Tuesday, October 06, 2015

October revivals: this week only

Hi all. Mike here with a list of revivals for this coming week. Possibly my only list for October. This one would have come sooner, but life got in the way. And life will get in the way for most of October and some of November. I might have revivals lists coming up soon, but they would be smaller than this one. So if this is my last revival list for a little while (I hope not, I can't stress that enough), let's not go out on a whimper. yet I tried to keep this brief as well. Here we go: 

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? (1988)- Tues Oct 6 at 8- MOMA- The big hit of the summer of 1988 where Bob Hoskins is a film-noirish gumshoe, tracking a killer while dealing with all types of people, human and animated. This Disney film is a blast on the big screen, and innovative in its time for the mixing of animation and live action. 4 Oscars, including an award for visual effects that still holds up today, and a special achievement in animation. If I'm going to post something from MOMA's Robert Zemeckis retrospective, this film is it. Not in the mood for any of the Back To The Future flicks, no time for Romancing The Stone, Castaway was good once but not twice on the big screen right now, and I'm not in the mood for Used Cars and oh Hell NO about What Lies Beneath. But this, one of the best films of 1988, this I will post:

THE GARDENS OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS (1970/71)- Thurs Oct 8 at 8:30- Film Forum- The last of the Vittorio de Sica retrospective, and it's getting the one screening only treatment at the Forum, in a digital restoration. Set in the late 1930s, well to-do Italian friends spend their afternoons play tennis and have the kind of dramas laughs and crushes that are universal in any era. But some of them are Jewish, and Mussolini's laws are keeping them out of the country clubs. So the friends form their own tennis tournament, inside the estate of the wealthy Finzi-Continis. So you have friends acting like they don't have a care in the world (and treating themselves badly at times), inside the estate of a family trapped in time and confident that their status will protect them. But as World War 2 rages, these illusions are bound to crash . . . 

Not de Sica's last film, but his last standout picture. A nomination for Screenplay Adaptation, an Oscar for Best Foreign Film:

BADLANDS (1973) for 10 dollars- introduced by Sarah Cameron Sunde- Fri Oct 9 at 9:30- Rubin Museum of Art- Yes I know I posted this before. Hell I posted it and caught it this summer. But not everyone has seen this, some people still don't know it, so I have to push this. And you can see it for a cheap-ish price. Director Sarah Cameron Sunde will introduce the film.

Malick's feature length directorial debut from 1973. In 1959, a 25 year old drifter (Martin Sheen) who idolizes James Dean, runs off with his 15 year old girlfriend (Sissy Spacek). This might sound romantic, but once you know going in that Badlands is a dramatized version of the infamous Starkweather homicides of 1958, you know you're in violence-with-consequences territory. The couple move around, love each other and interact with each other and the open road in an almost dreamlike state. But Spacek's off-screen narration tells us that at least one half of the couple knows they have a dark future ahead.

Kind of a response for those who felt the main characters in Bonnie and Clyde were too romanticized, and a clear inspiration for the ultra-heightened Natural Born Killers. With some of the best acting work Sheen and Spacek have ever done. Among debut films for directors, I would argue that only Welles' Citizen Kane and John Huston's The Maltese Falcon are better films than Badlands. Boy do I hope I'm not misquoted or taken out of context with that sentence . . .  Most Malick screenings tend to sell out at night, or at least get to 2/3 capacities quickly, so mucho planning may need to be done in advance.:

THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988)- Fri Oct 9 and Sat Oct 10 at 12:10AM- IFC Center- Part of IFC Center's retrospective of Wes Craven films during the Midnight hour. Set mostly in the early 80s, Harvard scientist Bill Pullman is hired by a pharmaceutical company to go to Haiti, to research and find a drug that might work as some sort of super-anesthesia. A drug that might trap someone in a zombie-like state. Pullman goes there, and is instantly smitten with an attractive Haitian doctor. But this leaves him vulnerable to the manipulations of a dictator modeled after Baby Doc Duvalier. He's played by Zakes Mokae, in a performance that's a million miles away from his performance in Master Harold and the Boys. Anyway, our intrepid American thinks he can handle his surroundings, and soon finds out how very wrong he is.

Not quite a hit back in 1988, doing well only in relation to budget. But Craven pulls off the atmosphere, balancing the natural terror of when one is under the thumb of a dictatorship out to get you, with the supernatural elements. Especially when you see the effects of those under the spell of the zombie-like drug. Craven's filmography is a mixed bag, but this is one of his better horror films: 

Let me know. Later all, hopefully see you soon.

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