free (subject for availability)- Fri Nov 20 at 8- MOMA- Part of a Tim Burton retrospective, and the only one I can catch, and have major desire to catch for that matter. Some I can't get to (Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Big Fish, Corpse Bride), some I've seen enough of on TV and on the original release (Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, Ed Wood), and some I have no desire to pay to catch again (to an extent Sweeney Todd, but I'm really referring to that crappy Planet of the Apes remake). Adding that this screening is for free (tickets given out at about 4PM, first come first served), it would be nice to see this again on the big screen, about 20 years after it became one of the biggest films of its day. It's not Dark Knight or Batman Begins, but it will do.

M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY- Fri Nov 20, Tues Nov 24, Sat Nov 28, and Tues Dec 1 - Thurs Dec 3 at 8:20 and 10:10 (no screenings on Mon)- Film Forum- A restored 35mm print of a classic French comedy, that's getting a 2 week run at the Forum. The first of 4 Monsieur Hulot films that co-writer/director/star Jacques Tati would make. Shot in the style of say, Modern Times, where there's practically no dialogue, but where music and sound effects hold high importance. Also, like Modern Times, comedy is important, and any social commentary is on the sly (ok, so that's a little different than Modern Times, don't complain to me please . . .). The lack of dialogue wasn't an obstacle for the picture to get an Oscar nomination for its Screenplay.

The story itself is simple. M. Hulot, a pipe-smoking klutz, goes off to vacation at a beach resort in August. Now decades before the cult film, Buckaroo Banzai, came out and had one of my favorite movie lines "No matter where you go, there you are.", this film "lived" that line. All different classes stay at this resort, and they all can't lose themselves on vacation. Whether they're snobby rich types, or pompous intellectual types, they can't get out of their own way. And they can't get out of the way of M. Hulot, in whatever sight gag or pratfall happens.

Originally shot in 1952, director Tati did something years before the likes of Spielberg, Ridley Scott and others: reshoot or add stuff for a director's cut. It wasn't referred as that back then of course. But Tati would re-edit in the early 60s while having the score re-orchestrated and adding an additional shot. Then in 1978, he shot new beach footage, and edited it in. This restoration had to restore the spliced-to-hell negative, while repairing the sound. Lot of work for a silent comedy classic. Is it worth it? LEt's go and see.

Let me know if there's interest. Later all.