Wednesday, February 03, 2016

February revivals

Hey all. Mike here with a small list of revivals for the month of February. Some stuff I just can't make, and a few, like the French version of Beauty and the Beast, I question whether I can draw anyone. So I'll stick to this as probably the Feb revivals I'll post. Maybe one more, but that would be in a few weeks at the very end of February. Now on with this list:

THIEF (1981)- Fri Feb 5 at 4:30 and 7- BAM- Launching the Michael Mann retrospective. The only film in the series I'll be able to catch. I was hoping to see Heat, but I'll never make it in time. I just know it. 

Thief, from 1981. Mann's first time directing a theatrical film might be considered as an example of style over substance, but oh what glorious style. One of United Artists' last flops, from 1981, it tells a familiar story. James Caan is a top safe cracker with a code of honor, who agrees to do one last job for a crime boss who'll let him retire afterwards. Or will he? He wants to make (or steal) enough money so he can retire and raise a family. All the obsession he brings to his profession, he transfers to pursing his dream of starting a family, ignoring his own instincts. He'll pay for that.

If this had come out 3-5 years later, when Michael Mann's style was firmly established in the hit series Miami Vice, it might have been more successful. Or maybe not, considering how Band of the Hand flopped, as well as the disappointing business of Manhunter. But in Thief, the energized cinematography, slick editing, electric rock score (from Tangerine Dream), it's all there. Plus, a strong centerpiece performance from Caan as the tough as nails thief; anxious to have something resembling a normal life, and unsure if he can get it, or keep it. Not the best film on this list, but look at as a Mann template coming into place, as it tells a familiar story in an interesting way. Caan's great lead performance ably supported by the rest of the cast (Robert Prosky, Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi, William Petersen, Dennis Farina). It's only available in an out of print DVD, with little to no extras, so this is your best chance to see this rarely screened film:

THE LAST WALTZ (1978)- Fri Feb 12 at 7- Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria- Part of the Museum of the Moving Image's See it Big: Documentary series. Arguably the best concert film ever made. After Taxi Driver, a change of pace for director Martin Scorsese, filming the farewell concert of The Band on Thanksgiving 1976. Mixed with recording sessions that also included working with Emmylou Harris and The Staples. They also had some friends performing with them, including Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Ron Wood, Dr. John, and Ringo Starr. Also includes interviews with members of the Band, days after the concert. Also noteworthy is the cinematography of Michael Chapman, who also did Scorsese's Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. The first concert film to be photographed in 35mm. But never mind that. It's a film that says in it's opening titles that it should be played LOUD, and you can bet your ass it will be in Astoria: 

THE BAND WAGON (1953)- Walter Reade at Lincoln Center- Sun Feb 14 at 8- Part of Lincoln Center's Dance on Film series, the only one I can do. A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse star in what some consider to be Astaire's best MGM musical. Nominated for 3 Oscars, mostly for the music, and screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden (both credited as opposed to Alan Jay Lerner and Norman Corwin). Directed by Vincent Minnelli and Choreography by Michael Kidd. It's been so long since I've seen it, I barely remember it but not with clarity. So this would feel like I'm watching it for the first time. I certainly wouldn't mind:

Let me know if there's interest, later all.

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