Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hey, Mike here with a list of revivals for the first half of June. Short list, and I'm trying to keep the descriptions as brief as possible. Here we go:

BREATHLESS (1960)- Now thru Thurs June 10 at 4:40, 6:30, 8:20 and 10- Film Forum- A restored print of Jean-Luc Goddard's classic 1960 film (released in 61 in America). A restoration supervised by the film's cinematographer Raoul Cotard, since Goddard himself has apparently disowned this picture. Something about being a better director, an amateur then, silly film, I don't know and I don't care. The next time I care about a Goddard film not named Breathless will be the first, especially after sitting through Contempt. I wasn't even planning on posting this, since I caught it for free two summers ago at MOMA (free Friday screenings). But since someone told me they wanted to catch this, and it is a restored print with supposedly more accurate subtitles (so it is different than any other version out there on home video), post this film I will.

Wonderfully decadent film about two selfish lovers; Jean-Paul Belmondo as a thief/ killer with a Bogie fixation, and Jean Seberg as an American willing to go along for the ride. Some cool shots, a jump cut style of editing used not really from scene to scene but inside the scenes themselves, really keeps it going at a good clip. Until we get to a long scene where Belmondo is in Seberg's apartment, trying to re-seduce her. Doesn't work at first (maybe?), but the banal conversation that seems to an elaborate (mutual?) seduction pays off nicely.

I didn't pick any particular day or days to see this. I just posted how long it's scheduled to run, and I'll work from there. Based on previous films at the Forum has lasted longer then it's previous published engagement dates (Metropolis, Downfall, Valentino:The Last Emperor among others), so we'll see which path Breathless will follow. Too soon to tell which.

PRIVATE BENJAMIN- Thurs June 3 at 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- A cheap screening of the 1980 hit. Important in both comedy and hitting the zeitgeist, along with 9 to 5, around the time of the ERA movement. Though Goldie Hawn's performance elevates this picture quite a bit. Hawn's character, a sheltered JAP in mourning after her nebbishy husband dies on their wedding night, signs up for the Army and immediately regrets it. Until she slowly discovers her own self worth and becomes a stronger person, rising above the sexism in and out of the military. Oscar nominations for Hawn for Best Actress, Eileen Brennan for Supporting Actress as Hawn's punishing Captain, and Nancy Meyers Charles Shyer and Harvey Miller for Original Screenplay. So yes, there is proof that there are good films out there made by Meyers. This is probably because she didn't direct it. Yes, Baby Boom is good too, but I give even more credit there to Diane Keaton. Moving on . . .

ADAM'S RIB and/or KEY LARGO for free (subject to availability)- Fri June 4 at 4:30 (Adam's) and 8 (Largo)- MOMA- . Both for one admission. First, Adam's Rib, my favorite of the two. Hepburn plays a defense attorney, who turns her loser of a case (a wife shoots her husband when he catches him cheating) into a rallying cause for women's rights and anything else she can think of. Much to the chagrin of her husband Tracy, the prosecuting attorney. The marriage takes a beating, but will it hold up? Gee, what do you think?

My favorite of all the Hepburn Tracy team ups. Some hilarious set pieces, some involving David Wayne as the comic relief neighbor with a longing for Hepburn. Judy Holliday steals scenes as the wife on trial. An Oscar nomination for screenwriters Ruth Gordon and Garrison Kanin.

Next, Key Largo, from director John Huston. Bogie's engaged in a battle of wills with gangster Edward G. Robinson inside an old friend's hotel, while Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor (who won an Oscar for her role) look on, with a hurricane that threatens them all. An adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play, written by Huston and future director Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood).

XANADU- Thurs June 10 at 7 and 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- The Broadway version was a hit, but this one, the 1980 summer flop, is a fun bad movie. There's a plot in Xanadu, but since the filmakers and Universal Studios didn't seem to give a crap about it back then, I won't pretend I do now. Olivia Newton John is probably at her most beautiful, and I suppose she turned in a performance of some kind, and this was Gene Kelly's last dancing role. But his reputation couldn't be damaged, especially when he turns in the only credible acting performance. However, all the momentum Michael Beck's career had after appearing in The Warriors, grounded to a halt from which he never truly recovered. Mostly the same story with director Robert Greenwald, forced to do mostly TV (The only notable standout- "The Burning Bed"), and documentaries such as "Outfoxed" and "Walmart: The High Cost of Living".

Not a great film, not a good film. But a craptastic film. One that is crap and fantastic to watch in that respect. Now throw in the visual stimulus of Olivia Newton John, what is there to lose? A choice of two screenings. One at 7, hosted by Hedda Lettuce, who'll give Xanadu the old MST3K treatment. And one at 9:30, where it's just the film, and I suppose it's up to you/us to provide the MST3K comments to the screen.

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

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