Friday, October 22, 2010

Oct revivals: second half

Hey all. Mike here with a list for the second half October revivals. I'm trying to keep this minimal. Get in, post the options, and get out. I'm willing to sacrifice prose, such as it is, for the chance to see the title and time, and make a quick decision. And with a few on-purpose exceptions, I think I succeeded. So here we go:

METROPOLIS- Fri Oct 22 at 3:30, 7 and 10:30, Sat Oct 23 at 7 and 10:30, Tues Oct 26 and Thurs Oct 28 at 5:15 and 8:30- also Fri Oct 29- Thurs Nov 4 though times are TBA- The Ziegfeld- The version of Metropolis I mentioned back in May that played at the Forum, restored up to 5 minutes of its original running time, is back in on the big screen. One of the biggest screens in fact, the Ziegfeld's. A digital screening of Fritz Lang's film, in 5.1 Dolby Stereo, will get a two week run. Maybe not every day, since it is the Ziegfeld's habit to maybe close on Mondays and/or Tuesdays without notice, if there are no online sales or walk up business. But the weekends and the Wednesdays and Thursdays should be no problem. I posted the times I could both find and potentially do for its first week; it's second week hasn't posted yet. And unlike the houses of any of the Forum's screens, which might be a tenth the size of the Ziegfeld's at best, I'm not thinking we'd have to worry about sell-outs here. Maybe not dead center, where the glorious score should sound the best.

THE JERK- Fri Oct 22 and Sat Oct 23 at Midnight-ish- IFC Center- The Steve Martin- Carl Reiner comedy, where Martin plays a man who grew up a poor black sharecropper's son, gets a midnight(ish) screening. A big hit in theaters, despite a lot of critics hating it. I don't care what the Rotten Tomatoes website might say, I think David Ansen of Newsweek, and Janet Maslin of the NY Times where the only big reviewers supporting The Jerk, while Roger Ebert and Rex Reed led the opposition. Reed in particular, has been brutal to Martin's films, at least through the mid 80s anyway. But times have changed, the film keeps getting deserved new fans, and the critics by and large, have moved in lockstep with fans, proclaiming The Jerk a comedy classic of the late 70s.

This is part of a series of films chosen for Midnight screenings by IFC Center staffers. The series lasts through the New Year's weekend. Please excuse me if I ignore the other 2 from October; The Last Dragon and Buffy The Vampire Slayer (movie, not series or sing-a-long). Hopefully it gets better, but I'd like to catch The Jerk with an audience.

BACK TO THE FUTURE- Sat Oct 23 at 12:30 and Mon Oct 25 at 7- AMC Loews 34th St, AMC Loews Kips Bay, AMC Loews Village 7, and AMC Loews Raceway 10 in Westbury- The biggest film of 1985. Came out of nowhere to find not only the family audience, but served as an overall alternative to the other major film from that year, Rambo Part 2. Chances are you know the story, so I don't need to sell this classic.

For its 25th anniversary, the print and sound has been cleaned up and it will be released on Blu-ray. In November. In Europe. When it comes out in America, I have no idea. But we get a digital screening of Back To The Future, with a picture that, according to the film's co-writer Bob Gale, will be the clearest it has been since the film's 1985 release. We'll have two opportunities to judge for ourselves; on October 23rd and 25th. Only at select AMC theaters. I mentioned the ones that I've been to before that will screen it. So far as I know, Manhattan is the only borough in NYC that it will be screened, and Westbury is the only place in Nassau County where it will play. I did leave out AMC Empire, the theater that had a bedbug incident this summer. You can go there if you like, But you'll have to excuse me if I'm not quite ready yet to go there.

SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT- Sat Oct 23 at 6- 92Y Tribeca- 200 Hudson St.- See, I can post films other then what the Film Forum screens when it catches my interest. Ingmar Bergman's film of lovers who come together, split apart, and/or form new relationships with other people in the story, all during a summer night-ish. Later used as the basis of Sondhiem's A Little Night Music. If you can stand the fact that Send In The Clowns will not be sung, I think you will like this.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON for 7.50- Thurs Oct 28 at 7 and 9:30- Chelsea Clearview Cinemas- A sleeper hit from the summer of 1981. Funny and freaky. An Oscar for Makeup, highlighted by one of the great film transformation scenes ever. At the very least , Joss Whedon and everything regarding Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as well as the shows "inspired" by Buffy, owe much to the mixture of humor, love, friendship and dark horror exhibited in An American Werewolf in London.

I don't hold this film as sacred or unworthy of occasionally made of fun of however. Therefore, I'm ok with seeing this either with MST3K-style commentary from Hedda Lettuce (at 7), or without (at 9:30). 7 dollar admission either way.

THE ROOM- Fri Oct 29 at Midnight- Village East Cinema at Midnight- The latest Oh-My-God-this-film-is-so awful-its fun cult movie, which has been huge on the midnight circuit in L.A., gets a midnight screening. Described in an Entertainment Weekly article as "The Citizen Kane of bad movies", this picture, shot in 2002 where two best friends sleep with the same woman in strange Skinimax-type sex scenes, has only played in New York occasionally. But when I saw the A.V. Club article about The Room came out around the time of it's one night only run at the Ziegfeld, that's when it came up on my radar. Turns out I was a little behind. It plays at midnight on Cartoon Network on April Fool's Day, it already played once or twice down in Landmark Sunshine Cinema, and of course there's illegal downloads out there.

But if you wish to see this allegedly poorly filmed picture (shot in 35mm and HD at the same time and it's still not always in focus), poorly constructed (the writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau claims there is intentional comedy mixed in, but good luck finding anyone who believes them), where characters come in and out with or no introduction and has a storyline that might ultimately described as pointless, The Room could overtake anything that plays at midnight here in NYC. Audience interaction is important. The occasional flinging of plastic spoons, the flinging of the pigskin, talking back at the screen, and the brief fake walkout are just some of what is done at L.A. screenings. Let's see if that is brought over to us. Wiseau himself is scheduled to introduce this screening, which should be fascinating to watch all by itself.

Posted below are links to the articles I mentioned. First, the A.V. Club article:,25723/

And now, the Entertainment Weekly article:,25723/

WALLACE AND GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT- Sat Oct 30 at 1- Symphony Space at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia- Winner of Best Animated film at this year's Oscars, and one of my favorites from 2005. For the kids and the kids at heart. See how Wallace and his infinetly smarter dog Gromit, try to keep rabbits out of people's vegetable gardens, as well as finding out who the larger threat is to the annual vegetable growing contest.

It's also screening at 11AM that day as well, but good luck waking up for that one. Now if you're ambitious, you can do a sort of double feature on Oct 30. Seeing Wallace and Gromit uptown, then go downtown later that afternoon or evening to see . . .

PSYCHO- Sat Oct 30 at 5:30, 7:45 and 10 and Mon Nov 1- Thurs Nov 4 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum- Honestly, I'm not trying to make a habit of posting this film each and every time it comes up. It's that I haven't seen it each time I've posted, and I'm gonna try again when it's playing at a convenient time for me. Which it is here.

Familiar to many, but I'm telling you, it's a completely different beast on the big screen as opposed to TV. You're not spending time in your living room, check marking all the familiar aspects of the story. This story sucks you in, lulls you into thinking one way, and then turns it around. You know all this, you wouldn't be looking at this list if you've never heard of Psycho. But this tightly edited story draws you despite what you know. And if you've somehow NEVER seen it, oh boy I'd like to see this with you.

And despite being an unplanned landmark in the horror genre, slasher sub-section, I would argue that this plays more like a suspense thriller then a horror pic. So those that have problems with horror flicks, should be ok with this. Interesting to watch acting-wise, as well. John Gavin's boyfriend performance hasn't aged too well, and Vera Miles's isn't bad, but definitely more then a little annoying. Not as shrill as Julianne Moore's in the remake, but still. Martin Balsam continued his reliable character actor work here, as a more believable ex-cop then Bill Macy in the remake.

There is a reason why this is Janet Leigh's most memorable performance, and it's not because of the shower scene. Go ahead, name another memorable performance of hers. Oops, Touch of Evil, not quite. Being part of the memorable opening scene doesn't qualify as a performance. And Manchurian Candidate doesn't count either. Being the red herring of a story's plot, eh, whatever. Despite Hitchcock's feeling about actor being cattle, Leigh gets to play a truly conflicted person. Decent, wanting more out of life, caught up in temptation, then over her head looking for a way out, which is about when she pulls into the Bates Motel.

But Anthony Perkins' performance feels modern today. Creepy, alive, desperate to open up, yet jittery within his own skin, and with just a little anger threatening to bubble up. Ole' Hitch may not have understood what Perkins was bringing to the table, but Alfred was patient enough to give him free rein. Thanks to the success of this, Tony could never be free of the typecasting. Oscar nominations for Leigh (her only one), Hitch for Director (his last nomination), Cinematography and Art Direction. On both AFI Top 100 lists and in my personal top 100. Catch this.

Let me know if there's interest, later all.

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