Friday, April 24, 2015


Hi, Mike here, taking some time to thank those of you that came out to see some of the films on my revival lists over the past 12 months. Whether you came out once or multiple times, I thank you all for catching the following revival screenings:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)- I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I was expecting to do some MST3K-style commentating like I would for its annual Easter weekend screenings. Never saw the introduction by De Mille, and while it's stiff, it makes the narration go smoother. On the big screen it plays well; even if the early pageantry was numbing after a while, Anne Baxter was all over the place, Yul Brynner was a heavy form of ham, and John Derek was an attractive piece of wood. But now it will take a long time before I can see it again on ABC, the commercial breaks would be killer on my patience, 
OTHELLO (1952)- It looked great and Orson always had an interesting voice, but after the first half hour, boy oh boy did I have trouble staying focused on large chunks of this,
GODZILLA (1954)- Weird seeing this as part of a kind-of double feature with Welles' Othello. Weirder still that this was better than Orson's Shakespearean adaptation. Again, this was the Japanese original film, not the heavily edited American edition with Raymond Burr inserts,
STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME- A hit with both Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike,
WHITY- Not a film I would give a thumbs up to. However, for Fassbinder fans and for film fans of say, 12 Years A Slave or especially Django Unchained, Whity might prove to be interesting and even more provocative. Not necessarily satisfying however,
LORD OF THE FLIES (1963)- Alas, poor Piggy, alas,
SORCERER- Too bad I was the only one in my party who actually liked this film. But despite not being quite as good as I remembered it from almost 25 years ago, and not nearly as good as the original version, The Wages of Fear, this is no noble failure. It's a hidden gem of late 1970s Hollywood filmmaking,
TUNES OF GLORY- This Alec Guinness film was the only film on this list that someone had to talk me into, and boy am I glad that happened. Never seen Guinness so macho before, and even more arrogant than in Bridge on the River Kwaii. Very good character study drama,
NORTH BY NORTHWEST- the screening of this at Cinema Arts Centre at Huntington, that I enjoyed. The way the introduction of this was handled, dry like a high school lecture with handouts, and an almost pop quiz after the film ended, oy vey,
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY- a special 70mm screening, which seems like a new early July tradition at the Museum of the Moving Image,
DUCK AMUCK and other Chuck Jones cartoons- a selection of some of Chuck Jones's best Looney Tunes cartoons, so I'm including it as one revival on this list,
FEDORA- again, not every revival is a winner. Not bad, more like a noble failure. The twist is decent in theory, but the miscasting of the two lead actresses kills the film. Unlike Sorcerer, not a hidden gem of late 1970s filmmaking. And having Billy Wilder's on-screen stand-in (William Holden), complain about the young unnamed Turks that are running Hollywood, like Spielberg, de Palma and Scorsese, hasn't aged well at all. Maybe Lucas, but considering this was being shot before Star Wars became a huge summer hit, not necessarily, 
RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER, THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN- A double feature that became probably the most fun I had of any revival outing in 2014,
ONE FROM THE HEART- There was much to admire visually in this film. In the end, I recommend that film buffs, self-proclaimed film buffs, and Coppola fans see it, especially on the big screen. But I don't think most of them would like it more or much more than I did. Tom Waits' music is beautiful, but some of those lyrics were a little too damn on-the-nose for my taste. Now a romantic film that goes for ultra-realism is admirable in theory. But when you spend the first half of the film wondering why did the main couple break up, and spend the later portion of the film thinking they should never get back together, that was hard for me to shake,
THE EPIC OF EVEREST- A silent film, a kind of documentary of the failed 1924 expedition of Irving and Mallory's attempted climb of Mount Everest. As a piece of history and seeing what silent film cameras could capture back then, it was amazing to watch. Even if I did get a little drowsy in the middle third,
CITIZEN KANE, VIDEODRONE- my weirdest double feature of the past 12 months, not even close, 

GREY GARDENS- Once I saw Big Edie's stained bed sheets with flies all about, I grew immediately uncomfortable. My inner Felix Unger was made extremely uncomfortable, and didn't loosen up until Big Edie's Czechoslovakia line (Huh?!?!). Glad I saw it, but don't need to see it again any time soon, in any incarnation,

38 films, a big jump from 28 during the previous year. And unlike other years, I was able to spread the wealth with multiple people, a number of whom caught a healthy number of films with me. This has never happened before, and I am grateful. Take care. 

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