Friday, May 29, 2015

June is all film at the Cleveland Cinematheque

[Press release from the Cleveland Cinematheque.]


Movies projected from actual film may be a thing of the past at the multiplex, but not at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, which will screen every movie it shows in June from either 35mm or 16mm film. June is the next to last month that the Cinematheque will present its weekly programs in the Russell B. Aitken Auditorium at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 11141 East Boulevard in University Circle. At the end of July the Cinematheque will vacate this historic, 616-seat theater that has been its home for the past 29 years and move to a brand new theater at 11610 Euclid Avenue in the Uptown district.
Nineteen different movies will show during the month, and each will screen only one time—on a Friday or a Saturday. Among the highlights: the remaining three films from the internationally touring retrospective “Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien,” begun in April; four baroque psychodramas by Argentina’s late, largely forgotten master filmmaker Leopoldo Torre-Nilsson (1924-1978), one of the great unsung stylists in cinema history; and four essential film noir classics by the great Fritz Lang, one of the European emigrés who brought German Expressionism to Hollywood. There will also be a special screening of a restored archival print of the 1935 American movie BECKY SHARP, the first film shot in three-strip (full) Technicolor. The show will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Technicolor company in 1915. Sixteen of June’s 19 movies will be Cinematheque premieres.
This all-film month begins appropriately with two new features inspired by the demise of celluloid. OUT OF PRINT is a documentary about L.A.’s New Beverly Cinema, a legendary repertory theater (now owned by Quentin Tarantino) that specializes in double features shown from film. LA ÚLTIMA PELÍCULA is a mock documentary about an arrogant American moviemaker scouting Mexican location for a visionary epic that he plans to shoot on the world’s last remaining film stock. Both movies receive their Cleveland premiere on Friday, June 5.
The entire June line-up is below. Unless noted, admission to each film is $9; Cinematheque members and those age 25 & under $7. Free parking is available in the adjacent Cleveland Institute of Art lot, off of East Boulevard. For further information, call John Ewing or Tim Harry at (216) 421-7450, send an email to, or log on to Cinematheque programs are supported by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.

Dope Island: The Fiend presents DW Griffith's message to the graduating Class of 2015

 A video by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Isn't it a pity that Brian Williams loses his livelihood for telling one tall tale...while celebrities who lie to graduating college seniors about the bright futures ahead for them in this no-income no-jobs economy just get to pocket a hefty speaker fee and lots of applause. Thanks to D.W. Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) I was able to do a bit of retribution. It still hurts to see Lincoln martyred again, even if he is giving his life for satire.


San Andreas

Review by Matt Finley

Butt-dumb and light as spun sugar, SAN ANDREAS pits Dwayne Johnson against a rowdy tectonic plate. It’s The Rock versus a rock in a CGI-spackled disaster adventure more fun than its dour trailer suggests, while still less fun than a movie in which The Rock skydives into a collapsing baseball stadium oughta be.

Interestingly, SAN ANDREAS was written by Carlton Cuse, who served as Lost co-showrunner with Damon Lindelof. Just last week, I reviewed  the Lindelof-penned TOMORROWLAND, in which that writer fell devastatingly short of a ridiculously high bar. This week: Cuse ambles over an embarrassingly low one.

Reel Science Film Series Begins June 3rd

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas.]
Hollywood is known as the dream factory – the place where the best and brightest creative minds produce films that entertain, inspire and yes – educate. But what happens when movie magic is made at the expense of scientific fact? You’re about to find out in the new film series, REEL SCIENCE, presented by Cleveland Cinemas and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
We’ll present films that do their best to tackle natural science on the silver screen – from stoically serious blockbusters to outrageously campy cult classics – and hear from Cleveland Museum of Natural History experts as they put these movies under the microscope to determine what the filmmakers got right and what would best be classified as “creative license.”
We invite you to join us on this sometimes shocking, often hilarious and always illuminating journey into REEL SCIENCE as we present the following films.

Repost: Ex Machina (opens in Akron May 29th at the Nightlight Cinema)

[EX MACHINA opens in Akron on Friday May 29th at the Nightlight Cinema.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Not unlike Charlie Bucket, computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a golden ticket in the science fiction thriller EX MACHINA. Only his ticket doesn't offer entree to a magical chocolate factory, but to the high tech secluded home of his employer Nathan (Oscar Isaac), CEO of the world's most popular search engine and a technological wizard.

Once at Nathan's home, and after signing an extensive non disclosure agreement, the literary comparisons switch from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus”. It turns out Nathan has applied his considerable intellect and expertise to the task of creating artificial intelligence. He just needs someone who has the ability to discern whether his creation, Ava (Alicia Vikander), possesses true consciousness.


By Pamela Zoslov

Cameron Crowe's first feature film in four years, ALOHA, had a rocky time getting to the screen. First conceived way back in 2008, the Hawaii-set military romantic comedy — originally titled Deep Tiki, then Volcano Romance — was repeatedly postponed, finally beginning filming in 2013. Now that it's completed, the film is being criticized for “whitewashing” Hawaii, appropriating Hawaiians' sacred word “Aloha,” and sidelining the Hawaiians' native culture.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Birth of a Nation (May 29th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[BIRTH OF A NATION screens Friday May 29th at 7:00 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Imagine what sort of childishness and geek-media idiocy will prevail in 2077, when the Civilized World, or what passes for it, celebrates the 100th anniversary of STAR WARS. It's quite possible there may be news coverage of nothing else - except perhaps American race riots, and the last of the government emergency funds used to prop up the corruption-ridden Al Sharpton University. And even those will get minor news time compared to 24-hour streaming of the Great Wookiee and Ewoks Forest Games (the re-branded Olympics) and the hit reality show Boba the Bounty Hunter.

There's a milestone 100-year mark right now in movies, but it's getting very little bandwidth at all. The centennial of the film landmark BIRTH OF A NATION.

That Guy Dick Miller (May 30th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[THAT GUY DICK MILLER screens Saturday May 30th at 9:05 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

If you're a fan of horror, science fiction, and B movies in general, then character actor Dick Miller is instantly recognizable from his countless roles both big and small. Most often he worked for Roger Corman and, later, Corman acolyte Joe Dante, but he can also be seen in films by James Cameron and Martin Scorcese, and on numerous TV shows. Now in his mid eighties, he doesn't work nearly as much as he used to, but you can see him in Dante's forthcoming BURYING THE EX, and in this documentary from AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE director Elijah Drenner.

As far as show biz documentaries go, THAT GUY DICK MILLER is pretty straight forward. We get a little background about Miller's life, notably his parents' split and a stint in the army, before moving on to the real focus: Miller's film work. Among his credits are LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, THE TERMINATOR, AFTER HOURS, ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (“Those Ramones are ugly, ugly people”), THE HOWLING, GREMLINS, and the film that features his most iconic role, that of murderous beatnik artist Walter Paisley, A BUCKET OF BLOOD. As one would expect, the doc supplies a generous assortment of clips, and Miller's friends, family, and colleagues offer up various anecdotes about the actor's life and career.

Catherine Deneuve in "In the Name of My Daughter" at the Cedar Lee

[IN THE NAME OF MY DAUGHTER opens in Cleveland on Friday May 29th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Milan Paurich

Despite a ghastly title that makes it sound like an unwanted sequel to NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER, Sally Field’s 1991 Iranian button-pusher, IN THE NAME OF MY DAUGHTER is considerably classier than its Lifetime Movie monicker would suggest.

Of course, why shouldn’t it be? DAUGHTER was directed and co-written by Andre Techine, one of the brightest lights of the post-New Wave generation of French auteurs. If Techine’s latest— which premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival—isn’t among his finest work, it’s still infinitely better than 99% of what passes for “entertainment” at Ye Olde Multiplex these days. Re-teaming for the seventh time with screen legend Catherine Deneuve, Techine has taken a seamy true-life story (affectionately referred to as “Affaire Le Roux” in French tabloids) and given it a luxe, nearly (Douglas) Sirk-ian treatment. It’s easy to imagine a 1950’s Hollywood version starring Lana Turner in Deneuve’s glamorous role as imperious casino magnate Renee Le Roux. And just like numerous Sirk (or Joan Crawford) heroines of yore, Renee has major issues with a problem child.

The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (May 29th and 30th at the Cedar Lee Theatre and Capitol Theatre)

[THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE) screens Friday May 29th and Saturday May 30th at midnight at the Capitol Theatre and Friday May 29th at midnight and Saturday May 30th at 9:30 pm and midnight at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Like it or not, there is now a third (and supposedly final) installment in the HUMAN CENTIPEDE series. The premise of HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE) is that a psychotic prison warden (Dieter Laser, star of the original HUMAN CENTIPEDE) is desperate for a new way to punish his inmates. His second in command (Lawrence R. Harvey, star of HC2) suggests taking a cue from the HUMAN CENTIPEDE movies and surgically connecting all the inmates together ass to mouth.

The general tone this time around is less one of horror and more over the top comedy. I suppose one could find some degree of satire directed at the American justice system if one looks for it, but mostly it seems like Six is going for gross-out laughs. He's kind of like a less clever John Waters. Hell, he's not even as clever as Troma's Lloyd Kaufman. Which is not to say that the film doesn't have scenes that will make fans of sick humor chuckle; it does. They just don't have much impact beyond their initial visceral shock.