Sunday, November 12, 2006

Get thee to the kouch!

Tonight we went to our friend Dustin's film festival at Central Cinema in the central district. I've been wanting to check this theater out for a while, and of course we were super excited that they're hosting Kaspar's Kouch. Last year the festival was literally on Dustin's couch in his apartment, which was really fun (and Dustin made gourmet ice cream almost every night--you wouldn't think it, but avocado ice cream is surprisingly delicious). But the new space at Central Cinema has lots of couches, with tables at each couch and a menu full of pizzas, salads, calzones, and all kinds of other goodies plus a big screen. It feels so official now that it's at a theater, AND the festival even has its own trailer this year!

Dustin has to charge admission this year to pay for the theater and movie rights, but the tickets are super cheap--$7.00 for one movie, $10.00 for two (there are usually two movies shown each night). Tonight's Cubicle Challenges lineup was Fear and Trembling, a very cool French film about life in corporate Japan starring the awesome Sylvie Testud, and Office Space, which really needs no explanation. I love that movie, and I love the soundtrack even more (Kendra, if you're reading this, Damn it feels good to be a gangster!). Wednesday's films are being kept secret, but you know they're going to be good if Dustin's screening them. The rest of the schedule is below; if you're in Seattle this week you should definitely check it out.

November 15, 2006 SECRET SCREENING's a'll just have to be curious enough to find out.

(first screening at 6:30, second screening at 8:45)

November 16, 2006 MISSING PERSONS
6:30 THE LADY VANISHES (1938) directed by Alfred Hitchcock (NR, 97 min.) Inspiring many films in its wake (Bunny Lake is Missing and 2005's Flightplan amongst the best known) this early Hitchcock confection pits feuding train passengers bound for romance against a mind-bending mystery. A passenger on the train (the lady of the title) is unable to be found the next morning. Young Iris (Margaret Lockwood) queries other passengers on the ladies disappearance and is met with the simple claim that they have never seen the person she is talking about. Alternating between light comedy and exciting tension, this is early Hitchcock at his finest.
8:50 THE THIRD MAN (1949) directed by Carol Reed (NR, 104 min.) THE THIRD MAN is considered by many filmmakers to be one of the greatest films of all time. An American, Holly Martens (Joseph Cotten) arrives in post-WWII Vienna to visit his friend, Harry Lime. He soon discovers his friend has been killed and finds himself being questioned by a police officer who claims Lime was involved in racketeering. Holly vows to clear his friend’s name, but soon becomes caught up in his friends' shady history. Don't forget this film also stars Orson Welles who, by the late time he appears onscreen, still gets one of the most famous entrances, speeches (the 'cuckoo clock' which he scripted himself) and climactic chases in the history of cinema.

Both films are in German with English Subtitles
6:30 WINGS OF DESIRE (1987) directed by Wim Wenders (R, 127 min.) The sky over Wenders's war-scarred Berlin is full of gentle angels wearing trench coats who listen to the tortured thoughts of mortals and try to comfort them. One of the angels wishes to become mortal after falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist. Peter Falk, as himself, assists in the transformation by explaining the simple joys of a human experience, such as the sublime combination of coffee and cigarettes. The result is a film that reaffirms the beauty of life and the absolute potential of cinema.
9:00 THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR (2000) directed by Tom Tykwer (R, 135 min.) After his breakout hit, RUN LOLA RUN, Tom Tykwer upped the ante with THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR. Sissi (LOLA's Franka Potente) is a nurse in a mental hospital. One day, she mistakenly walks in front of a semi and is saved by a mysterious young thief who caused the accident. Unable to get her savior out of her mind, she sets out to find him. Eventually the wheels of fate turn as she becomes involved in a transfixing bank robbery and the two embark on a personal odyssey toward their own destinies. Tykwer's use of floating camera, a hypnotic musical score, and an impeccable use of sound all work to created the films unique sensory experience.

5:00 UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) directed by Preston Sturges (NR, 105 min.) Rex Harrison stars as a symphony conductor in this super-black comedy from the brilliant Preston Sturges. Harrison believes his wife is cheating on him and while conducting a symphony uses the 3 pieces on the program (each by Rossini, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky) to imagine his homicidal revenge fantasies. But good imagining doesn't always work out as planned in this brilliantly performed mixture of razor sharp dialogue and uproarious slapstick.
7:30 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD (1993) directed by Francois Girard (PG, 98 min.) Comprised of 32 shorts about Glenn Gould, Francois Girard (who would later create The Red Violin) helms what started as a biography of portraits and becomes a meditation on the loneliness of exceptional artists and their perception of music. Colm Feore stars as Gould in all 32 shorts, which range from narrative to experimental and contain some of the most marvelous depictions of experiencing music I have seen captured on celluloid.
10:00 THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) directed by Rob Reiner (R, 82 min.) Before BEST IN SHOW and WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, there was SPINAL TAP. The grandfather of the mock-u-mentary is still the best of the bunch. The bands absurd behavior is offset by director Rob Reiner's adherance to a strict documentary treatment. You will never forget Harry Shearer's encounter at the metal detector, Christopher Guest's collection of guitars and amps, or Michael McKean leading the band in circles trying to reach the stage. I guarantee, this night we're going to turn the sound up to 11. It will be one louder.

November 19, 2006 KINGDOM FINALE
5:00 THE KINGDOM, PART I (1994) directed by Lars von Trier (NR, 271 min.) Seattle's own Sean Axmaker once described THE KINGDOM as "a nightmarish cross between Twin Peaks and Chicago Hope as directed by David Cronenberg, and even that hardly captures the giddy absurdity of Lars Von Trier's soap-opera-cum-horror-tale." A bizarre mixture of hospital politics, cult activities, ghosts, graveyards, and one amazing cliffhanger are capped with a greek chorus of dishwashers. It needs to be seen to be believed. Not to be missed.

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