Blog Archives

“Ford to City: Drop Dead” New York in the 70s – at Film Forum (through 7/27/17)

taking of pelham

July 19, 2017.  “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” New York in the 70s is a movie series playing at Film Forum now through July 27. The 70s, considered to be the last golden age of American cinema, is filled with some of my favorite movies, many of which were shot in New York. The titles in this series include “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “The Taking of Pelham 123,” and many others.

On the one hand, this is a series tailor made for me. On the other hand, since I already own many of these movies on DVD, why should I pay to see them in a movie theatre? Still, as a practical matter, how often do I actually watch the movies that I have on DVD? I think it’s an existential issue. In other words, having lots of movies on DVD means that I have the possibility of watching them, even if the reality is that I rarely watch them. This is the dilemma presented to the movie aficionado in the digital age, in which almost everything is available at his, or her, fingertips. Had home video and all its variations – VHS, laser disc, DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming – not been invented, then Film Forum’s series would be a “no brainer” for me. Of course I would go. So, saying I wont see a particular film when it plays in a theatre because I have it on a DVD that I almost never watch, means running the risk of not seeing the film at all! Read the rest of this entry

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The Donovan Affair at Film Forum 10/19/14 at 3:40

On Sunday 10/19/14 at 3:40, Film Forum will present a screening of director  Frank Capra’s 1929 film “The Donovan Affair.”  The film will be shown  as part of the repertory theatre’s current retrospective of Capra’s movies, which runs through  October 23.

Original poster for Frank Capra's THE DONOVAN AFFAIR (1929). CouI attended Tuesday’s screening of “The Donovan Affair.” It was a fun, riotous evening – a perfect blending of film history and really ingenious live performance.  “The Donovan Affair” is a rare event not to be missed. The story behind “The Donovan Affair” is nothing short of fascinating and Film Forum’s presentation of this nearly lost film represents a level of commitment to film restoration, repertory cinema, and performance that I do not think has ever been accomplished. Read the rest of this entry

James Karen at Film Forum – May 20, 2013

Actor james Karen

Actor James Karen

James Karen is one of those actors who, as soon as you see him, you think something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, I know that guy.  He is in so many things.”  On May 20, at Film Forum, the man himself made an appearance at an event honoring him with a screening of his 1985 horror movie/comedy “The Return of the Living Dead.”

Film Fourm Director of Repertory Programming, Bruce Goldstein, introduced Karen by mentioning that in addition to having been in the original Broadway cast of “A Street Car Named Desire” in 1947, Karen had performed in over 200 films and had done lots of television work.  Karen is probably most recognizable from his numerous TV commercials for Pathmark supermarkets, made between 1969 and 1979.

A quick collection of film clips showed Karen in many diverse roles including his feature film debut in “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965).  Karen’s filmography also includes “The China Syndrome” (1979), “Wall Street” (1987), “Mulholland Drive” (2001) and “Poltergeist” (1982) among many others.  Goldstein asked Karen why, with over 200 movies, had he  picked “The Return of the Living Dead” for the evening’s screening?  “Because it was the most fun I had making a movie,” Karen replied. Read the rest of this entry

DCP – Digital Cinema Package – at Film Forum

Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove in Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE

On Friday, March 2, Film Forum started a week long series of 13 classic films screened in the digital format DCP (Digital Cinema Package).  What this means is that these films were screened in high definition video, projected from a hard drive, as opposed to traditional 35mm film prints.  The movies shown were selected by Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum’s Director of Repertory Programming.

While digital screenings may not seem remarkable to the average moviegoer, it is remarkable for Film Forum.  The repertory side of Film Forum prides itself on showing only 35mm film prints of older movies, many of which are brand new prints.  The reason for Film Forum’s commitment to 35mm is that this is the way these films were meant to be seen.   Film Forum’s decision to have a series of classic films in the digital format, the way most theatres now screen current movies, could be seen as a break with tradition.  On the other hand it is also an acknowledgement that the digital format has made great strides in quality, especially when it comes to the restoration of older films.  Film Forum has made it very clear that DCP will not be replacing 35mm prints at Film Forum. Read the rest of this entry

“A Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers” at Film Forum

Fayard (left) and Harold Nicholas.

On Monday, September 19 Film Forum had one of their great special events, “A Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers,” presented by Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum’s Director of Repertory Programming.  The Nicholas Brother, Fayard and Harold, were an African American dance team that had a 70-year long career starting in the 1930s.  They made movies, starred on Broadway, TV, performed in Paris and headlined at New York’s famous, and infamous, Cotton Club.  In one of the interviews it is pointed out that the only art form they did not try was opera.

Goldstein, who actually came to know the Nicholas Brothers, said he has had a 30-year obsession with the two dancers, who, by the way, were also pretty good singers.  Beginning in 1980 Goldstein decided that he wanted to know more about them and wanted more people to know who they were.  Read the rest of this entry