Thursday, January 20, 2011

January revivals: 2nd half

Hey all. Mike here with a short list of revivals to catch for the rest of the month. Short because of schedule, as well as a lack of interest in some of the potential options. Never mind more lousy weather ahead. Like I last time, I'll try to keep the descriptions short, and provide a link for you to look further.

But since I have the time, let me thank those who caught the following revivals with me over the past 12 months:

YOJIMBO, SANJURO (boy, do I like me some Kurosawa),

THE ATOMIC CAFE with THE SMELL OF BURNING ANTS (at least with Atomic Cafe, friends may not have enjoyed it, but they learned a little American history. But Burning Ants? Holy shit, I was getting embarrassed as it went along. 12 LOOOOOONNNNGGGG minutes),

CITIZEN KANE (now number 6 on the list of all time favorites. Seeing it on the big screen as opposed to TV is the difference, to quote Larry Miller, between shooting a bullet and throwing it),


METROPOLIS (my favorite revival outing. It all makes sense now, and the journey, and the score, are wonderful),


KEY LARGO (like the film, NOT LIKING the end involving Bacall),

THE NAKED SPUR, WINCHESTER '73 (2 good Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann Westerns, though I really enjoyed Winchester more),


BLUE COLLAR (a forgotten film from the 70s that deserves to be better known),

THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (ok, but hoped for better),

BOB LE FLAMBEUR (boy, do I also like me some Melville),


PSYCHO (the bullet comment I made about Citizen Kane, applies to Psycho as well),


THE TIN DRUM (epic. Simply epic. If you have an HD TV with a good sound system and 3 hours to kill, Netflix this. Now or after you do your Oscar catch-up, but Netflix it),


POINT BLANK (the best of my Midnight movie excursions),


31 films in all. The same number of revivals I caught the year before. Thank you all who took a chance on some of these, who came out to see at least one of these, and special thanks to Ed, who caught far more of these than I had any right to hope for or expect. Now on with the current list:

WINTER KILLS with a Q and A with writer/director William Richert- Fri Jan 21 at 6:15- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- An offbeat forgotten film from 1979. Adapted from Richard Condon (The Manchurian Candidate)'s novel, which does not refer to the family here as the Kennedys, but little doubt is left to the reader, and in this case, the viewer. It fits the paranoia genre that was popular in the70s, as well as the Watergate-era feeling of corrupt, lying government and men in power. Unlike the book, the film plays the story out as a dark satire, jamming some humor, alongside the jolts and the conspiracy theories. All with Condon's approval I might add.

Jeff Bridges plays the little brother of a popular, assassinated President. He's alerted by the friend (Richard Boone) who does the family's dirty work, of a grassy knoll kind of situation. Bridges goes down the metaphorical rabbit hole, that leads him to Cuban gangsters, a CIA hitman (Eli Wallach), and possibly worse. He also wonders if there's anyone he can trust. Can he trust his girlfriend? Can he trust the company man (Anthony Perkins) for the family, surrounded by enough computers to tap any call in the world? And can he even trust his own dad, the powerful patriarch played with scene-stealing gusto by John Huston?

The rest of the story made not make a ton of sense when it's over, but the ride is worth it. A flop in its day despite good to very good reviews. The film was pulled after only two weeks of mediocre business, the reason is still unknown. There's more, but I'll let Richert (who made his directorial debut here) tell his own story, and he'll get the chance. There will be a post film Q and A with Richert:

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP- Sat Jan 22 at 8- MOMA- Technically a revival. It came out in New York back in the spring. Since it no longer has a Tri-State theater release, it works for the purposes of this list.
A probable Oscar nominee for Best Documentary, expected to be a front runner, against Inside Job and the interesting Waiting For Superman. It follows an eccentric, L.A. based Frenchman, who decides to go from shopkeeper to documentary film maker. He decides to shoot the work of international graffiti artists, without ever planning on turning all the footage into something cohesive (or competent?). The tables are turned when the man tracks down the never photographed Bansky, who's drawn on walls throughout Katrina torn New Orleans and on the barrier at the Palestinian West Bank. Not only is Bansky blacked out, he takes the camera and starts filming the Frenchman, and changing him as well. Seems interesting:

THE BIG HEAT with or without HUMAN DESIRE- Fri Jan 27 and Sat Jan 28 at 6 (Heat), 7:45 (Desire) and 9:15 (Heat)- Film Forum- The start of a Fritz Lang retro. Specifically, his Hollywood films. 2 films starring Glenn Ford. First, The Big Heat, the one I want to catch the most of the two. Ford plays an honest cop, who gets too close to a crime kingpin. Once the kingpin kills Ford's wife, the kingpin thinks that will be enough to deter Ford. Wrong, game on. With Lee Marvin as memorably cruel Mob muscle, Jocelyn Brando (Marlon's older sister) as the wife who might as well have had Dead Meat tattooed on her forehead, and a terrific Gloria Grahame (Oklahoma, In A Lonely Place) as the gun mole who pushes too hard, and one time too many.

Double featured with Human Desire, which I don't mind seeing, but I don't have to stick around for it. I'll let the website provide the description as well as show the other films in the Lang retrospective:

WAY OUT WEST and/or ROME, OPEN CITY and/or, FELLINI'S ROMA and/or FLIRTING WITH DISASTER- Sat Jan 28 at 12:30 (West), 2 (Roma), 4:15 (Fellini) and 6 (Disaster)- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- 4 films playing on this day at the Moving Image, 2 of which can be seen for one admission. You can do 3, but the Fellini film couldn't be done this way.

12:30 Way Out West- A Laurel and Hardy comedy from 1937, where the duo keep their promise to an old gold prospector, of delivering the deed of a gold mine to his daughter. But they don't count on a greedy saloon keeper, trying to get the deed. With a memorable soft shoe scene by Stan and Ollie.

2 Rome, Open City- A restored print of Robert Rossellini's film. Shot shortly after the Nazi occupation of France was over in a documentary style, we follow Resistance members. One in particular, the leader, is trying to escape a pursuing Gestapo. Won the Grand Prize at Cannes, an Oscar nomination for its Screenplay. With Anna Magnani.

4:15 Fellini's Roma- A restored print. Fellini's borderline avant-garde picture, where the narrative (such as it is) alternates, between Federico's younger self in Rome under Fascist control, and about thirty years later, as the older Federico (playing himself) tries to film the city as it was in 1970 modern day, but bemoans the hippies, automobiles, congestion, and everything that isn't around anymore from his youth. With unbilled cameos from Gore Vidal, Marcello Mastroianni and Anna Magnani.

6 Flirting with Disaster- Part of a mini-retrospective of David O'Russell's films. An art house hit from 1996. Ben Stiller stars in this screwball comedy/road picture, as a man who was adopted when he was young, searching for his biological family as an adult, aided by by wife Patricia Arquette and possibly incompetent social worker Tea Leoni. Great cst that includes Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin (pictured here, licking Arquette's armpit).

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

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