Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November revivals: second half

Hey all. Mike here, with a list of revivals for the second half of November. I can't vary this list any more then this. Foreign, studio, indie, just a few of the major food groups. Here we go:

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF- Wed Nov 17- Fri Nov 18 and Mon Nov 21- Wed Nov 23 at 8:20 and 10:10- Film Forum- A new 35mm print of the Goddard film that hasn't been quite as embraced as the revival of his earlier Breathless, but has still drawn an audience. Still haven't seen it, so I post it again. Still know little about it, so I'll repost the Forum's description from the last list. Cut and pasted from their website of course, give credit where credit is due:

(1980) Marguerite Duras is heard, but not seen; people hear split seconds of music no one else can hear; in public, women are slapped, men get their hair pulled; the most disparate activities are interrupted for vital phone calls; Jacques Dutronc’s Paul Godard (!) smokes big cigars, exchanges notes about parental abuse with his pre-pubescent daughter’s soccer coach, and battles with ex-lover Natalie Baye; who constantly bicycles around town, edits videotapes, tries to unload the apartment she’d shared with Dutronc, and bonds with prostitute Isabelle Huppert; who herself had spent the night with Paul, counseled an aspirant to “being on the game,” and constantly thinks (in a voice-over quoting Charles Bukowski) on other things as she responds in a lackadaisical “why not?” manner to the absurdly bizarre demands of her clients, notably a four-person “rondelay that Rube Goldberg in his most lecherous mood could hardly have invented... an outrageous metaphor for the mating of sex and capitalism: and it’s funny as hell besides” (Richard Corliss,TIME). Godard’s return to mainstream (for him) filmmaking, his self-described “second first film,” with technical innovation — freeze frames and slow-mo within continuing uncut shots — and the most startling and arbitrary of conclusions.

AUNTIE MAME FOR 7.50- Thurs Nov 18 at 9:30- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- A cheap screening of the non musical form, of the story of a young orphan boy, who is raised and taught love and tolerance from her beloved Auntie Mame. Cute at times, and I prefer the music and songs, though there's no way in hell do I prefer the 1975 musical version of the film, Mame. Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Picture, Supporting Actress, Editing and Cinematography. This was in 1958/59 when Auntie Mame competed for Best Picture against flicks such as The Defiant Ones, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and lost to Gigi. The only film remembered and admired most by the way, is Vertigo, a flop back then. Go figure.

Anyway, the main reason to catch this is for Rosalind Russell 's Oscar nominated title performance. A career performance as the lovable eccentric, and almost indomitable Auntie. There are very few scenes where she isn't onscreen, and you'll go wherever she and the story will takes us.

LOVE STREAMS- Fri Nov 19 at 9- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Canon Films retrospective, though not the kind you would expect. From the 70s through the 80s, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus had their own distribution company/ film studio. And while the company made money from the likes of Chuck Norris films, the Death Wish sequels, and early Jean-Claude Van Damme, the money would be channeled from time to time, to offbeat independent pictures and a few avant garde films. And those are the kind that the Walter Reade will be screening, with a couple of exceptions. One of which is the infamous disaster, The Apple, on Saturday November 20 at 11pm, which I wish I could attend, but you can, in all its horrific glory.

Sorry, I digress, partly because I have little to write about Love Streams. John Cassavetes' last film, where he co-stars again with Gena Rowlands. A dramedy, where John and Gena (Oscar nominated for her performance), are brother and sister. Both are messed up. He can only handle short term relationships, and his lack of handling responsibility makes him next to useless as a father to his son. She's suffering a nervous breakdown, her marriage is kaput, and her daughter is scared to live with her. Then brother and sister move in together. Not the happiest film ever made, but a good one.

THE MUPPET MOVIE SING-ALONG- Fri Nov 19 at 10- 13 dollars including 1 beer- 92nd St Y Tribeca- The first and best of the Muppet films gets a late night screening but for once, NOT at midnight. A sleeper hit of the summer of 1979, you might be surprised that it's more than just a kid's flick. You have a road film, with a stealth satire of Hollywood and what one might move too quickly to give up on to make it big. A satire not on the level of say, Sunset Blvd or The Player, but one that registers now that didn't back in grade school when you/we first saw this. Ok, was that too much? Fine, you got fun jokes, both good and groan inducing. You have enjoyable cameos, with Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Charles Durning, Dom DeLuise, Richard Pryor, Bob Hope and Orson Welles among the cast. You've got practically every Muppet that ever appeared during the run of The Muppet Show. You also got the Oscar nominated song, The Rainbow Connection. What you'll have is fun.

What you also get is a chance to sing along with the action. And you get a beer, as part of your 13 dollar admission. I guess something has to be given if the price is 50 cents to a dollar more than what you usually pay for a film admission. Plus pre-film Muppet trivia contests and prizes. But if you want to see something more adult, and better, on this Friday night and can stay up and out later . . .

POINT BREAK- Fri Nov 19 at 12:05AM- IFC Center- Part of IFC's retrospective of films chosen by their staff. An adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel that launched John Boorman's directorial career big time. A cool action-crime drama, where a gunman with a code (Marvin) is set up and cheated out of his money. Left for dead, he comes back demanding payment and revenge. Most of you don't know this one, and it's time to know this better then the mediocre Mel Gibson remake, Payback. Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, and John Vernon (Dirty Harry) are also in the cast.

OPERATION THUNDERBOLT- Sat Nov 20 at 4:15- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Canon Films retro. The third of 3 films covering the 1976 hijacking of an airliner, and the Mossad's commando raid to take the hijackers out and get the passengers out. Unlike the other two, there are no true A Listers attached, though we get a relatively subdued Klaus Kinski and Sybil Danning. Unlike the other two, this was the only one intended for theatrical release. It might be, despite the occasional cheesy music and model usage, plus using a Boeing 707 instead of an Airbus, the most historically accurate of the three pictures. Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Yigal Alon play themselves in the film, as do 12 people who were hostages. But it leans for an action bent near the end and it works. A surprise Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

MARLENE- Tues Nov 23 at 8- IFC Center- From IFC Center's Stranger Than Fiction series. A 1984 documentary where the film's director, Maximilian Schell, interviews his co-star from Judgement at Nuremberg, the legendary Marlene Dietrich, in her Paris apartment. Marlene agreed, on the condition that she wouldn't be photographed in her present day state. Marlene hadn't been seen on screen since the late 70s, was 81 years old and had desire to be shown not as glamorous but as a little old lady, when Schell interviewed her in her Paris apartment. Footage from her films, concerts and other appearances, play out on screen as the interview go on. What starts as congenial, turns contentious as these two big egos turn on each other. How dare this upstart man tell me these things and not accept my micro- stage management, and how dare this vain narcissistic bitch tell me how to make my movie, must have been the subtext in the back and forth between them. Not a positive image depicted, but a fascinating one. This Oscar nominated documentary will only be screened once, like most films in the series are. Therefore, unless it's bought online, it might be very hard to get a ticket that night. Mucho planning will have to be done if you want to catch this.

There's no introduction or post film Q and A scheduled, unlike other films in the series, that might change as we get closer to screening. Can't wait for that, I need to post it and would like to catch it.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH- Sat Nov 27 and Mon Nov 29- Wed Dec 2at 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- A new 35mm print for its 70th anniversary. Maybe an odd choice to watch for Thanksgiving weekend, like when Edward R. Murrow's Harvest of Shame documentary aired on CBS 20 or so years later. But considering we are far from enjoying prosperous times, it's probably time to revisit this John Ford classic. Recently released ex-con Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) miraculously reunites with his family. The Oklahoma land has been devastated by the Dust Bowl, Tom's immediate family was evicted from their farm, and Tom joins up with his entire family the night before they have to leave after being evicted. The family moves to California in search of work. They've been warned work is scarce, but they have no choice. They have no money, the family might not make to California intact, and the camps they visit seem bereft with corrupt sheriffs, unsanitary conditions, and/or a looming threat of violence. But the Joads keep moving forward; almost on blind faith, since there's little around them to give them hope.

We're never going to experience what the average moviegoer experienced when Grapes of Wrath first came out. That sense of You Are There, feeling the Great Depression, we can certainly empathize with. But the feelings of, My God this is how it was, or My God this is how it is, or look how far we overcome, or one thinking back on who didn't survive the ordeal. Arguably John Ford's best. If some of you prefer say one of Ford's films with John Wayne or How Green Was My Valley, I won't argue with you, but I won't agree with you either. With a performance from Fonda that elevated him from leading man to superstar, with the dye of American Icon starting to cast. Oscars for Ford for Director, and Jane Darwell for Supporting Actress as beloved Ma Joad. Nominations for Picture, Fonda for Director, Screenplay, Editing and Sound. On both AFI Top 100 lists. If it's too much to catch on a holiday weekend, it plays for a full week, through December 2. Hope you say yes and catch it. Though there is another alternative for the Thanksgiving weekend, though it's certainly not lighter fare . . . .

ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS- Sat Nov 27 at 8 and Wed Dec 1 at 6:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of a film retrospective honoring Italian screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'amico. The only film I'm posting from this series, with her frequent collaborator, director Luchino Visconti. Don't know anything about it, so I'll have to rely on the ole' cut and paste method. But I'll try a different method. The IFC Center is showing Rocco as well this month, but I'm not waking up to catch this at 11AM on a weekend if I don't have to. But I will cut and paste their description, and use it to push the Walter Reade screenings. Incidentally, IFC is pushing the idea that they have the original director's cut, which is 3 minutes longer than what the Walter Reade is scheduled to screen. Not going to worry about what difference that makes now:

A chronicle of family loyalty and disintegration, it is one of the most powerful and emotionally charged movies ever made. Rosaria Parondi and her five sons journey north to Milan to seek a better life but the industrial north proves just as unforgiving as the desolate south. Simone becomes the first brother to find success – but his career as a boxer flounders when he meets Nadia, a beautiful prostitute. When Simone’s possessiveness drives Nadia away, she falls in love with his younger brother, Rocco. The lovers set in motion a shattering chain of events for which the family’s traditional values leave them unprepared. ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS is the most dramatic and spectacular film of the director’s astonishing career. Visconti’s sweeping operatic style of filmmaking influenced the work of directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. – Milestone Films

Let me know if there's interest. Later all, and an early Happy Thanksgiving Day as well.

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