Thursday, March 31, 2011

apr 6 & 17 | one flew over the cuckoo's nest | cineplex classic films

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
"If he's crazy, what does that make you?"
Directed by: Milos Forman
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Louise Fletcher
Plot: Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.

Wednesday, April 6, 7:00pm
Sunday, April 17, 1:00pm

Presented in HD. All tickets five dollars. SilverCity Riverport, SilverCity Coquitlam, Colossus Langley, Scotiabank Theatre. The Classic Film Series presents one great title each month on the big screen from September 2010 to August 2011: details here.

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is available on DVD an Blu-ray at Videomatica

Friday, March 25, 2011

mar 17 + 31 | danny boyle | national theatre live: frankenstein

I saw this Thursday. Absolutely extraordinary, I urge you to see it. The design elements are astonishing: no surprise, I suppose, when you consider Danny Boyle is so visual a director, and so bold. I thought often of Electric Company. It's clear that the approach is fully theatrical, very much conceived for the three-dimensionality of the live stage - but also that Boyle (or his cinematographer?) had always in mind just how it should be captured for film: the placement of the cameras is many times breath-taking. And the provocative questions about the nature of the human soul, the potential horror of man playing god, creating life in his own fallen image.

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein
Mar 17 @ 7pm | Additional performance Mar 31

Danny Boyle's stage production of Frankenstein, a play by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley.  Performed by Britain's National Theatre, broadcast live to cinemas.

Silvercity Riverport, Metropolis, Coquitlam
Park & Tilford, Scotiabank
Danny Boyle: A rare man in a universe of monsters
Feb 27, The Telegraph

Fittingly for an Oscar-winning film director whom colleagues actually seem to like, the ex-altar boy’s foray into theatre exposes the human side of 'Frankenstein’, says William Langley.

. . . Last week, at the National Theatre, Boyle, the Oscar-winning film director, attempted to take a monstrous step towards rescuing the story from itself. Here was no lumbering Herman Munster-lookalike with spinachy skin and a bolt through its neck. The pared-down, elemental Frankenstein Boyle served up with playwright Nick Dear won rapturous notices, with The Daily Telegraph’s critic Charles Spencer declaring: “At its best, there is no doubt that Frankenstein is the most viscerally exciting and visually stunning show in town.”

. . . He was raised in a sternly religious home in Radcliffe, a down-on-its-luck Lancashire mill town, the son of a steel worker and an Irish-born dinner lady. “My whole life was full of saints, growing up,” he says. “It was a very strict Catholic family. I was an altar boy for eight years. I was supposed to become a priest, and, really, it was my mother’s dearest wish that I should become one.”

At the age of 14, when he was in advanced preparations to enter a seminary in Wigan, the family priest, Father Conway, took him aside and told him he shouldn’t go. “Whether he was saving me from the priesthood or the priesthood from me, I don’t know,” says Boyle. “But quite soon after that I started doing drama. And there’s a connection. All those directors – Martin Scorsese, John Woo – they were all meant to be priests. There’s something very theatrical about it. It’s basically the same job, poncing around telling people what to do.”

. . . In her preface to her novel, Mary Shelley declares that: “I have tried to preserve the elementary principles of human nature.” These, presumably, being the ones junked wholesale during the 200 years that the tale has been turned into hokum. If the National does have a triumph on its hands, it will be because Frankenstein has finally found someone who shares them.

apr 11- 21 | more bible movies on vision

Fire up those PVR's.... (April 4-8 selections here)

David and Bathsheba (1951)
Monday, April 11 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
A grand retelling of the Old Testament story of King David. Though well-loved by his loyal subjects, King David, a war hero, has finally met a force that he cannot contend with: love.
Having fallen for the beautiful Bathsheba, the beloved king must now find a way to handle her husband, Uriah. David sends Uriah, one of his most trusted soldiers, into a deadly battle, which ensures the fate of Bathsheba's husband and begins King David's downward spiral. The once-mighty king's eventual neglect for his kingdom and people incurs the wrath of God, who in turn destroys much of the country.

Esther and the King (1960)
Tuesday, April 12 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
Joan Collins stars as Esther in this biblical melodrama. Set in Persia in the 4th century B.C., recently widowed King Ahasuerus (Richard Egan) is trying to defeat his enemy, Haman, who is leading a campaign of hatred against the Jews. After many intrigues, including the competing affection of another attractive woman, King Ahasuerus marries Esther and defeats the villainous Haman. The film was directed by Raoul Walsh, and also features Denis O'Dea. It also features a mostly Italian cast and crew with Mario Bava helming an Italian language version.

The Story of Ruth (1960)
Wednesday, April 13 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
Plucked from the Old Testament, the story revolves around the character of Ruth, a pagan priestess who serves in her temple under the High Priestess, and who falls in love with a Hebrew man named Mahlon. This love brings her spiritual beliefs into question as she has trouble reconciling her pagan religion with his belief in one invisible deity. By the time they marry, she has decided to convert to Judaism, but her newfound spiritual beliefs are put to the test when Mahlon dies.

Salome (1953)
Friday, April 15 at Midnight ET /9pm PT
Desperate to save the life of the radical Christian preacher John the Baptist, Princess Salome (Rita Hayworth) pleads to her stepfather, King Herod of Galilee (Charles Laughton), for mercy. Fearing that a prophecy about John being a holy man is true, Herod agrees to grant Salome’s wish after she performs the seductive Dance of the Seven Veils…until the promise of having the beautiful princess to himself overpowers his compassion and he orders John’s execution.

The Robe (1953)
Monday, April 18 at Midnight ET /9pm PT
The first movie ever filmed in CinemaScope, The Robe Won 2 Oscars® and was nominated for another three. Best Actor nominee RICHARD BURTON stars as Marcellus Gallio, the Roman centurion charged with overseeing the crucifixion of Jesus. But when he wins Christ's robe in a gambling game at the foot of the cross, his life is changed forever. This inspired story set to a spectacular score features an all-star cast including Victor MATURE and Jean SIMMONS, and remains one of the screen's greatest Biblical epics.

Demetrius And The Gladiators (1954)
Tuesday, April 19 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
In this sequel to "The Robe," Demetrius fights for his life in the arenas of Rome and eventually challenges Caligula for possession of Christ's sacred garment.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) –
Part One: Wednesday, April 20 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
Part Two: Thursday, April 21 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
Director George Stevens disavowed gimmicks and in his epic retelling of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, set this dramatization in a panoramic framework of splendidly evocative backgrounds, including the astonishing buttes of Utah. Jesus is portrayed by Max Von Sydow in a difficult and highly praised performance. A huge all-star cast (including Charlton Heston as John the Baptist) animate the vast landscape of the film. Based on the Bible, Fulton Oursler’s "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and radio scripts by Henry Denker. Carl Sandburg was a Creative Associate.

Apocalypse (2010)
Thursday, April 21 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Friday, April 22 at Midnight ET / 9pm PT
Distinguished screen actor Richard Harris portrays the aged apostle John, prisoner on Patmos and prey to physically and emotionally depleting visions that he records for posterity - as admonishment and warning to all mankind. Also stars Vittoria Belvedere, Benjamin Sadler, Christian Kohlund, Bruce Payne, and Ian Duncan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

overstreet | iambic admonit

Film buddy Jeffrey Overstreet talks movies and art and stuff on the Iambic Admonit blog - to which Soul Foodie Rosie Perera is a regular contributor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

mar 27 | the wizard of oz | cineplex classic films

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
"Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!"
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton
Plot: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Sunday, March 27, 1:00pm

Presented in HD. All tickets five dollars. SilverCity Riverport, SilverCity Coquitlam, Colossus Langley, Scotiabank Theatre. The Classic Film Series presents one great title each month on the big screen from September 2010 to August 2011: details here.

THE WIZARD OF OZ is available on DVD an Blu-ray at Videomatica

Thursday, March 17, 2011

becket | the new yorker, mar 14, 1964

click to enlarge

apr 4 - 8 | bible movies on vision

Check out the Bible movies coming up on Vision TV! Anybody got a PVR? Poke around Matt Page's excellent Bible Film Blog for more on all of these titles. Most interesting to me about the John Huston film "The Bible" is that the screenplay is by Christopher Fry, who pretty much led the very significant religious drama movement in England in the middle of last century (A Phoenix Too Frequent, The Lady's Not For Burning, A Sleep of Prisoners, The Lark, The Dark Is Light Enough, etc.)

Jesus (1979)
Monday, April 4 at Midnight ET
The life and words of Jesus Christ, whose followers form one of the world's great religions, come to life in this literal adaptation of the Christian Bible's Gospel According to St. Luke, filmed entirely in the land where Jesus lived.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Tuesday, April 5 at Midnight ET
Basing his drama on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, master filmmaker Martin Scorsese delves deep into the mind and soul of Jesus Christ and the inner torment his experiences after discovering he is the son of God. With Oscar-nominees Willem Dafoe as Christ and Harvey Keitel as Judas, Scorsese received an Oscar nomination for directing this sweeping and vivid masterpiece.

Jesus Christ SuperStar (1973)
Wednesday, April 6 at Midnight ET
Based on the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and the hit broadway show, this classic rock opera tells the story of the last 6 days of the life of Christ as seen by Judas in contemporary Israel. Directed by Norman Jewison.

The Bible (1966) – Part One
Thursday, April 7 at Midnight ET
Conceived by producer Dino De Laurentiis, THE BIBLE dramatizes the first 22 chapters of Genesis in the Old Testament. Legendary director John Huston lends his talents to create a movie of epic proportions. Shot in sumptuous 70mm, the film is as visually rich as the story it tells.
Presented in an episodic narrative, the story starts at the beginning, with Adam and Eve, played by Michael Parks and Ulla Bergyd, respectively. Their tragic story leads to Cain and Abel, which is followed by the story of Noah, who is portrayed by the director himself. The Tower of Babel is next, followed by the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. George C. Scott plays the beleaguered Abraham, and Ava Gardner stars as his wife, Sarah. In the end, Sarah is visited by the three angels of God, as portrayed by Peter O'Toole.

The Bible (1966) – Part Two
Friday, April 8 at Midnight ET

Sunday, March 13, 2011

andrew o'hehir on the adjustment bureau

Andrew O'Hehir dubs The Adjustment Bureau the Pick Of The Week at Bear in mind, it's a slow week. Still, kind of a fun movie. Here's an edited version of what O'Hehir had to say: if you want more, and don't mind spoilers, check out the original article.

"The Adjustment Bureau" is a science-fiction romance featuring Matt Damon and English actress Emily Blunt as a couple on the run from mysterious men with hats. Its somewhat awkward blend of Philip K. Dick-trapped-in-"The Matrix" paranoia and cut-rate Augustinian theology, feel clean and organic, if that makes any sense.

The real questions in "The Adjustment Bureau" aren't about what's happening but why the Plan apparently dictates that David and Elise must be kept apart, and whether there's anything they can do about it. Now, those questions engender other questions, and if those sound like debating points drawn from an episode of "The Twilight Zone," or a lecture by some Vatican II-style liberal theologian, you're on the right track. Have David and Elise stumbled into a Miltonic War in Heaven, in which Mitchell is playing the role of Lucifer? If we live in a universe designed by some Grand Poobah who stands outside time, is our sense of agency and free will an illusion? Etc.

OK, as you can see, either "The Adjustment Bureau" falls apart when you start to think about it, or you need to think about it a whole lot deeper and better than I just did. Nolfi makes no effort to conceal the Judeo-Christian roots of his premise (which is also true in the Philip K. Dick short story), and if you object to infusions of pop religion into your science fiction no doubt this movie will drive you nuts. But if you're looking for an end-of-winter cinematic palate cleanser that delivers a sweep-you-off-your-feet love story along with a few gooey, chewy, slightly silly philosophical niblets, then the Plan demands that you see this movie.

Adapted from a short story by Philip K. Dick, whose novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" was the basis for BLADRUNNER, which also had a theological thing or two on its mind.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

mar 13 | passion of joan of arc

Sunday Mar 13 at Pacific Cinematheque

Is it only a year and a bit ago that The Passion Project was on the Pacific Theatre stage? And the memorable screening at the Cathedral with the premiere of a live score by Stefan Smulovitz?

Astonishing film, the masterpiece of spiritual cinema in the silent era. See it.

mar 11 | of gods and men

Of Gods and Men, the Soul Food movie of 2010, opened Friday March 11 at Fifth Avenue Cinemas. The God-soaked movie that took godless France by storm.  Winner of the Grand Prix at The Cannes Film Festival, didn't even get an Oscar mention.  They really are bone-heads, that Hollywood crowd.

julie taymor | tempest, titus, universe, spidey

Must be tough being Julie Taymor these days. The news on March 10:
After days of rumors, the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark made the official announcement last night: Director Julie Taymor is out. The problem-plagued musical has also been delayed yet again, this time until 'early summer 2011,' according to the show’s blog... Newser
Also, we Taymor fans have been waiting since last fall for her film treatment of The Tempest to show up on a screen near us, but the longer it takes a movie to get into circulation, the more likely it is to be a disappointment. There are exceptions, but that's common. So I'm nervous.

I LOVED Titus: tough, brave, insane, with its excesses in all the right places; the perfect film of a fascinating mess of a play. The stage version of The Lion King is brilliant, inventive: she made art when you might expect schlock, using an amazing variety of puppets to render the movements of an array of specific animals that populate its African landscapes in a gloriously stylized, always specific way.

A Beatles fan, I was tremendously enthusiastic to see Across The Universe, and truly loved it, though I will say it veered into something pretty sentimental by the end. I was entirely up for the over-the-top cuteness of some of the early sequences: they were all about cuteness and naivete, and Taymor is brilliant at matching style and tone to specific material. And while the characters were types, I was willing to see them as archetypes more than stereotypes. I was with her when the story took an increasingly psychedelic direction, and really with her when it got darker. Only, the film seems to chicken out in the home stretch: instead of leaving things as messy as they should have been, it all got happy again, and the sunshine-lollipops tone that worked so well in the first was pretty cloying for me in the third. I still watch and rewatch the film: it's a favourite. But I wince a bit when things start wrapping up, and blame "studio interference" for the compromise.

The delays in Spiderman make me nervous: maybe Ms Taymor's being made the Judas goat, like a sports manager who gets fired when the team does bad and goes on to coach a string of championship teams. Somebody's got to pay, something must be done to sate the blood-lust of the fans and media, and who knows, maybe it actually works sometimes - "shake things up," "new chemistry," "restore confidence," all that. But often I think it's wrong-headed. Sometimes not.

In the face of all this, and fearing a trajectory, the delays in The Tempest make me queasy indeed, the quease aided and abetted by this chart in the last Film Comment;

click to expand

The best anybody could say is that the film is "of interest," with two "mediocres" and one out-and-out "bomb"? Ouch. Granted, these Film Comment reviewers are a tough crowd, and can be pretty darn snooty. But still, high marks for all the films I've liked the best lately; Blue Valentine, The Fighter, The King's Speech. Unmerited critic feeding frenzy, or a bad sign of something rotting - or at least slipping - in the state of Taymor?

I'll wait to have my own response. Actually, all this makes me more eager to see both the film (if it can get to Vancouver) and the play (if I can get myself to New York): nothing I love better than celebrating a maligned but deserving play or film.

Still...  I do worry about how Julie's doing.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

mar 16 & 27 | the wizard of oz | cineplex classic films

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
"Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!"
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton
Plot: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Wednesday, March 16, 7:00pm
Sunday, March 27, 1:00pm

Presented in HD. All tickets five dollars. SilverCity Riverport, SilverCity Coquitlam, Colossus Langley, Scotiabank Theatre. The Classic Film Series presents one great title each month on the big screen from September 2010 to August 2011: details here.

THE WIZARD OF OZ is available on DVD an Blu-ray at Videomatica