Next week, September 30th through October 2nd, All Tomorrow’s Parties will be holding their latest event in Ashbury Park, New Jersey. Over the past few years, the Criterion Collection has brought a series of films to the festival, several of which have not been previously released on DVD or Blu-ray. This year continues the trend.
Earlier today, the folks at All Tomorrow’s Parties finally unveiled the line-up for the films that Criterion will be screening, which I’ve listed below. Let’s get to the good stuff first: there are five films playing that don’t currently have Criterion DVDs or Blu-rays. A few of them we’ve known about, and one of them is a big surprise (to me at least). The biggest surprise has to be Being John Malkovich, which will be playing on Saturday at noon. I’m proceeding under the notion that this will be a Criterion release in 2012, and it will be amongst the biggest and best selling titles of next year.
Some titles that we knew Criterion had the rights to (or at least assumed because of their teasing / rumors):
- Quadrophenia, which was added to their Hulu Channel, will be screening at Midnight on Friday
- Belle de Jour, which was teased at in their email newsletter, will be screening on Sunday at 6pm.
- Putney Swope, which we assumed would be released after seeing Robert Downey Sr. at the offices last week, will be playing at 2:15pm on Saturday
- Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott, which I’m not that familiar with, will be playing at 11:30am on Sunday
What do you think? Are you ready to pre-order your Being John Malkovich Blu-ray right now? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Here is the full line-up:
Zéro de conduite (2.45pm)
France, 1933. Dir. Jean Vigo. 44 minutes.
So effervescent and charming that one can easily forget its importance in film history, Jean Vigo’s enormously influential portrait of prankish boarding-school students is one of cinema’s great acts of rebellion. Based on the director’s own experiences as a youth, Zéro de conduite presents childhood as a time of unfettered imagination and brazen rule-flouting. It’s a sweet-natured vision of sabotage made vivid by dynamic visual experiments–including the famous, blissful slow-motion pillow fight.
Blow Out (6pm)
United States, 1981. Dir. Brian De Palma. 108 minutes.
In the enthralling Blow Out, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma, John Travolta gives one of his greatest performances, as a movie sound-effects man who believes he has accidentally recorded a political assassination. He enlists the help of a possible eyewitness to the crime (Nancy Allen), who may be in danger herself, to uncover the truth. With its jolting stylistic flourishes, intricate plot, profoundly felt characterizations, and gritty evocation of early-1980s Philadelphia, Blow Out is an American paranoia thriller unlike any other, as well as a devilish reflection on moviemaking.
Sweet Smell Of Success (8.15pm)
United States, 1957. Dir. Alexander Mackendrick. 96 minutes.
In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue, in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, Sweet Smell of Success is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan.
Island Of Lost Souls (10.30pm)
United States, 1932. Dir. Erle C. Kenton. 70 minutes.
A twisted treasure from Hollywood’s pre-Code horror heyday, Island of Lost Souls is a cautionary tale of science run amok, adapted from H. G. Wells’s novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. In one of his first major movie roles, Charles Laughton is a mad doctor conducting ghastly genetic experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked sailor (Richard Arlen) who finds himself trapped there. This touchstone of movie terror, directed by Erle C. Kenton, features expressionistic photography by Karl Struss, groundbreaking makeup effects that have inspired generations of monster-movie artists, and the legendary Bela Lugosi in one of his most gruesome roles.
United Kingdom, 1979. Dir. Franc Roddam. 117 minutes.
“I was in a crowd of kids once chasing three Rockers down Brighton Pier. As it seemed they were going to get caught anyway they stopped and turned to meet their fate. All hundred of these kids I was with stopped dead. I was the first to stop, but the rest ran, so I had to follow. There’s nothing uglier than a Rocker. This ace face geezer wouldn’t have run. He smashed the glass doors of this hotel too. He was terrific. He had a sawn-off shotgun under his jacket and he’d be kicking at plate-glass and he still looked like he was Fred Astaire reborn. Quite funny, I met him earlier today. He ended up working at the same hotel. But he wasn’t the manager… A tough guy, a helpless dancer. A romantic, is it me for a moment? A bloody lunatic, I’ll even carry your bags. A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign over me. Schizophrenic? I’m Bleeding Quadrophenic.” The best teen angst movie of all time, based on the rock opera by The Who.
*Being John Malkovich (12pm)
United States, 1999. Dir. Spike Jonze. 112 minutes.
Puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is having money problems, so he takes a temporary job as a file clerk on the seventh-and-a-half floor of a nondescript building. One day, he finds a small door that leads to the center of the mind of actor John Malkovich (John Malkovich). For 15 minutes he sees, hears, and feels whatever JM is doing and then is dumped out by the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig and his coworker Maxine (Catherine Keener) get the bright idea to start charging admission, Craig’s wife (Cameron Diaz) falls in love with Maxine, and chaos ensues. All this and more! A hilarious, mindfuck of a feature film debut by the very capable Spike Jonze.
*Putney Swope (2.15pm)
United States, 1969. Dir. Robert Downey Sr. 84 minutes.
A hallmark of 1960s radicalism, Robert Downey, Sr.’s seminal Putney Swope remains a classic of social satire. After the CEO croaks during a boardroom meeting at a Madison Avenue ad agency, members trying to sabotage each other’s chance of winning the top spot all vote for the token black guy – Putney Swope. Swope swoops into action – firing them all and replacing them with armed radicals, soul brothers and sexy red-hot mamas. Renaming the agency “Truth and Soul,” Putney sets about revolutionizing the corporate world of advertising and producing raucous, kooky TV spots. But can “Truth and Soul” last on Madison Ave – and in Swope himself? See what the NY Daily News called “Vicious and vile, the most offensive picture ever!”
* The film will be followed by a Q&A with the prince himself Downey Sr. and special guest. *
The Times Of Harvey Milk (4.45pm)
United States, 1984. Dir. Robert Epstein. 88 minutes.
A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. The Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by Robert Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen, was as groundbreaking as its subject. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it’s a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk’s message of hope and equality to a wider audience. This exhilarating trove of original documentary material and archival footage is as much a vivid portrait of a time and place (San Francisco’s historic Castro District in the seventies) as a testament to the legacy of a political visionary.
The Rock (7pm)
United States, 1996. Dir. Michael Bay. 136 minutes.
A highly decorated, retired U.S. Marine general (Ed Harris) seizes a stockpile of chemical weapons and takes over Alcatraz, with eighty-one tourists as hostages on the San Francisco Bay isle. His demand: Restitution to families of soldiers who died in covert operations. The response: An elite Navy SEAL team, with support from an FBI chemical-warfare expert (Nicolas Cage) and a former Alcatraz escapee (Sean Connery), is assembled to penetrate the terrorists’ defenses on the island and neutralize the threat before time runs out. The result: A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller with a first-rate cast, directed by Michael Bay and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.
The Phantom Carriage (9.45pm)
Sweden, 1921. Dir. Victor SjÃ¶strÃ¶m. 106 minutes.
The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Koerkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor SjÃ¶strÃ¶m. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerloef, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (SjÃ¶strÃ¶m himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. This extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects. Shown here with a new score by experimental duo KTL, featuring Sunn0))) guitarist Stephen O’Malley and electronic noisenik/Mego label boss Peter “Pita” Rehberg.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (12.00am)
United States, 1998. Dir. Terry Gilliam. 119 minutes.
It is 1971, and journalist Raoul Duke barrels toward Las Vegas – accompanied by a trunkful of contraband and his slightly unhinged Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo – to cover a motorcycle race. What should be a cut-and-dried journalistic assignment quickly descends into a feverish psychedelic odyssey. Director Terry Gilliam and an all-star cast headlined by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro show no mercy in bringing Hunter S. Thompson’s excoriating dissection of the American way of life to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage.
*Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott (11.30am)
United States, 2010. Dir. Stanley Warnow. 100 minutes.
A documentary exploration of the life and work of composer, inventor, bandleader, and electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott (1908-1994), presented from the unique perspective of his filmmaker son. Filled with Scott’s utterly original music, the film is a cinematic tapestry that interweaves rare family photos, home movies, film and television excerpts (Scott was orchestra leader on the 1950’s Hit Parade TV show), cartoon excerpts (Carl Stalling, legendary music director at Warner Brothers licensed Scott’s tunes to amplify the antics of Bugs Bunny and company), and musical performances. Interviewees include famous fans such as multi-Oscar winning film composer John Williams, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Grammy nominated saxophonist Don Byron, DJ/philosopher Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Moog synthesizer co-inventor Herb Deutsch as well as other Scott devotees and Scott’s colleagues, some of his children and other relatives. There is also a lengthy audio interview with Scott himself, plus an appearance with Edward R. Murrow on Person to Person. Going beyond biographical documentary, the film is also a personal quest to unravel the timeless fabric of love, connection and rejection that are a part of every parent child relationship, with the additional element of having a famous father obsessed with his work, and further complicated by divorce and related scandal. The end result is a compelling and comprehensive portrait of this -American musical giant who is still unknown to many.
* The film will be introduced by director Stan Warnow. *
United States, 1998. Dir. Wes Anderson. 93 minutes.
The dazzling sophomore film from Wes Anderson is equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage, and screwball comedy. Tenth grader Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy’s most extracurricular student–and its least scholarly. He faces expulsion, and enters into unlikely friendships with both a lovely first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) and a melancholy self-made millionaire (Bill Murray, in an award-winning performance). Set to a soundtrack of classic British Invasion tunes, Rushmore defies categorization; it captures the pain and exuberance of adolescence with wit, emotional depth, and cinematic panache.
The Killing (4.15pm)
United States, 1956. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. 84 minutes.
Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., and Marie Windsor, The Killing is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut. And with its precise tracking shots and gratifying sense of irony, it’s Kubrick to the core.
*Belle de jour (6.00pm)
France, 1967. Dir Luis BuÃ±uel. 101 minutes.
Belle de jour dramatizes the collision between sexual depravity and elegance, one of the favorite themes of director Luis BuÃ±uel. Catherine Deneuve stars as the luminescent Severine, a wealthy but bored newlywed, eager to taste life to the fullest. She loves her doctor husband dearly, but cannot bring herself to be physically intimate with him. She indulges instead in vivid, kinky, erotic play at her neighborhood brothel to entertain her sexual desires. But is it really happening?
12 Angry Men (8.00pm)
United States, 1957. Dir. Sidney Lumet. 96 minutes.
12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical big-screen courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the initially dissenting member of a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over ninety minutes in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature-film debuts.
Film To Be Confirmed (10.00pm)
Look for details in the printed programme at the event.