Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Series Update Update

Don't be alarmed. Here's the latest on the upcoming Metro Classics series as summer falls into place and the first hints of autumn arrive:


Aug 04 - The African Queen (Huston, 1951)
Aug 11 - ???? ???? (???????, ????)
Aug 18 - The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987)

Middle Class:

Aug 25 - Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli, 1944)
Sep 01 - All that Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955)
Sep 08 - Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)


Sep 15 - ?????????? ???????? (??????????, ????)
Sep 22 - The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, 1940)
Sep 29 - ??? ????????? (??????, ????)


Oct 06 - Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
Oct 13 - ?????????? (????, ????)
Oct 20 - ????????? ???? (?????????, ????)


Oct. 27 - ??????/??? ?????? (????????, ????/????????, ????)
Nov 03 - ?? ????/???? ? ???? ????? ????? (??????, ????/????, ????)
Nov 10 - ?????? ????????/???????? ?? ???? (???????, ????/?????, ????)


Nov 17 - The Philadelphia Story (Cukor, 1940)
Nov 24 - Out of the Past (Tourneur, 1947)
Dec 01 - ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? (??????, ????)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Series Update

So Metro Classics will be back this summer, starting Wednesday August 4th and running every Wednesday night through December 1st. That's two consecutive nine week series. Four of the first six bookings have been confirmed, and once our various vacations (which generally consist of hanging around and checking out blurry women, as pictured above) end, we'll have more confirmations (and some thematic unveilings) in the coming weeks. Here's the lineup as it stands right now:


Aug 04 - The African Queen (Huston, 1951)
Aug 11 - ???? ???? (??????, ????)
Aug 18 - The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987)

?????? ?????:

Aug 25 - ???? ?? ?? ??? ????? (????????, ????)
Sep 01 - All that Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955)
Sep 08 - Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

Can you guess the missing films?

Friday, May 14, 2010

SFIFF Wrap-up

As soon as I returned from my vacation, Mike left on his (to the rainforest, of course), so apologies for leaving the website hanging for a couple of weeks. We'll have an update on the progress of the next series, to start August 4th, in the next few days. Meanwhile, I managed to see a bunch of good films in San Francisco, some of which are playing the Seattle International Film Festival starting next week and may eventually make it to your local Landmark Theatre.

I Am Love - Tilda Swinton stars as a rich housewife who's surprised to learn she's not all that happy with her life in this melodrama from Italian director Luca Guadagnino. It's big and lush and beautiful and skirts the fine line between deliriously wonderful and over-the-top silliness that all the best melodramas have to navigate. Swinton is as awesome as she always is and the score is entirely made up of bits of John Adams works(!)

Bodyguards & Assassins - Another historical epic from China, in the mold of John Woo's Red Cliff, set in the early 20th Century as Sun Yat-sen arrives in Hong Kong to plan the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and has to be protected from the titular assassins by the titular bodyguards. It's classical filmmaking in the Seven Samurai mode, as the first half lays the groundwork for an impressive, extended action sequence that accounts for most of the second half of the film. It stars the great Donnie Yen and Leon Lai and Simon Yam and the other Tony Leung.

Senso - One of SIFF's archival presentations is this restoration of Luchino Visconti's melodrama set in the mid-19th Century during Venice's war against Austria. Alida Valli (from The Third Man) plays a Venetian countess who has an affair with Austrian soldier Farley Granger (Rope, They Lived By Night) that has disastrous consequences for both herself and her country. It's all quite glorious and the restoration looks pretty great.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Stephin Merritt (the genius behind The Magnetic Fields and several other musical groups) composed and performed a new score to the silent version of HG Wells's sci-fi classic. The movie itself, made in 1916 by Stuart Paton, is not without interest. It boasts of its innovative underwater filming techniques, the veracity of which claim I'm not capable of confirming (though it looked to me like they just filmed an aquarium). The plot follows the crazy Captain Nemo, who's invented a submarine and rescues some people from a shipwreck and takes them to a mysterious island. Adventure ensues. It bears only a passing resemblance to the Disney film with Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and James Mason, having more in common with Mysterious Island, a film notable for Ray Harryhausen's effects creating such terrifying animals as a giant chicken. (Note: there are no giant chickens in the silent film version). Anyway, the draw is the score, performed live by Merritt and some of his pals (including organist David Hegarty and Lemony Snicket). It's not your typical silent film score, with the musicians occasionally adding dialogue to the action (some of which is very funny, but never really in a derisive MST3K kind of way), and including a pop song or two. I defy you to not exit the theatre with the title refrain stuck in your head. I've been singing it for ten days now.