January 13th - 20th: Plots & Plotters, Unfulfilled Empires, and Rita Hayworth in Technicolor! Dig In!

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Already the first Weekly Update of '17 arrives. Already series and screenings unmissable have occurred, and loom as well. Already the NYC rep film landscape changes and grows, like a true organic lifeforce. Already I pine for 2018. You, they're called mid-term elections for a reason. But for the moment, let's focus on this new, seemingly benign new year, replete with horrors promised, but young, unstained yet, perhaps with surprises benevolent and beneficent in store. Sure things look bad, but remember: throughout history the masses said we'd never land a man o the moon, that the NY Mets would never win a World Series. That, indeed, the moving image was uncapturable. So let's patronize our ever thriving film and rep film circuit, and believe in the unbelievable, as the movies were designed to do.

 

New and ongoing series this week include Modern Matinees: Le Grandi Donne and Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era at MoMA, Rocky & Creed, Eric Rohmer and Spielberg by Haskell at Metrograph, and Pirandello150 and Film Forum Jr. at, have a cigar, the Film Forum. The sprocketed sillility* be thus;

 

Friday January 13th

 

MoMA

Modern Matinees: Le Grandi Donne

THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA (1969) Dir; Stanley Kramer

 

Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era

PLOTS & PLOTTERS (1913-25) Dirs; Various

CHAPLINITIS: THE HEARTBREAK OF BIG FEET (1915-17) Dirs; Various

 

Metrograph

Rocky & Creed

ROCKY (1976) Dir; John G. Avildsen

 

Eric Rohmer

FULL MOON IN PARIS (1984) Dir; Eric Rohmer

PAULINE AT THE BEACH (1983) Dir; Eric Rohmer

 

Anthology Film Archives

THE RULES OF THE GAME (1938) Dir; Jean Renoir

THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS (1949) Dir; Roberto Rossellini

 

Japan Society

Monthly Classics

MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE (1983) Dir; Nagisha Oshima

 

Nitehawk Cinema

THE KEEP (1983) Dir; Michael Mann

 

Today's Pick?

The kickoff to MoMA's exhaustive diggin'-through-the-cans Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era, today's particular showbills out of the 15 featured in the series being Plots and Plotters and Chaplinitis: The Heartbreak of Big Feet! This is an essential and rewarding series, an unboxing of talents from an era sadly forgotten, for a moment of air and sunlight and applause. You may never get another opportinuty to view these gems, especially in the format and communal atmosphere intended. I'm celebrating the beginning of this series with today's Pick, but you really should dive in to the whole shebang entire. In any event, become a MoMA member and catch these and all their wonderful screenings for free. Hey, look, $85 for unlimited screenings and the museum entire? In this town that's free. Join!

 

Saturday January 14th

 

MoMA

Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era

SPORTS INJURIES: FITS IN FITNESS (1913-27) Dirs; Various

ARTS DEPRECIATION (1911-28) Dirs; Various

WESTWARD WHOA (1911-26) Dirs; Various

 

Mid-Manhattan Library

THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER (1975) Dir; Blake Edwards

 

Metrograph

Spielberg by Haskell

EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) Dir; You Need to Be Told?

 

Anthology Film Archives

THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS (1949) Dir; Roberto Rossellini

THE RULES OF THE GAME (1938) Dir; Jean Renoir

 

Nitehawk Cinema

THE KEEP (1983) Dir; Michael Mann

 

Today's Pick?

Steven Spielberg has made some of the greatest films of the last 40 years. Steven Spielberg has made some of the worst films of the last 40 years. Somehere in betwen that divide, he made some interesting films, successes and failures depending on your skew. The 80's saw him attempting a type of older school respectability. Thus his misguided THE COLOR PURPLE, saved somewhat by his cast yet let down by any sense of understanding of the charcaters within. His 2nd attempt at Big Boy Pants was a David Lean-style WW2 flick, a bold tackling of J. G. Ballard, which I deem ultimately short the mark, a term paper and not the textbook. Yet it offers merits, the performances, John Malkovich expanding on his KILLING FIELDS grit, Miranda Richardson and Nigel Havers as despondent parents, but of course it will always be Christian Bale Begins. The scope is what still beckons, even if the substance exists not. For that Spielberg may thank not merely his inspirations but the work of Production Desinger Norman Reynolds, DP Allan Daviau and the folks at ILM. I'll never call this a masterpiece, but it was a stepping stone toward SCHINDLER'S LIST and his grand maturation as a filmmker. So check out EMPIRE OF THE SUN in 35mm. As part of the Spielberg by Haskell series. At Metrograph. In other words, grow up.

 

Sunday January 15th

 

Film Forum

Film Forum Jr.

COVER GIRL (1944) Dir; Charles Vidor

 

Pirandello150

THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL (1926) Dir; Marcel L'Herbier

 

Film Society of Lincoln Center

THE THREEPENNY OPERA (1931) Dir; G.W. Pabst

 

Mid-Manhattan Library

THE THRILL OF IT ALL (1963) Dir; Norman Jewison

 

MoMA

Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era

LOVE & WAR: ROMANTIC SKIRMISHES (1912-26) Dirs; Various

FAMILY JEWELS: CHILD PROGENY (1911-28) Dirs; Various

 

Anthology Film Archives

THE RULES OF THE GAME (1938) Dir; Jean Renoir

THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS (1949) Dir; Roberto Rossellini

 

Today's Pick?

Easy. Vidor's COVER GIRL, screening as part of the Film Forum Jr. at yeah where do you think that might be? Technicolor. Gene Kelly. Rita Hayworth in all her scarlet splendor. Unbeatable. Try me.

 

Other notable Picks this coming week include the marvelous program of silents, WAGE SLAVES & WORKING STIFFS, this Monday as part of MoMA's essential piano tink-accomp Cruel & Unusual Comedy: Astonishing Shorts from the Slapstick Era; E.A. Dupont's landmark of Wiemar Expressionism, 1925's VARIETY, screening in its newly digitized 1's & 0' at Film Forum on Tuesday; the fractured finesse that is the Nitehawk Cinema, screening Paul Michael Glaser's Stephen King adap THE RUNNING MAN, a bipedal advance in the Schwarzenegger quip-'n-clip canon, one that seems eerily approaching reality, so enjoy them tater tots this Wednesday; and finally the mundanity of the week closes out with anything but: Mel Brooks' absolute masterpiece THE PRODUCERS is being feted at Lincoln Cinter's Walter Reade Theater as part of this year's New York Jewish Film Festival, in what promises to be a wonderful-if-not-it'll-do 35mm print, as toast to the recently late Gene Wilder. The film is accompanied by a post-screening chat with Josh Mostel (you guessed it!) and legendary screenwriter Walter Bernstein. This latter event was narrowly beat by the MoMA Cruel & Unusual series for month's loudest and most eloquent ruff. But that doesn't mark it at any lesser value.

 

Once again, there you have it, my picks and pontifications regarding your next 7 days' worth of rep filmgoing! We'll check in again a week from now, in the early days of a whole new spin 'round the sun, for the purposes of once more rummaging through the reels and making the tough yet wonderful choices regarding our chosen love. Til then be sure to follow me on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, and be SURE to catch my new YouTube channel, Nitrate Stock TV, where I'll be checking in at screenings all over the city and giving my 2 cents on the film, the venue, the audience, any damn thing that comes to my mind. Which, as some of ya know, can be quite entertaining. Welcome 2017, don't screw up like the last guy we fired. Til next time Stockahz, remember: be safe, be sound, and make sure the next guy and gal are too. Excelsior!

 

- Joe Walsh

 

P. S. As you know I like to beat the drum for what I consider worthwhile causes. Xenophobia has sadly always been present in our country, mostly dormant, but at times very awoken and tangible. Sadly, the latter is the present case, and the subject of Syrain refugees has become a veritable powderkeg. To those of you who believe we can aid these people, our fellow human beings who are desperate for our help, I suggest the heroic efforts of the good men and women at DoctorsWithoutBorders. They're providing boots-on-the-ground relief, everything from surgery and medicine to clean water. It's a small something to be sure in this maelstrom of madness, but it is just that: something.

 

* I don't care if sillility isn't a word. It is now.