The classic-film world, after the tragic loss of archived movies in Hollywood last month, should have cause for celebration when it was learned that the missing reels of the 1927 Fritz Lang silent-film classic, Metropolis, has been found! Woo-hoo! According to Reuters
Two film fans in Argentina uncovered the fragile footage in a small museum, earlier this year over eight decades after Fritz Langs dystopian classic first began to shed scenes.
With its cold, monumental vision of mechanized society, Metropolis forged a template for generations of science fiction cinema, and its enduring influence has been cited on films from Blade Runner to Fahrenheit 451 and Star Wars.
We were overjoyed when we heard about the find, Helmut Possmann, head of the foundation which owns the rights to the film, the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, told Reuters.
We no longer believed wed see this. Time and again we had had calls about supposed footage but were disappointed.
Unfortunately, the Reuters report says, there still might be about five minutes missing, but still, we're talking as complete a version as we can hope for eight decades after its release.
Here's the opening, just to get us all excited. Paging Kino!
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This year's installment of The Animation Show (reviewed here), opening July 4 at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, features a charming little cartoon called "Western Spaghetti," the latest cartoon confection from the animator PES (Adam Pesapane). "Western Spaghetti" is another of the animator's stop-motion, doodle-like shorts that involves candy or other foodstuffs substituting for familiar objects: in the 11-second "The Fireplace," PES renders a Yule log in candy corn and pretzels. A previous Animation Show featured "Game Over," PES' tribute to old-school arcade video games, with familiar sound effects:
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PES's fun food-related shorts are completely work safe and kid-friendly which is more than you can say for his hilarious "Roof Sex," which features furniture instead of food, as well as a killer punchline.
The new film Hancock (reviewed here) takes two steps forward and at least one step back in advancing the cause of black superheroes, who are solely underrepresented in pop culture. On the plus side, Hancock is a lavish summer movie scheduled for the prime July 4 weekend spot, starring arguably the world's most popular African-American screen actor. In the debit column, the title character is a surly, accident-prone boozer who sets such a bad example, he makes Charles "I'm not a role model" Barkley look like, I dunno, President David Palmer from "24."
Black superheroes have a spotty history in comics, cartoons and movies. Before the mid-1960s, you'd be hard-pressed to find any African-American comic book superheroes, and the ones who subsequently emerged were frequently treated as tokens with either utterly bland or highly stereotypical characterization. With so many real-world heroes breaking the color bar in arts, sports, politics and civil rights over the past generations, it's not a surprise that the likes of, say, Black Vulcan from "Super Friends" never made much of an impact. For simplicity's sake I'll focus here (mostly) on the black superheroes who have crossed over to other media, with varying degrees of success.
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By default, the character to make the most successful leap from comic books to other media is Blade, played by Wesley Snipes. The super-powered vampire hunter first appeared in Tomb of Dracula in 1973, remained on the margins of Marvel Comics but in 1998-2004 received the big-screen treatment in three films (not to mention a short-lived TV series with Kirk "Sticky" Jones). The success of the Blade films blazed the trail for higher-profile Marvel Comics adaptations like X-Men and Spider-man. Despite his pointy silver weapons and vampire-type powers, Blade is arguably more of an R-rated horror/action hero than an iconic superhero in his own right. Still, director Guillermo Del Toro made Blade II into one of the most surprisingly entertaining guilty-pleasure hero films. The clip above features Ron 'Hellboy' Perlman as a racist vampire and includes some of Snipes' liveliest macho posturing.
1) Fiona Zedde (pictured) reads Hungry For It at Charis Books & More.
2) Los Angeles duo No Age performs at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery.
3) Hector Manuel Sagunto continues at Art Space International.
4) The Five Spot hosts the 4th of U-Lie concert, featuring NY Oil, Ishues, Stacy Epps and more.
5) APEX Museum screens its July Movies with a Mission, The Lion Mountains: A Journey Through Sierra Leone History.
(Photo by Monica Holder)
Matt Brunson of CL's Charlotte paper serves up another batch of DVD reviews in his weekly "View from the Couch" column. This week, Brunson reviews a spiffed-up re-release of The Teena Brandon Story, along with Charlie Bartlett, City of Men and Drillbit Taylor. The Teena Brandon Story (1998) appears to be the clear winner here, which preceded by one year Hilary Swank's Oscar-winning turn in Boys Don't Cry. One interesting footnote to the doc, according to Brunson's review:
This chilling nonfiction piece offers some additional facts that writer-director Kimberly Peirce wasnt able to work into Boys Dont Cry. Perhaps most shockingly, we learn that a third person was murdered alongside Brandon and his friend Lisa Lambert: Philip Devine, a 22-year-old black male who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.(Photo courtesy Docurama Films)
We've got a ton of free passes to see tonight's screening of Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson, which I review in the next issue, at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. (Hint: I likey.) Just email me at email@example.com. One huge caveat: The promoters of these screenings always encourage folks to get there early, as these passes don't guarantee admittance, and they're often over-booked. Just FYI. You can pick up the passes at the front desk of our offices in the Northyards office complex. (Use Google maps; it's most reliable for directions. Call 404-688-5623 if you get lost.) We close our doors at 5 p.m. sharp.
Also, check out Cliff Bostock's excellent tribute to Hunter S. Thompson on the occasion of the journalist's passing back in 2005, in his "Headcase" column. And here's the official trailer
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(Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures)
One detail I left out of my interview with Andrew Stanton, director of Pixar Studio's new classics WALL-E and Finding Nemo, was a tidbit about his early days. Before joining Pixar (where he was the second animator and ninth employee), one of Stanton's first Hollywood jobs was on Ralph Bakshi's short-lived animated sitcom "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures." "Mighty Mouse" offered a clever parody of cartoons, superheroes and pop culture and was a delightful anomaly amid the Saturday morning kiddie fare of the late 1980s. Culturally satirical cartoons are ubiquitous today thanks to "The Simpsons," Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, etc. that it's easy to forget how strange and groundbreaking "Mighty Mouse" was for its time. This sample, "Don't Touch That Dial," directly takes on other cartoons:
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On Sat., June 28, The Silver Scream Spook Show at The Plaza Theatre presents 1958's classic technicolor space opera, Forbidden Planet. It looks pretty kitschy these days, especially because The Naked Gun's Leslie Nielsen (referred to as "talented Leslie Nielsen" in the trailer) plays the heroic starship captain, a clear role model for William Shatner's James T. Kirk. Forbidden Planet gets extra points, though, for a thoughtful premise and for being an extremely loose remake of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Robby the Robot substituting for the play's fairy-servant Ariel. Showtimes are at 1 and 10 p.m. Here's the vintage trailer: "Sir, we're being radar-scanned."
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We all love Film Love, the ongoing cinematic series from Andy Ditzler's Frequent Small Meals that looks into the nooks and crannies of more independently minded movie-making in a way that's both entertaining and informative.
First up is Buster Keaton's 1920 short film "One Week," in which his lead character tries to build a house (using a makeshift kit) for his new bride. Here's a great clip from the short (and don't be fooled by the racy bath shots; it was pre-Hays Code, after all).
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Next up is the ingenious 30-minute short by artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, "The Way Things Go," which was a lab experiment of chain-reaction delights as objects constantly have a surprising impact on one another. "The entire structure slowly destroys itself before our eyes, and never once do we see a human onscreen," Ditzler writes. "With its hilarious (and oddly suspenseful) encounters between objects, "The Way Things Go" has amazed and delighted audiences for twenty years, and has been compared to everyone from Rube Goldberg to Alfred Hitchcock.
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Remember waaay back in our June 4 issue, where we ran my review of the not-terribly-charming Hats Off, filmmaker Jyll Johnstone's loving profile of 93-year-old bit-part actress Mimi Weddell? (Of course you do!) Well, as is often the case with independent movies, the release date kept getting pushed back (the first time, after we'd gone to press and printed the review) and back and back until, according to the publicist, it's actually not going to show in Atlanta. Ever.
With all due respect to Mimi, you didn't miss much, as I wrote in the review
Despite her years, and her quaint biography, in Hats Off Weddell becomes little more than a character someone who happened to be at the right place at the right time. As the movie grinds along, we start to suspect there's not much else there. While Young@Heart made several performers of a certain age ripe with feeling and depth, Hats Off leaves the viewer wanting to know more.
Young@Heart. Now that's a movie to watch. Check out Curt Holman's review. And it's still playing in Atlanta (at the Tara).
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