Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jack White, Johnny Cash and James Bond, together again

In honor of today's news that Nashville transplater Jack White and Alicia Keys are teaming up for the first duet'ed Bond theme, we present what might have been the first chapter of the Nashville/Bond connection...

Johnny Cash's submitted theme song for THUNDERBALL was rejected as the last minute in favor of Tom Jones, and some savvy person has put it where it rightfully belonged.

Hat Tip: Mr. Pink

Friday, July 25, 2008

the Sticky: Encounters at the End of the World

Opens today, what do think of the latest work by Herr Herzog?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The thumbs go in a new direction...

Roger Ebert has posted a statement on rogerebert.com about Disney's decision to take his show in a new direction. I remember fondly watching "Siskel & Ebert" on PBS what seemed late in the night when I was younger in the 70s and 80s. Back in the day, that was about all we had to catch a glimpse of upcoming flicks, that and Starlog.

Here's Roger's statement: "After 33 years on the air, 23 of them with Disney, the studio has decided to take the program named "Siskel & Ebert" and then "Ebert & Roeper" in a new direction. I will no longer be associated with it.

The show was a wonderful experience. It was a great loss to me when surgery in July 2006 made it impossible for me to appear on the air any longer. Although I remained active behind the scenes, I feel that Richard Roeper and several co-hosts, notably Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, have excelled at carrying on the tradition Gene Siskel and I began in 1975 with "Sneak Previews" on PBS.

Gene and I felt the formula was simplicity itself: Two film critics, sitting across the aisle from each other in a movie balcony, debating the new films of the week. We developed an entirely new concept for TV. Few shows have been on the air so long and remained so popular. We made television history, and established the trademarked catch-phrase "Two thumbs up."

The trademark still belongs to me and Marlene Iglitzen, Gene's widow, and the thumbs will return. We are discussing possibilities, and plan to continue the show's tradition. -- Roger Ebert"


Monday, July 21, 2008

Secret movie birthday surprise...

As a thank you to all the fans of things like the Late Show/midnight movie thingies, I'd like to invite you to a free screening of a movie in honor of my birthday. I'm not sayin' exactly what it is, but I think you can figure it out. I'm taking a limited number of invites, so if you'd like to be considered, send an email to josh@belcourt.org with your name and the name of a guest you'd like to bring. If you get chosen, I'll email you with the time and place and what to expect. In the subject of your email you must answer the question "Who's the baddest mofo low down around this town?" Make sure you email by the midnight Sunday July 27.

Good luck!

GONZO...what'd you think?

good crowds this week, let's talk, what'd ya think?


Friday, July 11, 2008

Sticky: CONSTANTINE'S SWORD - opens today

A more condensed reworking of subject James Carroll's book of the same name, the film follows the former Catholic priest on a journey to confront his past and uncover the roots of religiously inspired violence and war. His search also reveals a growing scandal involving religious infiltration of the U.S. military and the consequences of religion’s influence on America’s foreign policy. Bringing the history of religious intolerance to life, tracing it as a source of the fanaticism that threatens the world today. At its core, Constantine’s Sword is a compelling personal narrative — a kind of detective story — as one man uncovers the dark areas of his own past, searching for a better future.

To get the ball rolling, we offer this OUTTAKE for Constantine's Sword. This clip shouldn't be misconstrued as a major cog in the wheel that is the film. But rather, something that's just a little too irresitable not to post. You've seen him on the news...you saw him in JESUS CAMP...here he is: the Rev Ted Haggart:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sticky: MONGOL and the introduction of the sticky

Taking a cue from internet forums, a format somewhat different from this, we introduce the sticky: a page dedicated to discussion of films currently screening. We'll try to post them on opening day of each film and encourage readers to comment on these films: strengths/weaknesses, thoughts for the lover and the hater. In honor of this, we'll kick it off with MONGOL. Sure, we're a few weeks in on this film and it could still be around for a few more weeks, so it seems appropriate.

I have to say that, upon first viewing late last year, my initial impression of MONGOL was one of apprehensive excitement. I certainly found it watchable from beginning to end (remarkably so) though its biopic premise suggested something we've certainly seen before but with the added suggestion that it could only be a "Part One", a notion that has since been confirmed: MONGOL is conceived as a trilogy. There were a few holes in it (for example, how did those shackles really come off the first time around?), but that long opening shot through the castle, up and into our protaganist's cage, really brought me in far enough that such things would be overlooked. Just to kick this off, I'll throw out some review quotes:

"Mongol -- or, as I prefer to think of it, "Genghis Khan: The Early Years" -- is a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences." - A.O. Scott, NY Times

"My only problem with Mongol is that--how often in life do you get to write this sentence?---Genghis Khan is a little too nice." - Dana Stevens, Slate.Com

MONGOL is a ferocious film, blood-soaked, pausing occasionally for pas"sionate romance and more frequently for torture. As a visual spectacle, it is all but overwhelming, putting to shame some of the recent historical epics from Hollywood." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The kind of statement which sets tongues to wagging.

Dare we dream? Could there be hope for cinephiles the world over, especially following the unspeakable desecrations of the indefensible Aliens vs Predator 'films?'

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Without the heart, there can be no mediator between the hands and the mind."

While we're on the subject of up to 85% of the lost footage from Metropolis being found (note: the Murnau Foundation's English-language press release appears to have been made using a translation program, so there are some dodgy turns of phrase), here's a little more on the subject.

The film's history is a tangled one, with several versions surfacing throughout the years. The most recent restoration, back in 2001, played for several weeks here at the Belcourt, and this news is the kind of boon from the cinematic gods that makes it all worthwhile. There's so much film history out there, squirreled away and waiting for rediscovery.

There's no telling how long it will take to get these materials restored, cleaned up, and on screens throughout the world, but provided we don't wipe each other off the face of the earth in the next four or five years, we could be seeing so very much more of Fritz Lang's Sci-Fi vision of the world we live in... We can't wait.

And while we're on a Metropolitan kick, allow us to show some love for the unfairly maligned 1984 Giorgio Moroder reconstruction. At that time, it was the most complete version of the film available, and if its use of pop stars as vocalists for the soundtrack seems unconventional, it committed no sin graver than any other big-studio film of that time. Moroder's heart and soul went into this version, which deserves its own restoration at this point. Here's some excerpts from that, just to bring a little futuristic robot disco love into the world.

Freddie Mercury's "Love Kills"

Bonnie Tyler's "Here She Comes"

And if these have your appetite whetted for some further Metropolis diffused through our popular culture, check out the videos for "Radio Ga-Ga" by Queen and "Express Yourself" by Madonna.

Metropolois lost scenes discovered!

If you saw the most recent Kino release of METROPOLIS, (it played at the Belcourt last year as part of our Family Classics series) you'll remember that there were still several scenes missing from the film, lost to time it seemed. But now it appears that a much longer and complete version of the film has been found in Buenos Aires, a version which according to ZEIT ONLINE

"...there are several scenes which are essential in order to understand the film: The role played by the actor Fritz Rasp in the film for instance, can finally be understood. Other scenes, such as for instance the saving of the children from the worker’s underworld, are considerably more dramatic. In brief: “Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s most famous film, can be seen through new eyes.”, as stated by Rainer Rother, Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum and head of the series of retrospectives at the Berlinale."

Know I'd love to see it how about you?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ian Fleming 100 Years old...

or at least he would be this year if he we're still alive. To celebrate the JAMES BOND creator's centenary we're dedicating our Weekend Classics in July to CLASSIC 007. Starting this weekend with a new 35 mm print of DR. NO followed by

July 12-14 FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE* - NEW 35mm Print
July 19-21 GOLDFINGER* - NEW 35mm Print

All films play Saturdays & Sundays at Noon and Mondays at 7pm.

TIME magazine has a list of 100 fascinating facts about the author and his most famous creation. Like #3 "Operation Goldeneye was an Allied plan developed by Ian Fleming during World War II, that monitored Spain after the Spanish Civil War. " and #9 "The children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming. "

And what would seeing Bond on the big screen at the Belcourt be without a martini. Here's what we've got lined up at the bar.

Casino Royale Martini – Gin/Vodka Martini just like the movie
Vodka Martini – Traditional, or Down and Dirty w/olives
Gin Martini - Traditional
Blueberry Martini-with White Cranberry juice w/a blueberry garnish
Raspberry Martini – with Stoli Razz and cranberry, w/splash of sour

All Martini’s - $8. Seeing new prints of James Bond on the big screen - priceless!

UPDATED: Check out Nashville Scene's article Chauvinism Is Forever: In the year of Ian Fleming’s centennial, do feminists have any reason to celebrate 007? Maybe.