July 3rd: Jaws/Rocky (Castro Theatre – Double Feature – One Night Only)
The top grossing film of 1975 – Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws (260 million). The top grossing film the following year – John G. Avildsen‘s Rocky (117.2 million). Yes, these two films not only share the honor of drawing audiences to the theatres in breakthrough numbers but they also have something most blockbusters of today don’t – exceptional quality. You’d be hard pressed not to find either one of these films on most people’s Films To See Before You Die lists. As for the plot of these two films – for the one person in the world who doesn’t know – one’s about a killer shark and the other’s about a boxer with killer heart. I’ll let you figure out which one’s which.
July 12th: The Exorcist/Suspiria (Castro Theatre – Double Feature – One Night Only)
Suspiria: One of the last films shot in Technicolor, Suspiria is an art house film gone wrong. The story of an American ballet dancer who ships off to a prestigious European school. Unfortunately for her, the school is haunted by a witch. Amazing reds, yellows, and blues take you into a dream like state, making Suspiria one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Dario Argento’s fun and gun directing style is unmatched. His creative camera work, mixed with Goblin’s horror-rock soundtrack engages viewers like few films can.
The Exorcist: The Exorcist is a throwback to when Hollywood horror films were made well enough to win Oscars. The story of a little girl being possessed by Satin and the exorcist who is trying to save her has arguably the greatest atmosphere of any horror film. It owes its atmosphere to the outstanding cinematography, disturbing makeup, and chilling visual effects. Oh yeah, and the remarkable script’s nothing to scoff at either.
July 17th: Mystery Train/Night on Earth (Castro Theatre – Double Feature – One Night Only)
Night on Earth: Fact… okay, maybe not a fact, but a very strong opinion, Jim Jarmusch is one of - if not THE - best filmmakers out today. In 1991 the white-haired maestro of movie magic took his less-is-more staple of independent filmmaking that he so sublimely crafted throughout the 1980s (Permanent Vacation, Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train) and went global with it. Focusing on 5 different cab drivers from Helsinki to Los Angeles, Jarmusch’s moment-in-time vignetted existential view of human connectivity is timeless cinema at its best.
Mystery Train: We’re you not paying attention when I mentioned (above) that Jim Jarmusch is one of – if not THE – best filmmakers out today? I’m not making this stuff up, folks. It’s fact! This one takes place in Memphis and aside from being another exceptional indie film, it has a handful of playful parallel narratives and a bunch of characters, in typical Jarmusch fashion, miscommunicating all over the place.
July 19th: The Conjuring (Major Release)
At first glance this may seem like yet another haunted house been-there done-that jump scare movie. But early buzz on the street and word across the web is touting this film as being a return to the scary films of the 1970s like The Exorcist, The Omen, etc. Okay, I’m in. Also, doing some further research I came across this from the film’s wiki page; “In March 2013, the film was given an R-rating by the MPAA for being what James Wan (director) described as “too adult.” “When we sent it [to the MPAA], they gave us the R-rating,” said executive producer Walter Hamada. “When we asked them why, they basically said, ‘It’s just so scary. [There are] no specific scenes or tone you could take out to get it PG-13.’””
July 19th: Only God Forgives (Major Release)
For those of you who saw Refn and Gosling’s last collaborative effort, Drive (2011), and loved it as much as we did at Filmbalaya, than you should know damn well why Only God Forgives is in this post. Here’s what I’m expecting; lots of brilliant long takes, some bursts of visceral violence, and overall, that general mood of awesomeness Refn brings to all his films, even the ones I didn’t care for.