Saturday, June 25, 2016

Next week's revivals

Hey all. Mike here with a week's worth of revival screenings. I'll keep my descriptions as brief as possible. Some flicks for the whole family, and some strictly adult fare. Nothing NC-17 rated, don't get me wrong. But two films for the kids to stay home, wait for them to be adults to appreciate. Or at least over 14. Sorry I digress, here we go:

THE KING OF COMEDY (1983)-  Sun June 26 at 6:10 (maybe for me) and 8:20, Wed June 29 at 7:30 (introduced by Mario Cantone) and 9:45, and Thurs June 30 at 7:30 and 9:45- Film Forum- A 4K digital restoration. It's runs a week, but I'm only posting the screening I think I can make.

Big flop from early 1983, but also one of that year's best film. Similar to a musical where the songs all happen in the context of a show or in fantasy. Here, most of the comedy is in the context of the talk show or in fantasy. Mostly it's a dark drama. Robert de Niro plays an obsessed fan, who takes a chance encounter with his talk show host idol too much to heart. This lets his fantasies of becoming a comedy icon grow bigger than usual, and his behavior becomes more irrational, and potentially dangerous.

De Niro is loser incarnate, and it cuts close to the bone. It's almost like Willy Loman never did anything, then kidnapped his brother for those riches. But most critical attention back then, went to Jerry Lewis, in his first serious role of note, as the talk show icon. A role Johnny Carson turned down after much deliberation, because the role was written to close to his reality (at least when he hosted The Tonight Show in NYC). Lewis was long dismissed at this point, and this role gave his career a whole new lease on life. When the Academy Awards show clips from Jerry's career when he gets his honorary award, they will be at a decent clip from this film to show. We see him in de Niro's fantasy scenes, and is just as impressive as someone not happy with his celebrity status, and even less happy by his privacy being interrupted by this nut. Stealing scenes from both de Niro and Lewis is Sandra Bernhard, as an even more obsessed fan.

Came out in Feb. 1983 to major praise. When it expanded beyond 2 or 3 screens, it was DOA. I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of love for an ending that neither went to the comfortable Hollywood route, nor did it go a Taxi Driver-esque route. Maybe the stalker story was too close after John Lennon's murder by a crazed fan. Home video and TV could only do so much. Not the coolest in comparison to other Scorsese-de Niro, and because it was made by Fox instead of Warner Bros, it doesn't get packaged with their other works. But I'm guessing most of you haven't seen this ever, or since the 80s or early 90s. Now is the chance to change that. Comedian Mario Cantone will introduce the 7:30 screening on Wednesday, June 29th:

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY- Sun June 26 at 7- AMC Empire, Regal Union Square 14, and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema, plus Wed June 29 at 7 at AMC Empire (the only place I could try to catch it that night)- The Gene Wilder cult classic gets a special digital screening, sponsored by TCM and introduced by Ben Mankiewicz. If it looks as great as the TCM digital screenings of Jaws and Double Indemnity, this should be a treat

It may not be as loyal to the original Roald Dahl book as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but it's a better film. Dahl wrote the original adaptation, but a massive re-write caused Dahl to badmouth the film every chance he got. And while there was better usage of the Oompa Loompas and the budget to go hog wild on the look, the family/daddy issues, especially in the last half-hour, drags the film down when compared to Willy Wonka. Maybe I like this film so much strictly for Wilder's performance. I'm ok with that.

Now considering this was not a hit back in 1971 but only became a cult classic thanks largely to NBC broadcasts in the late 70s into the 1980s, most people have no idea what this film looks like on the big screen. I include myself in that statement, but I would like to change that

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954) for 10 dollars- Thurs June 30 at 7- Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema- A cheapish screening of the Humphrey Bogart film, introduced by Hedda Lettuce. Humphrey Bogart stars as a has-been movie director, who gets a second wind when he discovers beautiful peasant girl Ava Gardner and, with the help of his backers, makes her a star and an international sex symbol. But will this be a case of too much too soon? Will she be truly loved for herself?

Praised in its day. Corny and a little soap opera-ish today. But writer/ director Joseph Mankiewicz keeps a steady hand. Not too much corniness, smarter than you think, and just enough bitterness mixed with the sweet. An Oscar nomination for Mankiewicz's Screenplay. An Oscar for Edmond O'Brien for Supporting Actor, as the tough, insincere publicist.  

BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)- Fri July 1 at 7- Museum of the Moving Image- Part of a weekend of Hollywood blockbusters that were released on the 4th of July weekend, that made an impact; culturally as well as big time at the box office. Ok, they include Magi Mike XXL, but only because they're screening the first Magic Mike as well I guess. The only non-digital screening on this list. The print should be decent based on the Museum's history. 

The biggest film of 1985. Came out of nowhere to find not only the family audience, but served as an overall alternative to the other major film from that year, Rambo Part 2. Chances are you know the story, so I don't need to sell this classic:

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

No comments: