Monthly Archives: January 2018

Straight Outta Crooklyn: Spike Lee’s Ode to ’70s New York Screens on Jan. 24 on 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 24 @ 7:30 PM
CROOKLYN
Directed by Spike Lee • 1994
At its core, the semi-autobiographical Crooklyn is director Spike Lee’s love letter to his home borough. Set in the summer of 1973, it wistfully remembers a Brooklyn of hopscotch and baseball cards, of Black and Puerto Rican neighbors living in loud, contentious harmony, a Brooklyn where the local druggies huffed glue instead of smoking crack. It’s a pre-Giuliani paradise where a musician (Delroy Lindo) and a schoolteacher (Alfre Woodard) could afford both a brownstone and a car, the material resources for an almost quaint version of urban domesticity. Co-written with Lee’s siblings Joie and Cinqué, Crooklyn evokes childhood in the city: the film’s emotional center is eldest child and only daughter, 10-year-old Troy, whose perception of the world shapes the movie’s narrative and visual structure. It’s most jarringly highlighted in the visual distortion of scenes at Troy’s relatives’ house in the South, where she briefly stays; the image appears stretched as if projected with the wrong lens, ostensibly to reflect Troy’s feelings of being out of place. Meanwhile the film pulses with a soundtrack straight out of Soul Train, one of Troy’s favorite programs. Family matriarch Carolyn Carmichael may ask in a letter if Troy “isn’t glad to be away from these crazy people in Crooklyn, New York?”, but it’s clear she would never feel at home anywhere else. What New Yorker doesn’t pine for this version of Brooklyn? No wonder the film beat out more canonical choices from the likes of Scorsese to win the recent “One Film, One New York” contest. (JR)
115 min • Universal • 35mm from Universal
Short: “The Balloon Tree” (Ross Lowell, 1970) – 16mm – 10 min

 

 

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Martin Scorsese’s Feature Debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door – Rare 35mm Screening, Jan. 17

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 17 @ 7:30 PM
WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR
Directed by Martin Scorsese • 1967
Begun as an NYU student film and eventually released as exploitation fodder after the late addition of an extended sex scene, Martin Scorsese’s first feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door contains all of the director’s stylistic strategies and thematic obsessions in germinal form: Italian-American rough-housing, Catholic guilt, sexual anxiety, and a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack that unrolls like a muffled jukebox overheard from the bar next door. Court stenographer-turned-actor Harvey Keitel makes his film debut as J. R., an aimless ruffian who spends his days getting drunk with neighborhood buddies at the 8th Ward Pleasure Club. A ride on the Staten Island Ferry changes J. R.’s life when he meets a sophisticated girl (Zina Bethune) reading a French magazine; she impresses him with her college education, while he charms her with his spirited defense of John Ford’s The Searchers. Who’s That Knocking at My Door charts their rocky relationship while interrogating J. R.’s toxic instinct to divide the women of the world into ‘nice girls’ and ‘broads.’ (Even the poster describes Bethune’s nameless character as ‘A Nice Girl But …’) Upon the film’s world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival, newly appointed Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert declared, “I have no reservations in describing it as a great moment in American movies,” and the rest is history. (KW)
90 min • Trimod Films • 35mm from Chicago Film Society collections, permission Warner Bros. (Swank)
Preceded by: Selected vintage trailers for local film festivals – 16mm – 8 min

 

 

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Save Us From Ourselves: Roy Del Ruth’s Superlative Pre-Code Social Drama Employees’ Entrance in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 10 @ 7:30 PM
EMPLOYEES’ ENTRANCE
Directed by Roy Del Ruth • 1933
The proprietor of the Franklin Monroe Department Store may be able to trace his lineage back to the Founding Fathers, but the yachted gentry are no match for Kurt Anderson (Warren William), the pitiless manager whose ruthlessly amoral tactics keep the business and its 12,000 employees afloat at the onset of the Great Depression. Once a poor farm boy from Ohio, Anderson rose to the top by adhering to his sole credo: “SMASH! — or be smashed.” Among the wreckage along the way: Loretta Young as the eager model who gets a job by sleeping with the boss, Wallace Ford as the innovative but pliable floor manager, and Alice White as an all-purpose C-suite Mata Hari. Stuffed with a roster of deftly sketched supporting players glimpsed fleetingly in the aisle or the elevator, this boiling backroom epic showcases the protean finesse of undervalued director Roy Del Ruth. Released shortly before Roosevelt’s inauguration, Employees’ Entrance is practically a Hooverism liquidation sale, chucking the dead wood of paralyzed patricians and callous bankers preaching passive retrenchment. The evergreen promise: Americans will go back to work as soon as we hand over the reins to a lecherous authoritarian. (KW)
75 min • First National Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.(Swank)

Preceded by: Bugs Bunny in “Hare Conditioned” (Chuck Jones, 1946) – 8 min – 16mm

 

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Leave Your Partner at the Altar and Join Us for Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid – Rare 35mm Screening at the Music Box, Introduced by Joe Swanberg – January 9

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10

Tuesday, January 9 @ 7:00 PM
THE HEARTBREAK KID
Directed by Elaine May • 1972
Introduced by Filmmaker Joe Swanberg
Elaine May’s Hollywood directing career may have been unjustly cut short by the failure of 1987’s Ishtar to recoup its outsized budget, but the four narrative features she currently has to her name are all essential. The Heartbreak Kid is May’s only directorial effort to feature a screenplay by somebody else, but the seething, brutally pointed line-readings from which the film derives most of its comic energy are all her own. (Neil Simon is the sole credited writer, although much of the film was purportedly improvised under May’s direction.) Charles Grodin, in his breakout performance, plays Lenny Cantrow, a Jewish newlywed on his honeymoon in Miami Beach with wife Lila (May’s daughter Jeannie Berlin) who sets his sights on Midwestern Gentile coed Kelly (Cybill Shepherd), ignoring the inconveniences of Kelly’s ever-present father (an apoplectic Eddie Albert) and Lenny’s own very recent marriage. Given May’s astonishing gift for comedic timing, it’s no surprise that each of The Heartbreak Kid’s four principals gives an accomplished and hilarious performance (Albert and Berlin were rewarded with Academy Award nominations for theirs), nor that May is triumphantly successful in making a masterpiece unlike anything seen in the American cinema before or since: a sunny, light, anti-romantic comedy that manages to be one of the bleakest films of the 1970s. (CW)
106 min • Palomar Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive, permission Bristol-Myers Squibb
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2006) Lab: Technicolor
Buy Tickets Here!
Preceded by: “Krasner, Norman: Beloved Husband of Irma” (Shevard Goldstein, 1974) – 6 min – 16mm

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But that’s not all this week!

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 10 @ 7:30 PM
EMPLOYEES’ ENTRANCE
Directed by Roy Del Ruth • 1933
The proprietor of the Franklin Monroe Department Store may be able to trace his lineage back to the Founding Fathers, but the yachted gentry are no match for Kurt Anderson (Warren William), the pitiless manager whose ruthlessly amoral tactics keep the business and its 12,000 employees afloat at the onset of the Great Depression. Once a poor farm boy from Ohio, Anderson rose to the top by adhering to his sole credo: “SMASH! — or be smashed.” Among the wreckage along the way: Loretta Young as the eager model who gets a job by sleeping with the boss, Wallace Ford as the innovative but pliable floor manager, and Alice White as an all-purpose C-suite Mata Hari. Stuffed with a roster of deftly sketched supporting players glimpsed fleetingly in the aisle or the elevator, this boiling backroom epic showcases the protean finesse of undervalued director Roy Del Ruth. Released shortly before Roosevelt’s inauguration, Employees’ Entrance is practically a Hooverism liquidation sale, chucking the dead wood of paralyzed patricians and callous bankers preaching passive retrenchment. The evergreen promise: Americans will go back to work as soon as we hand over the reins to a lecherous authoritarian. (KW)
75 min • First National Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.(Swank)

Preceded by: Bugs Bunny in “Hare Conditioned” (Chuck Jones, 1946) – 8 min – 16mm

 

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Find Out What Lurks Behind the Door – Restored 35mm Print Screens Jan. 6 at the Music Box Theatre

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 • Seniors: $9 • MBT Members: $7

Saturday, January 6 @ Noon
BEHIND THE DOOR
Directed by Irvin V. Willat • 1919
Live Accompaniment from Music Box Organist Dennis Scott
Spun out from a two-page short story by Gouverneur Morris, Behind the Door is one of the most perverse and unpredictable films of the silent era—a nautical revenge yarn that alternates appalling sadism with prayerful longing for days gone by. (Morris’s novel The Penalty would be adapted into an excellent Lon Chaney film the following year, and that pulp saga of a gangster amputee plays almost level-headed in comparison.) Hobart Bosworth stars as Captain Oscar Krug, a lumbering taxidermist whose quiet life off the coast of Maine is interrupted by America’s entry into World War I. As an American of German descent, Krug must prove his patriotic bona fides by enlisting, but even he underestimates the depravity of the enemy (a slick and smarmy Wallace Beery) and the destructive power of the U-Boat. The thinking man’s anti-Hun picture, Behind the Door hit theaters a year after the Armistice and rubbed sea salt in America’s still-festering wounds. This superbly crafted saga survived only in fragments until this 2016 reconstruction from the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Library of Congress, and Gosfilmofond restored Behind the Door’s funereal grandeur. (KW)
70 min • Thomas H. Ince Productions • 35mm from SFSFF Collection, Library of Congress
Short: “The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’” (Winsor McCay, 1918) – 16mm – 12 min

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The fun doesn’t stop with Hobart. Join us next week for:

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10

Tuesday, January 9 @ 7:00 PM
THE HEARTBREAK KID
Directed by Elaine May • 1972
Elaine May’s Hollywood directing career may have been unjustly cut short by the failure of 1987’s Ishtar to recoup its outsized budget, but the four narrative features she currently has to her name are all essential. The Heartbreak Kid is May’s only directorial effort to feature a screenplay by somebody else, but the seething, brutally pointed line-readings from which the film derives most of its comic energy are all her own. (Neil Simon is the sole credited writer, although much of the film was purportedly improvised under May’s direction.) Charles Grodin, in his breakout performance, plays Lenny Cantrow, a Jewish newlywed on his honeymoon in Miami Beach with wife Lila (May’s daughter Jeannie Berlin) who sets his sights on Midwestern Gentile coed Kelly (Cybill Shepherd), ignoring the inconveniences of Kelly’s ever-present father (an apoplectic Eddie Albert) and Lenny’s own very recent marriage. Given May’s astonishing gift for comedic timing, it’s no surprise that each of The Heartbreak Kid’s four principals gives an accomplished and hilarious performance (Albert and Berlin were rewarded with Academy Award nominations for theirs), nor that May is triumphantly successful in making a masterpiece unlike anything seen in the American cinema before or since: a sunny, light, anti-romantic comedy that manages to be one of the bleakest films of the 1970s. (CW)
Introduced by Filmmaker Joe Swanberg.
106 min • Palomar Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive, permission Bristol-Myers Squibb
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2006)
Tickets on sale now!
Short: “Krasner, Norman: Beloved Husband of Irma” (Shevard Goldstein, 1974) – 6 min – 16mm

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