05/09/2014 – 05/16/2014

FRIDAY, MAY 9

Videodrome 3

VIDEODROME    11:59PM    At Coolidge Corner Theatre. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02446    1983    87 mins.    35mm

Ever the cerebral provocateur, Cronenberg made a savage, satirical indictment of our sensationalistic, thrill-craving, couch-potato culture. With its relentlessly twisted view of TV as a soul-sickening wasteland that both pacifies and zombifies its audience, where extreme images can do everything from numb viewers to drive them to the brink of insanity, the most eerie thing about this nasty, noir-ish nightmare is how utterly relevant it is now.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Nashville Scene

 

GIMME SHELTER    6PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    1970    91 mins.    35mm

“There’s a moment in Gimme Shelter that’s just as stunning today as it was in 1970, when the film was first released. It’s the moment in which Mick Jagger realizes that he has failed to give the devil his due. We see it dawn on him that he is complicit in the violence which has crossed the line from collective fantasy to reality. And as powerful a performer as he believes himself to be, he can’t control what is taking place on his watch.” – Amy Taubin, The Village Voice

 

THE LAST WALTZ    8PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    1978    117 mins.    35mm

The Last Waltz journeys from delta blues to bluegrass country through Tin Pan Alley into Stax soul, from folk to pop to traveling medicine shows and then further on up the road. And all the while, it makes a case for rock ‘n’ roll as the great equalizer; a grand, motley melting pot open to every influence and possessing the potential to steamroll, as it does on this very special night, into something far greater than the sum of its parts.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

STOP MAKING SENSE    10PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    1984    88 mins.    35mm

Part aerobics workout, part self-styled dreamscape, Stop Making Sense is a hyperactive piece of performance art that begins as the stripped-down dress rehearsal of a garage band and builds into a mighty, exhausting spectacle that shakes as much ass as it kicks. Then there’s Byrne. He’s a convulsive Donald O’Connor recast as that lone white boy in the black choir overcome with The Spirit. It’s still not hard to catch it, too.” – Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner

 

MARKETA LAZAROVA    8:30PM    At Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1967    165 mins.    35mm

“By now, this burly, seething musk ox of a movie, arguably the most convincing film about the Middle Ages ever made, should be on everyone’s tongue. Essentially cinema non grata everywhere until the Czechs restored it and voted it their national Best Ever in 1998, Frantisek Vlacil‘s elliptical nightmare about warring medieval tribes in the Bohemian highlands manifests a vast, chaotic pagan world like no other film experience.” – Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

 

PLATINUM BLONDE    9:30PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1930    90 mins.    35mm

What happened to Frank Capra? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington merits its place in the pantheon, yet how stentorian and hectoring it feels beside the exploits of another Mr. Smith—Stew Smith (Robert Williams), the newshound hero of Platinum BlondeThis is pre-sententious Capra, when he had no time to preach the noble virtues of the common man because he was too busy following him into bedrooms and bars.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

 

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1947    130 mins.    35mm

What is remarkable about It’s a Wonderful Life is how well it holds up over the years; it’s one of those movies, like Casablanca or The Third Man, that improves with age. Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they’ve surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity.” – Roger Ebert, The Great Movies

 

SATURDAY, MAY 10

The Departed

THE DEPARTED    6PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    2006    151 mins.    35mm

Martin Scorsese won’t be winning any Oscars for The Departed. The movie’s too hard, too pulpy, too good. A relentlessly violent, breathtakingly assured piece of mean-streets filmmaking, the film shows the legendary director dropping the bids for industry respectability that have preoccupied him over the past decade and doing what he does best: burrow to the agonized heart of criminality and let the blood and guilt splatter where they may.” – Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

 

THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1933    87 mins.    35mm

“This story about a cool straitlaced girl from New England (Barbara Stanwyck) who is sexually drawn to the Chinese warlord who kidnaps her was too exotic, maybe, for moviegoers of the time. Despite the tensions of the daring interracial romance, the film was not a box-office success. One of the most sensuously atmospheric (and least cloying) of Frank Capra’s films, it suggests the influence of Von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express.” – Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights At The Movies

 

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE    9PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1944    118 mins.    35mm

Capra pushed his actors to the broadest comedy takes, a fact that did not sit well with Cary Grant. As a result, his (and Carson’s) performances were singled out by reviewers for going dangerously over the top. Grant hated working this way, although in his more generous moments he credited Capra with helping him to get the comic effect he was unable to do on his own. It may have been his subtle way of blaming the director.” – Rob Nixon, Turner Classic Movies

 

THE DARK KNIGHT    3PM & 9PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    2008    152 mins.    35mm

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is revelatory, visceral, grim stuff. A vision of the failure of our idealism before the inexorable tide of entropy, another masterpiece after last year’s No Country for Old Men that as much as says that the only morality in the midst of chaos is chance. There’s not a moment of The Dark Knight that’s fun, not one single ray of light in its thick running time that concedes to popular appreciation.” – Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

 

MARKETA LAZAROVA    12:30PM, 4PM & 7:30PM    At Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1967    165 mins.    35mm

See above.

 

VIDEODROME    11:59PM    At Coolidge Corner Theatre. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02446    1983    87 mins.    35mm

See above.

 

SUNDAY, MAY 11

Psycho

PSYCHO    2PM, 4:30PM, 7:00 & 9:30PM    At Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1960    109 mins.    DCP

“I cannot remember a time in my life during which I did not believe that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was in some fundamental way a perfect film. It is the only film that I cannot remember first seeing—that is, I remember it as if I was born knowing it. I do love its every frame, and every new development in filmmaking, both technological and aesthetic, seems to me to be related to it somehow.” – Glenn Kenny, MUBI Notebook

 

LADY FOR A DAY    5PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1933    93 mins.    35mm

There was a time, the pre-Code period to be exact, when Capra’s style was closer to the spirit of the era, examining and sometimes celebrating disreputable, lowlife types, who speak only in wisecracks. It’s during such scenes that we see the full dawn of Capra’s genius for working an audience’s pleasure centers—a genius which would, in subsequent decades, become fully grown, overgrown, and ingrown.” – Jaime M. Christley, Slant Magazine

 

POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1961    136 mins.    35mm

Director Frank Capra‘s last feature is a Technicolor remake of his 1933 film Lady for a DayWay too long at 136 minutes, Pocketful of Miracles still has a lot going for it, especially the glowing performance of Bette Davis and the basic, foolproof Damon Runyon story on which it is based. While it disappointed at the box office, Miracles has since its release become a Christmas-time TV perennial.” – Hal Erickson, The New York Times

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ    6PM    At Somerville Theatre. 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA 02144    1939    102 mins.    35mm

“Years later, I can now see that the terror instilled in me as a child by repeated viewings of The Wizard of Oz drove me to become a film critic. Was I the only one who had nightmares about  the Winged Monkeys, their formations filling the sky like a cross between Goya’s Sleep of Reason and the Luftwaffe? Or the appalling realization that one’s entire experience, in living color yet, might be no more than a dream?” – Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix

 

MONDAY, MAY 12

Out Of The Past

OUT OF THE PAST    6PM    At Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1947    97 mins.    35mm

There is a lot of smoking in Out of the Past. There is a lot of smoking in all noirs, even the modern ones, because it goes with the territory. Good health, for noir characters, starts with not getting killed. But few movies use smoking as well as this one; in their scenes together, it would be fair to say that Mitchum and Douglas smoke at each other, in a sublimated form of fencing.” – Roger Ebert, The Great Movies

 

THE WAY OF THE STRONG    7PM    At Harvard Film Archive. 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138    1928    61 mins.    35mm

“I knew my experiment with drama was dismal. I was too inexperienced to handle the delicate nuances or the sustained moods of dramatic conflict. But, in the elementary school of trial and error—where I was both student and teacher—I had to experiment if I were ever to master this new, universal language of film that was revolutionizing the mores of the world.” – Frank Capra, The Name Above The Title

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

West Side Story

WEST SIDE STORY    7PM    At Museum of Fine Arts. 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
   
1961    152 mins.    DCP

To Sondheim, West Side Story is about the theater, and nothing else. Creator/choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer Leonard Bernstein set out to shred the conventions of song-and-dance stagecraft in order to find newer, more abstract ways of conveying raw emotion, and for the movie, Robbins and co-director Robert Wise continued the experimentWest Side Story works best as a spectacle of color and movement.” – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

 

THURSDAY, MAY 15

The Band Wagon

THE BAND WAGON    7PM    At Museum of Fine Arts. 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
1953    112 mins.    35mm

“Fred Astaire is an astounding performer, versatile and seemingly unprompted in his footwork. The Band Wagon highlights his technical genius, particularly in numbers where he’s dancing alone. But was ever a song more appropriate for him than “By Myself”? Here was a movie star performing entirely for himself. He is easily one of the least generous dance partners of all the movie musicals, and curiously sexless.” – Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine

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