Thursday, April 16, 2015

April revivals: second half

Hey all, Mike here with a revival list for the second half of April, Haven't had a lot of time to do these kind of screenings recently, let's see if we can change that. At least this list doesn't have anything from the Museum of the Moving Image this time around. Not that I don't enjoy the museum mind you. But I can't work myself up for the Joan Crawford film, The Best of Everything. I don't care what influence it has/had on Mad Men, it was a slog at time on Fox Movie Channel, and my enthusiasm for now is minimal. So on with the list:

CLUE (1985)- Fri April 17 and Sat April 18 at 12:25AM- IFC Center- Yet another (cheap-ish) Midnight screening of Clue. This time at IFC Center, as part of a series of Staff Picks, or out of the box suggestions for Midnight movies, including Twilight Zone the Movie, Seasame Street Follow That Bird and The Birdcage. I have happy sentimental reasons to post it. It's no Citizen Kane, but it's fun. Compared to other films based on toys, like Battleship or Masters of the Universe, this is the Citizen Kane of toy films if you will: take that comment however you will. And if you know the board game, where a group of potential suspects try to find out which one of them killed Mr. Body, then you have the gist of the slender story. Though it doesn't give you an idea of the farcical style the story and jokes are told.  

This has a major cult following in L.A. In NYC, not so much. I don't know why I like the film so much. It has a good beginning, an extremely mixed middle and endings of varying quality. And we will be getting the version where all three endings were incorporated into the film, as opposed to three separate endings, as it was on its 1985 theatrical release. But I like it, no rational reason why. Just makes me laugh more often than not. Though its cast (Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean) sure helps. From director Jonathan Lynn of future My Cousin Vinny fame. 

Now in addition to a link to to the screening, I'll post a link of Adam B. Vary's interesting article on of how Clue went from conception, to flop, to cult hit. With interviews with Lynn, most of the cast, and others:

THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942)- Thurs April 23 at 6- Film Forum- Sorry that I don't have time for the Film Forum's Preston Sturges retrospective. In fact, this is the only one I can do, one I'm not familiar with. But here's as good a chance as any to change that.

The Palm Beach Story, where Claudette Colbert runs away from husband Joel McCrea to Palm Beach for a quick divorce, after being refused to let her use her sex appeal for raising money for his inventions, only to be pursued by rich Rudy Vallee, whose sister Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon) chases McCrea, who is introduced by Colbert as her brother. Confused? Then wait till the action is ratcheted up:

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1973) with a post-film Q and A with the cast- Mon April 27 at 7- Beekman Theater- 1271 2nd Ave between 66th and 67th Street- A one night only screening of Jesus Christ Superstar. A digital restoration being screened at a first run theater, the Beekman. For once, it's not being relegated to Midnight, but a reasonable 7pm screening. Now, is this film an underrated gem, or noble failure? I can't help you, because despite seeing this once on Cinemax and once with commercials on VH1, I'm not sure. From 1973, but still with a bit of 60s glow to it, a group of hippie actors bus out to the middle of nowhere (great use of mostly Israeli locales), ready to play out the last whatever number days in the life of Jesus.

Andrew Lloyd Webber wasn't exactly pleased with the final cut, and from what I can tell, critical and audience reaction were mixed. Musical fans and millennials have been much kinder to it. I guess the older people back in 73 didn't like it or refused to go, and the younger ones, as they got older and had more say in terms of media and so forth, spread the film's virtues. I wouldn't say this has a cult following, but its close. For me, it's a mixed bag. Up and down for the majority of the film, not happy with anything involving King Herrod. But they have a great Judas in Carl Anderson, and the last 20 or so minutes is a triumph of music, cinematography, performance, choreography and editing. So in the end, you'll have to decide if this is worth the risk. But if you take the risk, I'll be right there with you if you like. 

But before the screening, cast members Ted Neely (Jesus), Yvonne Elliman (Mary), Barry Dennen (Pilate), Bob Bingham (Caiaphas), Kurt Yaghjian (Annas), Josh Mostel (Herrod) and Larry Marshall (Simon), will participate in a Q and A, plus a tribute to the late Carl Anderson (Judas):

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967) for 10 dollars- Thurs April 30 at 7- Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas- A cheap-ish screening of The Valley of the Dolls. Introduced by Hedda Lettuce and I'm guessing there will be some MST3K/ Rifftrax-style commentary as well.Wow, this is happy-go-lucky compared to the previous two films in this section. Eeeehhh at best, terrible at worst. But at times, gloriously terrible. Barbara Perkins is the hot pure virgin. Patty Duke is the hot nice girl so damaged by Hollywood that every other joke about her character will probably be about either The Patty Duke Show or about Lindsay Lohan. Sharon Tate is the hot actress who can't act, but who has a bad fate in store for her. Throw in a cast that includes Lee Grant, Susan Hayward, Joey Bishop, and a bunch of actors who don't deserve mention but they play weaklings or jerks, amd mix in good music from Andre Previn and John Williams (Oscar nominated). 

Wow, this film is so stupidly full of shit, but oh so wonderfully full of shit. I don't remember if it's on the level of The Swarm, but I sincerely doubt there will be much shushing like there was at that screening. Seriously, it's awful, but campily awful. Ok, not a word, campily, deal with it: 

Had to keep my descriptions brief, no need to elaborate. Let me know if there's interest, later all.

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