Sunday, July 27, 2008

oh wow, now shit just got real...

Whoa, there's a seriously bumper crop of awesome film screenings coming up in NYC over the next couple of months. I guess it's that time of year...Anyway, I figured I'd share some highlights with you, cuz why not? Maybe we can meet up in the back row and hold hands or whatever...

Branded to Kill

Walter Reade has a Lindsay Anderson series August 15-21, but even better is their Japanese Screen Classics retro which has three films each by Seijun Suzuki (including the utterly mind-blowing Branded to Kill, one of my all-time favorite films), Akira Kurosawa (including the noir-ish Stray Dog, another of my faves), Nagisa Oshima, Shohei Imamura, Kon Ichikawa and others. Highlights include the aforementioned Branded to Kill and Stray Dog, Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter and Zigeunerweisen, Rashomon, Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba and Imamura's Vengeance is Mine. This series is tops, and Walter Reade is really kind of the best theatre in town, so dig it.

Tokyo Drifter

BAM has an Elliot Gould series with some of the actor's great 1970s flicks (Robert Altman's Long Goodbye [another of my favorite films] and California Split, Alan Arkin's Little Murders, scripted by Jules Feiffer) and a handful of more obscure titles from the era (Peter Hyams' Busting, Mel Stuart's I Love My Wife, Ingmar Bergman's the Touch). That runs August 1-21. From August 25-27, they're showing films with one of my favorite actors, the late Richard Widmark. At three days, this one is WAY too short. Screening are Sam Fuller's Hell and High Water, Jules Dassin's Night & the City and William Keighley's Street with No Name. The last two are generally pretty classic films noirs, the Fuller film I've never seen (it's a war picture), but it's Fuller so I'm sure it's entertaining. From September 1-4 BAM is doing a short John Carpenter retrospect with some of the director's best, including Escape from New York, the Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and They Live. Then, September 15-30, they're doing a series of Howard Hawks (a big influence on Carpenter, by the way), which has a pretty diverse mix of comedies, crime flicks, war films and westerns (mostly comedies).

The Long Goodbye

Film Forum is one of my least favorite theatres in the city- it's just so damned uncomfortable and the audiences can be kind of annoying, but they still put on some great series and offer alot of 2-for-1 double features. From August 8 through early September they've got a French crime series with tons of great stuff, including some of the usual suspects (Godard, Melville, Chabrol, Clouzot, Bresson's Pickpocket-one of the best movies ever made?- and a Man Escaped) plus some rarities including a double bill of Alain Corneau films including the little seen Jim Thompson adaptation Serie Noire, plus a bunch of titles from the 1940s and 50s that look pretty interesting.


MOMA has most of the Coen bros' movies and some early Fellini, plus a series of films with (yawn) jazz scores (including Polanski's Repulsion) and films by Dali's "Three American Surrealists"- the Marx bros, Cecil B. DeMille & Walt Disney. On the one hand, there's nothing really wrong with any of these series, on the other hand they're kind of uninspired, which is probably why I haven't been to the new MOMA screening room yet.

Maniac Cop

Anthology Film Archives has Tarkovsky, Chaplin, the Dardenne brothers, and a couple of nights of NYC crime flicks (Bill Lustig's Maniac Cop, Maniac Cop 2 and Vigilante!, Abel Ferrara's Ms. 45 and Michael Winner's Death Wish) in August, plus Laurel & Hardy, Jerry Schtzberg, Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, Robert Downey Sr.'s Chafed Elbows and films by Warhol, Jean Vigo and Vertov in September.

Ms. 45

The Landmark Sunshine cinema used to have some pretty exciting midnight movies on the weekends, but they've become increasingly dull over the years. Upcoming highlights include the awful Wicker Man remake, Tron and a Wizard of Oz sing-a-long. If you don't mind smelly theatres and snarky ushers, check 'em out.

The IFC has some much better midnight shows coming up, including a veritable cornucopia of 1960s counterculture exploitation pix including Riot on Sunset Strip with the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband (August 1-2), Lord Love a Duck with the bodacious Tuesday Weld (August 8-9), Psych-Out by Richard Rush (August 15-16) and Roger Corman's the Trip (September 26-27). On weekend mornings they've got Ingmar Bergman films and in forthcoming general release, Claude Chabrol's new film and screenings of Dreyer's Day of Wrath.

Lord Love a Duck

So, if like me, you prefer spending your summer someplace cool, dark and indoors instead of going off to the beach with all the jerks, maybe I'll catch you at one or two of these shows, whatever I can afford really, which is currently not much, but some of these are totally can't-miss, especially for all you negative pleasure-ites. It's so much better than reality...

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