Last night, I lucked into the very last ticket to see David Byrne and was reminded why I prefer cinema to music venues. At the cinema, the program starts ON TIME. At the cinema, people don’t talk and if they do, they are scolded by the patrons. Talking during a film is socially unacceptable and rude. At the cinema, audiences are not constantly getting up from their seats and wandering around. At the cinema, people don’t stand up to watch action scenes and then sit down for quiet scenes. At the cinema, there aren’t dweeby security guards bossing the audience around. Why is it so different? Because at the cinema, PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION.
At the cinema, what is happening in front of the audience is all there is. There’s no chatting up girls, no videotaping with cell phones (which makes about as much sense as videotape yourself fucking; it’s always more boring on video), no texting to your friend in the other aisle because the audience is FOCUSED, dreaming awake collectively, rapt by “The Holy Moment” of cinema. Music venues function as backgrounds for socialization, and you know, I did not pay sixty bucks to be a guest at someone else’s party. I came to dream, my dream of David Byrne. I’m sorry, but I just don’t trust music venues anymore. I’m tired of being corralled by age into specific areas and having some knuckle dragging troglodyte stamp my wrist with a beaver so I can get back in, none of which happens at the cinema. The cinema is a place of unspoken respect for the collective experience. So goodbye and no thanks to music. I’ll stick to my cinema dreams where people care enough to mindfully pay full attention and respect the moment.
Some real doozies this week. First off, Portland’s gift to pulp cinema, Dan Halsted of Grindhouse, brings us the only surviving 35mm print of one of the most revered martial arts film ever made, 7 GRANDMASTERS (Joseph Kuo, Taiwan, 1978) shot with a glorious 2.35 super wide aspect ratio!
To quote Dan’s website, “A kung fu teacher sets out to prove that he is the greatest fighter by finding and defeating the seven Grandmasters. One by one, he fights their wide variety of animal styles (tiger, leopard, mantis, monkey, etc.) He also puts a young student through elaborate training, and is followed by a mysterious kung fu villain wearing a weird hat. Let’s be honest though, how important is the plot when a jaw-dropping kung fu fight breaks out every few minutes? Featuring all the best old school sound effects, fighting styles, martial arts weapons, and silver haired villains with maniacal laughter. Directed by the great Joseph Kuo and starring Jack Long and Mark Long (the original Ghostface Killer) This is one of the top five kung fu movies of all time!”
I’m not sure if the print is in the original Mandarin language (most HK films during this era were in Cantonese) or dubbed in English like the above trailer, but it doesn’t matter too much. Just go. This is an event. Really. I know a lot of you are fans of that Tarantino guy, but THIS is a film that Tarantino is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge fan of. I recommend you go to the source.
7 GRANDMASTERS plays ONE NIGHT ONLY, Saturday, June 27th at 7:45pm at The Hollywood Theatre. Drop all your other plans and go. If you’re new to the genre, start NOW.
Speaking of Tarantino, if anyone wants to read the script for INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (yes, that’s how he’s spelling the title), I have it so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always heard he couldn’t spell worth a damn, but I had to read one of his scripts to see how bad his spelling really is. Wow.
Also at The Hollywood Theatre starting Friday, the most dazzling, confounding, flamboyant and operatic piece of virtuoso filmmaking you’re likely to ever see, IL DIVO (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy, 2008) which won the Prix du Jury at Cannes 2008.
For the life of me, when my best friend and I saw this at PIFF last year, we couldn’t follow it at all and we really didn’t care. It was as if we were being whisked through the history of contemporary Italian politics in a cherry red Ferrari while blaring Danse Macabre, Opus 40 by Camille Saint-Saëns with all the windows down. We had no idea where we were or what was happening, but we were giddy like school children dizzy on lemonade.
Here. Just watch the beginning of the movie. It’s only two minutes long. Watch in full screen.
And the trailer can be viewed on the official IL DIVO website HERE.
For more than 50 years, Giulio Andreotti has been Italy’s most powerful, feared and enigmatic politician. And as he begins his seventh term as Prime Minister, he and his hardliner faction take control of a country reeling from the brazen murders of several high-level bankers, judges and journalists, as well as the kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. But as the Christian Democrat party crumbles in a nationwide bribery scandal, suspicion begins to fall on Andreotti himself as the center of a shocking conspiracy involving the Vatican, the Mafia and the secret neo-Fascist Masonic Lodge P2. In what is called The Trial Of The Century, Italy’s legendary Senator for Life will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder. That’s the story, a true one, but go for the filmmaking. MUST SEE.
IL DIVO starts Friday at The Hollywood Theatre. Check website for showtimes.
Still playing at The Hollywood, one of the most innovative and existential thrillers you’re likely to ever see, REVANCHE (Götz Spielmann, Austria, 2008) which was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year and won countless European awards.
At once gripping and tragic of nearly Greek proportions, REVANCHE is the stunning international breakthrough debut from Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann. In a ragged section of Vienna, hardened ex-con Alex (the mesmerizing Johannes Krisch) works as an assistant in a brothel, where he falls for Ukrainian hooker Tamara (Irina Potapenko). Their desperate plans for escape unexpectedly intersect with the lives of a rural cop (Andreas Lust) and his seemingly content wife (Ursula Strauss). With meticulous, elegant direction, Spielmann creates a tense, surprising portrait of vengeance and redemption, and a journey into the darkest forest of human nature, in which violence and beauty exist side by side. This is one of the best films of the year.
Starting Friday at The Laurelhurst is THE PARALLAX VIEW (Alan J. Pakula, U.S., 1974) starring Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn and gorgeous cinematography by Gordon Willis who shot The Godfather and Annie Hall.
Of the three films that make up director Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoid trilogy” (Klute, All the President’s Men and THE PARALLAX VIEW), the latter most strongly conveys the paranoid atmosphere of the 1960s and ’70s. A stylish suspense-thriller, THE PARALLAX VIEW mirrors the political distrust Americans began to feel during the period following the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War, culminating in the Watergate conspiracy. The film stars Warren Beatty as investigative journalist Joe Frady, whose former girlfriend and colleague, Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss), witnesses the assassination of a U.S. senator at the Seattle Space Needle. A government report declares it the work of a lone gunman, but when eyewitnesses begin showing up dead, Carter is convinced that a wider conspiracy is at work. Probing deeper, Frady uncovers the operations of the Parallax Corporation, which recruits social misfits and uses mind control techniques to turn them into assassins. In keeping with classic 1970s film, the story is a suspenseful, well-acted thriller with a surprise ending that will resound with the viewer long after the credits start rolling. Plus the film brilliantly employs the use of montage. Check out this sequence from the testing room. It’s genius.
THE PARALLAX VIEW starts Friday at The Laurelhurst. Check website for showtimes.
And don’t forget, you only have one more week to see one of the best films of the year at The Laurelhurst, Jim Jarmusch’s THE LIMITS OF CONTROL.
AND LASTLY…PDXFilm Presents this coming Independence Day weekend, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (Trey Parker, U.S., 2004)! Yup, this July 3rd, PDXFilm is presenting one of the most subversive comedies made this decade as we celebrate the coming of a new political era (we hope) and wave goodbye to ignorance and arrogance of the Bush Era. Come celebrate with me July 3rd at 11pm. This screening is only SIX BUCKS! 21 and over only as Cinema 21 now serves beer and wine.
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, with a $30 million budget, was made entirely using marionettes in the style of the 60’s British television series, Thunderbirds. The puppetry is deft and creative, the production design is detailed and loaded with secret jokes (the streets of Paris are cobblestones that look like croissants, to name one of many), and in typical Trey Parker form, the film holds no alliance to any politics, vilifying all abuses of power and imperiousness. But more than that, this is also an attack on the crappy action films made in Hollywood. Idiotic dialogue, impossible plot points, completely neutered sex scenes and lots and lots and lots of destruction and pro-military imperialism. And I appologize in advance but the film print does not include the famous golden showers and Hot Carl scene.
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE plays Friday, July 3rd only at 11PM. SIX BUCKS. 21 and over only.
I’ll see you there.