1998, dir. Bill Condon, Nominated for 3 Academy Awards Best Actor - Ian McKellen, Best Supporting Actress - Lynn Redgrave, Best Screenplay Adaptation - Bill Condon. Gods and Monsters is a buddy film with a tantalizing twist. Hollywood history comes to life in this tale of the last days of Frankenstein director James Whale, played by Ian McKellen (Richard III, Apt Pupil). Long forgotten by the studios, Whale has retired to pursue painting and a life of leisure. Gods and Monsters explores his final fascination with a handsome gardener, Clayton Boone, played by Brendan Fraser (Twilight of the Golds, George of the Jungle). Clay is flattered by Whale's desire to paint his portrait. He's not sure exactly what the old man sees in him..105 mins
1968, dir. Peter Hall, Royal Shakespeare Company Incredible cast, many who went on to greater things: Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Diana Rigg , David Warner, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench. Some very odd editing and dubbing though. 122 mins
1952, dir. Orson Welles. Shot in bits and pieces between 1948 and 1951, with the actors sometimes languishing on location while Welles flew off to raise money. Improvisation concealed a multitude of shortcomings. When filming the murder of Cassio, the costumes had not arrived, or been paid for, so he simply moved the scene to an old Turkish bath and dressed his actors in towels. Even after winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1952, it failed to open in America until 1955, and since then has been seen only rarely. From its opening shots, where the camera looks down on a solemn funeral procession, Othello exhibits Welles' flair for dramatic compositions. Part of his approach was born of necessity: He could not afford to record sound on many locations, so he placed the camera to make the actor's lips invisible, shooting over shoulders or at oblique angles. Continuity was a big problem. Suzanne Cloutier, was the third actress in the role of Desdemona. Some scenes were shot on locations in two or three different countries; a doorway in Morocco leads to a piazza in Venice. Restoration of a long-mislaid 35mm master negative, along with the soundtrack, cost more than $1 million. There is irony in the fact that if Welles had had that kind of money, no restoration would have been necessary. The restorers now claim that Othello looks and sounds better than it ever did before in its checkered history, even on the night when it won the Cannes festival. Courtesy of Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, 4/10/92 90 mins.
1960, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni. L'Avventura, with its deliberate pace, elliptical story, and lack of conventional drama, made its debut at the 1960 Cannes film festival to the jeers and irritation of its initial viewing audience. The film went on to win a special jury prize at Cannes. L'Avventura deals with the disappearance of an affluent young woman, Anna, during a yachting trip and the fruitless search conducted by her lover, Sandro, and best friend, Claudia. During the search, the two become drawn to one another and develop a romantic relationship. Antonioni gave us, for the first time, the cinema of a Copernican universe, where humans are no longer the center of the cosmos or the camera's attention. The film examines Sandro and Claudia's shifting morality but arrives at no definite conclusion. They seem unable to effectively communicate, and remain strangely isolated and lonely. It is a still-relevent depiction of modern life. 145 mins.
1976, writer & director John Cassavetes, with Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel. Living in an underworld of power and intrigue, nightclub owner Cosmo Vitelli plays by his own rules. When his gambling losses mount, however, he is pressured by a gangster to commit a murder as payment for his debts. 108 mins.
1974, writer & director John Cassavetes. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Gena Rowlands plays Mabel Longhetti, a mentally unstable housewife married to blue-collar worker, Nick (Peter Falk). At first, Nick and his co-workers, who frequent the Longhetti household, regard Mabel's increasingly erratic behavior as quirky, even entertaining. When the welfare of the Longhetti children comes to public light, however, Mabel is hospitalized. In her absence, Nick tries to manage the household but makes astounding misjudgments on his children's behalf. Only by the end of the film is it quietly made clear that Nick is about as crazy as his wife is, and that in a desperate way their two madnesses make a nice fit. 155 mins.
Local independent filmmaker, Scott Loughrey's
will play for a week. Keep checking this site for details.
WHITE LIGHTA Color Performance each Saturday at 7:00