Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September revivals

Hey all, Mike here with a brief-ish revival list for the rest of September. Brief in terms of my time at the U.S. Open keeping me away from checking out possible revivals. Brief because now that I've been so slow coming back from the aforementioned Open that now I'm rushing to put a list out. And brief because I'm going to try to keep these descriptions as brief as possible. And brief because I'm wearing briefs as I type this. AS WELL AS OTHER CLOTHES! Jeez, some people . . . 

Also brief because there won't be any films from the Film Forum's Vittorio De Sica retrospective. I was tempted, but different reasons come up. I've seen Bicycle Thieves too many times to make time. I've done Marriage Italian Style too recently, I can't make the time for Teresa Venerdi but it's being screened only once, I'll be a puddle if I do Umberto D so no thanks for now, Miracle in Milan was too out there for me, and there are other films on this list after all. But if you can make time for any De Sicas this month, go to the Forum website for more details, and I promise to post at least one De Sica film on the next list. Ok, here we go with this list:

PARIS, TEXAS (1984)- Wed Sept 16 at 9:35- IFC Center- Part of IFC Center's Wim Wenders retrospective. If I had the time, I would have posted Alice in the Cities on the last list and Wings of Desire onto this list. If I had the desire for The Salt of the Earth, I would have already seen it by now. If I had the courage to do the Director's Cut of Until The End of the World I'd go, but the original release tried my patience so no. If I were able to drum up interest in one of the best films of 2011, Pina in 3-D. it would be here as well, but no go.

So here we go with the only film in the retrospective I intend to see, Paris Texas, from 1984. A 4k digital restoration. The only team-up of director Wenders and playwright Sam Shepard. But since it's been over 14 years since the only time I've seen this, I'll let the IFC Film Center description from Janus Films speak for me. Not ideal for me to do this, but in this case it speaks better for me:

New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard. Paris, Texas follows the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis (a magnificent Harry Dean Stanton, whose face is a landscape all its own) as he tries to reconnect with his young son, living with his brother (Dean Stockwell) in Los Angeles, and his missing wife (Nastassja Kinski). From this simple setup, Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon. – Janus Films

NOTORIOUS (1946)- Fri Sept 18 at 4:30 and 7- BAM- My potential first visit to BAM. Let's see how this works out. From their Ingrid Bergman retrospective, in time for her 100th birthday. Yes I know MOMA also did a retrospective this year of her work, but that conflicted with the U.S. Open so screw it.

The following came from the Film Forum's website. They've been using the same description for at least 9 years. And you think I recycle descriptions . . . 
"Reluctant spy Ingrid Bergman complains “He wants to marry me” to lover/FBI contact Cary Grant, after Nazi fellow traveler Claude Rains (Oscar nominated) falls a little too hard for her undercover activities. Painful sexual politics underscore the high tension set pieces of suspense."

Basically, Grant pimps out the woman he loves, so that she can get secrets from a Nazi male with major mother issues. Yeah, try to get that film done by a major studio with a more than competent director, then or now. That's why he's Hitchcock, and we're not. Not in my personal Top of Hitch's films. No way I put it over Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo and North By Northwest. But I put Notorious over the rest of them:

RIVER'S EDGE (1987)- Wed Sept 23 at 9:15- Anthology Film Archive- Part of the Archives' best of 35mm retrospective (Part 2). A special screening the successful indie film from 1986, released in 87, set among a group of slacker teens. The bond is tested when one of them kills his girlfriend, and brings the group out to see their friend's dead naked body, left to rot on a hill. The different reactions from the teens in the group, make up the film. Ranging from unquestioned loyalty from Crispin Glover (far from from McFly in Back To The Future), to Keanu Reeves' confusion about whether or not to go to the police. With a performance from Dennis Hopper (as the adult you don't want around these teens) that continued the comeback path that Blue Velvet and Hoosiers started. A little more humorous than you might expect, but with a subject like this, expect a good, dark drama:

VANISHING POINT (1971)- Thurs Sept 24 at 6:45- Anthology Film Archives- Part of the Archives' best of 35mm retrospective (Part 2). One of the films that inspired Tarantino to direct his part of Grindhouse (a similar model Dodge Charger is used for the major car chase), gets a rare screening. A cult hit from 1971, Barry Newman agrees to deliver the charger from Colorado to Frisco in less then 15 hours on a bet. Cops and highway patrolmen plot to catch him. Throw in gay hitchhikers, a few naked chicks and a boatload of car chases, and you'll see why Tarantino wanted in part to do Grindhouse.

DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975)- Fri Sept 25 at 7- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Part of the Museum's See It Big: New York Movies edition.  One of the great New York City films, and one of the great heist films, and based on a true story. A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus. A quintessential New York film that couldn't be made outside the 70's. 6 nominations, including Al Pacino for Actor, Lumet  for Director and Picture; an Oscar for Screenplay. "ATTICA! ATTICA!"

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974)- Mon Sept 28 at 5 and 8(maybe for me)- BAM- Part of the Ingrid Bergman retrospective. I'm sure I can do 5pm. 8pm remains a question mark but for now at least, I'll include it here. A lighter, complete change of pace from director Sidney Lumet's other works, or at least more successfully pulled off compared to "lighter" fare like The Wiz and Deathtrap. The best of all Agatha Christie adaptations as far as I'm concerned, though David Suchet's version was pretty good, yet deadly serious compared to this. Albert Finney's Hercule Poirot is called upon by Martin Balsam to solve the murder of Richard Widmark. Here's his list of suspects: Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Sena Connery, Bergman, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Wendy Hiller, Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Cassel (better known to art houses types for the likes of The Diving Bell and The Butterfly and Army of Shadows). 

Fun film; the kind that almost makes all other feature length Poirot difficult to sit thru in comparison. Almost as though "this is the best, it's difficult to sit through weaker imitations". I stress almost since it never stopped me before and won't any tie soon, but I digress. 6 Oscar nominations, including Finney for Best Actor, Screenplay Adaptation, and Geoffrey Unsworth's Cinematography. No Best Picture nomination. Paramount already had slots filled by Chinatown, The Conversation, and, oh yeah, Godfather Part 2. There wouldn't be a fourth film for the studio.

An Oscar did go to Bergman for Supporting Actress, mainly for one breakdown scene. Here's a quote from Lumet from the Forum website about this: “She [Ingrid Bergman] was so film-knowledgeable. She’d worked with such masters. So when she saw that I didn’t do a reverse shot of Albert Finney in their big scene together and there would be no cutaways, she gave me a kiss on the mouth. I almost left my wife! [laughs] I remember being pissed off that we got so many nominations and I didn’t get nominated.”:

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