Thursday, September 29, 2011

October revivals: first half

Hey all, Mike here with a revival list for October's first half. But first, let me address what I see as possible upcoming revivals that I may or may not post over the next few months. First, Ghostbusters, which will be re-released in about 500 AMC theaters in the U.S for one screening only on 3 Thursday nights in October. I'll let you look it up on your own, because I won't post them. I saw it as a Midnight screening around 2004 or 2005. I like it, fun not-so-little New York movie, which gave me pleasant throwback memories to childhood. But the visual effects don't hold up, it feels longer than it felt back then, and though there are quite a few good supporting performances, the film is held together by Bill Murray. A believable X factor whose unpredictability, even if you know the film by heart, keeps you interested and laughing. Hard to believe what this could have looked like if John Belushi lived to tackle the role. Anyway, Ghostbusters is a 3 out of 4 star, 7 out of 10, thumbs up for me. But if I ever thought to put together a top 10 of 1984 list and this is on it, it must because there's a steep drop for me in quality after A Solider's Story, Amadeus, This Is Spinal Tap, The Killing Fields and Greystoke. It's similar release pattern done earlier this year by Taxi Driver and Top Gun. But the former is in my personal top 100 and the later is cheesy fun, and Ghostbusters is right in the middle. Not enough to post however.

Next, the Museum of the Moving Image will start of a retrospective of films under the title See It Big! Basically, in the age of being able to see films on newer, smaller viewing platforms, some films just won't play as well there. So with the ability to show screen films as large as 70mm or in digital 3-D, the Museum will screen films best viewed on a large screen. This excited me, until I saw that most of films in the retrospective are revivals I saw pre-blog list format (Lawrence of Arabia, Close Encounters), blog list format (Gone With the Wind), or both (Fantasia, Alien, The Shining), plus Avatar. I've taken a little heat for repeat listing of certain films, especially those I've seen on the big screen more then twice. If I didn't like the film at all, I wouldn't post them at all. But I promise if I post any films I caught and dragged others to see, it will be tied in to see some other film or special playing there, probably something from the Jim Henson retrospective. Point is, for most of these films, to combine them with both the Henson retrospective and the Henson exhibit for one price, is well worth it. Now on with the current list, here we go:

THE LION KING in 3-D- Now until at least Thurs October 6- Different theaters with their own times, check your newspapers or websites for your own areas- The Lion King has been so popular in its 3-D re-release, that its been extended for another week. This has been credited for not only making flops out of films such as Drive and whatever that thing Sarah Jessica Parker is starring in, but its making studios consider the idea of re-releasing films (a successful business idea that became rare after 1991). And as for the idea of "Why should we see it, we have a 3-D version of Lion King, its called BROADWAY", piss off. There are 40 plus other states without a stage version of Lion King, and they have spoken. God, no wonder a lot of people seem to hate New York City/ Long Island . . . sorry, I digress . . .

Anyway, this re-release should play at least through Thursday, October 6. But considering the blu-ray disc comes out on Tuesday October 4th, I wouldn't wait too long.

BEN-HUR (1959)- Sat Oct 1 at 10:30am, introduced by William Wyler's daughter Catherine, and Charlton Heston's son Frasor- Alice Tully Hall- 185 W. 65th st, 4th floor- The 11 time Oscar winner and one of the highest grossing films ever mad (don't look at the regular list; check the adjusted for inflation list and be surprised), Ben-Hur gets a special screening. In time for its Blu-Ray release this week, the Charlton Heston-William Wyler classic gets a digital screening. An upgraded 8K Digital screening in its original 2.76 Aspect Ratio. Miklos Roza's score, among the best ever for a film, will heard in 6.0 Dolby Stereo.

I went a long time without seeing Ben-Hur. It played frequently on the 4:30 Movie here in NYC. But it was chopped into what, 4 or 5 parts maybe, and if I was ever going to watch a Heston film back then, it would be Planet of the Apes. Once cable came along in the household, I still wouldn't pay much attention to it. The only time would be sequences of the famous chariot scene in a documentary about Wyler, or spots on TCM where the chariot scene was used as an example of the virtues or widescreen, as opposed to fullscreen or pan-and-scan.

This changed in February 2006, when I saw it on the Ziegfeld's big screen. The story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince betrayed and sold into slavery by his Roman best friend, is the kind of epic film others aspire/aspired to be. Heston's broad style of acting results in a career performance here, as he seeks revenge throughout the year. A drive for revenge that does more to separate him from his love and his leprosy-plagued family than slavery ever did. Coming to a head with the kind of chariot race/ action scene that Gladiator and all its CGI could dream about.

Melodrama and sentiment are abound here, but I'm not opposed to a little excess, especially when its done this well. And yet the scenes involving Jesus, especially the crucifixion, were done with such sensitivity . . . . My feelings regarding The Passion of the Christ changed from being in my top Ten of 2004 just missing the top Five, to just barely in my Top 10 with no need to ever see it again. That's how good a job of direction I thought Wyler did. You might disagree, but I'm guessing you've never seen Ben-Hur on the big screen and hey, I'm not offering an answer, just a response to what I saw.

A nomination for the Screenplay. 11 Oscars, including Picture, Heston for Actor, Wyler for Director, scene-stealing Hugh Griffith for Supporting Actor, and Score. A record for Oscars, tied by Titanic and Return of the King. On both AFI Top 100 lists. May or may not be in my own top 100, but if it isn't, it's very close. Close enough that I would actually drag myself to Lincoln Center on a Saturday morning to watch. Since this is a part of the New York Film Festival, you shouldn't waste time thinking about buying to get a ticket if you're interested. Buy ahead of time. The screening will be introduced by William Wyler's daughter Catherine, and Charlton Heston's son Frasor:

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW- Sat Oct 1, Sun Oct 2, and Wed Oct 5 at 4:30, 7 and 9:30- Film Forum- A new 35mm print of the 1971 film that doesn't get a revival screening too often. Two milieu are depicted here. Life in high school, as its seniors are finding their way into adulthood, however slow the emotional development. All taking placing in a dying small Texas town, circa early 1950s. Our entry into this world comes from two buddies: the wild jocular type played by Jeff Bridges and the more sensitive one played by Timothy Bottoms. College doesn't seem likely for them. More likely for them, unless they choose to move to larger towns like many before them, is reflected in the lonely, frustrated bitter adults around them. Whose dreams have long since died a quiet death. All here are not depicted as country bumpkins or idiots. Maybe some are more vain, or depressed than others, but such as life.

Peter Bogdanovich jumped to A list status with this film, a status that went bye-bye, thanks to pictures like Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love. But with a great script adaptation of Larry MacMurtry's novel from Bogdanovich and MacMurtry (anyone better in depicting Texas in print than Larry?), and wonderful cinematography from Robert Surtees (black and white, per the suggestion/demand of Orson Welles), you have cinema. If it wasn't for so many good, recognizable actors in the cast, you might think you were watching a documentary, what with the almost subliminal use of music and naturalistic performances. A cast that includes Bridges, Bottoms (Tim and Sam), Cybill Shepherd (ok performance, but perfect as an object of desire), Randy Quaid, Eileen Brennan, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, and Ben Johnson (watch his monologue by the lake, very good indeed).

Oscar nominations for Picture, Director, Screenplay Adaptation, Cinematography, Bridges for Supporting Actor and Burstyn for Supporting Actress. Oscars for Johnson for Supporting Actor and Leachman for Supporting Actress. On the second AFI Top 100 list. And with everything I said, this may be more of an acquired taste. I invite any and all to come watch this, but this might be better suited for cinephilles (or however you spell it) and those interested in quiet films. I'm not sure if this even has classic status. Two other films from 1971, The French Connection and A Clockwork Orange, may or may not have been loved by critics as much as Last Picture Show, but their classic status is unquestioned. Now I don't know which version of Last Picture Show will be screened: the 1 hour 59 minute theatrical release, or the 7 minutes longer version released in 1992. 7 minutes cut by Columbia Pictures, who insisted that the film had to have a running time under 2 hours. Whatever version is screened, I want to catch this:

SQUIRM- Thurs Oct 6 at 7:30- 92nd Y Tribeca- Part of the 92nd Y Tribeca's Ripoff Cinema. Here we have Squirm, a Southern Jaws on the ground, or the Ben-Hur of worm films, according to the 92nd Y's website. Worms get a shock of electricity down in a small Georgia town, and somehow become flesh eaters. Meanwhile, city slicker Don Scardino (best known for his off-screen work on 30 Rock) goes down to visit his girlfriend (Patricia Pearcy), and runs into some characters who not only appear to be either stereotypes or rejects from Deliverance, but also seem to have Worm Attack victim tattooed on their foreheads.

Trust me, it's more fun than I'm making it sound. Tongue is firmly planted in cheek here, when it isn't filled with rubber things passing for killer worms instead. Seriously, you can't take the threat of killer worms too seriously, and the filmmakers know this. Nobody got any acting awards for this, and once you see it, you'll know why. But I do have a fondness for our lead heroine Patricia Pearcy. Maybe she was a little too delicate looking, a little too close to say, Sissy Spacek for some casting directors tastes. Aside from the soap Ryan's Hope and a small role in The Goodbye Girl, she didn't seem to get much of a chance for substantial screen roles, except for this fun junk. She does well with it, just wish it was for something better. Nevertheless, this is fun, so if you don't mind sitting thru some cheap looking 70s fun, let's try it:

ROSEMARY'S BABY- Thurs Oct 6 at 7 and 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- The classic Roman Polanski horror film plays for a cheap price at a convenient location. Though more psychological at times than anything else, as well as one of those quintessential New York films. Whether it's scarier for Mia Farrow to have the Devil's baby in your womb, to marry an actor, or to have a haircut that doesn't work on your head like that pixie cut, is up to you to decide. Oscar nomination for Polanski's adaptation of Ira Levin's novel, an Oscar for Ruth Gordon as one of the witches. Can see it at either 7 with pre-film and in-film commentary by Hedda Lettuce, or at 9:30 sans commentary.

8 1/2 for a $7.00 bar admission minimum- Fri Oct 7 at 9:30- Rubin Museum of Art- Here's how you can spend a night with minimal expense. The Rubin Museum's gallery is free on Fridays, starting at 6pm. That's good for an hour, maybe more if you're really into the exhibits. You can eat out beforehand or eat from their cafe, which is right next to their bar area. The prices aren't bad at all, though the portions and/or food (lots of Himalayan and Vegetarian) may not be to your liking, so best to plan ahead. Either way the bar is there and wherever you go in that space, it's overly loud. Anyway, one beer or two ginger ales/cokes/seltzers will do the trick in terms of admission. Ask for the girl with the tickets, approach her for a film ticket. The drinks in your hands will be obvious to her. You bring yourself your ticket and your drinks down one floor sometime after 9pm, and you drink while you watch the film. You can also go back up to the bar, get another drink and bring it back to the film if you wish. I did all this with Dogtooth this summer, and liked the experience. I wouldn't mind repeating the experience with 8 1/2.

Fellini's classic film mixes reality and fantasy, as Marcello Mastroianni tries to overcome a form of director's block, while living his life in a fishbowl as a celebrity as well as trying to get his new film off the ground. The film mixes flashback, fantasy and reality, and is also a love letter to not only film in general, but the idea of a director as a kind-of Master of his little Universe. And when surrounded by classic beauties like Anouk Aimee, Claudia Cardinale and Barbara Steele, yeah man, you got it tough. Nominations for Fellini for Director and Screenplay plus Art Direction. Oscars for Best Foreign Film and the Costume Design:

WEEKEND- Sat Oct 8, Wed Oct 12, Fri Oct 15, Sat Oct 16, Wed Oct 19 and Thurs Oct 20 at 5:30, 7:40 and 10- Film Forum- A new 35mm print of Goddard's black comedy. I wasn't the biggest fan in the world of Goddard, but Breathless broke the ice. Now having seen both Every Man For Himself and Band of Outsiders over the past year, I'm ready to take on Weekend. Don't know a lot about it aside from the little I've read just so i could cough up a post. Doing my best to avoid learning many particulars so I don't spoil it for myself, though any dark comedy with a title card that says "a film adrift in the cosmos" tells me this won't be a happy trip. A married couple take her trip to the wife's sick father to secure her inheritance, by any means necessary. Their trip on the highway is chaotic, filled with road rage, sometimes brutal, with a famous tracking shot regarding a traffic jam and what's causing it. That part at least I knew about, but not the rest. Very curious to go down this dark rabbit hole and I invite you to join me:

THE GOLD RUSH- Mon Oct 10 at 2pm at Alice Tully Hall- Part of the New York Film Festival, the Charlie Chaplin classic, where the Little Tramp attempts to strike it rich during the Klondike Gold Rush, despite being unprepared for the harsh conditions. With the famous boot eating scene, including the dance with the dinner rolls. On both AFI Top 100 lists. With a restored score and live accompaniment by members of the New York Philharmonic at Alice Tully Hall. Probably the score Chaplin added to its 1942 re-release, recieving an Oscar nomination despite being an addition to a seventeen year old. If you're interested, don't waste time. Get your tickets quickly. New York Festival stuff tends to go fast you know:

CARRIE- Thurs Oct 13 at 9:30 for 7.50- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- The Brian De Palma classic where Sissy Spacek (Oscar nominated) plays the awkward girl who goes nuts, and wont be laughed at anymore. With John Travolta, Amy Irving, William Katt and Nancy Allen when they were all quite young, and Piper Laurie (also Oscar nominated) as the mother of all demented mothers. It's Brian De Palma, so we not talking subtle here. But it is among his better films. For once it's not playing at Midnight, but I rather do the screening without commentary and jokes than with.

GIORIGO MORODER'S METROPOLIS (1984)- Fri Oct 14 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- A midnight screening of something that's getting something of an underground resurgence. Maybe it's just curiosity, but whatever the reason, here's another chance to catch Giorigo Moroder's edit version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Not on DVD.
By the mid-late 80s, there was a few versions of Fritz Lang's Metropolis out there, all around 90 minutes or so, and each missing a ton of footage. In 1984, Moroder released his own cut of Metropolis. He supposedly found footage different from the other prints, but he also trimmed existing footage from his edit to make the picture run faster. 80-something minutes in length, some shots colorized or tinted, subtitles instead of title cards, and Moroder's own music running throughout. Some of it was his own score, and some of it were songs performed by acts such as Queen, Pat Benatar, Billy Squier, Adam Ant, Loverboy and Bonnie Tyler.

Some critics like this version, Siskel and Ebert in particular. But even in his thumbs up review, Gene Siskel ripped the Moroder songs, calling the lyrics "stupid". And that, was the rallying point for those who hated this version. The best that can be said is that it introduced a generation from 1984 to about 1989 (when the last laserdisc version was released) to Lang's film. In my case it took Queen's song "Radio Ga-Ga", a top 5 hit that gave Queen American success after the Flash Gordon debacle, for me to even hear of Metropolis. The video contained clips of the Moroder cut. Now, you have another chance to judge for yourself.

Let me know. Later all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sept revivals: second half

Hey, Mike here with a revival list for the rest of this month. Now that the U.S. Open is over (good tournament despite Serena Williams's efforts to ruin it in the Finals), I can post a nice size list of possible revivals and 1 re-release to watch. You might think this list is long. Trust me, it could have been much MUCH longer. It's been a while since I had to edit, but here we go:

THE FRENCH CONNECTION- Thurs Sept 15- Sat Sept 17 and Tues Sept 20- Wed Sept 21 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum- A new 35mm print of the 1971 classic cop and robbers drama, a fictionalized version of a true story. Gene Hackman is in anti-hero territory, as dedicated cop, Popeye Doyle. Drunken, sloppy, careless with civilians, co-workers, and probably with the Miranda rights of criminals. This slob, alongside his partner (Roy Scheider), gets curious about this husband/wife with criminal records, who own a news stand/little diner, yet they throw around money. The cops' surveillance of these small-timers leads them to a suave, dignified and classy looking French man (Fernando Rey), who's actually the biggest heroin supplier to North America. A cat and mouse game ensues between Popeye and the Frenchman, featuring the greatest car chase in film history.

Winner of 5 Oscars: Picture, Hackman for Actor, William Friedkin for Director, Screenplay Adaptation and Editing. 3 other nominations, including Scheider for Supporting Actor and Cinematography. On both AFI Top 100 lists. Not my favorite film from 71, that would be A Clockwork Orange. It may or may not be in my Top 100 all time; I never put such a list together, but its on the cusp for sure. But I saw this at the Forum back in October of 01, loved it, and wouldn't mind going back again:

THE LION KING in 3-D- Starting Fri Sept 16 for 2 weeks (probably longer)- At the Ziegfeld and other theaters TBA- Screening times TBA- Technically this is a re-release, not a revival. But I consider re-releases as acceptable revivals for the public to accept, it goes on the list. After the 3-D converted success Disney had with the re-releases of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, Disney tried to convert other films in their library. While the 3-D Beauty and the Beast has only been released overseas and may not ever see a domestic run, the 3-D conversion of The Lion King gets a two week release, probably longer. It doesn't need really need it the conversion, but any excuse to bring it back in theaters is a good one.

You probably have seen this, it's probably second only to Snow White among popular hand drawn Disney films. So I won't go into the story, and stick with myself. Never saw it in theaters back in the summer of 1994. Back then I had no interest in catching "kiddie cartoons" in theaters. This was despite enjoying Beast and Aladdin on VHS. The main reason I caught the 1991 re-release of 101 Dalmatians was for childhood nostalgia. I didn't even attempt to catch Lion King's successful IMAX run, for fear it would be cut like the IMAX version of Apollo 13. So now is my best chance to catch this. Disney says this will only be a two week run. Yeah right, three or four weeks is more likely, but I wouldn't waste time if you're interested. I sure won't.

MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO- Fri Sept 16 at 7- AMMI- Part of the Gus van Sant retrospective. My Own Private Idaho, an art house hit from 1991, plays like one part Midnight Cowboy, one part Oliver Twist, one part road film, and one part the Henry IV plays from Shakespeare. 2 young hustlers, Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix, are brought together by chance, by a Fagin-esque pimp. Reeves' character, comes from money and influence, yet chooses to be a male prostitute. Phoenix's character, gay and in love with Reeves, is looking for the mother he never knew, but whose narcolepsy makes his life difficult to live. The two will take on anyone as a client. Hope comes in and bonding occurs, when the two go on the road to find Phoenix's mother. But hope doesn't last, and if that's the case, then how can the bond last . . .

Nothing less than interesting, and at times, even better. Mostly thanks to Phoenix's performance; another feeling of what could have been his career throughout his work in this picture. But as much as it might be fun to mock Keanu, Phoenix's performance needed someone to bounce off of, and Reeves is there for him every scene.
You'll have to pay 12 dollars, the museum admission, to see My Own Private Idaho this night. Either you arrive before say 4pm, check out the Jim Henson Exhibit and get a free ticket, or you arrive at 4 or later, check out the exhibit, and then go back to the front desk and pay to see Private Idaho. Either way, its 12 dollars:

It costs the same if you wish to see it two days later with something else entirely . . . .

DOG CITY with HBO's THE STORYTELLER and MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO- Sun Sept 18 at 1 (Dog) and 7 (Idaho)- AMMI- If you rather see some Jim Henson alongside your Gus van Sant stuff. Here's your chance to see it all for one admission. You don't have to, but that's my probable game plan. At 1PM, we have about 70 minutes of Jim Henson stuff, Dog City and HBO's The Storyteller.

First, Dog City, a mini movie from an episode of the little seen Jim Henson Hour from 1989 on NBC. The show (12 episodes, only 9 aired on network TV) would mix puppetry, CGI, and live actors. But aside from intros that involved Kermit, some new characters and Henson himself, the format would change from week to week. I don't believe we'll get to watch the entire episode, just the Dog City sequence. Inspired by film noirs of the 30s and 40s as well as the infamous painting of dogs playing poker, we have a city populated by dogs. A young dog takes on the Mob, as he refuses to pay protection money. Narrated by Rowlf the Dog.

Dog City should play well to young kids, but this episode of The Storyteller, The Solider and Death from 1988, probably won't. A British/HBO co-production, this also mixed puppetry with live actors, but the stories would be based on obscure European folk tales. The Solider and Death, based on a Russian folk tale, is about a good honest man (Bob Peck-Jurassic Park), coming home from war. His honesty and good virtue gains him enormous power, from people who are grateful for his generosity and sacrifice. But even a decent honest man can be overwhelmed by power . . . Narrated by John Hurt in the title role. The various tales would be book-ended with sequences between Hurt and an anamatronic talking dog.

I've seen a few episodes of The Storyteller, but not this one, and I've definitely never seen Dog City. For one admission, you can catch them, then the Henson exhibit, and still get a quick coffee/snack/small lunch, before seeing My Own Private Idaho.:

ALLIGATOR- Mon Sept 19 at 8pm- 92Y Tribeca- 200 Hudson St.- The only film from the 92Y Tribeca's Rip Off Cinema series. Films that made no pretension that they were knockoffs of better, blockbuster films. Films such as 1990:The Bronx Warriors or Lady Terminator, no way in hell would I post. But Alligator is different. Not what you would expect of me, but hear me out.

From 1980, though I thought it was also in theaters in 1981, Alligator was suppose to be just a cheap Jaws ripoff. A little girl in Chicago gets a baby alligator from mom, but the girl's nasty father flushes it down the toilet. It lives for years in the Chicago sewer system for almost twenty years. But during its last few years, it's been getting a steady diet of dead animals who have been illegally experimented on, thanks to an evil businessman and the corrupt Chicago mayor (is there any other kind? HA! I KID! . . . not really . . . .). Anyway, this alligator gets to be over 40 feet long, super strong, and won't stay below the streets any longer. It's up to a beautiful scientist (the little girl, all grown up), and a cop (Robert Forster) who must be the CPD equivalent of Agent Mulder, to stop the killer gator.

Fun script from writer/ future indie film master John Sayles, and good direction from Lewis Teague keeps this ninety-one minute film moving at a good clip. This is a film with a sense of humor; cmon it's about a killer alligator roaming the sewers. It breaks through concrete and smashes cars. Hell, one of the victims is a sewer worker named Ed Norton! Of course this film needs to have a tongue in cheek approach in order to be approached. Forster gives the film the light Everyman approach needed, and familiar faces (Michael V. Gazzo, Henry Silva, Sue Lyon, Jack Carter, Dean Jagger) help. They also get the gator right. Whether its a puppet, or shadows, or an actual gator walking around in models, it's always effective. Needed considering the film's high body count and imaginative deaths. Alligator isn't the best film on this list, but might be a good film that's actual fun:

THIEF- Thurs Sept 22 at 8:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Tuesday Weld retrospective, an actress whose blue eyed blonde looks tended to obscure her acting talent. Even though she has only a supporting role here, I feel it's an underrated gem. Michael Mann's first time directing a theatrical film might be considered as an example of style over substance, but oh what glorious style. One of United Artists' last flops, from 1981, it tells a familiar story. James Caan is a top safe cracker with a code of honor, who agrees to do one last job for a crime boss who'll let him retire afterwards. Or will he? He wants to make (or steal) enough money so he can retire and raise a family. All the obsession he brings to his profession, he transfers to pursing his dream of starting a family, ignoring his own instincts. He'll pay for that.

If this had come out 3-5 years later, when Michael Mann's style was firmly established in the hit series Miami Vice, it might have been more successful. The energized cinematography, slick editing, electric rock score (from Tangerine Dream), it's all there. Plus, a strong centerpiece performance from Caan as the tough as nails thief; anxious to have something resembling a normal life, and unsure if he can get it, or keep it. Not the best film on this list, but look at as a Mann template coming into place, as it tells a familiar story in an interesting way. Caan's great lead performance ably supported by the rest of the cast (Robert Prosky, Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi, William Petersen, Dennis Farina). It's only available in an out of print DVD, with little to no extras, so this is your best chance to see this rarely screened film:

DIAL M FOR MURDER for 7.50- Thurs Sept 22 at 9:30- Chelsea Clearview Cinema- 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 is a 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. Sorry that I'm not posting the Hedda Lettuce commentary screening, but I prefer this particular film without it:

CUL-DE-SAC- Fri Sept 23 at 4 for free (subject to availability)- MOMA- Part of the Roman Polanski retrospective. A dark comedy from 1965 that I don't know anything about. But its free, subject to ticket availability, and I'm curious. It came out on through the Criterion Collection last month, after decades of no home video availability or poor quality prints in this country. So if I'm going to pitch this, I'll have to use the brief description from the Criterion website. The ol' cut and paste I'm afraid, I'm not proud:

SYNOPSIS: Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director’s golden 1960s period. Donald Pleasence and Françoise Dorléac star as a withdrawn couple whose isolated house is invaded by a rude, burly American gangster on the run, played by Lionel Stander. The three engage in role-playing games of sexual and emotional humiliation. Cul-de-sac is an evocative, claustrophobic, and morbidly funny tale of the modern world in chaos.

WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN- Fri Sept 23 at 6- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of the Tuesday Weld retrospective. From 1978, also known overseas as Dog Soliders, based on the book of the same name. Michael Moriarty plays a disillusioned war correspondent, disillusioned by what he saw in Vietnam. He figures to make a killing by smuggling heroin into the U.S. Moriarty's character brings his old high school buddy (Nick Nolte) into the operation. Nolte meets Moriarty's wife (Weld) a prescription drug addict. When goons lay an ambush to take the heroin, Nolte escapes, with the wife and the heroin. Meanwhile, Moriarty returns to see his home ransacked, his buddy wife and heroin missing. If that isn't enough, a corrupt DEA agent (Anthony Zerbe) forces him to track down his old buddy, kill him, and get back the heroin. People may get out of this story alive, but no one gets out unscathed.

The best performance of Weld's career, as an addict, on the run forced to go through withdrawal from prescription drugs by using heroin. Can't be good. While we have good performances throughout the cast, Nolte, in his first studio lead, is the standout here. A paranoid survivor, trapped in a difficult position. A former hippie sympathizer turned Merchant Marine, who finds the straight world corrupt and the counter-culture world powerless and dying, if not outright dead. Therefore, what does he have to live or fight for? To fight and survive, no matter how hopeless.
Good film that is among those post-Watergate, post-Vietnam films that drags the audience down a dark rabbit hole. Therefore, despite good reviews, the film flopped, and if you're under the age of 45, you probably never heard of it. Sept 23rd would be a great chance to correct this. The bleakest film on this list, but a very good one. Lean and mean, so to speak:

THE ROOM for 15 dollars- Sat Sept 24 at 12:30AM- Ziegfeld- One of the best bad films of recent times, Tommy Wiseau's The Room returns to the Ziegfeld for one late night screening. I don't know if it played at the Ziegfeld in-between late April 2010 and now, but this "Citizen Kane of bad movies" has to be seen to be believed. After reading Kate Ward's article for Entertainment Weekly, I'm expecting a Rocky Horror experience. I'm expecting Wiseau and at least 1 actor to come, say hi to as many fans as possible, and do an interesting Q and A. I'm expecting a Rocky Horror type atmosphere, with talking back to the screen, tossing of footballs, etc. I also expect this to sell out like it did at the Ziegfeld, like it has at the Village East Cinema where this normally plays. I expect people to line up as early as 8. If this isn't an excuse to wait on line while someone makes a run to get the quality burgers at the Parker Meridian, then I don't know what to tell.

As for The Room itself, the best I can say is, there is nothing quite like it. That's the best you're getting out of me. What? I didn't go into what it's about? Does it truly matter? Won't make it any better. Decide fast if you want to, because tickets will go fast:

ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA- Sun Sept 25 at 6:30- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- The last of the Tuesday Weld retrospective, and probably the best film of the Lincoln Center series, possibly the best on this list. Essentially a lost classic of Sergio Leone's, the last film he directed. Robert De Niro and James Woods play friends who we see grow up to be gangsters, grow apart, and grow old with regret, especially De Niro's character. A strong supporting cast: Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Weld, Danny Aiello, Treat Williams, and a young Jennifer Connelly in her feature film debut.

Leone was contracted to turn in a cut no longer then 2hrs. 45min. After shooting 10 hrs. of film, Leone would only (could only?) submit a slightly under 4hrs. cut. The American distributor, Warner Bros., took the film away, and cut about 95 min. out of it, and threw it into theaters in June 1984. No surprise, critics destroyed it, and the film tanked big time. It wasn't until the version that was only slightly shorter then Leone's submitted cut, was released in Europe, briefly in the U.S. and then on home video, that the film got respect. Each year, more praise seems to be heaped upon it, and it gets closer to classic status (if it isn't there already). The Walter Reade is claiming to be showing the complete director's cut. Considering it starts at 6:30, expect it to be long. Hope one of you is interested in this:

MARRIAGE, ITALIAN STYLE with Fellini's THE TEMPTATION OF DR. ANTONIO- Tues Sept 27 and Wed Sept 28 at 7:30- Film Forum- New 35mm prints of a sort of double feature. It starts with a short, Federico Fellini's The Temptation of Dr. Antonio from 1962. Some putz wants to get a billboard of a busty blonde pitching milk banned. Problems occur when the woman on the billboard comes to life, in the form of Anita Ekberg, and comes on to the guy. This, I don't care about. I'll watch it, but I'm not enthused. It's the main feature that comes after this (plus a brief intermission), that I'm interested in.

Marriage Italian Style, from 1964, re-teamed director Vittorio De Sica and stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Like their previous international hit, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, they went back to adapt another romantic comedy (in this case, a play) from Eduardo De Filippo. Mastroianni is a ladies man, even when married, who meets a teenage Loren, frightened during a bomb raid. It was World War 2 after all. They meet a few years later, and we have about twenty years of their time together. As a mistress co-worker and then wife, Loren grows up, matures, and the power shifts in the relationship, whether he likes it or not. The story isn't exactly told in a linear manner, but don't worry, it's easy to pick up.

About as successful as Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, and a better film. Oscar nominations for Loren for Best Actress, and for Best Foreign Film. Not in the same year mind you, but I'm not doing the research as to why, no thanks. Let's just catch this please:

Let me know if there's interest. With this many options, there has to be something for you to see. Later all.