Monday, December 8, 2008

36 is Getting Kind of Old

I keep working my way down my goal of 36 films in 36 days. I'm not quite as burnt out as I am from some film festivals but I'm dragging a little.

The Exiles - American Indian Film Festival
Hounddog - at the Roxie
A Throw of Dice - Third I
Maqbool - Third I
Om Shanti Om - Third I
Hell's Ground - Third I
The Glow of White Women - Third I
Slumdog Millionaire - Third I
The Yellow Handkerchief of Happiness - Cinema Japan
Vengeance Is Mine - Cinema Japan
The Passion of Joan of Arc - at the Castro
Shanghai Red - Chinese American Film Festival
Sparrow - Chinese American Film Festival
Gun of Mercy - Chinese American Film Festival
Ganglamedo - Chinese American Film Festival
Lola Montès - at the Castro
Vera Cruz - Robert Aldrich
The Last Sunset - Robert Aldrich
The Show Must Go On - Korean American Film Festival
Secret Sunshine - Korean American Film Festival
The Ceremony - Cinema Japan
The Big Knife - Robert Aldrich
Boy - Cinema Japan
Attack! - Robert Aldrich
Black Rain - Cinema Japan
Onibaba - Cinema Japan

I missed The Big Knife on December 4. I had planned on going to PFA five days in a row but decided that was too much so I went 4 out of 5 days. The The Big Knife, which had mixed reviews, was the casualty.

I was able to add two films to replace the five I have missed so far. While visiting my father in Las Vegas, we saw Appaloosa and Kar Wai Wong's Ashes of Time Redux. That puts me up to 23 films with 10 films left on my list.

My Roxie pass expires on December 16 and I have two films left. It's a use it or lose it scenario. I've decided to see I Can't Think Straight before December 11 (probably tomorrow night) and Happy-Go-Lucky between December 12 and 16. If I can see those two films, I'll be at 35 (assuming I see all 10 films mentioned in the previous paragraph). Maybe I'll go see Milk at the Castro to get me to 36.


A woman (whose name I did not catch) introduced Boy at PFA last week. Boy was a 1969 film by Nagisa Oshima. I'll have to write more about the film later. Anyway, she mentioned that there will be an Oshima retrospective at PFA next year. I thnk she said February to March.


The 4 Star Theater has some interesting stuff coming up. On December 11, they are screening a Dr. Zee Trilogy. If you don't know who Dr. Zee is, join the club. Last year, while waiting for a film to start at the Asian American Film Festival at the Castro, a man approached me and gave me a DVD. The film was Chasing the Dragon. When he told me the title, I thought he was referring to a Dominic Stansberry novel by the same name. I had read a good review of the novel so I thought maybe they had made a film. I was informed that the film was a martial arts film starring Dr. Zee. I politely accepted the man's DVD and it's sitting at the bottom of my closet as I write.

While surfing the 4 Star website, I come across a one night, triple feature called Dr. Zee's Trilogy. The films are Combat Mortal, Martial Medicine Man and Chasing the Dragon. I can't find any of those films on IMDB. I can find Mortal Kombat. Typically, I'd take a flyer but on the 11th, PFA is having an Aldrich double feature - The Garment Jungle and The Killing of Sister George. Dr. Zee's film may be hidden gems or just plain crap. I'll have to dig out Chasing the Dragon and watch it (on my PC since I don't have a DVD player). If it's any good, I may substitute Aldrich with Zee (A to Z).


From December 12 to 18, 4 Star has the exclusive San Francisco engagement of Baby. I'll just copy the synopsis from the 4 Star website.

Baby is the tragic tale of an Asian youth trapped in the world of East Los Angeles gang life. Our story winds through the streets of Monterey Park and Alhambra and the seedy, dead end worlds of hostess bars, pool halls and drug dens. Baby is a motherless, poverty stricken teenager with only an alcoholic father left to raise him. Things get worse when he gets mixed up with a pack of older gangsters who live next door. At the age of eleven he gets convicted of manslaughter and spends the next six years in Juvenile Hall. Once released from prison, Baby struggles to fit into a society that rejects him. He soon finds his way back to a lifestyle of drugs, murder and street gangs. A lost love and a best friend are his last hopes to turn his life around before it is too late.

It sounds interesting to me...kind of like an Asian American Boyz n the Hood.


Noir City released their full schedule for Noir City 7 (January 23 — February 1, 2009 at the Castro). Arlene Dahl will be appearing in person. The theme "Newspaper Noir, with many of the films set in the world of newspapers, or, in some cases, publishing or radio."

The line-up is:

Deadline USA
Scandal Sheet
Blind Spot
Chicago Deadline
Wicked As They Come
Slightly Scarlet
Cry of the Hunted
Ace in the Hole
Alias Nick Beal
Night Editor
The Harder They Fall
Johnny Stool Pigeon
While the City Sleeps
The Big Clock
Strange Triangle
The Unsuspected
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Two O'Clock Courage
The Killers
Sweet Smell of Success

I haven't had a chance to study the program well but I've seen
Sweet Smell of Success many times (it just played at the Castro last month). It stars Burt Lancaster (with horn rimmed glasses and doing a Walter Winchell impersonation) and Tony Curtis. Several scenes were filmed in Toots Shor. I can highly recommend it. The Killers was based on a Hemingway short story (a Nick Adams story). I've seen it many times as well.

While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt were directed by Fritz Lang. Ace in the Hole was directed by Billy Wilder and stars Kirk Douglas. Deadline USA stars Humphrey Bogart. According to the program guide, 16 of the 22 films are not available on DVD. $100 for the Festival Pass.


The Red Vic is showing Ashes of Time Redux on January 9 and 10. On the 8th, it's showing Kar Wai Wong's Fallen Angels which has achieved high regard by film critics. On January 11, Jackie Chan's kung fu cult classic The Legend of Druken Master is playing at midnight (1 minute after 11:59 PM on Saturday, January 10).

The Red Vic is also showing two French New Wave films in January. Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows and Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre Sa Vie with Anna Karina which I missed at this autumn's Godard Retrospective at PFA.

Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars which I've heard about for years but never seen is getting a two day run (January 20 & 21). Finally, Donnie Darko (one of my favorites) gets a three day run (January 23 to 25) - both Gyllenhaals, Echo and Bunnymen soundtrack, evil bunny rabbit, Drew Barrymore teaching English and temporal bending involving a jet engine.


I can't find a program guide for Berlin and Beyond (January 15 to 21) at the Castro. I've never been to that festival; for some reason modern German cinema doesn't appeal to me. A few years ago, I wanted to see Downfall (Der Untergang) with Bruno Ganz as Adolph Hitler. It opened or closed Berlin and Beyond that year but I was too cheap to pay the higher ticket price. That film later got a limited theatrical release so I was able to see it. As I mentioned previously, they are screening The Blue Angel this year. Maybe I'll swing by the Castro to see if they have hard copies of the program guide available.

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