Friday, January 21, 2011

Austin Wolf-Sothern's Two Eyes

Since my own two eyes were not nearly enough to see and evaluate all the repertory/revival film screenings here on Frisco Bay, I'm honored to present local filmgoers' lists of the year's favorites. An index of participants is found here.

The following list comes from projectionist/filmmaker Austin Wolf-Sothern, who blogs at Placenta Ovaries:

Sensitive 70s, Oddball Film+Video
-Francesca, Baby, The Drug Scene, Your Self Image, I'm Feeling Scared, Suicide: It Doesn't Have to Happen
A selection of 16mm shorts dealing with serious issues for kids and teens. The sweetest, most sincere two hours of my life. Flawlessly heartbreaking.

Midnites for Maniacs, Castro
A very productive year for Jesse Ficks' fantastic film series, including two all day five-film fests (the themes being Macho Mania and Robots). The year provided a nice mixture of old favorites (Fright Night, An American Werewolf in London, The Gate, RoboCop) and some incredible new discoveries (Nighthawks, Bloodsport, Too Much). My favorite overall program would be the triple feature of Just One of the Guys, Point Break, and Maniac. Jesse insisted there was a common thread between the three, but I actually prefer to think there isn't, and I adored the randomness of three entirely different movies, which if they're linked by anything, it's that they are all fucking great.

Bad Lieutenant/Blue Collar, Roxie
I missed almost every night of Roxie's intriguing Not Necessarily Noir series, but I'm thankful I made it out for this double feature of Films That Assault You.

Phantom of the Paradise, Bridge
The Bridge started up a new series called Citizen Midnight, showing a rock 'n roll classic, with a live rock pre-show inspired by the night's film, performed by a band made up of Bridge staff. Phantom was unfortunately not a print, but the event was a blast, and holy shit, that fucking movie is amazing.

Gone with the Pope, Bridge
If you were one of the other four people in the theater, you already know that this was a genuine treasure discovered by Grindhouse Releasing.

Man with a Movie Camera, Castro
A great film with the most powerful, overwhelming live score (by Alloy Orchestra) I've ever experienced. I wish I could relive this one.

Castro Double Features
There were three double features at the Castro this year that paired up some of the most perfect movies ever made. The Thing/Videodrome, Blue Velvet/River's Edge, and Gremlins/Black Christmas. Most exciting was Videodrome, which I've yearned to see on 35mm for years. Many of the others I had seen on the big screen before, but they are all movies I could watch forever.

Also These
Castro: Showgirls, The Beguiled, A Star Is Born, Roxie: The Brood, Surf II: The End of the Trilogy/Times Square, Wet Hot American Summer, Paramount: Wait Until Dark, Red Vic: The Room with Tommy Wiseau in Person, Hausu.

I had seen Hausu previously under shitty circumstances, having driven up to San Rafael only to discover it was being shown via the ugliest digital projection I've ever seen, and as a result, I found the film underwhelming. But this year, I saw it properly at the Red Vic (on 35mm) and I was able to get wrapped up in the delirious, hilarious, adorable, fun absurdity of this completely nuts horror ride. I'm not wholly against digital projection, as I've seen some stunning HD screenings, but if it looks like shit, it defeats the purpose of the big screen and I'd much rather watch it in better quality on my substantially smaller television at home. Alternately, a film print feels special and amazing even in terrible condition. A film like Hausu definitely deserves ideal presentation.

I'm Still Miserable About Having Missed
Mac and Me at the Castro, Night Train to Terror/A Night to Dismember at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

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