Monday, December 23, 2013

Revivals: Christmas and New Year's edition







Hey all, Mike here with a list of revivals to catch during the Christmas week and New Year's weekend. A lot of these films conflict with each other, and I don't care. It' s about quality people, and I'm sure everything will sought themselves out. Here we go:



2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY- Thurs Dec 26 at 9:40, Fri Dec 27 at 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 9:30, Sat Dec 28 at 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30, Mon Dec 30 at 3:30, 6:30 and 9:30, Thurs Jan 2 Fri Jan 3 and Tues Jan 6 at 9:30- IFC Center- For the film's 45th anniversary, A DCP screening for two weeks at IFC Center. I'm only posting the dates and times I think I could make. My favorite Kubrick film, in my personal Top 3 films. Yes I know I posted it before. I've posted it now, and I'll probably post it again, so there. Maybe I'm determined to catch this in as many different venues as possible. If I catch it here, then the only other venues in NYC left for me to catch it in, would probably be the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria (should be awesome!), MOMA (eh), and Landmark Sunshine Cinema. That last one, in East Houston, I don't know. It would probably be a Midnight screening, and I'm not doing that again unless it's at least 60 degrees and I get a ride home. Sorry, I'm digressing again . . .

For me, this is a film that I can see over and over and not feel tired about. And I go with someone who has never seen it on the big screen, or some cases never seen it prior, their reactions are interesting. There will be moments which will always inspire awe, usually before we cut away to the astronauts on Discovery. Moments of laughter (rare, but they exist), and always fascination with HAL. But whether they can embrace the film as a whole, whether they love it or not, or whether they come away admiring the film but finding impossible to embrace it; the reactions are never quite the same. But they will come having never seen something quite like this.

There will be an Overture, Intermission music, and at least 7-8 minutes of exit music. Not sure if there will be an intermission, but there might be. When I saw the 70mm print at the Walter Reade in Lincoln Center, the best part of that print over the previous DCP screenings was the look of the Dawn of Man sequence. The textures from that print for that section, popped more for me than with the DCP. But the overall sound quality and the quality of the look once we the viewer were taken up in space: Wow. I expect the same quality here: 

http://www.ifccenter.com/films/2001-a-space-odyssey/   


EMMET OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS and/or THE GODFATHER- Fri Dec 27 at 1 (Otter) and 7 (Godfather)- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- A potential double feature here of two things that, aside from being created by mouth-breathing humans from the 1970s, are very different from each. Ok, there's a strong sense of family in each project, but VERY DIFFERENT FAMILIES. One admission gets you into both Emmet Otter and Godfather, though you have a long wait if you do that.

First, Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. Each month until the new permanent wing of the Museum is built to house the hundreds of puppets, Muppets, and other assorted items donated by Jim Henson's family, the Museum will screen something each month until 2015 that is Henson related. The wonderful Rowlf retrospective was what the museum screened in November, Emmet Otter is what they'll screen this month. This special will be screened (digital projection) about ten or eleven times this month, but I'm only posting the two screenings I think I can make.   Henson directed this 1977 adaptation of the 1971 children's story for HBO, though most of us over 35 who haven't seen it on DVD, are more familiar with the reruns on ABC back in the early and mid 80s. A variation of O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi, Emmet Otter and his mother, Ma, struggle to get by, what with menial jobs, difficult customers and mourning the death of the patriarch. But when a local talent show with a cash prize occurs, Emmet and Ma figure the best way to buy Christmas presents is to enter the show. Of course they enter separately and must sacrifice something to enter . . . 

One of the better Christmas specials ever made, though it rarely gets the props that the likes of Rudolph, Charlie Brown and The Grinch get. With fun songs from Paul Williams, and if you see this, take a good look at the art direction. In particular, the sets; probably the most appropriate looking, best realized of all the TV projects Henson had ever done. I'm sure there are exceptions but they're just not coming to mind right now. Due to copyright issues, sometimes the special doesn't include the on and offscreen narration of Kermit the Frog. But this screening will have Kermit, plus bloopers and a brief behind the scenes featurette after the special.  DVD projection for Emmet, it is over 35 years old and shot on tape after all.

Next, The Godfather, screened in a 35mm print. Part of the Museum's See It Big: Great Cinematographers retrospective. Do I really need to pitch this? Brando comeback, blah blah blah, rise of Pacino, blah blah blah, great cast that I'm not in the mood to breakdown, blah blah blah, on all great films lists worth a damn and most that are not, blah blah blah . . . I can at least say that this was the fastest 3 hours or so I ever spent watching a film. I had to ask a friend I saw this with "Wow I always felt this was a three hour plus movie". When I got the response that it was almost three full hours, I was stunned. Everything flies by straight thru to James Caan's death (for the love of God do I have to spoiler alert?!?!?), and then the rest of the film settles in. No excess fat, no wasted shots, perfection.

10 Oscar nominations, 11 if you include the one for Nino Rota's score that was later ruled ineligible because he supposedly reused his score from the film Fortunella. Among the nominations it lost was Supporting Actor for Pacino, Caan and Robert Duvall, Coppola for Director, Editing and Sound. It lost all those noms to Cabaret. If this shocks you, it's because you're not into musicals or you have no idea how good and how influential Cabaret director Bob Fosse was/is. What shocked the hell out of me was that The Godfather WASN'T nominated for Cinematography. No Art Direction nod either. This I could understand that; look it up and you'll know what I mean. But you mean to tell me 1776, Butterflies Are Free, Cabaret (the eventual winner), The Poseidon Adventure and Travels With My Aunt ALL deserved more votes than Godfather for Cinematography? I'm not saying it should have won. I had no problem if they thought Cabaret, the eventual winner, was better. But that's because I have a soft spot for the work of cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth (2001, Murder on the Orient Express, Becket, Superman: The Movie, among other credits). But Gordon Willis not even being nominated for his work is Bullshit.

But it did win 3 key Oscars: Picture, Screenplay Adaptation for Coppola and Mario Puzo, and Brando for Actor. No need to mention the Oscar controversy in this list about Brando that night. No need to mention its high place on both AFI lists. No need to mention its place in my personal top 35 (pretty high, yet not as high as Godfather 2). Just need to say; unless you're over the age of 53, or you saw its brief re-release in 1997, or saw a crappy print when it's played at Midnight at Landmark Sunshine Cinema, or caught the restored version at either the Film Forum or the Ziegfeld back in 2008, you've only seen this on tv. You've never seen it look as intended. Now is a great time to correct this:

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2013/12/27/detail/emmet-otters-jug-band-christmas-2 

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2013/12/27/detail/the-godfather 


DOUBLE INDEMNITY- Fri Dec 27 and Sat Dec 28 at 8:50- Film Forum- From the Forum's Barbara Stanwyck retrospective. I'm shocked that this is the only film from the retrospective that I'm posting. Ok, I saw Forty Guns last year at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria and I'm in no rush to see it again so soon, and I've seen Christmas in Connecticut twice on TV in the past three weeks.   

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are both cool as they plot her husband for the insurance money, but pesky investigator/moral compass Edward G. Robinson keeps getting in the way. I shouldn't be that way; if Eddie G. didn't turn in such a humane performance as basically both the audience's stand-in and the incorruptible everyman (as opposed to MacMurray's fine performance as the corrupted/ corruptible everyman), maybe this film would be slightly less better remembered. That last sentence probably made little grammatical sense, but I have little time, so I'm just moving on.

Except that it's not like Eddie G. created the performance out of a vacuum. He had Wilder as a director, and Wilder and Raymond Chandler as screenwriters (the screenwriters detested each other. Reading a little about this makes me think it was karma that Wilder had to deal with Monroe for Some Like It Hot). And let me not forget the source material: James M. Cain's novel, based on actual murder case from the 1920s.  I don't mean to dismiss Fred and Barbara, their chemistry is obvious.

7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Wilder for Director, Stanwyck for Actress, and Wilder and Chandler for Screenplay. Surprisingly, nothing for MacMurray or Robinson. I guess after all these years, it's still easy to think of Fred as the calm presence from My Three Sons, or from the Disney movies like The Absent Minded Professor. But he's just as realistic here, smarter than he looks yet almost as smart as he thinks, dissatisfied bordering on bored, spotting the honey trap (to use the term from Munich), and yet just leave it alone without taking a taste, and then wanting more till he's over his head.

No Oscar wins, since Going My Way was a juggernaut that year. On the short list for the best film noirs ever made. Sorry, but I won't put this above the likes of Maltese Falcon, Sierra Madre and can't put this above Laura, which was released the same year as Indemnity. But I enjoy the dance Wilder, Chandler and the cast do around the Production Code: 

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/double_indemnity    


DEAD ALIVE- Fri December 27 at Midnight- A DCP projection. If you can see only one Peter Jackson film this season, you would probably choose to see the latest Hobbit film. If you can only see two Peter Jackson films this season, you probably still wouldn't pick Dead Alive. And If you're not into whacked out Zombie comedies, you definitely wouldn't pick Dead Alive. However, if you want to see something on the whacked-out side, and get a clue of early Jackson, here is Dead Alive.

Typical Oedipal-like story. Boy meets Girl, Boy's mother disapproves of Girl to the point of rage, Boy's mother gets bitten by a toxic monkey, Boy's mother slowly transforms into zombie-like monster and starts infecting other people, Boy and Girl must kill all the zombies around them in order for their love to stand a chance. Kill them in the bloodiest and darkly humorous way that a small-budget film from New Zealand will allow. Seriously, when it's time to kill the zombies, this is more Looney Tunes than Night of the Living Dead or even Evil Dead. And yes, there will be blood, by the gallons. Well, not every Midnight movie can be Rocky Horror, or Alien, or Jaws, or El Topo:  

http://www.ifccenter.com/films/dead-alive/ 


EMMET OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS and MCCABE AND MRS MILLER- Sat Dec 28 at 1 (Emmet) and 3(McCabe)- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Another potential double feature, and another chance to catch Emmet Otter if Friday the 27th doesn't work for you. Again like with The Godfather on that day, this kids-heavy fare is followed by something for adults only. But if you bring the kids and you want to see McCabe and Mrs. Miller, hopefully you have an adult or someone to watch the kids until 5-5:05. The Museum will give them something to do for quite a bit of time, but I don't know about 3- 3 1/2 hours worth. But if you're not bringing any kids and you are the type to enjoy both a Jim Henson special and a borderline avant-garde Robert Altman Western, then I got a treat for you.  

I already went over Emmet Otter, so I'll move on to McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Also part of the Museum's See It Big: Great Cinematographers retrospective. A Western that must have heavily influenced at least the look of HBO's Deadwood, as well as Unforgiven. Warren Beatty (cast for box office purposes, over Altman's original choice of Elliot Gould) plays a gambler/hustler type who sets up a whorehouse/saloon with the help of Julie Christie (Oscar nominated). When mining companies try to buy out their successful business, things get bloody. But since we're in 70s Altman territory, expect some revisionist changes to the usual formula. Plus an ending that makes The Wild Bunch and Heaven's Gate look cheery in comparison, though comparatively less bloody.

This film got lost in the shuffle back in 71; released in the summer around hits like Klute and Shaft, and with influential films like French Connection, A Clockwork Orange and Last Picture Show coming later on, forget remembering this back then. Over the years, it's developed a cult following, among Western fans and Altman fans. At first, it was at least better than Altman's previous picture, Brewster McCloud. A 1990 revival/ mini re-release in London helped. Vilmos Zigmond (Close Encounters, Heaven's Gate, The Deer Hunter)'s Cinematography and Leonard Cohen's songs certainly helped, as did future revisionist Westerns like Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven. Also filled with a lot of actors from other Altman films, including Keith Carradine, Rene Auberjonois, and Shelley Duvall:

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2013/12/28/detail/emmet-otters-jug-band-christmas-2 

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2013/12/28/detail/mccabe-mrs-miller   


BORN YESTERDAY (1950) introduced by film editor and son of Judy Holliday, Jonathan Oppenheim- Sun Dec 29 at 8- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- The last of Lincoln Center's George Cukor retrospective that I'll be able to post. It qualifies as a romantic comedy, but also fits the bill in terms of political satire. A big hit adaptation of Garrison Kanin's play; the screenplay is credited to Albert Mannheimer, but Kanin was brought in for uncredited re-writes, and basically did the entire adaptation himself. The film that made Judy Holliday a star. She plays the loud, uncouth girlfriend of corrupt multi-millionaire Broderick Crawford. He's playing fast and loose with the government, bribing whatever politician he can while also hiding assets. He's advised by his lawyer to marry his girlfriend to avoid her having to testify, as well as being a 'safe place' to hide assets. Crawford can't have some so dumb, so uncouth (pot calling the kettle black there) as a wife; what would people think? So Crawford hires a reporter (William Holden)  to tutor her, to make her more presentable as a wife. She turns out to be not dumb, merely ignorant. Once she learns some things, she turns out to be not only whip-smart, but a dangerous person to underestimate. She also realizes, hey, Holden's character's seems attractive . . . 

Holliday was eventually chosen by director Cukor, in part thanks to her work with him in Adam's Rib, but also thanks to co-star Katharine Hepburn "leaking" info about how good a scene stealer she was. The biggest aid to allowing Holliday to reprise her hit Broadway performance were the amount of actresses who either said no (Rita Heyworth and Jean Arthur for example), or couldn't get a loan out from another studio (Lana Turner for example), and who made a screen test that went unseen (An unknown Marilyn Monroe). 

Once Holliday was cast and the screenplay was being re-adapted by the playwright, director Cukor came up with an idea that would serve the play well. He rehearsed the film like a stage play; not unusual from the later likes of a Sidney Lumet, but unexpected here. Cukor took the further step of have a mini-theater built and have leads Holliday, Crawford and Holden perform the film in front of an audience for a week to nail down the timing.

Oscar nominations for Picture, Cukor for Director, Writing for Mannheimer (not for Kanin, though he received a Screenplay nomination that year for Adam's Rib), and Costume Design. An Oscar for Holliday for Best Actress; over the likes of Bette Davis and Anne Baxter for All About Eve and Gloria Swanson for Sunset Blvd, and the first time the Best Actress award was ever given to a comedic performance. Holiday's son, film editor Jonathan Oppenheimer (Paris Is Burning) will introduce the film. Not sure if there will be a post film Q and A, but there might be:

http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/born-yesterday    


MODERN TIMES or THE GREAT DICTATOR- Wed Jan 1 at 7:20 (Times) or 9:10 (Dictator)- Film Forum- The start of the Film Forum's mini Charlie Chaplin retrospective, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Chaplin's first short. One screen will be devoted all day and night on New Year's Day, to different Chaplin stuff. Sorry that I'm not getting myself out there during the day for the likes of The Gold Rush, The Kid and The Circus. Honestly, either I'll be in no condition to do it, or I'll be out doing something else, I just know it. But I am inclined to make a trip out to see the last two films of the night, Modern Times and The Great Dictator. All films on January 1st are separate admission I'm afraid, so whether you to do one of the two Chaplin films I'm posting here, or one of the earlier ones, you'll have to pick. C'mon, we're not talking Sophie's Choice here.

First, Modern Times. For those of you out there who've never caught this before, now would be a great time. Don't think I need to go further, because if you even glance at these lists occasionally, you know Modern Times, and you're at least aware of how great it could be. The first section with the Tramp in the factory, with the famous Chaplin inside the machine sequence, is never not funny. And while it may meander and veer a bit into soap opera territory, it's never unfunny, and the sentiment isn't cloying, it's well earned and genuine. I dare say, it borders on magical. With more than able assistance from Paulette Goddard. In my personal top 100. 

Next, The Great Dictator, Chaplin's first official talking picture. And a politically bold one for its time; a satire on Fascism and full scale attack on Hitler. Chaplin wrote, directed and starred as both the dictator that wasn't named Hitler but take a wild guess, and the dictator's double who happens to be a Jewish barber. Then one day, the two are mistaken for one another. . . let the hilarity ensue. 5 Oscar nominations, including Picture, Chaplin for Actor and for the Screenplay.

Praised more for its audacity and willingness to be confrontational, years before we knew what exactly was going on with the Nazis, and it's place in history as one of the only films willing to do this back in 1940. Praised for all of this, as opposed to the quality of the film itself. So here is a chance to decide if this still holds up as entertainment, or works more as an important piece of film history and nothing more. Or both, minus the nothing more part. When I saw it, it felt a little long, but I stayed patient with it, and I feel my patience was rewarded. Ok, maybe Paulette Goddard worked better as a silent film actress in Modern Times than here. But her timing is sharp and for as long as the script allows her to play a character as opposed to caricature, she again provides more than able assistance to Chaplin.

And the film does possess one magical sequence: the Globe scene where the Dictator looks upon the world. Both comedic and balletic, and still chilling at the very end, after all these years: 

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/modern_times1

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/the_great_dictator 


CHAPLIN AT FIRST NATIONAL- Thurs Jan 2 at 8:10 and 10:15- Film Forum- Part of the Forum's Chaplin at 100 retrospective. Three of Chaplin's later shorts will be screened together. Sunnyside and Shoulder Arms from 1918, and The Pilgrim from 1923. These were made during the time Chaplin was under contract with First National, after leaving on good terms with Mutual Studios. Relations with First National grew difficult over the five or so years it took Chaplin to complete his eight picture contract. The best known film from this period is The Kid, and it was the frosty relationship and rumored merger by First National with another studio, that helped lead to Chaplin to be involved with the formation of United Artists. But all this is for another time and another site, so let's stick with these three shorts in order of screening. 

Sunnyside is where instead of playing the Tramp, Chaplin plays a farmhand who loves the farmer's daughter, even though the farmer hates him. With Chaplin's first film score, and an ending that's either a dream (his character dreams of nymphs earlier on) or reality. 

Shoulder Arms is set in World War One, released weeks before the Armistice. Chaplin plays a solider in the French Army, Awkward Division. He'll toss inedible limburger cheese at the Germans (a potent gas attack indeed) and disguise himself as a tree trunk if he has to. If that's what it takes to win the war and the heart of a girl. Said girl played by Edna Purviance, Chaplin's leading lady for most of that decade. Also his girlfriend, though I believe their break-up was right around or shortly after filming of this picture. Shoulder Arms was Chaplin's biggest hit of the 1910s, and the satirical attacks you would find in The Great Dictator, have their origins from what Chaplin experimented with here. Ok, so his feature length pictures as the Tramp are also laden with social realism and political/ social messages as well, but Shoulder Arms has more of a direct link to The Great Dictator. 

In The Pilgrim (his last short for First National), Chaplin is an escaped con, posing as a minister to avoid detection. But when he decides to hide in Texas, he arrives to a small town awaiting their new parson, and think he's it! Will his new disguise give him a change of heart about his ways. Chaplin is not playing the Tramp (at least officially), but the bowler is out in full force when he must deal with an annoying little boy who loves custard. Also the last film where Edna Purviance would be his leading lady:

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/chaplin_at_first_national 


MODERN TIMES- Friday Jan 3 at 5:20 (maybe) and 9:30- Film Forum- My favorite Chaplin plays yet again. By itself this time, on Friday, January 3rd. Now I don't know if I can do the 5:20 screening, but the 9:30 is doable:

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/modern_times_plus_pay_day1 


BEFORE SUNRISE and/or BEFORE SUNSET and/or BEFORE MIDNIGHT- Fri Jan 3- Thurs Jan 9- Different times on different days- in Lincoln Center at either the Walter Reade or at the Francesca Beale-  The trilogy of films directed by Richard Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy as are they/ will they be/ how could they still possibly be lovers, will play for a week at Lincoln Center. The screenings will alternate between the Walter Reade next to Julliard, and the Francesca Beale theater, which is one of the newer screening rooms along W. 65th Street. The title of the retrospective is called Celine and Jesse Forever.

Actually four films will be screened. Waking Life, where Celine and Jesse make a cameo via Rotoscope, will also be shown, but only four times and none of them convenient for me. Now the schedule for these three films are so drawn out, much like Celine and Jesse's relationship, that I'm not going to break them down here. It's easier to just write the dates, post the link and go from there. The films can be seen separately, or all three (or four including Waking Life) can be bought for a discount. Not sure how much of a discount, though I'm guessing 3 films for twenty to twenty five dollars. Somewhere in that range:

http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/celine-and-jesse-forever  



That's all for now. Later all, and Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December revivals: pre-Christmas edition







Hey all, Mike here with a revival list of December films that will play before Christmas Eve. Sorry that I didn't get this up sooner. Life gets in the way, especially with the holidays. I intended a somewhat longer list, but frankly I can barely do what I'm posting now. And even this might have a slight question mark, depending on what else pops up. But for now, here's what I have through December 23rd. My next list will go from about December 26th through a few days past New Year's Day. But let me not digress, here's the current list:
 
 

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE with an introduction by Mary Owen at select screenings-  Wed Dec 18- Mon Dec 23 at 4:15, 7 and 9:45 at IFC Center- plus Wed Dec 18 at 7 at AMC Empire- A DCP projection at IFC Center, a digital screening at AMC Empire. Once again, IFC Center shows the Frank Capra-Jimmy Stewart-Donna Reed classic for about two weeks. It's only shown once or twice a year on NBC and I believe it will be screened only once on TCM, and not much more after that, if at all. So if you're in the mood, here it is. I'm sorry that you don't get a little bell with the title of the film on it, like you do with the recent DVD release, but how bad do need to give out angel wings?

As for the film itself, you probably know it, and your familiarity is probably why you're hesitant to go out and see it on the big screen. Don't worry, unless you're one of those who've made it a tradition to come out and see it in a venue like IFC Center every year or every other year, relatively few people know what it's like to experience this on the big screen, without commercial interruption. So maybe this is the year you'll do it? This holiday season, it will screen at three different Manhattan locations. But I don't imagine making the Saturday December 21st screening at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas. However, there will be screenings at AMC Empire as well, and the Wednesday December 15th screening at 7 is a possibility for me. I believe the IFC Center's screenings are DCPs, unsure what kind of projection will be done at AMC Empire. 

Once again, Mary Owens, Reed's daughter will make introductions to selected screenings, but only at IFC Center. Friday December 20 at 7, would probably be the only screening I could make:

http://www.ifccenter.com/films/its-a-wonderful-life/

https://www.amctheatres.com/amc-classics-series


REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE-  Wed Dec 18 and Thurs Dec 19 at 7:45 and 10- Film Forum-  A DCP restoration of the James Dean classic. A 4k restoration, scanned at 8k with a restored soundtrack from the original release prints.  Not the only good film on director Nicholas Ray's resume, but the one undisputed classic for sure. Parts of the film do feel dated, but the sense of genuine angst, loneliness and frustration never goes out of style. Yes, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo are there as well, plus memorable scenes at the Observatory, with the racing hot rods, and with the brief moment of pseudo-happiness before life intrudes on the makeshift family that Dean, Wood and Mineo form. But if there's any interest in seeing this film at all, it's Dean performance. As fresh and vital as any modern performance today. And while the Film Forum's screen isn't the Ziegfeld, the DCP restoration should enhance the Cinemascope look and especially the sound; the part of the film in most dire need of restoration: 

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/rebel_without_a_cause   


STORIES WE TELL- Fri Dec 20 at 4:40- Howard Gillman Theater in Lincoln Center- Technically a revival, since the film is no longer in theatrical release. Part of Lincoln Center's series of  documentaries that are on the short list for an Oscar nomination next year. While director Sarah Polley's previous directorial efforts did not make any top 10 lists for me in the years they came out (they were on many other critics' lists), I came away admiring her talent and her low-key approach to telling a story. Away From Her was good, but I felt Take This Waltz was even better. Michelle Williams played a married woman who falls for another man, and wonders whether it's worth ending her marriage to engage in a new relationship. The deliberate thought process, the temptation to go, the temptation to stay, the risk of losing her circle of friends, the chance that she might gain a better, more fulfilled version of herself regardless of whether the new man stays around or not. All thoughtfully presented, making for a film that I wished I had room on my Best of 2012 list.

Director Polley's latest film Stories We Tell, released in the U.S. this past May, is a documentary. Polley was raised by her parents, Michael and Diane. But Sarah may have been the result of an extramarital affair Diane had with someone else. Her mother died the week of Sarah's 11th birthday, so obviously she's not around to tell what happened. So Sarah goes about finding out from her father, the man who might be her biological father, other relatives and friends. Using interviews, home movies, photos, and recreations of home movies, the truth is searched for. Or at least a consistent truth, which hold families together just as much as secrets do.

Not a big hit, but for a documentary, it did ok. The only other documentary on the Oscar short list to find a bigger audience is 20 Feet From Stardom, maybe the Pussy Riot documentary as well. The only documentary in this retrospective that I'll have time to possibly make:

http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/sarah-polley-stories-we-tell 


THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) for a 7 dollar bar minimum- introduced by George Rush and Joanna Molloy- Fri Dec 20 at 9:30- Rubin Museum- For a seven dollar bar minimum, you get a major change of pace from the usual holiday and/or heavy downbeat Oscar fare. The original Little Shop of Horrors, the Roger Corman quickie from 1960 gets a rare screening. Well that's not entirely accurate, it is occasionally screened at Midnight, so a 9:30 screening is very rare. You probably know the story, based on the far more successful stage musical and the moderately successful 1986 screen version of the musical. So you know the story of a nebbish young man whose forced to kill to feed the carnivorous plant he cares for. Let's not pretend we're seeing any great work of art here. Shot in 2 days and 1 night with re-shoots during the editing process, it's silly, a bit edgy for its time, fun, and ends in 72 minutes. With character actor extraordinaire Dick Miller as the flower eating Mr. Fouch, and Jack Nicholson in one of his earliest roles as the masochistic dental patient in love with pain.  

Tickets are available next to the bar, once you buy your drink which doesn't need to have alcohol in it to qualify, on the first floor of the Rubin. The museum will also be free to browse thru after 5:30, and I highly recommend it. Prior to the screening, Daily News columnists George Rush and Joanna Molloy will hold a signing at 8pm for their new book "Scandal: A Manual". Where in the museum I'm not sure, but I'm sure there will be signs that night. At 9:30, Rush and Molloy will introduce the film:

http://www.rmanyc.org/events/load/2344 


ALIEN- Fri Dec 20 and Sat Dec 21 at Midnight- IFC Center- Yep, I'm posting Alien again, in part because there are still people who haven't experienced it on the big screen, and in part because I need no excuse to catch this on the big screen. This time it's back at IFC Center, where it has enjoyed a respectable number of Midnight movie mavens (off and on) for years. Yes, it might seem weird that this film is being screened so close to Christmas. But back in 1979, it was such a successful summer film that it still played during the holiday season and months after that, for that end of year buzz and later, to try to cash in on those minor Oscar nominations, and its win for Visual Effects.

A DCP screening (I'm guessing it's the recent restoration) of the original 1979 release, as opposed to the "director's cut" from about 10 years ago will be screened. It means we don't get more establishment shots of the soon-to-be claustrophobic ship interiors, more signs of dislike and/or disrespect of Ripley, and the final fates of a few characters. All worked when restored to the film, but not essential to its enjoyment. Especially the extra interiors. I've seen this with several of you before, but that doesn't stop me from posting this again. This film works, better than anything Ridley Scott as ever done. Excellent combo of look, pace and sound all of which as played well before at the Forum with its quality sound system and should do so again. In my personal top 100. C'mon, it's fun:

http://www.ifccenter.com/films/alien/  


That's all I have for now. Oh, and the picture of It's A Wonderful Life posted above? That's an original poster, sold for several thousand dollars in last month's TCM auction at Bonham's in New York. As you can see from the poster, there was never a thought of this as a Holiday film.  Later all, and have a Happy Fesitvus.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

December Revivals, First Third






Hey all. Mike here with some December revivals. For this month, I'll split the month into three list. This one will run into mid-December, the third list will go from Dec 26 thru New Year's Day, maybe slightly longer. The second list, whatever I can slap together though the quality is looking good. Now here's the first list, starting with a conflict on December 5th, where majority will rule on which flick I can catch:
 

 
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE for $7.50- Thurs Dec 5 at 7 and 9:30- Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema- A cheap screening of my favorite Frank Capra film. Not his best mind you; I'm not putting this over the likes of say, Mr. Smith or It's A Wonderful Life, but it's a comedy I can see over and over, and some years back, I kinda did. Your choice of either the 7pm screening with an intro from Hedda Lettuce (which admittedly I'll be fighting like hell to make on time), or the 9:30 screening without Hedda.
 
As for the film, this is one of my favorite comedies. Despite the play having been done to death in community theater, this Frank Capra comedy is still gold to me. I really hope the speakers at the park are cranked extra high. Cary Grant plays a man who comes home to find his beloved aunts are serial killers, who get thoughtfully kill lonely old men, and then bury them in the basement with the aid of the uncle who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. It's a good thing his serial killer brother returns home on the same night; looking like Boris Karloff and accompanied by his "doctor" who looks like Peter Lorre and is played by Lorre.

Grant thought it was his weakest, most over the top performance. History has been quite kind, disagreeing with Cary. Pitch perfect cast and production:
 
 
 
RIFFTTRAX PRESENTS SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS- Thurs Dec 5 at 8- Regal Union Square, College Point Multiplex in Whitestone and UA Regal Westbury- Another Riftraxx screening. The gang, formerly a part of MST3K, will be digging into the archives for a film that formed one of their best episodes, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. A gloriously awful children's sci-fi-ish that's unfit for kids of all ages. At least as a holiday entertainment to be taken seriously. But as a bad movie, this is beautiful to behold.
 
From 1964, with a budget that looks like there was enough for a cheap Santa suit, plenty of Dutch Boy green house paint, and little else. Shot on location in and in an abandoned airplane hanger around Garden City and Roosevelt Field. Hey for 200 grand, where else would they shoot a Santa/ Sci-Fi flick? Anyway, for some reason, kids on Mars watch TV, and they especially like Earth TV shows. Ok, maybe it's reality TV for them, but there's nothing to think these are Martians on the level of those depicted in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. But those Martian kids really love Santa, and are saddened by the fact that they'll never get presents from the jolly guy, being so far away and all. So Martian leaders go down to Earth, kidnap two above average Earth kids, and force them to take them to the North Pole and bring Santa back to Mars. Sorry to say there are no scenes of polar bear-on-Martian attacks, or any hypothermia sequences, I suppose we and the cast and crew are lucky they didn't make the snow out of asbestos or something. 
 
Featuring 8 or 9 year old Pia Zadora as a little Martian, and really no one else in the cast worth remembering or went on to do anything. Except for Pia and what she did with a garden hose in The Lonely Lady, the guy who would play Ralph the doorman on The Jeffersons, and one actor who would later play Uncle Wally on Sesame Street. He plays a klutzy assistant to the Martian leaders, and his "antics" could drive alcoholics to drink. Or would if there was ever a reason to take this film seriously. Most of the cast came from working or then recently closed Broadway shows, so most of their work is unknown to me, and this film doesn't help. 
 
As I wrote, this helped form a really popular episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1991. What little popularity this has mostly came from that episode. You could initially dismiss it as crime against humanity and Santa, but after 1991, it was safe to mock in all sorts of ways. Now a number of those jokes might be old and/or a little dated now, so the Riftraxx crew will have some material to go alongside some of the better jokes from the episode. It will be performed live, and beamed into the screens listed above, and elsewhere around the country, with technology that sounds far less full-of-shit than in the movie. We get the compete film, occasionally camera-cutting to the Riftraxx crew, plus an unnamed short. Please let be Mr. B Natural, please let it be Mr. B Natural! I'm not sure if we'll also get a performance of A Patrick Swayze Christmas (I can only hope), but there will be joke trivia and faux trivia on the screen, one-half hour before the screening. So consider this more as a 7:30 something start than an 8pm start: 
 
 
 
 
THEY LIVE- Wed Dec 11 and Thurs Dec 12 at 7:50- IFC Center- A DCP projection in time for the 25th anniversary of John Carpenter's film. John Carpenter's still underrated Reagan era/ yuppie era satire, shot through the filter of a sci-fi action film, and don't forget the great fist fight, possibly the longest most exaggerated in film history. Based on a short story, Roddy Piper is new to L.A.. But this city seems like a split, between people with money, and people suffering through epic unemployment and under-employment: gee, DOES THIS SEEM FAMILIAR?!?!?! But Roddy comes upon a pair of sunglasses, where he can tell between truth and illusion. Between humans and aliens in positions of control. Where simple signs contain subliminal messages to control the human population. And once he sees what's what, Roddy's gonna kick ass and chew bubble gum, and he's all out of bubble gum.

Decent reviews but no box office when it was released in November 1988. Home video and cable showings brought it up to the precipice of a cult following, then the 90s happened and bye-bye cult following. But after 2005, as the economy slipped again, They Live became marginally more relevant. By the time the Occupy movement formed, They Live returned to the cusp of cult film status. I don't believe it's there, and I'm not sure if it ever will. But the satire is as relevant as ever. And if that's not enough, you got aliens, you got guns a-blazing, you got humor, you got teleportation. And you got the most exaggerated fight in film history, between Piper and Keith David. Plays for a week (the film, not the fight), but I've only singled out the nights and times I could do:
 
 
  
THE WOMEN (1939)- Fri Dec 13 at 6:30 and Sat Dec 14 at 4:30- at Lincoln Center- One of the first films I'll post from Lincoln Center's "Discreet Charm of George Cukor" retrospective. All of the director's films will be screened, including the TV movies he directed Katherine Hepburn in. Obviously I won't have time to post or catch them all, but I'm providing a link below for all the films. Each film will cost ten dollars admission, seven for seniors students and Lincoln Center Film Members, but there is a discount for multiple films in the series. I'm not sure how that will work, because the website link below mentions a three film package (which is usually 3 films for 20 dollars per person), but when I clicked the link to said package, it brought me to a 5 film for 25 dollars per person package. Whatever works for you, it can be bought online by going on the aforementioned link, or in person at the Walter Reade box office. That later option sounds less confusing and frankly more convenient.

Anyway, onto the film that garnered Cukor the reputation of being a woman's director, The Women. From 1939, refined, borderline saint Norma Shearer is the last to know her husband is cheating on her with perfume clerk Joan Crawford. Shearer's gossipy, bitchy "best friend", Rosalind Russell, is going to make sure she finds out. Snappy patter abound. Shearer may always be a better silent film actress than in talkies, but she does well her. But if Crawford doesn't dominate the screen as the main bitch, then Russell does, both of them in breakthrough roles. With a cast that includes Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, and several cast members of the original Broadway hit. Anitia Loos and Jane Murfin successfully adapted Clare Boothe Luce's play, thanks to uncredited re-writes by Donald Ogden Stewart and F. Scott Fitzgerald (F. Scott deserves particular applause here). And all tied together by director Cukor, who puts just enough sugar to let the medicine, or in this case acid, go down smooth. Ignore the crap Meg Ryan- Annette Benning remake and stick with this:
 
 
 
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE- Fri Dec 13- Wed Dec 18 at 5:30, 7:45 and 10- Film Forum-  A DCP restoration of the James Dean classic. A 4k restoration, scanned at 8k with a restored soundtrack from the original release prints.
 
Not the only good film on director Nicholas Ray's resume, but the one undisputed classic for sure. Parts of the film do feel dated, but the sense of genuine angst, loneliness and frustration never goes out of style. Yes, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo are there as well, plus memorable scenes at the Observatory, with the racing hot rods, and with the brief moment of pseudo-happiness before life intrudes on the makeshift family that Dean, Wood and Mineo form. But if there's any interest in seeing this film at all, it's Dean performance. As fresh and vital as any modern performance today. And while the Film Forum's screen isn't the Ziegfeld, the DCP restoration should enhance the Cinemascope look and especially the sound; the part of the film in most dire need of restoration: 
 
 
 
ADAM'S RIB introduced by Peter Bogdanovich and Carlo Chatrian- Sat Dec 14 at 7:15- the Walter Reade theater at Lincoln Center- From Lincoln Center's George Cukor retrospective. One of the better screwball comedies. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy teamed up for a number of films. But Adam's Rib is my favorite of all their team-up (Wow, I sound like A Marvel Team-up fan, sorry about that). Hepburn plays a defense attorney, who turns her loser of a case (a wife shoots her husband when he catches him cheating) into a rallying cause for women's rights and anything else she can think of, to beat her client's attempted murder charge. Much to the chagrin of her husband Tracy, the prosecuting attorney. But the high stakes gamesmanship carries over to the home front. The marriage takes a beating, but will it hold up? Gee, what do you think?

As I wrote before, my favorite of all the Hepburn-Tracy team ups. Some hilarious set pieces, some involving David Wayne as the comic relief neighbor with a longing for Hepburn. Judy Holliday steals scenes as the wife on trial. An Oscar nomination for screenwriters Ruth Gordon and Garrison Kanin. The screening will be introduced by director Peter Bogdanovich and Locarno Film Festival artistic director Carlo Chatrian:

 
 

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November revivals: Thanksgiving weekend edition









Hey all, Mike here with a list of revivals for Thanksgiving weekend. For the record I consider Wednesday, November 27 to be part of that list, so I'll include it. Now granted, something resembling a Nor'easter will hit town, probably as you're reading this. But I'm taking a chance that it will die down to a regular shower after 7pm, so I'll post the revival options for the 27th anyway. Now on with the list: 


 
SANDRA- Wed Nov 27 at 7:30 and 9:30- Film Forum- A new DCP restoration of Luchino Visconti's 1965 film, released with little impact in the U.S. in 1966. I don't know the film, it seems to have made a bigger impact back in the day in Europe than in America. Claudia Cardinale stars in the title role, returning to Volterra with her American husband to remember her father, a scientist killed in Auschwitz. Sandra has issues with her past, to put it mildly. Especially when it comes to her stepfather, insane mother and her brother. There are secrets that Sandra's husband doesn't know, but they may come to light when Sandra's brother returns, and something funny seems to happen when they meet again . . .
 
I wouldn't call this a direct adaptation of Mourning Becomes Electra, but Visconti seems to have taken enough of that story to make it his own. Like I said , Sandra doesn't appear to have made much impact here in the States. One possible reason is that the original subtitles were made in Spain during the Franco dictatorship, and that some "queasy" aspects of the story expressed thru dialogue were deleted. But with this 4K Digital Restoration, this should no longer be an issue. Like I also said, I don't know this film, but I liked Visconti's The Leopard and really liked his Rocco and his Brothers, so I'm willing to take a chance here:
 
 

THE HOMECOMING- Wed Nov 27 at 9- Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center- Part of Lincoln Center's Harold Pinter retrospective of films that are (extremely dark or melancholy) comedies. And among Pinter plays, you don't get much darker than what I would say was arguably his biggest hit play, The Homecoming. The first I believe of the American Film Theater's adaptations of major plays. In the early and mid 1970s, a number of these came out to varying levels of success and acclaim. I've posted a few in the past, including The Iceman Cometh and A Delicate Balance, and now the first of these adaptations, The Homecoming.
 
When I've done write-ups in the past regarding All About Eve, I'm usually comparing the verbal attacks as being splashed with acid blood, like those creatures in Aliens. But with The Homecoming, the verbal attacks feel backed by threats of violence, and the pauses (a Pinter staple) can mean even more than some of the words. A working class family filled with two older brothers, one a brutal patriarch the other a bit of a rake, and the patriarch's two sons, one supposedly training to be a boxer while the other appears to be a pimp. The dynamic is shaken up with the return of the third son, a philosophy professor, returning from America with his wife. The wife is left to fend for herself, as each relative comes on to her. But don't think of her as powerless, as she can use words and gestures with just as much force as any single one of them could use violence.
 
This view of family dysfunction and family values might have been considered bizarre, at times over the top yet always fascinating, might seem a little too realistic today. Or perhaps, like with Network's depiction of TV news and reality TV being outrageous back in 1976 yet fully believable by 2001 at the latest, The Homecoming seems akin to other fictional dysfunctional families on TV and the big screen. Perhaps a bit more English, perhaps more eloquent or more likely to use words like hand grenades or knives, perhaps more willing to use silence as a weapon, but realistic none the less.
 
The idea was to preserve as much of the original production of The Homecoming on film as possible. The film's director and the play's first director, Sir Peter Hall, alongside screenwriter Pinter, worked to bring us closer inside this decaying house/family, while avoiding as many stage-bound story traps as possible. Bringing in acclaimed stage actor Cyril Cusack as the abusive patriarch, and four actors from the original West End production also helps greatly. Of note, Pinter's then-wife Vivian Merchant as the lone female in the film, and especially Ian Holm as the pimp son. If you think of Holm as merely Bilbo Baggins, you're in for a shock/treat. Yes, he's more violent in Alien. But in terms of a complete character with a near constant tinge of menace, as well as being the only family member who can stand up to the tough patriarch, well there's a reason why Holm's career shot up in England and The Homecoming is it. Overall, the Pinter film out of everything I've posted worth catching the most:
  
 
 
ARMY OF DARKNESS- Wed Nov 27 and (a big maybe for me) Fri Nov 29 and Sat Nov 30 at 12:10AM- IFC Center- Part of IFC Center's series of Zombie movies at Midnight, or Midnight-ish. There were other films in the series prior to this, but either they didn't hold my interest or I had no time for them. There are other films in this retrospective after Army of Darkness, but I doubt I'll post them. No time for Shaun of the Dead, I never heard of Baron Blood but the IFC Center's description of it sounds ghastly to me, and I await the rest of the schedule that runs thru January 25th. Anyway, Army of Darkness plays the entire Thanksgiving weekend; I can do Wednesday night (weather permitting), won't do Thanksgiving night, and the other two nights are maybes but I'll post them anyway.
 
Now, Army of Darkness. A DCP projection of the original 81 minute theatrical release from 1992, as opposed to the 96 minute director's cut. Director Sam Raimi's second sequel to The Evil Dead, but for those who are not into horror flicks, don't worry. Despite being in a Zombie retrospective, this stays away from most horror scares, and goes more for sword and sorcery, with tongue firmly planted in check. Raimi's presumably favorite leading man, Bruce Campbell, plays his character as possibly the most macho, and possibly the stupidest version of Han Solo you've ever seen. And since this version is only 81 minutes long (to avoid the R rating the director's cut would receive), it doesn't overstay its welcome:
 
 
 
OLDBOY- Starting Fri Nov 29 for a one week run- at 1:15, 4, 6:45 and 9:20- Quad Cinema- Yes, this just played recently at Landmark Sunshine Cinema, but those were Midnight screenings that weren't convenient. These in theory are, so post them I will (how very Yoda of me). I'm not sure exactly which days and times I can do, so I'll just post all the times and not dilly-dally with this. Coming out for a one week only run to coincide with the release two days earlier, of Spike Lee's remake. Don't ask me why that particular release date; based on the very mixed domestic gross of the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you would think major studios would avoid unrelentingly grim material on the holiday season. Unless they think it can make impact with the Academy Awards, a la Children of Men. Then again, it is only coming out at 500 or so theaters with no hope of wider expansion in the weeks to follow, so it might be nothing to think about. Anyway, I'll wait a while for word of mouth to decide whether I want to tackle Lee's take on the story, but I know I want to tackle the original.
 
In the States, the original Oldboy is the definition of a modern day cult film. And I mean a good cult film, not a glorious train wreck like with The Room. A South Korean film from 2003, released in the U.S. in 2005. A businessman has been mysteriously trapped in a hotel room for fifteen years, for a crime he doesn't remember committing. That assumes he committed a crime at all, but I digress. He has no human contact, including from the wife and young daughter he left behind because of the kidnapping. He sends his fifteen years plotting his revenge. He may get that chance when he's released without explanation, just an unnamed male voice mocking him on the phone. But revenge may have to wait when he finds out his wife was murdered and he's been the prime suspect all this time. With the help of a young woman, he tries to find his daughter, his captor, and his wife's murderer. But, to paraphrase Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes; don't look for answers, you may not like what you find . . .
 
With an ending (shot in snowy New Zealand, stop looking for Hobbits) that lets the viewer decide what will happen from there. Also, a popular corridor fight scene in a "private prison", between an almost unending amount of henchmen who are trained to fight and kill, and our hero, who spent almost his captivity shadowboxing, but has never fought or killed prior to this. Generally good reviews from critics in the States, though for every 3 1/2 star or four star review from the likes of Roger Ebert, there would be the equivalent of one or two reviews from the likes of New York Times. Did ok business overseas and not much here. Not exactly perfect art house fare, yet art houses are the only ones that might clamor to screen something from South Korea. But cable and home video sales/rentals have helped developed the cult here. Anyone of us who've seen it, only knows what the film looks like on TV or their computer screen. You've most likely never had a big screen experience of this, but now that can change, even with the windshield-sized screens of the Quad. Ok, I exaggerate about the screen size, but not by much. Comfortable theater though:   
 
 
 
A DOG'S LIFE: A ROWLF RETROSPECTIVE and FAR FROM HEAVEN and/or BOOGIE NIGHTS- Sat Nov 30 at 1(Rowlf), 4 (Heaven), and 7 (Boogie)- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- A potential triple feature, all for one admission. It's a long day into night if you want to do this, potentially a 12:30- 9:40 day, at least.
 
First, A Dog's Life: A Rowlf Retrospective. The first of a per monthly series of stuff from the Jim Henson archives. Now that the Museum of the Moving Image will be able to show off Henson material in a new wing of the museum (all of this supposedly by sometime in 2015), we can look forward to more of these compilations of Henson material as the months and years go by. Starting with a compilation of Rowlf material, the first popular Muppet I believe. Using the 50th anniversary of the Jimmy Dean show as a springboard, we'll see the character in the many different ways he was used. Commercials, industrials, film, and plenty of TV clips. Expect a ton of Muppet Show stuff, and maybe more than just a little bit of Muppet Babies thrown in. But the highlight, in time for the official start of the holiday season, should be Rowlf's appearance on the Jimmy Dean show, singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Just the right amount of humor and emotion, sentimentality and just a tiny bit of pathos. One of the better TV clips from the era, and it should be a fun clipfest overall.
 
You can take the kids to see all this at 1PM, and then show them around the museum, do a little of the interactive stuff. But the next two films, part of a brief Julianne Moore retrospective (and the only two I'll have any time for in the series), leave the kids at home.
 
First, Far From Heaven, from 2002. Todd Haynes' film, doing a variation of a typical Douglas Sirk drama, with a bit of Fassbender alienation (according to Haynes). Set in the 1950s, Moore and Dennis Quaid's characters appear to be the ideal American family. But her marriage starts to go into a downward spiral when she spots her husband kissing another man. Conversion therapy doesn't help, and soon the wife develops feelings (and maybe more) toward her gardener (Dennis Haysbert), a black man which in a 1950s Sirk-esque film, tends to mean trouble for the characters. Usually in the form of violence and social denouncement.
 
A film that appealed much more to critics than to audiences. It seems like it won for something in every big and small critics' awards society, but that didn't help to generate a large audience, or even one large enough to cover the modest budget and advertising (one campaign to attract filmgoers and another to attract to the Academy). Yes it came away with 4 Oscar nominations; Moore for Actress, Haynes for Screenplay, Edward Lachman's Cinematography (for matching the color scheme of a typical Sirk film and then enhancing and building upon it), and Elmer Bernstein's Score. But in a year where the Academy was initially torn between Chicago and Gangs of New York (while leaving room for The Two Towers and The Pianist), Far From Heaven didn't have a shot. If you didn't see it back in the day or on video or cable, here's your chance.
 
Finally, Boogie Nights. Honestly, I don't know how much energy I'll have for this. Since I have more of a desire to catch the first two items I posted for this date, Boogie Nights wouldn't start till 7, and it's a little over two and a half hours, I don't know. Plus I caught this last summer at the Rubin Museum. Again, I don't know. Maybe the one hour or so break I'd have in-between Far From Heaven and Boogie Night to grab a snack and coffee might be all I need to get me through the screening. Because once I'm into it and for as long as I'm awake for the very beginning, then I know I'm good for the film, and boy is this film ever good. 
 
Yeah, it's easy to describe Paul Thomas Anderson's art-house hit as a journey from the fun loving era of 1970s porn on film, to the more streamlined 1980s era of porn on videotape, with more than a little loss of innocence. Even if their non-sexual intercourse skills would have gotten them laughed out of community theater, there's an earnestness, hopefulness and even a little naiveté in the 1970s scenes, that would take a major beating once the 80s come along. But this follows more along the lines of a family you create can mean more than the family you're born into path.This group of porn stars, director, and staff is generally not accepted within their biological families. But to paraphrase the tagline from The Big Chill, in a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm.  

With a cast that is an embarrassment of riches, boy did Anderson do well for himself in this category. From the actors who were known as leads (Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds), actors would become leads after Boogie Nights (Moore, Don Cheadle, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Thomas Jane), character actors (Luis Guzman, Alfred Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Ricky Jay, Joss Whedon/ Cabin in the Woods fave Tom Lenk), and actors who were working before and after this picture (William H. Macy, John C. Reily, and Graham who at 90 might only be thought of as Roller Girl) Oscar nominations for Anderson for his Screenplay, Moore for Supporting Actress, and Reynolds for Supporting Actor. Supposedly at the time, this wasn't considered a great deal for Burt, being cast in both Bean and this; a film about 70s porn from a director with only an art house flop (the decent Hard Eight) on the resume. He fired his agent shortly before or after filming, don't remember which. After supposedly receiving a big big check from a share of Bean's rather large grosses, and receiving his Oscar nomination for Boogie Nights, it was believed Burt's career was officially revived. After films such as The Crew, Mystery Alaska and Universal Soldier 2 and 3, that idea was put to rest real fast. Not that it should put you off from seeing this, it is his best screen performance after all.
 
I always liked the film, but seeing it with an audience about over 10 years after I did it the first time, I was blown away. That film puts you on an incredible journey, and if you can handle that not everything ends up sweet and light for everybody, you get one of the best films of 1997. Can't put up above L.A. Confidential or Martin Scorsese's little seen Kundun, but boy is it up there. And if I have the energy for it going in after such a long afternoon, I'll do it again:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Take care, and have a Happy Thankgivukkah. 
 
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November revials: mostly European edition













Hey all, Mike here with a list of November revivals, taking us right up to but not going into, Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't determined whether my Thanksgiving weekend list, which for my purposes will be Wednesday November 27th thru Sunday December 1st, will include holiday revivals from the first few days of December. I haven't decided that yet, but I will in the next week or so.


As for this list, I didn't intend it to be mostly comprised of European films, that's just what these theaters and/or museums are showcasing at the moment. One Italian film, one compilation that is most certainly American yet popular the world over, and the rest are British. Here we go, starting off with a film from the last list:



LORD OF THE FLIES (1965) for a 7 dollar bar minimum- introduced by Rachel Dratch- Fri Nov 15 at 9:30-Rubin Museum of Art- A cheap screening of the original Lord of the Flies, a seven dollar bar minimum. Tickets will be distributed starting at 6:45 for the 9:30 screening. Basically order your drink at the bar (doesn't need to have alcohol in it), and walk a few feet over to the easily indicated stool/desk/whatever and request your one ticket for your one drink.

The screening will be introduced by Rachel Dratch. Because of her popularity, I'm expecting tickets to move quickly. I've experienced crowds before with screenings at the Rubin, but never a sell-out. Not until last month's screening of Cabaret when I got there at 7, and by 7:10 I finally received my drink, but I was too late. So I won't be surprised if a similar deal occurs at this screening if I arrive too late.

For this night, we're getting Peter Brook's adaptation of William Golding's book. Shot in black and white, but not necessarily black and white in tone. The idea of a kid doing whatever he wants is not unfamiliar to us. Millions ran to see the light version of this story in Home Alone. Consider this a much more bitter pill to swallow. Using amateur young actors whose improvisations provide most of the dialogue, Brook successfully tells the story of a group of boys, marooned on an island with no adults. They split into 2 tribes, until baser instincts and survival of the fittest prevail. Ignore the 1990 remake and go for this:

http://www.rmanyc.org/pages/load/33


DEMON SEED with Let's Groove- Fri Dec 15 at 7- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Since I'm posting films in order of screening, this should technically be listed ahead of Lord of the Flies. But I found out about this at the last minute, and I already had a kind of symmetry set up, so screw it.

Part of the Museum's Early Computer Films 1953-1987 retrospective, and the only film in this retrospective that I'll have any time to catch. Demon Seed, from 1977. Directed by Donald Cammell, adapted from a Dean Koontz novel. An underrated sci-fi film that was a little ahead of its time in terms of computers and how they much use they are in our everyday lives. In the story, advances in artificial intelligence result in a computer, Proteus IV, that is more advanced then his creator expected. It can cure cancer and help humanity in other ways, but it is developing a mental facility that said creator (Fritz Weaver) can no longer control. It's more interested in evolving then being taken over by the military, and will use his creator's wife (Julie Christie) against her will to do so. And by using her, I'm mean attempt to impregnate her with a hybrid form of life.

Creepily effective film, with bits of Rosemary's Baby and HAL from 2001 combined. Christie is good, but she's forced to play more of a victim for my taste. But considering her character had a miscarriage, isn't in a great marriage and is being threatened with rape and imprisonment in her own home by a killer super-computer of her husband's creation, you'd probably be a little hysterical too. A situation studio films wouldn't dare do two-three years later (this was made by MGM/ United Artists). Robert Vaughn stands out as the ominous voice of the computer, Proteus IV; he makes HAL 9000 sound like a benevolent choir boy in comparison.

Preceding Demon Seed will be Let's Groove, an Earth Wind and Fire music video from 1981. Aside from using early computer graphics and being directed by Ron Hayes, who did the visual effects for Demon Seed, I don't know what else it has to do with this retrospective. But hey, who's not into Earth Wind and Fire? Or to be more specific, who's not into Earth Wind and Fire that's worth knowing? And hey, this will certainly be more upbeat than the bulk of Demon Seed, and it's only about four minutes long:

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2013/11/15/detail/welcome-to-computer-age-demon-seed-2


DISNEY MOUSE PARTY: MICKEY'S 85TH ANNIVERSARY- Mon Nov 18 at 7- Film Forum- In honor of the 85th anniversary of Mickey Mouse, the Film Forum will show a best of Walt Disney shorts. The Forum doesn't specify which shorts will be screened beyond 1928's Steamboat Willie. But there's likely to be an emphasis on Walt's early black and white animated shorts, particularly those that feature the world's most famous mouse and those shorts that may feature his supporting cast of characters more. In addition, the Forum claims they will also screen "Technicolor breakthroughs, and surprises galore". Don't know what that means, but I'm guessing this is the kind of screening that will sell out fast, so it will be best to but ahead of time and not wait for the last minute:

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/disney_mouse_party_mickeys


SANDRA- Fri Nov 22 at 7:30 and 9:30, Sat Nov 23 at 5:30 and 7:30, Mon Nov 25 at 9:50 and Wed Nov 27 at 7:30 and 9:30- Film Forum- A new DCP restoration of Luchino Visconti's 1965 film, released with little impact in the U.S. in 1966. I don't know the film, it seems to have made a bigger impact back in the day in Europe than in America. Claudia Cardinale stars in the title role, returning to Volterra with her American husband to remember her father, a scientist killed in Auschwitz. Sandra has issues with her past, to put it mildly. Especially when it comes to her stepfather, insane mother and her brother. There are secrets that Sandra's husband doesn't know, but they may come to light when Sandra's brother returns, and something funny seems to happen when they meet again.

I wouldn't call this a direct adaptation of Mourning Becomes Electra, but Visconti seems to have taken enough of that story to make it his own. Like I said , Sandra doesn't appear to have made much impact here in the States. One possible reason is that the original subtitles were made in Spain during the Franco dictatorship, and that some "queasy" aspects of the story expressed thru dialogue were deleted. But with this 4K Digital Restoration, this should no longer be an issue. Like I also said, I don't know this film, but I liked Visconti's The Leopard and really liked his Rocco and his Brothers, so I'm willing to take a chance here:

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/sandra


THE GO-BETWEEN- Fri Nov 22 at 9, and Sat Nov 23 at 6:45- Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center- The first film I can have the chance to make in Lincoln Center's Harold Pinter retrospective. Not every screenplay of Pinter's will make the retrospective, just his comedies. Or "comedies" in the loosest and possibly most melancholy interpretation possible. You can see three movies from this retrospective for 20 dollars, and by sheer coincidence, there are three Pinter films posted on this list.

From 1970, an adaptation of L.P Hartley's novel, the last team-up of screenwriter Pinter and director Joseph Losey (The Servant). Elderly Michael Redgrave looks back at his youth. Specifically when he was 13 and stayed over a friend's home. He becomes friendly with Julie Christie's character, engaged to stiff upper lip Edward Fox's character. Yet the young man agrees to be a go-between, passing messages back and forth between her and rakish Alan Bates. We're talking 1900 for the flashbacks, that last full year of Queen Victoria. And when a young man that doesn't know things asks questions and makes assumptions in any era, never mind the end of the Victorian era.

Don't know this film either but it seems interesting. Sounds a little too close to Atonement for my taste, right down to a Redgrave looking back on something with at least a hint of regret. But a good director, screenwriter, and cast that also includes Michael Gough and Oscar nominated Margaret Leighton, means I'm willing to give this film the benefit of the doubt:
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/the-go-between

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD for a 7 dollar bar minimum- introduced by British Counsel General to New York, Danny Lopez- Fri Nov 22 at 9:30- Rubin Museum of Art- A cheap screening of the 1965 Cold War spy drama. Adapted from John le Carre's novel, the first successful adaptation of any of his works, directed by Martin Ritt. If you've seen the most recent version of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, then you're already familiar with the world of Control and George Smiley. Both of whom are in this story, that I would say predates by around 11-12 years the events of the Gary Oldman film/ Alec Guinness mini-series. But don't look for them to be major characters in this, look instead toward Richard Burton's character; the almost classic definition of a burn-out. Burton's character has just went thru a failed mission in East Germany, and is done. Control is ready to make him a desk jockey, but Burton will have none of that. He wants to be human again, and makes steps toward that. Right down to starting a love affair with young, naive, English Communist Claire Bloom. But if he won't ride a desk or retire, then back out into the cold he must go . . .

Great cast includes Oskar Werner as an East German opponent/ possible target/ possible friend, Cyril Cusack as Control, Sam Wanamaker, Michael Horden and Bernard Lee. Oscar nominated for Burton for Actor and for Art Direction. About as grim a spy thriller as you can get, the polar opposite of the popular James Bond series. But also pretty darn good. Almost perfect for a cold November night.

The film will be introduced by the British Counsel General to New York, Danny Lopez. He'll probably fill in the blanks and give us a set-up for those of us not familiar with the history leading up to the events depicted in the film. Tickets become available near the bar on the night of the 22nd, around 6:45. Make sure you have your drink (minimum 7 dollars, doesn't have to have alcohol in it) when you request your ticket:

http://www.rmanyc.org/events/load/2341

THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN- Sat Nov 23 at 1:30- Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center- Part of Lincoln Center's Harold Pinter retrospective of films that are (extremely dark or melancholy) comedies. I guess I'm missing something if this is included, but I'll take any excuse to squeeze this one in. From 1981, Pinter and director Karol Reisz changed John Fowles' novel a bit. More than a bit actually. Yes you can still make some comparisons to the heroine of this particular book, and the title character of Tess of the d'Ubervilles. But we're talking about a book that gives us three possible endings, and goes on lengthy and semi-discussions of Darwin, Marx, and Tennyson, among others. How pray tell was that going to come off as an interesting movie?

No wonder it took about ten years, after many different directors and actors names were bandied about, before Pinter came on in 1979 to crack the nut. His and Reisz's solution: change it. As in keep the basic story that seems maybe a little too similar to Tess, have the story serve as the film-within-the-film for as we follow the two actors playing the leads engage in their own love affair, and blur the line between what is the film, what is the life of f-screen, and the lives of the actual Victorian characters. All this while never failing to compare and contrast the mores of Victorian England with England/America/ Hollywood circa 1980.

Whatever you do, make sure your director is competent, which Reisz certainly is. Make sure you have a great cinematographer to capture both periods, and this film does in the great Freddie Francis (Glory, The Elephant Man). And make sure you have talented actors who can pull off both variations. Which this film did, with the casting of two rising talents in some of the earliest lead film roles: Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep. The film became a critical darling and did respectable business in the fall of 1981/award season of 1982. 5 Oscar nominations including Streep for Actress (no way she was beating Kate Hepburn for On Golden Pond), and Pinter for Screenplay Adaptation.
Then a funny thing happened, the film seemed to completely disappear in America. Ok, it didn't help that this was a United Artists film that was lucky to find any kind of audience after the company was sold to MGM post- Heaven's Gate. It's lack of audience and no one to champion the film here in the states in the mid and late 80s doesn't help. But this might be the least remembered of Meryl Streep's great performances. You might argue her role in Ironweed is less known, and I won't fight you there. But c'mon, more people know Streep's line of "A Dingo ate my BA-BY!" from A Cry in the Dark than actually saw the film itself. More people know the damn Dingo line than The French Lieutenant's Woman, unreal. Anyway, you got the chance to change that now. Sorry that this is the only date and time I can do:

http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/the-french-lieutenants-woman


THE HOMECOMING- Mon Nov 25 at 6:30 and Wed Nov 27 at 9- Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center- Part of Lincoln Center's Harold Pinter retrospective of films that are (extremely dark or melancholy) comedies. And among Pinter plays, you don't get much darker than what I would say was arguably his biggest hit play, The Homecoming. The first I believe of the American Film Theater's adaptations of major plays. In the early and mid 1970s, a number of these came out to varying levels of success and acclaim. I've posted a few in the past, including The Iceman Cometh and A Delicate Balance, and now the first of these adaptations, The Homecoming.

When I've done write-ups in the past regarding All About Eve, I'm usually comparing the verbal attacks as being splashed with acid blood, like those creatures in Aliens. But with The Homecoming, the verbal attacks feel backed by threats of violence, and the pauses (a Pinter staple) can mean even more than some of the words. A working class family filled with two older brothers, one a brutal patriarch the other a bit of a rake, and the patriarch's two sons, one supposedly training to be a boxer while the other appears to be a pimp. The dynamic is shaken up with the return of the third son, a philosophy professor, returning from America with his wife. The wife is left to fend for herself, as each relative comes on to her. But don't think of her as powerless, as she can use words and gestures with just as much force as any single one of them could use violence.

This view of family dysfunction and family values might have been considered bizarre, at times over the top yet always fascinating, might seem a little too realistic today. Or perhaps, like with Network's depiction of TV news and reality TV being outrageous back in 1976 yet fully believable by 2001 at the latest, The Homecoming seems akin to other fictional dysfunctional families on TV and the big screen. Perhaps a bit more English, perhaps more eloquent or more likely to use words like hand grenades or knives, perhaps more willing to use silence as a weapon, but realistic none the less.

The idea was to preserve as much of the original production of The Homecoming on film as possible. The film's director and the play's first director, Sir Peter Hall, alongside screenwriter Pinter, worked to bring us closer inside this decaying house/family, while avoiding as many stage-bound story traps as possible. Bringing in acclaimed stage actor Cyril Cusack as the abusive patriarch, and four actors from the original West End production also helps greatly. Of note, Pinter's then-wife Vivian Merchant as the lone female in the film, and especially Ian Holm as the pimp son. If you think of Holm as merely Bilbo Baggins, you're in for a shock/treat. Yes, he's more violent in Alien. But in terms of a complete character with a near constant tinge of menace, as well as being the only family member who can stand up to the tough patriarch, well there's a reason why Holm's career shot up in England and The Homecoming is it. Overall, the Pinter film out of everything I've posted worth catching the most:


http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/the-homecoming



Let me know if there's interest. Take care.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

November revivals: First Half







Hey all. Mike here with a revival list for the first half of November. Sorry it didn't come out sooner, but that was because of the film Nosferatu: I couldn't get anyone I knew interested in the silent original, and while I liked sections of the 1979 remake, I didn't like it enough to go and see it again. So here I am starting with November 8th, but I'm happy with this eclectic list. For the record, I plan to split November into 3 lists, with the last list handling the Thanksgiving weekend options.

Now the first 4 posts all conflict with each other on Friday the 8th, and the first 3 conflict with each other as well as the fifth post. I didn't exactly plan it that way, but I figure they'll be some form of natural selection when choosing. Here we go:
  


BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD- Fri Nov 8 and Mon Nov 11 at 8:35 (Birth) and 10:15 (Night)- IFC Center- A unique double feature that's scheduled to play only for one week at IFC Center. I'm only available for the two nights I've listed above. Birth of the Living Dead is a new documentary celebrating George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Showing how college dropout Romero got a group of non-actors and mostly non-film types to make a movie on practically no budget whatsoever, and changed the horror genre and American Independent filmmaking forever. Immediately after the documentary ends, the film itself, Night of the Living Dead, will be screened in a High-Def digital projection. So the whole thing should last a little under 3 hours. If it goes 3 hours, that would be because of trailers, and they would be before the start of Birth, not between the films. If you're ambitious and don't mind a whole lot of black and white zombie action, here's your chance:
 
 
 
 
THE FRESHMAN- Fri Nov 8, Mon Nov 11 and Wed Nov 13 at 6:35- Film Forum- A DCP restoration of a Harold Lloyd classic. Lloyd plays a college freshman, desperately trying to be liked. Constantly mocked on the toney campus no matter what he does, he decides to try out for the football team. He barely makes the team as the waterboy, but when the Big Game occurs and his teammates are literally dropping like flies, there's literally only one player left for the coach to call upon . . . .
 
Lloyd's biggest hit, making fun of collegiate types long before the likes of Animal House and other college comedies. The big game itself was shot in the Rose Bowl, with a crowd with nothing better to do during halftime of the Stanford-USC game. With a new score from composer Carl Davis, conducted by Davis with the Chamber Orchestra of London. Davis himself will introduce the 6:35 screening on Friday, November 8th: 
 
 
 
SIDEWALK STORIES-  Fri Nov 8, Mon Nov 11, Wed Nov 13 and Thurs Nov 14 at 8:10 and 10- Film Forum- A DCP restoration of a film NOT AVAILABLE on DVD. Never seen all of it, but now seems like a good opportunity. From 1989, a sort of time capsule of Manhattan. But more than that, it's an homage to Chaplin's The Kid, set in then-contemporary times, mostly in black and white, and shot as a silent film. Writer-Director Charles Lane stars as a homeless man in the Village, forced to take care of a little girl (played by Lane's then two year old daughter), after her gambler father is stabbed and killed. While it tries to maintain telling the story as delicately as Chaplin did at times with The Kid and other films (including a potential love interest almost straight out of City Lights), it's not at the expense of the downplaying the realities of life on the street. Shot over 15 brutally cold days in February 1988 (I think, not sure exactly) on a shoestring budget and silent, except for one scene regarding the other homeless people around him. Plus Edie Falco in a small early role.
 
The film itself was a surprise hit at Cannes, famously receiving a fifteen minute standing ovation and winning a special award. It went on to become an art-house hit here and abroad, and aloud Lane to make a film with Disney. But that film was True Identity that, despite decent reviews, tanked in the summer of 1991. And aside from a role in Posse and being a judge at the Sundance film festival (both in 1993), I don't know what happened to Lane, or why Sidewalk Stories practically disappeared, having never been released on home video, except for some limited VHS distribution that's been long out of date. Maybe Lane can tell us what happened when he introduces the film on Friday, Nov 8th: 
 
 
 
SHADOW OF A DOUBT for a 7 dollar bar minimum- introduced by John Kelly- Fri Nov 8 at 9:30- Rubin Museum of Art- This film is only playing on Friday the 8th, as opposed to ones I posted above. A cheap screening of the classic Hitchcock film. And by cheap I mean a seven dollar bar minimum at the Rubin. Get your drink (alcohol or non-alcohol) as early as 6:45. Hopefully the tickets won't move out as quickly as they did last month for Cabaret. Got there by 7and by the time I was ready to claim a ticket at 7:10, all the tickets were grabbed! I don't expect this to be the case with Shadow, but who knows now.
 
Now as for Shadow of a Doubt, not my favorite Hitchcock of all time, but among his work from the 1940s, I would only put Notorious ahead of this. As wealthy widows keep disappearing, Joseph Cotten's lovable Uncle Charlie visits his niece "Young Charlie" (Teresa Wright) in her very average middle-American town (shot-on-location in Santa Rosa, California), but when someone mentions "The Merry Widow Murderer" . . . Often claimed as Hitchcock's own favorite, he must have got a big kick out the idea of small town Americana having evil nestled in its bosom. "Authentic Americana" (my quotes) from the screenwriters, Thornton Wilder (Our Town) and Sally Benson (Meet Me In St. Louis). The touches feel believable, which helps contrast with the wolf in sheep's clothing in the form of Uncle Charlie. And as good as Theresa Wright is, I come away admiring Cotten's performance more. Some times pleasant and gentle, sometimes incapable of keeping his hair-trigger emotions in check, with practically every shade in between. Especially his monologue at the dinner table about those wives, those little wives; very reminiscent of the monologue Orson Welles would give to Cotton's character in The Third Man.
 
The screening will be introduced by John Kelly. Sorry that I'm not aware who he is, but here's his bio via the Rubin's website:
 
"John Kelly is a performance and visual artist who creates character-driven performance works.  His subjects have included Joni Mitchell, Antonin Artaud, and Caravaggio.  He has collaborated with composers David Del Tredici, Laurie Anderson, Natalie Merchant, and Antony.  Acting credits include the Broadway production of James Joyce’s The Dead (Bartel D’Arcy), and The Clerk’s Tale (Spencer Reese), a film by James Franco.  He choreographed and performed (as Krishna) in Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma at BAM.  His awards include Bessies, Obies, the NEA, and an Alpert Award.  Fellowships include the Guggenheim, The Radcliffe Institute, Sundance, USA Artists 2012, and The American Academy in Rome. He will sing ’The Caravaggio Songs’ at Joe’s Pub on November 11th.":
 
 
 
RISKY BUSINESS- Wed Nov 13 at 7- AMC Empire and Regal Union Square Stadium 14- The film that made Tom Cruise a star gets a special run. Whether you prefer Tom dancing around in his underwear, or you prefer Rebbeca De Mornay wearing nothing at all, the sleeper hit of the summer of 83 fits the bill. And a pretty good film to boot. In Manhattan only. For the past month or so, AMC Empire and the Regal Union Square has been doing DCP screenings of some Warner Bros. hits, including Bonnie and Clyde, The Shining, and Dirty Harry. I believe this is the last of the scheduled screenings this year. Full price I'm afraid, but if you have an AMC or Regal pass, this is better than most of the other films you'd probably find in those theaters on the 13th:
 
 
 
 
LORD OF THE FLIES (1965) for a 7 dollar bar minimum- introduced by Rachel Dratch- Fri Nov 15 at 9:30-Rubin Museum of Art- A cheap screening of the original Lord of the Flies, a seven dollar bar minimum. Tickets will be distributed starting at 6:45 for the 9:30 screening. Basically order your drink at the bar (doesn't need to have alcohol in it), and walk a few feet over to the easily indicated stool/desk/whatever and request your one ticket for your one drink. 
 
The screening will be introduced by Rachel Dratch. Because of her popularity, I'm expecting tickets to move quickly. I've experienced crowds before with screenings at the Rubin, but never a sell-out. Not until last month's screening of Cabaret when I got there at 7, and by 7:10 I finally received my drink, but I was too late. So I won't be surprised if a similar deal occurs at this screening if I arrive too late.
 
For this night, we're getting Peter Brook's adaptation of William Golding's book. Shot in black and white, but not necessarily black and white in tone. The idea of a kid doing whatever he wants is not unfamiliar to us. Millions ran to see the light version of this story in Home Alone. Consider this a much more bitter pill to swallow. Using amateur young actors whose improvisations provide most of the dialogue, Brook successfully tells the story of a group of boys, marooned on an island with no adults. They split into 2 tribes, until baser instincts and survival of the fittest prevail. Ignore the 1990 remake and go for this: 
 
 
 

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