Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Not Too Late To Whip It

It's true I've had reservations about the fact that Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull is playing at the Castro Theatre until the day before Frameline. But now that the moment is upon me, I'm as caught up in the excitement as just about anybody else. (How does Hollywood do that?)

I thought it might be worth a mention that the Castro is going to be holding a just-after-midnight screening of the film tonight, and that as of this posting, tickets are still available at the box office. I've already encountered someone who made his plans to see the film at another venue holding midnight screenings, even though he'd prefer the Castro, simply because he assumed that as a single-screen theatre it will be impossible to get in. People forget how huge the place is: 1400 seats or some-such.

See you there! I'm excited to see Cate Blanchett in a Colleen Moore hairdo, but am otherwise keeping my expectations of the film itself relatively low. But I've decided, I don't want to miss it as an EVENT.

Of course, midnight movies are also presented every weekend at the Clay Theatre. This weekend it's three nights of Jim Henson's the Dark Crystal, and June 6 & 7 it's Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.


  1. Call me lame but I'm going to the early show tomorrow. Have fun tonight!

  2. for some reason i keep thinking Cate Blanchett is going to speak English with a German accent in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull though she's supposed to be Russian

  3. Ahem. I seem to recall someone looking at me askance when I emphasized the importance of the social value of the Castro Theatre for any film playing there, repertory or contemporary.

    "Event" indeed.

    Ribbing aside, how'd it go? I'm catching a mid-afternoon screening.

  4. Perhaps I was playing devil's advocate. Or perhaps I thought you were. Or perhaps I changed my mind.

    The event was fun; not packed to the rafters (they didn't open the balcony), but very crowded on the main floor. I suspect a lot of people there had seldom or never been to the Castro before. Organist David Hegarty got a huge cheer (probably helped that he expertly performed some John Williams themes as part of his prelude). Jesse Ficks got the crowd riled up, gave away some prizes to trivia answerers, and revealed that his favorite Indy movie is Temple of Doom. Then the movie started- no ads, no trailers, just the joke on the Paramount logo, that, much sillier than in the prior three films in the series, sets the tone for the film.

    Yes it's goofy, silly, breezy. Whenever I've gone back to revisit one of these films they're always more cartoonish than I remember them. The new one has a couple extremely clever sequences, and at least one completely brilliant action scene. It also has many dull stretches, including at least one of the action scenes. And Patrick, I totally see where you're coming from with your comment on Cate Blanchett; she's supposed to be a Soviet Ukranian but she's also clearly supposed to recall the Nazi villains of Indy's past as well. If I thought anyone was planning to take this film at all seriously, I might get riled up by such a conflation. As it is, I just appreciated her over-the-top performance, and especially her Klaus Kinski moment.

    Bottom line: I don't regret plopping down my $10 to see the film with a cheering crowd, but I don't expect to be making repeat trips to the Castro this month.

    I watched the 6PM screening of Arthur Penn's the Chase beforehand. This film maudit was presented in an immaculate print with vivid color. A lot of familiar faces were there, and for some the screening seemed like an almost mournful farewell to a dear friend who wouldn't seen again for a while - until Frameline.

  5. I kept expecting Cate to say, "Get sqvirrel!" She'd make a killer Natasha Badenough.

    The groundhogs were silly. The ants were cool. Shia LeBeouf's entrance as a Wild One lookalike was hot. I liked how he emulated his dad's befuddlement in exasperated situations. Will he carry on the franchise?

    The Mesoamerican mishmash with its von Daniken underpinnings was so tired I could hardly believe it, though I'm sure I wasn't supposed to. Aliens as archaeologists. Hokay. Though it certainly made me appreciate the nearly magisterial simplicity of Ligeti's black slab monolith providing the spark of intelligence to mankind's simian ancestors. The concept will perhaps never be done better than that.

    There's a special circle in Dante's Inferno reserved for those who forfeit integrity for the devil's advocacy. I'll wave as I pass by.

  6. I had a lot of fun. I think the first hour is pretty spectacular, maybe phenomenal. That mushroom cloud image really is something. What amazes me is that this picture will get "apologist" positive reviews where _Speed Racer_ got (for the most part) one vitriolic screed after another. They're both tales of the fantastic centered around family with an almost equal amount of, um, fakeness, but this one has Spielberg's name on it, and his elegant camera moves, whereas _Speed Racer_ can look, to the ungenerous eye, like candy in a blender; however, I think both movies are after similar things when it comes to movement and, well, speed. (To say nothing of history and racial, wuddyacallit, sensitivity.) It's just that Spielberg still pretends like he's filming the "real world"... I think I might tease this out more a little later...