By Christopher Bonet
[Photo: “Once Upon a Time In The West,” Paramount Pictures, 1969]
In honor of his upcoming honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his recent concert at Radio City Music Hall (his first in the US), New York’s Museum of Modern Art pays tribute to famed film composer Ennio Morricone in this ten-day retrospective of some of his most prized films. Screenings will include his Sergio Leone epics “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “Once Upon a Time in America,” the late Gillo Pontecorvo pioneer film “The Battle of Algiers,” and the Roland Joffe period piece “The Mission,” which Morricone will be on hand to introduce.
Though he only produced a handful of works, the 25-year career of brilliant but troubled director Donald Cammell feels far too short. New York’s Film Society at Lincoln Center will feature several of Cammell’s films in this retrospective, including the sci-fi horror “Demon Seed,” the Nicolas Roeg co-production “Performance,” and the director’s cut of his final film, “Wild Side”.
The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hosts its annual month-long celebration of the Chinese New Year with a host of new films out of Hong Kong. This year’s festival includes a retrospective on influential action film director Johnnie To and will include a sneak preview screening of his latest feature, “Exiled,” on February 17th.
“Eclectic” might be the only word one could use to describe German auteur Werner Herzog, both through his own filmmaking (“Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Fitzcarraldo”) and his personality (Les Blank’s documentary “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe”), as the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hosts this ten-film tribute throughout the month of February to Herzog in honor of his upcoming Christian Bale-starring “Rescue Dawn.”
Crispin Helion Glover will be on hand at the IFC Center to present his first feature “What Is It?”, an unclassifiable film that was both self-produced and self-financed by Glover himself. Each screening will also feature a live dramatic presentation and a supplementary slide show. Trust us, “What Is It?” is simply more than a film, it’s an event.
This annual festival remains one of the premiere film events in the world.
Get a chance to check out the 50 Oscar statuettes before they are handed out at the Academy Awards on February 25th. This exhibit, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be on display at locations in both Hollywood and New York.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City pays homage to some of the greatest pictures produced by the Warner Bros., RKO and First National studios. Highlights include Bette Davis’ Oscar-winning performance in “Jezebel”, the Raoul Walsh directorial comedy “Gunga Din,” and 1950’s “Mighty Joe Young” (sans Charlize Theron).
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“8 Mile” director and archive chairman Curtis Hanson will be on hand to present the opening of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s Billy Wilder Theater in honor of the pioneering director of the classical Hollywood director. To inaugurate the opening of the theater, UCLA will screen two of his most important (and hilarious) films, with 1960’s “The Apartment” playing on opening night and 1959’s “Some Like It Hot” following the night after.
Executive producer and star Danny Glover will be on hand at the Film Forum in New York City to discuss “Bamako,” a film that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and originated from the nation of Mali.
The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater presents this short series on our favorite movie genre, the gangster film! Films to be screened include the expected Quentin Tarantino film “Reservoir Dogs,” a “Scarface” double feature (both the Hawks and De Palma versions), and a new print of the hard-to-see Burt Balaban pic “Mad Dog Coll.”
They make get more and more boring each year, but you know you’ll watch them anyway. We’re bummed that Jon Stewart was not asked back to host the Oscars, but the addition of Ellen Degeneres promises to be a good time. With a beer in one hand and predictions in the other, be sure to catch the Academy Awards at 8 PM on ABC.