|robert redford at the NYFF from the last row of the balcony of Alice Tully Hall|
I want to begin with an apology of sorts to those of you who are not big Asian film fans, but as of yesterday with the start of our Chinese New Year celebration Unseen is going to be Asia heavy until March 1st. Running through next weekend is our annual Chinese New Year coverage and we’re following that up with our month of Zatoichi, with Unseen reviewing every one of the Shintaro Katsu films about the blind Swordsman. It’s our way of saying good bye to the strictly enforced film(post) a day policy. However don’t let that stop you from stopping back since we’re going to be covering a good number of other films including Martin Scorsese’s traveling Polish Film festival, the BAM Kids Fest, Film Comment Selects, and a bunch of other things. Keep in mind we average 2 to 3 posts a day so there is going to be plenty of material coming.
The next bit is that what follows isn't what I intended for tonight. The original post id being moved to the night of the Oscars. The post started as a piece on Chariots of Fire and it then went sideways and became much more complicated It now belongs on Oscar night for reasons which will be clear when it goes up (assuming I finish it)
Last weekend Grady and Rufus from Subway Cinema ran their total 80's Freakout at the Anthology Film Archieves in Manhattan. It was 11 hours of 80's exploitation movies. I had a ticket but I did not attend since things changed between when I bought the film and show day.
The films were supposed to be a surprise but they had dropped hints (I knew Road Games was one of the titles) but all wasn't revealed until the day of. The films screened were:
Miami Blues Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alec Baldwin as two not too bright crooks who end up out of prison and on a one man crime wave thanks in part to a stolen police badge. Its a film that has split audiences since it was released in 1990. Put me on the side of the fence that isn't a fan.
Road Games Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis battle a crazed truck driver in the outback. An excellent thriller I never want to see again thanks to over viewing on cable in the early 80's
Class of 1984 A new teacher takes on a gang of kids in school where everyone has to go through metal detectors to get in. Pure exploitation film was ripped off and remade. An enjoyable popcorn film.
White of the Eye Donald Cammell's film about a serial killer loose in suburbia. A good film notable as one of the few films Cammell directed. The film on its original release was met with a bit of confusion but critics, some of whom didn't know what to make of it. I know there were controversies concerning the violence in the film. Its a good film, probably over praised in some quarters (as Cammell is)
Skatetown USA- A roller disco movie with Patrick Swayze, Scott Baio, Ruth Buzzi and Billy Barty. I never want to see it again
Enemy Territory Two guys get caught in an apartment building controlled by a vicious gang and can't get out. Good action film that decades on sticks in my memory thanks to Jan Michael Vincent's turn as a tenant in the building living in a fortified bunker the gang won't mess with. After the film opened in theaters he was all my friends talked about so we all went to see the him in the film. Lost classic, no, good action film yes.
By all reports it was a great time and I wish my schedule hadn't changed so that I could have seen at least part of the selections.
This week I got my swag from the Ultimate Christian Wrestling kickstarter campaign. We reviewed this back in 2012 but the film needed tweaking so they ran a Kickstarter.
We at Unseen loved this film running multiple pieces on it when it ran at KAFFNY. As one of the perks for giving I ended up with a DVD and it plays even better the second time. I'll be revisiting the film in couple of weeks, and I'll be letting you know where the film will be available for purchase as soon as director Jae-Ho Chang gets back to me with details.
A reminder that Lincoln Center Dance on Film series starts Friday. Details are here. There are some cool things including a free talk with Jonathan Demme and a discussion of shooting in 3D with Bill T Jones. Info at their website.
Before we go I want to leave you with something I wrote back in 2011 for a piece on Corpo Celeste which explains why I don't read press notes before I see a film, and why very often critics will love films more than the paying public -they had cheat sheets to explain it all to them. I'm not a fan of that. This passage comes toward`the end of the review where I say that once I read the notes the film, which I didn't like, improved greatly AT this point I could tell you whats in the press notes but I'm not. I know that may seem not fair, but to tell you is actually unfair. To tell you everything that the director should have shown you is wrong. Films must exist unto themselves. Yes, some films need you to bring something to them, experience, an understanding of historic events, you have to bring life and experience with you to the theater not be handed six pages of notes on the way in. You should be able to walk into a film cold and know whats going on, you shouldn't need a cheat sheet to explain what the director and writer failed to do. If a film can't stand on it's own (sequels excluded) then something is really really wrong with it. Tell me the story on film. Make your points on film, if you can't do that get another profession.
And now some links to finish things off some of which drifted in from Randi
Jelly Doughnut on Mars
Every NES Start screen in under 3 hours
A documentary on the Chelsea Hotel