Monday, August 30, 2010

September revivals, first half: the in-a-hurry-edition.

Hey, all. Mike here with a revival list for the first half of September. I don't have a lot of time, what with the U.S. Open having officially started. So please don't mind the haste this list was put together with, just check out the titles and see if there's interest. Here we go:

AVATAR: SPECIAL EDITION in 3-D and IMAX 3-D- Different theaters in New York, Long Island, New Jersey and about 600 plus screens around the country- All at different times that you can look up on your own- The extended, probably unnecessary version of Avatar still plays, probably through Thursday, September 9th, and maybe until Thursday, September 16th. Playing at different places in both 3-D and IMAX 3-D. Please excuse me if the only screen its playing in that I actually count as IMAX is the screen at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square: the only genuine IMAX screen that screens studio films in New York City, probably. I'll go, since I have little interest in sitting through this on a regular or even HD TV screen.

WHEN STRANGERS MARRY- Thurs Sept 2 at 6:35- Film Forum- Part of the William Castle retrospective. Castle was a director/ producer who's better known for the gimmicks used to promote or to "enhance" the experience of seeing his films, than the actual films themselves. Ok, Rosemary's Baby is the best known film on his resume, but since Roman Polanski was hired to direct because Roman was a more talented director, I'm not counting it, and neither is the Forum since it isn't in their retrospective.

Now I don't this film, but it seems interesting, so I post it. One night only, and only at 6:35. And hey, its only 67 minutes long. I'm loathe to do this, but I'll have to cut and paste the Forum's description and go from there:

(1944) Kim Hunter weds glove salesman Dean Jagger after their first date, then hears there’s a gloved strangler on the loose. But old flame Robert Mitchum is there to help. Shot in 7 days for $50,000, but “better acted than Double Indemnity and Laura” (Orson Welles). Approx. 67 minutes.

“Hitchcock was never more low-rent than this early B-movie sleeper.” – J. Hoberman

THE TINGLER plus PSYCHO: THE TRAILER- Sat Sept 4 and Sun Sept 5 at 2:50, 4:40, 8:15, and 10:05 (the Sunday 10:05 not for me)- Film Forum- Part of the William Castle retro, and his best known film. Better known for the gimmicks used to enhance the film experience, than the actual film itself. Simple story, where scientist Vincent Price discovers a creature that exists in all humans, a creature that lives on fear. He discovers one that is quite big and then it escapes . . .
Supposedly the Forum will re-enact the stunts that were done back when The Tingler was originally released. Not sure what that means exactly, but if it includes a few seats wired to give some select viewers a small shock, some people fainting "on cue", and some "nurses" ready to help movie goers, then this might be fun. More fun than the film itself.

Before The Tingler, the Forum will screen the original trailer for Psycho, which will play at the Forum around Halloween. The famous six minute trailer where its mainly just Hitchcock giving us a tour of the Bates Motel.

VANISHING POINT- Sat Sept 4 at 10- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the 20th Century Fox retrospective. New prints or special prints of every film that weekend. Go to the filmlinc website. Vanishing Point is a favorite among gear heads, features the world's most famous Dodge Challenger, and served as at least a partial inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's section of Grindhouse. As for the rest, here I'll cut and paste from filmlinc's website:

One of the choice pictures from the post-Sixties come-down is this road movie on amphetamines. Vietnam veteran, former police officer, and ace driver Kowalski (determined Barry Newman) takes a car cross-country and tries to outrun the law in an existentialist race to the final end. The sweet Dodge Challenger that is his muscle car of choice roars across the screen, spawning a cult virtually all its own among auto buffs. Featuring the off-the-wall radio-DJ stylings of Cleavon Little, chorus to Kowalski’s death trip.

PATTON- Mon Sept 6 at 8- The end of the 20th Century Fox retrospective. A rare 70mm print of the classic film. Arguably one of the best War films ever made. For me, among one of the best World War 2 films AND one of the best Biographical films ever made. Most people under the age 36 has probably never seen one before, and for something that isn't an IMAX screen, it's pretty damn large. A warts and all depiction of the general that even the very private Patton family would come to admire. Featuring a performance from George C. Scott that has made him seem like nothing less than Patton incarnate, and a first five to seven minutes that are among the best in the history of film, I kid you not.

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956)- Thurs Sept 9 at 9:30 for 7 dollars- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- A cheap screening of Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his own film of the same name. Jimmy Stewart is basically the title role, as he and Doris Day's son is kidnapped, so that Stewart will keep quiet about whatever info he was given by a dying spy. But the couple works essentially on their own to get their kid back. Now you can interrupt the script as Hitch's view of America overseas. Bumbling whenever it first gets involved in a foreign affair, perhaps more interested in initial action as opposed to first understanding the problem. Or understanding the area and people they will encounter. But the Americans' actions are well meaning, and they will eventually figure out a satisfactory conclusion.

This was one of Hitch's films that was gone for a while, then re-released in theaters in 1984. While this version of Knew Too Much didn't gain the classic status Rear Window and Vertigo received, it has been deservedly appreciated. And I will argue the wordless sequence in the middle of the film, set in the Royal Albert Hall, is as much a classic as anything Hitch ever did. Day's rendition of the Oscar winning "Que Sera, Sera", not so much; important to the plot but a film stopper in the worst way beforehand. Anyway, it's a cheap screening so don't knock it.

MY UNCLE plus Tatitude- Fri Sept 10, Sat Sept 11 and Mon Sept 13 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum- A 35mm restoration. The Forum is determined to keep the work of Jacques Tati alive, and after the success of M. Hulot's Holiday, here another one of Tati's comedies. But since I don't know this, and I have little time, I must once again cut and paste from the Forum's website:

(1958) Ah, la vie moderne! Madame Arpel dons rubber gloves to serve her son an egg; a pressed button pops her steak from grill to plate; another opens the front gate — but first the vertical fish sculpture must be turned into a fountain for important guests; circular windows resemble eyes when the silhouetted Arpels peer through them; hosts and visitors ruthlessly conform to the serpentine paved paths through the postage stamp graveled front yard; and an anniversary present, an automatic garage door opener and closer, backfires when their dog triggers it with the couple trapped inside. But their son GĂ©rard prefers the company of his seemingly hapless uncle, the high-cuffed, pipe-smoking bull-in-a-China shop Monsieur Hulot (Tati), who lives alone in a crumbling old neighborhood, where a wandering pack of dogs mark their territory, schoolboys play practical jokes on motorists and passersby, the street sweeper prefers chatting over actually scraping up the dung, and where a cheery tune is always playing in the background.

The gentlest of satires, Mon Oncle was Tati’s first film released in color and his most honored: Best Foreign Film Oscar; Best Foreign Film, New York Film Critics Circle; Special Jury Prize, Cannes, etc. But its simultaneously produced doppelganger, My Uncle, had been forgotten and nearly lost. With opening credits and street signs in English and the Arpels’ dialogue in British-accented English — though the townspeople still speak in (unsubtitled) French — Uncle was meant to be more accessible, but is also subtly different, containing scenes missing from Oncleand producing a slightly greater tilt toward Hulot’s world over la moderne. Long forgotten, the negative discovered in Tati’s archives has been restored to its original bright and vibrant color.

Also playing is a short, Tatitude, director Vivian Ostrovsky's tribute homage or whatever, to M. Hulot's Holiday.

Let me know. Would have to know quickly regarding the first film listed and Patton, since I'd have to plan around the Open for them. Later all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August revivals: second half

Hey, all. Mike here with a revival list for the second half of August. With the U.S. Open, my favorite time of summer in NYC, starting soon, it's hard to schedule some stuff. Not just the tournament, but the free qualifying round and the practices by top players that starts on August 24. Most revivals take a backseat for me, but I'll post a few. A lot of them conflict, but that's not my worry. Here we go:

FLYING DOWN TO RIO and SWING TIME- Tues Aug 17 at 6:45 (Rio), 8:30 (Swing) and 10:30 (Rio)- Film Forum- The start of the Astaire-Rogers retrospective. I brought it up last time. Go to the last list and review what I wrote there if you're interested. Not too closely, since I don't claim great writing there, just gleam for the info if interested.

ORLANDO- Now until whenever the Quad decides otherwise- Probably Thurs Aug 19 or Thurs Aug 26- The restored print of the film that has kept essentially kept Tilda Swinton employed ever since it's released, continues to play at the Quad. It's last day will probably be either Thursday August 19, or Thursday August 26. The Quad's website hasn't said when, but I can't wait. I'll just post and move on.

PAULINE AT THE BEACH- Wed Aug 18 at 6:45 and Sat Aug 28 at 8:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Eric Rohmer retrospective. A famous French director who seemed to be working straight up to his death last year, at age 89. To steal a line from an imdb poster, Rohmer seemed to be a writer, who wrote with a film camera, as opposed to a pen. Similar to Woody Allen, but Allen can be more experimental and has done more with the camera, while Rohmer wrote his human drams or comedies, concentrating always on his very talkative characters. I won't post them all, but I'll post a few, starting with Pauline On The Beach, my favorite of his work. Probably his most accessible as well, which it explains why it did well on the art house circuit back in 1983. Raves from Siskel and Ebert, and other critics, helped I'm sure.

Pauline is a 15 year old who gets to spend summer vacation at a beach house, with her older cousin. The cousin, freshly divorced and a hot-to-trot blue eyed blond, thinks she gets to chose, between a friend who's always loved her, and an old boyfriend who prefers living in the moment, and checking out every female he sees. Pauline seems mature for her age, and observes all of this. But she's uninterested in it all, until she develops a crush on a boy her own age. And as the summer winds down, both females are surprised with what they've learned, and what they still don't know and understand.

No true villains in this film (depending on your point of view?), and very little moralizing here. Just a slice of life picture, of a summer both women won't forget. Not a big film, but a gentle, well paced and interesting one.

SHADOW OF A DOUBT for 7 dollars- Thurs Aug 19 at 9- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- A cheap screening of the classic Hitchcock film. As wealthy widows keep disappearing, Joseph Cotten's lovable Uncle Charlie visits his niece "Young Charlie" (Teresa Wright) in her very average middle-American town (shot-on-location in Santa Rosa, California), but when someone mentions "The Merry Widow Murderer" . . . Often claimed as Hitchcock's own favorite, he must have got a big kick out the idea of small town Americana having evil nestled in its bosom. "Authentic Americana" (my quotes) from the screenwriters, Thornton Wilder (Our Town) and Sally Benson (Meet Me In St. Louis). As good as Theresa Wright is, I come away admiring Cotten's performance more. Some times pleasant and gentle, sometimes incapable of keeping his hair-trigger emotions in check, with practically every shade in between.

DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3-D- Fri Aug 20 and Sat Aug 21 (extreme maybe for me as of this writing) at 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- Part of the 3-D retrospective the Forum is having. And we're talking the original 3-D method; with two projectors as it was back in the 50s, not Real 3-D like with Avatar. A Hitchcock classic, that may not have strayed all that successfully from its stage roots, but is still quite good. Ray Milland finds out his wife, Grace Kelly, is cheating on him and is getting ready to dump him. Seeing his wealthy lifestyle about to be taken away from him, he plots his wife's murder. Complications ensue, etc. . . .

Cool performances from Milland, Kelly, and character actor John Williams, reprising his Tony winning role as the dogged Chief Inspector. Talkier then usual from a Hitchcock film. I'd argue it's about as talky as Hitchcock and Kelly's other 1954 film together, Rear Window. Window had a better script, with sly insights and a somewhat better realized film. Dial M is a more straight forward, ably executed mystery, with a great scene involving Kelly and a large shiny pair of scissors.

Now at about this time, 3-D was enjoying about the same kind of popularity it's having at the moment. You had studio heads pushing to have films made in 3-D, but unlike now, where pressure can be applied to have films that were never shot in 3-D converted (Clash of the Titans, The Last Airbender), the pressure in the 50s had to be applied in pre-production. So while Hitch was forced to shoot it in 3-D he must have said something along the lines of "Screw them", and did as little as possible in terms of 3-D. Playing a little with perspective, a few low angles, some objects blocking some actors, not much. Hitch basically looked at 3-D as a fad, shot in 2-D and 3-D simultaneously, and just tried to make a good film, which he did. The 3-D version was released first but didn't play too long, followed by the 2-D classic version. It was re-released in 3-D in 1980 (I thought it was 81, but imdb disagrees), but in a flat version that wasn't popular, and different from how it was screened back in 1954, and different than how it will be screened in the Forum. If you want to experience what it was like to watch a 3-D film in the 50s, but with coffee brownies and air conditioning, catch Dial M.

BLUE VELVET- Fri Aug 20 and Sat Aug 21 at Midnight for 9.99- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- In my top 5 ever, possibly higher. What Shadow of a Doubt pushed in terms of evil in a small town Americana, Blue Velvet cranked to 11 and turned it on its (severed) ear. This mystery/neo-noir/romantic drama got Lynch a Best Director nomination, and brought both his and Kyle MacLachlan's career back from the dead. Isabella Rossellini established herself as an actress once and for all, and Dennis Hopper became a working character actor forever, in a career performance. Also drew major controversy in its day for its, let's just say, sexual connotations, and what was required of Rossellini in her role. I believe it was Ebert who called this film the most vile thing he had ever seen (or something along those lines). Rosselini attacked him in response (verbally attacked I meant). A bit of a Rorschach test, this hauntingly beautiful film is. Decide for yourself.

HOUSE OF WAX (1953) in 3-D- Sun Aug 22 at 9:20- Film Forum- From the Forum's 3-D retrospective. I believe it was one of, if not the biggest hit from the 50s 3-D craze. A Vincent Price hit, where he plays a good man, a sculptor, left for dead in a fire surrounded by his wax sculptures. He miraculously lives, and opens a new museum, filled with remarkably life-like sculptures. But one woman suspects they're a little too life like. Especially when she sees a sculpture of her friend, the soon to be Morticia Adams, Carolyn Jones. And there are all these stories about corpses stolen from morgues. And why does Price look so strange. And why is she being chased on the creepy streets by Price's assistant Igor, played by Charles Bronson, back when he still used his real last name, Buchinsky. Not a great film, but a fun one. It has more screenings, but I'm sorry, this is the only one I can probably make, therefore, it's the only one I'm posting.

MY NIGHT AT MAUDE'S- Mon Aug 23 at 6:45 and Fri Aug 27 at 6:15- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Eric Rohmer retro from 1969, though released in the U.S. in '70. Jean-Louis Trintignant (Z, A Man and A Woman. After this, The Conformist) is a mathematician who has a way with the girls (don't they all). Francoise Fabian (Belle de Jour) is Maude, who has a way with the boys. They go to bed together, where they talk. And talk. And talk and philosophize. Mainly about God and religion, and what it takes to be a true believer, to be faithful, etc. Exactly the kind of stuff you talk about in bed. If you're familiar with Melville's "Leon Morin, Priest", you have an idea where the discussion goes. I have to think Louis Malle is familiar with both films when he made My Dinner With Andre; no facts behind this, just my guess. But anyway, you've just been given a primer of what to expect in My Night At Maude's, so if you complain there's nothing going on in this film, you can't say you weren't warned.

I'm not familiar enough with Rohmer's work to know if My Night At Maude's gave him international fame or just fame in the U.S. But the film does seem to have received the most awards and nominations in Rohmer's career (I'm in no mood to research it carefully; too little time). Nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes, critics' awards for either the screenplay or the cinematography (not all of the film takes place in a bedroom), and Oscar nominations for Foreign Language Film and for Original Screenplay. Seems interesting enough to give it a chance.

CAREFREE and SHALL WE DANCE- Tues Aug 24 at 7:30 (Carefree) and 9:10 (Dance)- Film Forum- More Fred and Ginger. Again, who cares about plot, we care about the dancing, and I suppose the music and singing as well. With Carfree, Ralph Bellamy is the Baxter yet again, when his fiancee (Rogers) falls for his best friend (Astaire). There's stuff about the guys being doctors and hypnosis, but who cares. Oscar noms for Art Direction, the Score, and Irving Berlin's "Change Partners and Dance with Me". With Shall We Dance, ballet dancer star Astaire likes musical leading lady Rogers. But he doesn't know her, so he arranges to be on the same cruise ship as her. But once they dock in New York, people think they're married. Again, who cares, it's about the dancing, people!. An Oscar nom for the classic George and Ira Gershwin, "They Can't Take That Away from Me".

CLAIRE'S KNEE- Wed Aug 25 at 6:50 and Fri Aug 27 at 8:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Eric Rohmer retro. From 1970 though released in the U.S. in 71, consider this a lighter version of Dangerous Liaisons. A soon to be ex-bachelor, accepts a bet from his female friend, to flirt with an 18 year old girl and nothing more. The teen falls for him, but the guy falls instead, for the girl's older sister, Claire. He has to at least touch her knee, and is oblivious to the probable fact, that the perfect looking Claire, is probably a stuck up bitch. Talky, but seems interesting enough to post.

AVATAR- Extended version in both Real and IMAX 3-D- Starting Fri Aug 27- Times and locations TBA- One of the best films of 2009, that has been referred to either as Dances With Smurfs or James Cameron's Pocahontas, but with gunfire and a few moments of annoying 9/11 imagery, gets a re-release. Only this time 8 minutes longer; just like what James Cameron did with The Abyss and (luckily ignored and forgotten) Terminator 2. Now what is in these 8 extra minutes? A Na'vi sex scene? Stephen Lang's bad (and bad ass) Marine eating a Na'vi over an open flame? More of Sigourney Weaver being earnest? More Michelle Rodriguez doing whatever it is she does? I have no idea, I'm not sure what this could except for maybe another blatant cash grab. But since this isn't a film I'll have any interest in seeing on TV, except for maybe a 40 plus inch Blu-Ray TV with a kick ass sound system, the big screen will do.

It will be re-released in both Real 3-D and IMAX 3-D screens. Where exactly I'm not sure. I'm sure that info will come down by Wednesday, August 25, but I can't wait that long. And in the NYC area, I'm not sure if by IMAX they include the actual IMAX screen at AMC Lincoln Square, or the rip-off IMAX screens at 42nd, 34th, and 14th street theaters. We'll have to wait, but I'll go again if there's any interest.

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

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Aug. revivals, first half

Hey all, Mike here with the first half of a very busy August full of revival screenings. And on this particular list, the split between films I've seen and haven't seen are 50/50. That's never happened before. Won't delay, here we go:

LIMELIGHT- Thurs Aug 5 at 6:30 and 9:20- Film Forum- A new 35mm print of this, the end of the Charlie Chaplin retrospective. I wish I had time for The Kid, also in a new 35mm print and plays all day on Wed Aug 4, but circumstances say otherwise.

Limelight, from 1952, is Chaplin's next to last film, and the last to be considered classic. I've never seen it, and I really want to.
Chaplin plays a second rate (third rate?) Vaudeville comedian on hard times. A drinker and considered washed up, he saves a suicidal dancer, and nurses her back to health. This starts a complex relationship between him and the dancer, played by Claire Bloom, as they end up bolstering each others' confidence.

Considered at least semi-autobiographical; not only because of Chaplin diving back to his past to re-create the dingy halls, pubs and overall poverty of most of their surroundings, but also with Chaplin the man, the artist AND the character all at about the same crossroad. Of possibly not being able to do what they do best as well as before, and the need for one last time in the sun, or limelight. Overall, best to consider this a drama with some comedy in it. Perhaps a dramedy.

An interesting supporting cast, that includes Nigel Bruce, Norman Lloyd, British music hall comedians, Chaplin's last wife and children, and, in their only appearance together in a feature length picture, Buster Keaton. An Oscar for Chaplin for its Score, won in 1973. Apparently, because Limelight was released in Los Angeles until 1972, it qualified and won. Go figure. The film I want to see most on this list. Available on DVD, but only through the Criterion Collection. Which is fine if you have Netflix, but if you have Blockbuster Online, you're screwed. It will also screen in mid-August out at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, but I rather catch it now in Manhattan.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES- Fri Aug 6 (maybe for me), Sun Aug 8 (more likely for me)and Thurs Aug 13 (only if Sun is a no-go)at 7:50 and 10- Film Forum- A week long screening of the Marilyn Monroe classic, in a restored 35mm print. Restored in both look and sound.

Monroe becomes a star, and Jane Russell more than holds her own, as two women going off on a European cruise. Both are looking for eligible men, especially if they have money. All this in a world where the women are strong and can be aggressive, and most of the men are passive or weaker; quite a departure for a film in the early 50s. The real life bond developed between the women translates to a sisterly on-screen bond, and both actresses get a show stopping number. While Russell pulls off "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?", it's Monroe's "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" that is forever in pop culture history. Like I wrote before (as have others, and presumably better) about Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, you can see Monroe move from Leading Actress, to Cultural Icon Forever, in this one film. And oh yeah, it's a funny musical as well.

Directed by Howard Hawks, although choreographer Jack Cole, according to the Forum's website, handled the musical numbers, in a kind of 60/40 split of the on-screen division of labor. Why this was, I don't know. Maybe this was the plan all along. Maybe because Monroe didn't get along with Hawks and shooting was delayed for too long. Can't help you, sorry.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as I wrote earlier, runs for a week, through Aug. 12. I only mentioned the available date and times for me. Sunday night is preferred, the earlier the better. Thursday night, only if Sunday isn't doable. For dates and other times, go to the Forum website.

BLOW OUT- Fri Aug 6 at Midnight-ish- IFC Center- Part of the John Travolta retrospective. Probably the last film from the retro I will post, unless I get the urge to post Pulp Fiction on Labor Day weekend. There's also Battlefield Earth, which I would only go on a bet.

Sorry for the digression, back to Blow Out. From the summer of 1981, not a hit. Was killed by some critics accusing director Brian de Palma of stealing from Hitchcock yet again. Was also killed at the box office, since audiences preferred Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II and Stripes, among other films. But I feel Blow Out was among the better films from 1981. Maybe not a top 10 from 81, but good. I'm not sure how much respect it's received since it's initial release, but respect it deserves.

Though this came out in 1981, Blow Out feels like it belongs more with the 1970s conspiracy thrillers, especially The Conversation. Travolta plays a sound engineer for a Grindhouse-type film company. One night, Travolta records what sounds like a car accident. He saves the woman, a hooker played by Nancy Allen, but the man inside, A senator with Presidential aspirations, dies. Reverse Chappaquiddick, anyone? Travolta and Allen try to figure out what happened, while a wonderfully hammy John Lithgow tries to "clean up" the mess, whether his mysterious superiors want him to or not.

Good visuals, wonderful location shots of Philadelphia, tight editing, and Travolta's last good lead performance until Pulp Fiction. Enjoy, if you can stay up late.

AIRPLANE!- Mon Aug 9 at 7 with a post film Q and A with ZAZ (Zucker Abrahams Zucker)- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- A special 30th anniversary screening. Airplane was not a high priority for Paramount. The early reviews were mixed, some were even horrible. It took almost 10 months of release, from summer of 1980 thru early 1981, but by then, it became the biggest sleeper hit from '80. And eventually, a comedy classic, with too many quotable lines and scenes to bring up here. I've taken flack for putting this in my top ten of 1980, while leaving out Ordinary People and some other films all together. It's fluffiness of style, is compensated by superior execution.

The film's writers/directors David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, or ZAZ, only had years of doing comedy at their Kentucky Fried Theater in L.A., and one film with a very minor cult following, Kentucky Fried Movie, under their belts when tackling Airplane. And thirty years after their (eventual) triumph, the three directors will do a post-film Q and A at the Walter Reade.

The next two films pretty much conflict with each other, so people would have to speak up about this:

THE TALL BLOND MAN WITH ONE BLACK SHOE- Thurs Aug 12 at 7 and Fri Aug 13 at 4:30 for free (subject to availability)- MOMA- From a retrospective of French comedies from Gaumont, the world's oldest working film company in existence. This is the only film from the series I'm planning to post. Never seen it, but I read a little about it and I'm interested. Plus, I saw the 1985 American remake, The Man with One Red Shoe. It's cute when you're young and haven't seen many films, but only the great cast, led by Tom Hanks, keeps it mildly interesting.

The French original, from 1972, though released in the U.S. in 73, has two bored, high powered members of the French Secret Service needing a challenge. They get it, in a convoluted way, by tracking some hapless schmuck; an orchestra member who gets more then he bargained for, after a practical joke leaves him with one black shoe. So rival agents observe the movements of this hapless klutz, thinking he's a super spy, but wondering why he's doing these unspectacular things. Wouldn't mind seeing it. Can be seen either Thursday night of August 12, or for free (subject to availability) the next afternoon.

MODERN TIMES- Thurs Aug 12 at 7:30- Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington- Another chance to catch my favorite Chaplin film. Apparently, while the Film Forum ran an extensive retrospective of Charlie Chaplin, the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington has been doing a mini- retrospective of his work. This is the only one I can make time for, and only on this date. Modern Times will also be screened there on Sunday Aug. 15 at 7:30, so if you can catch it then instead, I heartily recommend it. But I have something else for that date, and I'll get to that picture in a bit.

THE SHINING- Fri Aug 13 and Sat Aug 14 at Midnight-ish- IFC Center- Yet another chance to catch this Kubrick-Nicholson film. It was popular for this theater in 2009. I wrote back in February that The Shining would probably be screened often. So I was wrong. It might not be until sometime around Halloween until this is screened again, so to watch it now, like with Airplane also on its 30th anniversary, would be good.

KISS ME KATE in 3-D- Sun Aug 15 at 3:30, 6 and 8:30- Film Forum- Part of Film Forum's 3-D retrospective. Hey, film's like Avatar, Coraline, or Jaws 3-D (I only cite the best) didn't start the craze. And the Forum will show films shot in the original 3-D process. We're talking double projectors with Polaroid filters and lenses, and 3-D glasses that are NOT the cheap 1 red eye 1 green eye thing. The Forum claims to be the only theater in NYC capable of this. Whatever, but they are also screening films originally shot in this process, not like today with Clash of the Titans or The Last Airbender.

Kiss Me Kate is not the first film in this retrospective, but the first I'll post. I forget what will be screened on Friday the 13th, and I wouldn't see Gorilla At Large on a bet, terrible film. Kiss Me Kate use to be a staple of Ch. 13 broadcasting from the 80s and 90s, but my memories are a bit hazy since TCM doesn't screen it often. But I know I've never seen it in 3-D.

Now the film itself. One part variation of Taming of the Shrew, one part the fictionalized backstage bickering of Lunt and Fontanne, a fun musical. Has its footprint in film history for Ann Miller's Too Darn Hot (turned into a solo for her talents, smart move), and for the duet between Bob Fosse and Carol Haney in "From This Moment On". It's only about a minute long, and it was the only sequence Fosse choreographed, but it was enough to get him noticed as a choreographer, getting him work in that field for the rest of his life. Yeah, there's more about the film, but who gives a crap about the plot. Enjoy the jokes, enjoy Cole Porter's music and lyrics, enjoy the dancing, and enjoy it all in 3-D. Sunday the 15th is its only day/night.

FLYING DOWN TO RIO and SWING TIME- Tues Aug 17 at 6:45 (Rio), 8:30 (Swing) and 10:30 (Rio)- Film Forum- The start of the Astaire-Rogers retrospective. Now here's a section of my film knowledge and appreciation that's bigger than a hole; we're talking a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. Here, all I've seen is Top Hat and a lot of clips, so yeah, I'll post a few. If nothing else, I'll open myself to the possibility of something I haven't seen, and that way, open it up to others. Besides, with my Forum membership, it's affordable for me. I won't go as far as saying Astaire and Rogers film were for film fans of the 30s, what Avatar is today. That's much, though in both cases, you try to ignore the limp story or, at least in the case of Avatar anyway, the crap dialogue. But the visual effects and overall look that make audiences happy today, is what the dancing films of Fred and Ginger were.

There's barely any reason to go into the stories of both, but I'll give it a shot.
First, Flying Down To Rio. A conductor of a band falls for a woman who's already engaged, complications for them and his band ensue, but everything turns out all right in the end. But Fred and Ginger are not the stars, Dolores del Rio and Gene Raymond are. Fred and Ginger are billed fourth and fifth, respectively. Usually though, one of them sings and the other dances, except for one number "Carioca", a jazz standard and the film's lone Oscar nomination. Not sure if this was the talked about Berkley-esque finale, where the women are strapped to the wings of flying planes or not (told you I never saw the film). But Fred and Ginger are credited as scene stealers, and helped make Flying Down To Rio, thought of as a flop pre-release, into a major hit for RKO.

Next, Swing Time. Astaire and Rogers' 6th team-up, and the only film to make it onto AFI's second Top 100 list. Unlike Rio, this is one of those where Astaire had more control. Specifically, the camera stayed on the dancers from head to toe at all times, and the dances were there to move the story forward, not grind things to a halt just for spectacle. A simple story here. Fred pretends to be a bad dancer to meet dance instructor Rogers, they form a dance team, and they get together. Yes, there are storylines involving each others' former beaus, and having to raise $2500 during the Depression, but who cares! Fred and Ginger are dancing! Also features the classic Jerome Kern songs, Pick Yourself Up, and the Oscar winning The Way You Look Tonight. Also nominated for the choreography for Bojangles of Harlem (note that Astaire, paying tribute to the great Bill Robinson, performs this in blackface).

Sorry I couldn't get this list up in time to include the re-release of Orlando. Boy do I like me some Tilda, but I have no time. Orlando's last day at Lincoln Plaza Cinema is Thursday August 5th, but I rather do Limelight instead. But if Orlando plays beyond that or screens elsewhere, I'll be interested in catching it. Also not sure what's going on with the Grease Sing-Along. It played for one screening this past weekend in Times Square, but who knows where of it will play. I've just about given up on it. As for the films listed, let me know if there's interest. Later all.