Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jan revivals: first half

Hey all, Happy 2012. Mike here with a revival list for the first half of January. A little smaller than planned. In part because there are newer films to catch up with that might be Oscar nominated and/or might be a "best of 2011" candidate. In part because I don't feel like going out into the biter cold to see Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, for a minimum $7.00 bar tab, at the Rubin Museum of Art. I was interested in that earlier, but now it feels like exertion. And I've learned that if feels like a hassle to go to a revival, then there's no point in going out. You can go to the Rubin and catch it if you like, but no thanks for me. Here we go:

THE ROAD WARRIOR- Fri Jan 6 and (a maybe for me) Sat Jan 7 at 12:10AM- IFC Center- And with everything I wrote in the first paragraph, what's the first thing I do? Post a Midnight screening. In fact my first two postings are Midnight screenings. But if it feels like work, don't bother doing the screening. And this is fun.

Part of IFC's series of Car Chase movies at Midnight series. The first successful Mad Max film in the U.S. I mentioned a few months back how much of a mega hit the first Mad Max was in every country except this one. And Warner Bros must have figured this out when they changed the film's title from Mad Max 2 to this. This wasn't breaking box office records like E.T. was doing that same summer, but it found a big enough audience in theaters (and blew up big time on home video), that a third Mad Max film was eventually made.

Not only the best Mad Max film, but for me, one of the best action films ever made. Mel Gibson is in full anti-hero, as Max is in no mood to help one group that's low on brute strength, but high in both brain power and precious gas reserves. But another brutal group, full of men in masks and punk looks, is looking to pillage and do far worse, forcing Max to help. Some good action scenes, but the greatness comes in the final car chase lasting quite a while. Swarms of unrelenting evil, attacking Max in his tanker, at speeds that seemed at least 80mph. A car chase so good, they can even throw in character moments that enhance and further develop the story, without interfering with the fun.

A triumph of editing, cinematography and script writing. No, seriously. The stakes are raised by the time we get to this car chase, with an ending that we were not expecting. Yeah, you say that 25 yrs later, but when you first experience the scene? I don't think so. Have never seen this on the big screen and would really like to.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK- Fri Jan 6 and (a maybe for me) Sat Jan 7 at 12:20AM- IFC Center- A 4k digital restoration of Raiders of the Lost Ark has apparently been so popular for IFC Center for the last 3 weekends of 2011, is back for this weekend. What can I say, I a sucker for one of my all time favorites:

Now for these films, I've posted the date Saturday, January 7th as a maybe. Because they can both serve as backups for a Midnight possibility I'd prefer to do on the 7th . . .

THE ROOM- Sat Jan 7 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- One of the best bad films of recent times, Tommy Wiseau's The Room continues playing at Landmark Sunshine Cinema at Midnight on the first Saturday of every month. 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. At previous screenings elsewhere, you might expect Wiseau and at least 1 actor to come, say hi to as many fans as possible, and do an interesting Q and A, but who knows. I'm definitely 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 did at the Village East Cinema where this used to screen. I expect people to line up early, but I'm not sure what to expect at this location.

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:

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) in 3-D- Starts Fri Jan 13 for 2 or 3 weeks (maybe more but don't plan for that)- Theaters and times TBA- Based on the success of the re-release of the first two Toy Story films, and on the heels of the bigger success of The Lion King re-release, Disney's Beauty and The Beast, from 1991, gets a re-release for at least 2-3 weeks, maybe more. And like the aforementioned animated films, Beauty and the Beast is also getting the 3-D treatment. Not sure how much 3-D will enhance the film beyond the memorable ballroom dance scene. But a film this good getting a re-release deserves attention. I'm happy to post this, as opposed to the upcoming 3-D re-releases of Star Wars Episode One and Titanic. Excuse me, or not, if I ignore those two.

Getting a little personal for the moment. At the time of Beauty and the Beast's original release, I had no interest in catching animated films in general. The releases of Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers Down Under did nothing for me, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a live action-animated hybrid, and my going to the re-releases of Fantasia and 101 Dalmatians were more a case of convenient re-embracing of childhood memories. So yeah, I was more hyped up for The Addams Family and Star Trek VI than for Beauty and the Beast. Yeah, the Disney flick had some surprisingly great reviews, but I still wasn't going. Then, Beauty and the Beast gets 6 Oscar nominations. Notably, a Best Picture nomination, the first ever for an animated film. I figure "Aw hell, now I'll have to go". Then life interfered, and the chances to see films on the big screen dropped dramatically. And as Beauty when on to win 2 Oscars, for Score and for the title song, life didn't let up. Never got to see it on the big screen, I had to wait for its VHS release. And of course after seeing it, I think both "Yeah, that was pretty good." and "I missed it on the big screen, DOH!".

Still haven't seen it on the big screen, but my chance is coming now, and unless you saw it sometime between November 1991 to May 1992, or saw its IMAX re-release in early 2002, this will be your chance to. Theaters haven't been announced as of this writing except for a few AMC theaters throughout the country, but since this is getting a nationwide release, finding a theater to watch it shouldn't be a problem.

ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL- Fri Jan 13 at 6:15- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Part of Lincoln Center's series of films that made a big impact in the New York Film Festival. A Rainer Werner Fassbinder film that looks like "What if Fassbender made a Douglas Sirk-esque film, but shot at times almost like a faux-documentary?". From 1974, 2 lonely people meet by chance, and quickly get married. Perhaps too quickly, and in other films, that in itself would be the whole story. But since the couple in question is a 60 year old West German woman and a much younger Moroccan immigrant, we'll dealing with racism, ageism, hatred of immigrants and general feelings of betrayal from family, friends and co-workers, yeah, things won't go so well for the couple. The film is more complex than I'm making it sound. But since explaining it more requires me to go into spoilers, and most of the people who'll ever look at this list has seen maybe one Fassbender film (if that many), I'd prefer you go. Multiple Cannes Film Festival award winner for Fassbender, the first awards for Rainer outside West Germany. This may not be the best gateway intro to Rainer's work; for me, it would be either Marriage of Maria Braun or Lola. But it's still very good:

THE UNKNOWN- Mon Jan 16 at 8- Film Forum- Part of the MGM Silent Film series. Haven't seen it, but the description of it got me interested. Lon Chaney is an armless trick shot performer in a circus. Actually, he isn't armless, but he preforms his tricks that way. Not everyone knows he's armless, including the woman he loves, fellow circus performer Joan Crawford. She would only love a man who didn't have arms. Once Chaney's character hears this, what's a guy to do but . . . I won't spoil it for you, but believe it or not, the film gets much weirder from there. From director Tod Browning, of Dracula and Freaks fame. Absolutely curious, and willing to try this weird film:

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

1 comment:

Tyra Shortino said...

The final car chase scene is always the best part of the movie, and it's usually placed at the near-end of the story. But there are some directors who put car-chase scenes at the beginning of the movie, thus immediately catching the viewer's attention.

Tyra Shortino