January 31st 2013. Pick Of The Day.

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At last, my old foe January, there can be only one of us left standing. I only hope it's me...

On this 31st day of the year's first month let us celebrate its end by braving weather bizarre to attend classic screenings on our most excellent turf. The first and best way to do thus this day would be to take in any screening at the Film forum of their closing New Yawk New Wave fest, today repped by perhaps the town's most revered cinematic son. Martin Scorsese's debut indie and its spiritual remake, WHO'S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR? and MEAN STREETS, screen all day today in that beautifully boxy movie house in the West Village. Two phenomenal reasons to open the umbrella today, but I alreasy gave my Pick to the latter yesterday, so nope.

Charles Laughton missed no opportunity to chew scenery when presented with such, and positivley gorged on his surroundings in Billy Wilder's adap of Agatha Christie's WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION. The master thesp is joined by the equally marquee brightening Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power, and sadly this would be the latter's last film due to his untimely death. This ace stage adap from Wilder's safest decade screens today as part of MOMA's Auteurist History of Film series, but not my Pick.

Sir Larry meets Marilyn in the beknighted thesp's THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. Yeah it's a meeting of two titans of cinema, which makes it historically important, and yes it exists to allow the audience to drool over a truly hot broad, which makes it important to testosterone. Just sayin' it would take a day particularly barren of choice for me to choose this flick. No offense to the proceedings, that's just me. Screens tonight at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema. Have fun.

Turner Classic Movies and Verizon have teamed up to stage a doozy of a film trib this night; a free 40th anniversary screening of CABARET at the Ziegfield theater, featuring live appearances from its stars; Marisa Berenson, Michael York, Joel Grey and Sally herself Liza Minnelli. I skip this as my pick not because I'm naturally averse to movie musicals but becuase it's probably sold out to the rafters at this point. I can't even link to the site for this. That's how exclusive it is. Of course any and all who wish to employ the tactics of said Sally Bowles may find a way to grab a seat. No pun intended.

And finally the Film Society's Aussie New Wave retrospective winds down its last today with three impressive offerings from directors whose impact was mighty at the dawn of the 80's. Bruce Beresford's exercise in heist genre brutality, MONEY MOVERS, presents the normally stolid filmmaker toying around in new territory, the cinematic equivalent of having it off with someone else's wife, and the result is 70's crime flick bliss. Gillian Armstrong leapt onto the world stage with debut feature MY BRILLIANT CAREER, which also served as cinematic coming out party for stars Judy Davis and Sam Neill. Very deserving choices, but I reserve my Pick for a film that proved a breakthrough effort not merely for its director but for the country's filmmaking industry. It gave the movie viewing world pause, and directed its gaze at the formal penal colony as a potential breeding ground for new voices in film more, I argue, than any Australana film from that era. It's unsettling, erotic, and ultimately one of the film world's greatest pranks. Which I will not give away.

Peter Weir. This guy's the goods. His name is rarely mentioned these days but once uttered try to get a word in with the cinegeek crowd. His rep is that strong. Apart from our beloved John Carpenter I can't think of another director in the Anglo film world that has so successfully conquered multiple genres. In the states we know him from works like DEAD POETS SOCIETY, FEARLESS, THE TRUMAN SHOW, MASTER AND COMMANDER, and his nifty nod to all things John Ford WITNESS. His earlier output is just as formidable, having helmed THE LAST WAVE, GALLIPOLI and THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY before succumbing to the lure of Hollywood and Harrison Ford. One early work put him on the map to begin with and made this esteemed career possible, a tale of teenage girls at a boarding school and one ill-fated field trip.

I won't give anything away except to say that Weir successfully navigated a fine line between Aussie exploitation and art house, concocting an incredibly sexy and enticing tale that then digs deeper into our worst fears and insecurities. It'll stay with ya. Trust me.

Inexplicably the LONE Peter Weir film showing as part of the Film Society's Aussie New Wave fest, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK screens once tonight at 6:15pm. My pick, and I cannot implore you enough to attend. The corset tying scene alone will do it for ya. Trust.

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Be safe and sound and make sure the next guy is too, Stockahz! February calendar will be live tomorrow! Vive Film Bastidz!!!!


-Joe Walsh