04/25/2014 – 05/01/2014

FRIDAY, APRIL 25

Space Jam

SPACE JAM    11:59PM    At Coolidge Corner Theatre. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02446    1996    87 mins.    35mm

“The appeal of Michael Jordan’s Space Jam performanceand it is a bit of a stretch to call it that—is the same as the appeal behind professional athletes appearing on Saturday Night Live: morbid fascination as to just how badly the athlete will embarrass himself. Jordan’s skills are taxed beyond their breaking point, even in scenes where he has to say ‘hello’ to the actors playing his wife and kids. It seems sadistic to force him to spend much of the film pretending to interact with colorful cartoon characters.” – Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve

 

DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1964    64 mins.    35mm

One of my favorite phrases, the origin of which I can’t say I rightly know, is ‘simple as death.’ The phrase came to mind quite a few times while watching this entirely extraordinary film. While its premise is as simple as death, its execution and texture is as complicated, and knotty, as life. What we are in store for is not merely a historically grounded artistic simulation of the massive psychosis we refer to as ‘war’, but a magnificent and piercing existential riddle.” – Glenn Kenny, MUBI Notebook

 

MARTYRS OF LOVE    8:30PM     At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1967    71 mins.    Digital Video

“A clever, cinematic double-crosstic whose individual parts ultimately aren’t as important as the complete quotation, Martyrs Of Love is often arbitrary and obscure in its details. It isn’t quite pure enough to be a universal fable, but it is amusing and loving in its movie way. Like the pratfall taken by a dowager-type at the garden party, or the love song sung in pidgin English on the Czech soundtrack, its meaning should not be explained away, just enjoyed for what it is on the surface.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times

 

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 26 

lionel barrymore, james stewart, jean arthur & edward arnold - you can't take it with you 1938

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU    9PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1938    127 mins.    35mm

“Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway show by Kaufman and Hart, Capra’s entry captures a wacky extended family living together in post-Depression USA, devoting all their efforts to their favorite pastimes with a smiling middle finger to societal expectations and demands. The joy nearly leaps off the screen and begs you to join. This was the first of three masterful collaborations between Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart. It’s American utopia at its finest.” – Norm Schrager, Contact Music

 

PEARLS OF THE DEEP    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1966    107 mins.    35mm

Five directors—Věra Chytilová, Jaromi Jireš, Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, and Evald Schorm—adapted short stories by Bohumil Hrabal, using styles that range from docudrama to absurdism as a way of capturing how their countrymen live, love, suffer, and create. There are short films here about motorcycle races, folk artists, flirtation, celebration, and dying, rendered in color and black and white, and with a mix of lyricism, low comedy, and stark reality. It’s the rare omnibus film with no real weak spots.” – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

 

SPACE JAM    11:59PM    At Coolidge Corner Theatre. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02446    1996    87 mins.    35mm

See above.

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 27

Mr Smith

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1939    125 mins.    35mm

The result of all this is an insidiously great movie that sweeps us along on an entertaining two-hour ride while convincing us that the way things ought to be is the way they actually are. Unfortunately, we know better. Still, Capra’s immigrant view of America as the land of opportunity for all is not a vision we should reject just because America doesn’t actually live up to it. We can’t any longer swallow the movie’s rosy platitudes, but we should still accept its challenge.” – Stephen Brophy, The MIT Tech

 

FORBIDDEN    5PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1932    87 mins.    35mm

“In spite of scriptwriter Jo Swerling’s valiant efforts to write in some ‘bones’, Forbidden ended up as two hours of soggy, 99.44% pure soap opera. Some critics moistened their reviews with tears, most burned them with acid. Forbidden was saved from the ‘loss’ column by one or two directorial ‘gems’ (sic), and the fine believable performances of Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, and Ralph Bellamy (one of his earliest films).” – Frank Capra, The Name Above The Title

 

MONDAY, APRIL 28

PurpleRain

PURPLE RAIN    7PM    At Coolidge Corner Theatre. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02446     1984    111 mins.    35mm

“A one-of-a-kind mix of rock concert, intense drama, romance, and comedy. No matter how hard directors have tried, its success can’t be repeated. Purple Rain was that rare vanity project that worked. The explicit sexuality of the characters was thrilling, as black sexuality had been mostly chaste or presented as something mythic. The time was right for black sexuality to be presented onscreen accurately, and it turned out Prince was just the man to do it.” – Aaron Aradillas, Press Play

 

THE YOUNGER GENERATION    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1929    75 mins.    35mm

“Frank Capra’s first sound film was a part-talkie, adapted from a Fannie Hurst play entitled It Is to LaughCapra described it as ‘about a social-climbing super-Jew who denied his parents.’ The actors, Capra pointed out, had to memorize dialogue for the first time; as a result, they ‘shook with stage fright.’ They also melted under the heat of the extra light that had to be pumped in now that film was being exposed at 24 frames a second rather than the silent standard of 16.” – Jeremy Arnold, Turner Classic Movies

 

THURSDAY, MAY 1

Penn And Teller

PENN & TELLER GET KILLED    5:30PM, 7:30PM & 9:30PM    At Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1989    89 mins.    35mm

“Whether this goofy black comedy is a total success is debatable, but you’ve got to admit it’s different. Postmodern comic magicians Penn Jillette and Teller play themselves in a script of their own devising, which is deftly delivered by director Arthur Penn. Deconstructing illusion, Penn and Teller’s stock in trade, becomes the modus operandi of the plot, with heaps of good-natured gore added and a literally unbelievable grand finale—and the dynamic duo make the most of it.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

 

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