Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well, the rains came, and so now it's Sunday, December 16 and the Nor'easter is supposedly moving through the East Coast.

This week, went to two screenings: "Flakes" and "Smiley Face". Both will be at the IFC Center, and inadvertently highlight the problems of the independent film. Rather like "Little Miss Sunshine", these were films which had to be done as "independents" but might just as well have been studio jobs (if there were studio jobs anymore). They're eccentric, all right, but seeing both films, i was reminded of a film a long time ago, a comedy called "Twister" (not to be confused with the disaster blockbuster of the same name), which had been with Vestron but then Vestron went bellyup and the film wound up being distributed independently and played at Anthology. These films want so badly to be "different" but wind up rather bland.

This coming week is a mess, there are too many damned screenings, all piled on at the same time: the Walter Reade Theater, the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives. And all very interesting.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has screenings for the Dance on Film series, as well as for the upcoming Jewish Film Festival. Anthology's having press screenings for the Turkish film "Times and Winds" (which played at the Tribeca Film Festival; missed it there, but everyone who saw it told me it was amazing). The Museum of Modern Art is having screenings for two films in the Global Lens series.

So there's a lot this week. What i wind up seeing will be anyone's guess....

Right now, TCM is playing one of those "heartwarming" Christmas movies that used to clog the airwaves in the late 1950s: Frank Tashlin's 1953 RKO chestnut "Susan Slept Here". This was a Christmas movie? But it was for the guys programming RKO-TV Channel 9. One year, "Susan Slept Here" was the Christmas selection for Million Dollar Movie, so it played the whole week! The very idea of the movie (17 year old "juvenile delinquent" girl hooks up with middle-aged comedy writer) is borderline ghastly, and Debbie Reynolds's adorable act gets tired very fast. But it is Frank Tashlin, and there are moments of such bizarre cartoon invention.

Well, it's time to venture out: i'm going to try to catch one of the De Santis movies at MoMA.


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