Whether you’re outside to enjoy to soak up the weather, or inside to take advantage of air conditioning, movie watching is a big deal in Gotham City. And with Hollywood mostly inundating multiplexes with franchises and sequels, it’s a good thing we’re lousy with alternative, repertory programming.
The 1990s saw a rash of Jackie Chan imports into America. These were hacked-up and dubbed. Starting this Sunday (through June 27), the Film Society at Lincoln Center will screen some of these, in their original versions and with over half on beautiful, beautiful film. That will segue into the annual New York Asian Film Festival (June 28-July 15), which as usual offers untold genre delights. Their Latinbeat series runs July 12 through the 21st, while July 26 through August 1 brings “Sound + Vision,” a series of musical documentaries of various genres.
The Museum of Modern Art raids its vaults, not for the old but the new. “A View From the Vaults: Warner. Bros. Today” (July 9-Aug. 14) argues for the continuing excellence of the studio on the occasion of its 90th birthday, with screenings of Christopher Nolan Batman films, “Good Night, and Good Luck.” and the “Lord of the Rings” cycle.
In the Village, the IFC Center continues its midnight movies series, as well as retros for Mel Brooks and Terry Gilliam. Soon to wrap their heroic, month-long, near-complete series on Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, Film Forum keeps to one-offs for the rest of the season. See “Rosemary’s Baby” (June 28-July 4), Joseph Losey’s sinister “The Servant” (July 26-Aug. 1) and D.W. Griffith’s “Intolerance” (Aug. 2-8), all on digital restorations. Happily, its two Michelangelo Antonioni films — “L’Avventura” (July 12-15) and “Le Amiche” (July 15) — are on 35mm film.
The hardcore specialists at Anthology Film Archives program the fringe fare that few will touch. Still, even they can’t resist showing “Point Break” and John Milius’ “Big Wednesday” when threading up “Palm Beach,” Abie Thomas’ genre-busting 1980 surf film (July 5-7). Series on ‘60s band films (Aug. 3-5) and pulp novelist Georges Simenon (Aug. 8-21) follow in August. Ditto a robust retro devoted to nudie king Russ Meyer (entitled “The Glandscape Artist,” of course, Aug. 15-25), as well as a series on sexploitation films (Aug. 21-29).
Over in Brooklyn, the BAMcinematek, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, has a complete retro for John Cassavetes, all on film (July 6-31). Even more impressively is the series of nine Hitchcock silents, including the rare silent version of his first talkie, “Blackmail” (June 29-July 3). There will also be epics, including such digitally restored eyesores as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Dr. Zhivago” (July 3-25).
The great outdoors:
Nuts to being inside: Summer is a great time to spend time in nature, watching movies on lawn chairs and blankets. NYC’s parks site has plenty of films lined up, most of them the usual blockbuster suspects. But others think outside the box. The Busby Berkeley extravaganza “Gold Diggers of 1933” (July 10) and Billy Wilder’s underrated “A Foreign Affair,” a comedy set amidst the rubble of postwar Berlin (July 29) crop up. Various parks will play host to French cinema, ranging from the lovely (Eric Rohmer’s “A Summer’s Tale,” Aug. 2) to the bleak (Maurice Pialat’s searing breakup film “We Won’t Grow Old Together,” July 19). Long Island City, meanwhile, plays host to Rooftop Films, which offers recent foreign fare, like the Caribbean-set “Alamar” (July 17) and “In Another Country,” in which Isabelle Huppert goes to South Korea (July 24).