Monday, October 07, 2013

October revivals: the rest of the month

Hey, Mike here with revivals for the rest of October. Actually, it's most of the revival screenings I posted on my previous list, plus three additions. Three films that bookend the list, one in front, two in the back. Three films about as far apart as you can get, alongside other flicks that interest me. Here we go:

RUSSIAN ARK- Wed Oct 9 at 7:40 and 9:40, and Sat Oct 12 and Tues Oct 15 at 9:40- Film Forum- Due to "popular demand", Alexander Sokurov's DCP restoration of Russian Ark will be brought back to the Forum for one week only. I'm only posting the nights and times that I think I can do. I missed my chance back in September, and I'm thankful I and we are getting another chance now. As for the rest, I'll re-post what I wrote back in September:

Ok, I don't know this film at all, but I'm very curious. From 2002, released in the U.S. in 2003. Nominated for the Palme d'Or, and apparently a big deal in Europe. Ok, let's try the American tagline to draw people: 2000 Actors. 300 years of Russian History. 33 Rooms at the Hermitage Museum. 3 Live Orchestras. 1 Single Continuous Shot. 

Ok, that won't do. Let's try the main description from IMDB. I'm sorry but I really don't know this film, so I'm trying to helpful by posting something from someone who knows this film better than I do, even if it's some IMDB user:

"An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a comprehensive knowledge of Russian history to his time. As the two travel through the palace and its grounds, they interact with people from various eras of Russian history, either through events that have happened at the palace or through the viewing of artifacts housed in the museum. Ultimately, the unseen man's desired journey is to move forward, with or without his European companion."

Ok, a little dry. How about I cut and paste the Forum's description of it. At least that's written in a way to try to entice, from a source of at least liking the film:

"(2002) “Where am I?” wonders our disembodied narrator, as, along with his equally confused companion, displaced 19th-century diplomat Sergey Dreiden, he wanders through centuries of Russian history, from Peter the Great to Nicholas I to Catherine the Great to Pushkin to the last great ball of Nicholas II before the Great War — all in one shot! In the dream of many a filmmaker (Hitchcock’s Rope), Ark was recorded in one continuous, uncut shot by iron man cameraman Tilman B├╝ttner (Run Lola Run) as he Steadicamed 4/5 of a mile through thirty-three sets, all built within the Hermitage Museum in Petersburg, with 867 actors, hundreds more extras, three live orchestras, and hordes of techies waiting in the wings. Possible only thanks to a specially-developed portable hard drive recording system, Russian Ark is both an eye-popping technical achievement, a visually dazzling production, and a meditation on and elegy for the sweep of Russian history. Approx. 100 min. DCP.":

RED RIVER (1948)- Fri Oct 11 at 7- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Part of the Howard Hawks retrospective. Red River from 1948, shot in 1946. John Wayne plays an arrogant man, consumed with the idea of starting a cattle ranch in Texas. He leaves the wagon train he initially joined behind, to try to get his ranch off the ground. Nothing distracts him. Not the Mexicans who claim to own the land he wants. Not the Indians that killed everyone in the wagon train, including the woman he loved. Well, not everyone; an orphan boy survived, who Wayne adopts as his own. And Wayne does succeed in his vision of a cattle ranch. But 14 years later, desperation sets in. The Civil War has wiped out most of his customer base, either thru death or poverty. Wayne's only hope is a desperate cattle drive to Missouri, a trip that has little room for error. But with little money to launch the drive, some questionable hires, and the threat of Indian attack, you would think any of those would be the biggest problem. But instead it might be Wayne's attitude. Still arrogant but with years of history that HASN'T proven him wrong to think otherwise. Mix in material desperation and an adopted son, played as a grown up by Montgomery Clift, who won't take it anymore, and something's got to give. 

Hawks' best Western as far as I'm concerned, though admittedly Rio Bravo is more fun. Arguably Wayne's best performance, in or out of a Western. Clift capably goes toe-to-toe with him, and a great cast of Western actors (Walter Brennan, Harry Carrey Sr. and Jr., John Ireland and Noah Beery), make for nice color. 2 Oscar nominations, for the script and the editing. Good film all around:     

ALIEN- Fri Oct 11, Sat Oct 12 and Sun Oct 13 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.It's playing at Midnight all Columbus Day weekend long, including Sunday night for the ambitious/ having Monday off crowd. 

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.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK- Mon Oct 14 at 2- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- And speaking of posting films yet again, I'm doing that now with Raiders of the Lost Ark. I posted it last year twice and caught it twice. First in Bryant Park, where the dialogue was hard to hear at times, but the music came in well, and as long you could see the screen, who cares? Then I posted the restored IMAX screening, and boy did that kick major ass. So I post it again, a special matinee screening at the Museum of the Moving Image on Columbus Day itself. The screen isn't IMAX, but it can expand to an impressive size. This will be a DCP screening; I'm guess it's the digital restoration that's been kicking around for a couple of years now. And as for the film itself, 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 fun films ever made.
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG- Sat Oct 19, Mon Oct 21 and Wed Oct 23 at 8:20 and 10:10- Film Forum- A DCP restoration. A week-long run of the film that concludes the Jacques Demy retrospective, the one film that keeps Demy's name alive worldwide. Ok, not the only one, but its his signature film, and if the Young Girls of Rochefort isn't one's gateway to the work of Demy, then it should be this one.

Before the most recent film version of Le Miz and say, Across The Universe or Sweeney Todd, you had this 1964 film where all the dialogue is sung, or in this case, lip-synched. Star crossed young lovebirds Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo struggle to make ends meet for themselves and the women who raised them in  the little town of Cherbourg. They want to get married and think they have all the time in the world. But then he is drafted into the army, to fight in Algiers. The couple proclaim their undying love to each other, and they make a baby before he leaves. Can this young expectant mother be expected wait for the soldier boyfriend who writes so infrequently to her? Especially when she has a wealthy suitor, a decent young man who proclaims his own undying love for her, regardless of her circumstances?

Unusual to have such realistic social-economic and emotional situations in a musical. Yes some of that came up in the examples I cited: Le Miz, Across The Universe and Sweeney Todd- three films where I'm sure more than a few people on the creative side of those projects were influenced by The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Oscar nominated for Foreign Film, and Original Screenplay for the music for Demy and/or Michel Legrand. Somehow it wasn't nominated for Cinematography. Ok, I understand there was no way it would be nominated and/or beat the likes of Dr. Zhivago, The Sound of Music, or even films not worth bringing up these days like The Agony and the Ecstasy and The Greatest Story Ever Told. The look and vibrant colors of the film might be better known than the music itself, and this DCP restoration should highlight that. Of course the restoration might highlight something even more than the music or the colors: twenty year-old Catherine Deneuve. Despite being lip-synched, this film launched her career and we film goers have been all the better for it:  
RIFFTRAX presents NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)- Thurs Oct 24 at 8- Regal Union Square Stadium 14, College Point Multiplex in Whitestone and Regal UA Westbury Stadium 12, plus elsewhere around the country- "They're coming to get you Barbara!" Yes, the zombies are back to get us again. Not the ramped-up ones like in World War Z and The Walking Dead. We're talking old-school slow-ass yet deadly zombies. From George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, one of the most important films both in the horror genre and in American Independent filmmaking, along with a strong critique on race relations. The 1990 remake actually wasn't bad at all, but accept no substitutes here. Especially when the Rifftrax crew unmercilessly mocks it.
Now I had a blast with last month's take down of Starship Troopers by the Rifftrax crew, made of some of the original cast members and/or writers of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I expect the following to occur at this Living Dead screening that occurred at Starship Troopers:

A half hour of original material will occur. Slideshows and trivia that mocks the traditional per film slideshows. Mocking of both Living Dead and films/ celebrities that have been relevant in the past 6 months or so. At 8 or 8:01, they'll cut to the Rifftrax crew performing this live in front of an audience.  After 5 or so minutes worth of hellos, warm-up material, and introduction of both the concept and the film, the film itself will begin. Jokes will start from the opening credits. Camera attention will shift from the film, to both the film and at least one member of the Rifftrax crew in the shot, to the Rifftrax crew and whatever visual jokes they're doing in front of the audience at whatever location they're doing this. You can count on the film being shown as is ( no need to hide most of the nudity like they did with Starship Troopers), you can count on the jokes to come out rapid-fire, and you can expect an almost ungodly amount of them to land well.

It's playing almost around the country, I'm posting the three locations closer to me. Click the fanthom events link and type in your zip code to see if it's playing close to you:

Let me know if there's interest, happy Halloween all.

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