Earlier this week, the Trylon Microcinema released their fall schedule, as did the Walker Art Center, and there are plenty of goodies for film aficionados to be joyous about.
Currently, the Trylon and the Heights Theater in Northeast Minneapolis are screening a collection of Billy Wilder films entitled “Nobody’s Perfect”; at Sunday night’s screening of the 1944 film noir classic (and one of the best American films in the genre) Double Indemnity, I was thrilled to see close to a full house of roughly around 250 people enjoying the black-and-white picture. There were some great laughs from the theater that I might have missed had I been watching the film alone. It motivated me to see more repertory screenings not only at the Trylon but around the Twin Cities in the coming months—including the recently-announced Richard Linklater retrospective at the Walker Art Center starting in mid-September (a future blog post will discuss that series). Also, try to check out the last four Wilder films screenings (The Fortune Cookie, Some Like It Hot, Ace in the Hole, and Sunset Boulevard).
During the Labor Day weekend, one of the more creative and distinctive American directors, Tim Burton, will be given a nice five-weekend series called “The Dark Magician,” featuring some of his more beloved films from the mid-80s to mid-90s. The series opens with 1985’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which I’m still surprised my parents brought me to the theater to see as a youngster. It still makes me laugh, from the opening scene of Pee-Wee racing in the Tour de France to trying to find the basement of the Alamo 26 years later. While the series doesn’t include my favorite Burton film, Ed Wood, which was screened during a Johnny Depp series over a year ago, the Trylon will screen 1988’s cult-crazy-spastic Beetlejuice and 1989’s Batman—both films starring Michael Keaton—1990’s romantic fantasy Edward Scissorhands, and 1996’s hit-or-miss Mars Attacks!
Another series that should receive some attention is “Like a Razor Across the Eye,” a series dedicated to some surrealist filmmakers including David Lynch (Lost Highway), Alejandro Jodorowski (Holy Mountain), Peter Greenway (A Zed & Two Noughts), and Luis Buñel (Viridiana). For a second straight year, screening on Halloween will be the recently rediscovered hallucinatory Japanese see-it-to-believe-it film Hausu.
There is another great crop of Trylon Premiere Tuesday screenings of films that haven’t been given proper Twin Cities releases—and thank goodness these films do get a chance to screen in town. I’ve seen two of them already: 2010’s The Last Circus and Sundance (and Sound Unseen Duluth) entry The Oregonian. Both of them are extremely bizarre and could have been part of the Surrealist series as well, but are both worth a look on the big screen. It’s nice to see the little-seen Steven Soderbergh documentary on playwright, performance artist and actor, Spalding Gray (And Everything is Going Fine) and the Cristi Puiu Romanian drama Aurora get some screening dates in Minneapolis. They’re two films I’m excited to see.
A series I created earlier this summer, “The Defenders,” will return with two new “Defenders”— ROX Jewelry designer and CEO Robyne Robinson; and MPR’s “Movie Maven” Stephanie Curtis—and me, returning for another round.
Sound Unseen will screen Blank City, about the underground rock and film movement in New York in the early 1980s featuring Jim Jarmusch, Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, and Thurston Moore; and a 25th anniversary screening of Alex Cox’s cult film Sid & Nancy, on notorious Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious, screening on 35mm.
Another new series starting in September, “MN Unearthed,” will feature six programs showcasing Minnesota filmmakers whose work you might have missed or have not seen. It will be a great opportunity to see some work from local talent and features rare films of Chris Spotted Eagle screening on 16mm.
Trash Film Debauchery will be back in the fold and again will be bringing three films that disturb, horrify, and probably disgust. There is one film I’ve never even heard have that piqued my interest, the 1976 Who Can Kill a Child? (a.k.a. Island of the Damned), that sounds a lot like the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale.
The one film that jumped off the screen for me and I won’t be making any plans whatever night I decide to see in early November is David Cronenberg’s masterful adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s trippy 1959 novel Naked Lunch. Playing Bill Lee (Burroughs pseudonym), Peter Weller gave nothing short of a brilliant performance—unless you consider his role in Robocop, which is playing with Naked Lunch the same weekend, to be his crowning achievement.
Photo: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, courtesy Warner Bros.