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.

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