January 2013! End Of The Month Update! Fuck It's Cold!!!

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Late announcements from several prestige venues propose a cinematic January that isn't quite as over as it seems. To which I say goddam. Goddam January all to hell.

Having accepted this reality, however, let me now hip ya to the update. Some very cool classic films are screening in the next ten days. Read on...

The most prominent retrospective closing out the month, The Big Dingo as it were, is the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Australian New Wave series, covering the former penal colony's wildly inventive late 60's -early 80's breakout onto the world cinema stage. I gotta say this feels incomplete, bypassing most of the edgier genre fare that did just as much to draw the attention of audiences worldwide to the increasingly intriguing Aussie scene, but my big nitpick is the dearth of Peter Weir, which absolutely baffles me. To this day no one filmmaker better exemplifies that era of Australian film, from works exploitative to arthouse to commercial box office hit, sometimes all rolled up in one flick, than the former actor turned auteur. The fest itself is named after his THE LAST WAVE. And it isn't screening. Nor will THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS, GALLIPOLI, or THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. The Film Society's ways continue to puzzle...

But let's focus on what they WILL offer. The big names on display for this fest include directing greats Philip Noyce, Fred Schepisi and Bruce Beresford. Noyce is repped by feature debut BACKROADS, about two drifters of different racial backgrounds exploring the Australian coast in a stolen car, and NEWSFRONT, what some claim is still his best film, about competing newsreel companies in the years leading up to the prevalance of television. Noyce will be present for both screenings to discuss his films.

Fred Schepisi is repped by screenings of debut feature THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND, a semi-autobiographical tale of shenanigans at a seminary school, and his own race relation drama THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH. Again, Mr. Schepisi will be on hand to discuss his work.

Bruce Beresford will not appear. Harrumph. He gets the trifecta however with screenings of socio-political satire DON'S PARTY, art house chick flick THE GETTING OF WISDOM, and violent heist drama MONEY MOVERS. Again, a noble digging through the crates, but no BREAKER MORANT? Have too many people seen that movie? Is that the issue?

Other key screenings in the series include Gillian Armstrong's debut feature MY BRILLIANT CAREER, which was also Judy Davis' first turn, George Miller's MAD MAX, which needs no explanation, and Michael Powell's first ex-pat effort THEY'RE A WEIRD MOB, which reunited the auteur with his screenwriting partner Emeric Pressburger and by all accounts was the first early shot fired in this Aussie New wave.

Oh yeah, and a little flick called PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. Directed by a guy named Peter Weir. Maybe you've heard of him...

The Film Society's retrospective The Last New Wave screens from January 25th to the 31st. Reckon you got yahself a bahgain, eh?

The Jersey Loews, that cathedral of cinema in sunny Jersey City, fires up the projector's bulbs for a mystery weekend. I don't mean the projectionist's bulbs, I mean the projector. And I don't mean you'll find out when ya get there, I mean MOVIE mysteries. Stay with me. Friday the 25th brings a double bill from the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes series, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON paired with THE WOMAN IN GREEN. Personally Baz remains my fave screen iteration of the Conan Doyle hero, so I consider this a particular treat. Saturday the 26th brings a screening of Hitchcock's slight but insanely entertaining TO CATCH A THIEF, The Mahstah's last flick with Grace Kelly. Cat burgulars retired and otherwise cavort in a Technicolor French Riviera. What's not to love? If you're a film lover and haven't made the pilgriage to this restored movie palace, I'm questioning yer cred.

Midnight at the IFC Center offers the 70's horror classic CARRIE, one of the few tolerable De Plama flicks. Great cast, great Stephen King story, great lurid DP work from Mario Tosi. Holds up incredibly well. Just don't laugh at her.

92YTribeca offers a really special event to celebrate one of the cinema's great guy-flick auteurs, Walter Hill, with a screening on Monday the 28th of his brutal suspense actioner SOUTHERN COMFORT, followed by a Q&A with the big guy himself! Tix may already be sold out but it's worth checking!

Lastly Turner Classic Movies and Verizon are teaming up to offer a free 40th anniversary screening of CABARET at the Ziegfield Theater on Wednesday the 31st. Hosted by Robert Osborne the event also features the film's stars; Marisa Berensen, Michael York, Joel Grey and Lucille 2 herself Liza Minnelli, who bagged the Oscar for her career perf as boho ex-pat Sally Bowles! No ticket info yet but anyone interested should stay tuned to both the TCM and Ziegfield websites for info.

And then January will be gone! Finished! Its very chill expunged from my bones! If only February wasn't next in line. Hope ya get to catch some or all of your classic flicks screening and see ya tomorrow with my Pick Of The Day! New calendar coming soon! Pitchers and catchers report February 11th! Huzzah, Stockahz!


-Joe Walsh