Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August revivals: second half

Hey all. Mike here with a small list of revival screenings for August. More about my experience with the director and other leading man from The Room when I get the chance. Now on with this small, select choice of revivals, here we go:

THE LAST WALTZ- Fri Aug 17 at 12:05AM- IFC Center- A special Midnight screening of The Last Waltz, in honor of the recently deceased Levon Helm. Arguably the best concert film ever made. After Taxi Driver, a change of pace for director Martin Scorsese, filming the farewell concert of The Band on Thanksgiving 1976. Mixed with recording sessions that also included working with Emmylou Harris and The Staples. They also had some friends performing with them, including Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Ron Wood, Dr. John, and Ringo Starr. Also includes interviews with members of the Band, days after the concert. Also noteworthy is the cinematography of Michael Chapman, who also did Scorsese's Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. The first concert film to be photographed in 35mm: 

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for free at Bryant Park- Mon Aug 20 at sunset- The last of the Bryant Park films, and the most fun sendoff to the series that you could imagine. If you don't know the first Indiana Jones film, then what the hell are you doing looking at this? In my personal top 35, on both AFI Top 100 lists, won multiple Oscars, and oh yeah, one of the most best  films ever made. Now yes, there was the recent announcement of this film getting a week-long on a few IMAX screens in September. Now in terms of New York State and New Jersey, it will be 3 screens in Manhattan, 1 in Clifton New Jersey, 1 in New Rochelle, AND THAT'S IT. But if you can't wait that long, or you think you'll have difficulty doing any of those screenings, Monday at Bryant Park will do ok:

BLUE VELVET with an episode of Spider-Man and an episode of The Muppet Show- Sat Aug 25 at 6 (Velvet)- Muppet Show and Spider-Man played throughout the afternoon- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Part of the Museum's See It Big retrospective. In my top 5 ever, possibly higher. I saw Blue Velvet when it was released back in 1986. Ok, 1987, thanks to critical acclaim. I was WAY too young to get all of what was going on, but what I did get was disturbing, fascinating, and told me that movies could be very different from Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz, or Casablanca. Now yes, the journey depicted here is somewhat similar to Dorothy's journey through Oz (intentional). But this precursor to Twin Peaks is it's own world. The shock factor may not be nearly the same for you compared to what 1986/87 audiences endured, but the story, the performances and Angelo Baldalamenti's beautiful score has endured.

What Shadow of a Doubt pushed in terms of evil in a small town Americana, Blue Velvet cranked to 11 and turned it on its (severed) ear. A very 50s town, with a very 50s kinda young man (Kyle MacLachlan) dealing with the kind of dark crisis a 50s era hero isn't obviously equipped to handle. Not without help, love and support that is. But oh what a dark journey to get to that point . . . This mystery/neo-noir/romantic drama got Lynch a Best Director nomination, and brought both his and MacLachlan's career back from the dead. Isabella Rossellini established herself as an actress once and for all, and Dennis Hopper became a working character actor forever, in a career performance. Also drew major controversy in its day for its, let's just say, sexual connotations, and what was required of Rossellini in her role. I believe it was Ebert who called this film the most vile thing he had ever seen (or something along those lines) and Rosselini attacked him (verbally) in response. A bit of a Rorschach test, this hauntingly beautiful film is. Decide for yourself.

But before Blue Velvet you can, as part of your admission, catch 2 TV episodes in any order you choose, playing from when the Museum opens until closing. One retrospective of Muppet Show episodes, and a retrospective of various Spider-Man animated series from the 60s to this year, in honor of the release of The Amazing Spider Man. The Muppet Show episode screening on the 25th is a 5th season episode with guest Victor Borge. In this episode, Fozzie suffers from a lack of confidence, Borge plays a piano duet with Rowlf, and (tries) to play Tchaikovsky with a group of baby Muppets. For the Spider-Man retrospective, you have a Season 1 episode from the original 1967 show. You know, the one with the classic theme song "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a Spider can . . . " Now unfortunately this episode, "The Night of the Villains/ Here Comes Trubble", features no one from Spidey's rogues gallery. But the Season 1 episodes tend to be fun. I probably haven't seen this episode since it ran as a re-run on WNEW Channel 5, but I probably had fun then, will probably have fun now, and if you like Spidey, so will you:   

Let me know if there's interest. The next list by the way, will probably be even smaller. One, because my favorite New York City event, the U.S. Open, starts unofficially on Tuesday, August 21st, and begins officially on Monday, August 27th. The majority of my attention will be focused there. And two, I have no interest in Finding Nemo in 3-D on Friday, September 14th. Good film, but unlike The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, I'll skip this 3-D re-release and wait for Monster's Inc. instead. Later all, and enjoy the rest of your summer.

P.S.: I've been waiting a while to post Billy Perkins' painting of Blue Velvet. Glad I had the chance now.

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