JUNE 2012 WEEK FOUR. HOW IS THIS MONTH OVER ALREADY?

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The Film Forum's massive Spaghetti Western fest has screened it's last, and it burns me to type those words, but there's still plenty of great flicks unspooling this week. Even a classic revisionist Western NOT directed by Leone, Corbucci, Damiani, etc, etc...

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID was an enormous success in it's day, and remains incredibly entertaining due to the charm of it's leads, Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the first of their sadly only two joint ventures. Helmed by the great George Roy Hill (in his first of three films with Newman, you argue which is the best) and boasting the first original screenplay from William Goldman, it's credited as the first Buddy flick, but is actually the template for the MODERN buddy flick. The first buddy flick was ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. That's when Frank and Drac were really getting along. BUTCH AND SUNDANCE screens tonight at Bryant Park, so bring a towel, some wine, and plenty of patience.

The second and last of the Newman/Redford teamings, also directed by Hill, screens at the Walter Reade this Saturday, the flawless THE STING. There really is nothing to write about when it comes to this film except to say this; if you at all ever wonder what the meaning of the term "movie magic" is, attend this screening. You don't wanna be the last person to have not seen this.

Stanley Kubrick also settles in for a pair (as it were) at Lincoln Center this week. The Walter Reade theater provides bliss for enthusiasts of drying paint with their screening of BARRY LYNDON, Kubrick's love letter to nobody.

Okay, I'm rough on this flick. But I think it's got it coming.

My love/hate affair with Kubrick finds it's dividing line with this movie; 2001 was the ultimate love letter to the human race, CLOCKWORK ORANGE it's direct opposite, but after the latter release I feel he fully embraced his own worst misanthropy, and that unfortunately became his dominant theme until the end. Barry Lyndon is an exercise in how much mankind disgusts him, but it didn't have to be so boring. Just ask Clouzot.

That said, there's much to enjoy. Well, there's a couple of things to enjoy anyway. Okay, there's really only one thing; the DP work of one John Alcott, who shot all of Kubrick's work from CLOCKWORK to THE SHINING. and whose CV entertained such diverse entries as OVERLORD and BEASTMASTER. Hey, even Jack Cardiff shot RAMBO:FIRST BLOOD PART 2. LYNDON bagged Alcott an Oscar, and his work using ONLY natural light is stunning to this day, and can even justify my recommending a big screen viewing.

Next up is Kubrick's lone effort in the horror genre, and some would argue the scariest film ever made, THE SHINING, featuring Jack Nicholson as Jack Nicholson. Iconic, deliberate, there are strengths to champion in this beloved by most experiment in Dadaistic terror, but it mostly fails in the boogah boogah department. Smart where it should be scary and vice versa, this flick hasn't held up well for me. I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. Again, beautiful to look at, so deserving of a big screen jaunt.

Over at the now Leone-bereft Film Forum three gems are on display. Woody Allen's ANNIE HALL is celebrating it's 35th anniversary in a brand new 35mm restoration. Jean Renior's GRAND ILLUSION continues it's month long squat and may never leave. The prize jewel screens tonight; Erich Von Stroheim's QUEEN KELLY, one of the first Hollywood shorthands for epic disaster, a precursor in terms notorious to film debacles HEAVEN'S GATE, ISHTAR and FISHTAR, I mean WATERWORLD. Over schedule, over budget, with a displeased Gloria Swanson, which meant a displeased Joseph P. Kennedy (you don't want that), the project was wrested form it's director's grasp and finished by Swanson herself, with a little help from a cat named Gregg Toland. Restored to it's closest possible approximation by Kino to Von Steroheim's original vision, it's a fascinating example of Pre-code Hollywood, and of what might have been had Von Stroheim been further indulged, or had he learned to discipline himself a little. Swanson is magnificent, and if you only know her from Sunset Boulevard this is a great chance to see what made Norma Desmond so fucking great.

The delightful MOMA presents what a lot of folks consider to be the uber-RomCom, and I don't mean KING KONG; William Wyler's ROMAN HOLIDAY. Also considered by many to be the definitive Audrey Hepburn vehicle, this flick took all the cigarettes and scooters and ruins that littered the films of the Neo-Realists of the late 40's/early 50's and romanticized them and their city for a postwar America learning to love the rest of the world for the first time. Good stuff.

The Rubin Museum gives with what may be the most charming and haunting fantasy film of all time, Cocteau's LA BELLE ET LA BETTE. An exercise in surrealist film becomes the most romantic of film poetry. Simply unmissable if you've never seen it screened.

Fans of Jim Henson will want to catch the Nitehawk Cinema's brunchtime offering of 1982's ambitious THE DARK CRYSTAL. Although a box office failure it gained an immediate cult that remains devoted still, and hinted at very interesting directions Henson might've taken had the ticket sales beckoned.

Museum Of The Moving Image has a group of Paramount Pictures classics on display. Robert Altman's NASHVILLE pretty much created the term "Altmanesque" and guaranteed the permanence of his directorial career. You may decide whether either of those was a good thing.

Next up is the sublime, by my standards anyway, DAYS OF HEAVEN, by the ubiquitous Terrence Malick. Eden disturbed has always been one of his great themes, and this film is no differdent. Featuring the great Sam Shepard in one of his first film roles and one of the most haunting scores from the magnificent Ennio Morricone, whose work so saturated the Spaghetti Western fest I just waved goodbye to. A wonderful epitaph to an American era.

The Paramount love concludes with David Lynch's second effort, THE ELEPHANT MAN. Featuring perhaps the finest work of the great Freddie Francis' DP career, this is also the most iconic role of Anthony Hopkins' career prior to the Bath Salts face-eating Floridian he played in 1991. To say this was as different from Lynch's debut feature as oil is from fire is saying nothing really. ANY sophomore effort would be incredibly different from ERASERHEAD. There was no repeating that movie. What is remarkable, however, is how Lynch produced a masterpiece wrought with empathy without obeying the natural temptation to wallow in over-sentiment. It's a harsh, clattering, cluttered world he presents, with no real hope for a better future, and yet there is humanity parsed out in small doses, which is all we can ever hope for in the real world. Incredibly affecting, wonderfully honest. Those who regard this flick as "UN-Lynchian" are simply blind to what this gifted filmmaker really offers across his dynamic CV.

Fans of absolute SciFi bugfuckerry are obliged to attend the Walter Reade Theater's midnight screening of Tobe Hooper's one-of-a-kind LIFEFORCE. Hooper's post-POLTERGEIST cache granted him the Orson Welles treatment from respect-deprived Cannon studios, and he used said cache to fund his Hammer/Quatermass update, with a for then insane 25 million dollar budget and no interference from the accountants. What emerged is one of the most gloriously batshit films ever made for that pricetag. Not great, but never boring. Actually one of the most entertaining insanities ever filmed. Fans of Hammer, Bava, and insanely gorgeous French chicks completely nude for long stretches of screentime will not be disappointed.

I end, as I must, with probably the most essential screening of the week. Our beloved Landmark Sunshine cinema on Houston presents at midnight this Friday and Saturday the greatest film ever made; DUCK SOUP. Disagree and you're wrong. The film most beloved of anarchists, dadaists, surrealists, con artists, poker cheats, credit default swappers and Woody Allen, it never gets old or less funny or less timely or less necessary. Plus fans of the brothers know you will never see them finer than on display here. I thank ye.

So that was June! I hope you got a kick and some use out of this site and that you'll stick around. We have much more planned. And I promise to become a better typer. See you at the next screening!

-Guiseppe Du Cinematek

BRYANT PARK

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

starts at sunset

WALTER READE THEATER

Barry Lyndon - Mon 6/25 12:15pm, Wed 6/27 12:15pm
The Shining - Tue 6/26 1pm, Thu 6/28 1pm

The Sting - Sat 6/30 2pm, Sun 7/1 2pm

Lifeforce - Fri 6/29 midnight

FILM FORUM

Annie Hall - 1:10pm, 3:10pm, 5:10pm, 7:10pm, 9:10pm all week

Grand Illusion - 2:50pm, 9pm ends Tuesday

MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE

Nashville - Fri 6/29 7pm, Sat 6/30 1pm, Sun 7/11pm
Days Of Heaven - Sat 6/30 4:30pm, Sun 7/1 6:30pm
The Elephant Man - Sat 6/30 6pm, Sun 7/1 6:30pm

NITEHAWK CINEMAS

The Dark Crystal - 6/30 12:15pm, 7/1 12:15pm

RUBIN MUSEUM

La Belle Et La Bette (or Beauty And The Beast for you dummies) - Fri 6/29 9:30pm introduced by author Mira Bartok

LANDMARK SUNSHINE CINEMAS

Duck Soup - Friday 6/29 and Sat 6/30 Midnight!