Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Notes to Tomorrow Night's "Evening with Orson Welles"

Its a collection of three short films by or starring the old master himself, Orson Welles.
"Lord Mountdrago"(1955)Welles plays the stuffy British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who is somehow haunted in his dreams by a living colleague he once humiliated. Welles was living in England at the time and this weird mixture of comedy (a party sequence lurches into goofy delirium) and ghost story was pretty typical of the acting work he was doing at the time. The scipt is based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham.
"The Return to Glennescaul" (1951) is narrated by Welles and was directed by his two acting mentors Hilton Edwards and Michael MaccLaimoir of Dublin's Gate Theater. It was apparently shot during one of the many breaks in the filming of Welles' "Othello" and may represent a payoff to MaccLaimoir who was playing Iago in said film and dealing with the film's chaotic production history. As such this is a neat little ghost story, we've heard it all before and it even forms the crux of a "Growing Pains" episode. However it was rare for the artistic leadership of the Gate Theater to go in for of any type films so it remains a novel curio in the Welles videography.
"The Fountain of Youth" A chance guest appearance by Welles on "I Love Lucy" led to a hook up with Desi Arnaz who financed this pilot to a never produced Welles anthology series. As such it is a return to the sort of intimate storytelling effects that Welles pioneered on radio with the Mercury Theater of the Air. Although one suspects the emphasis with this program would be more on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" type shock stories and the like rather than the radio programs classical adaptations.
Welles pretty much reinvents television cinematography here, he make extensive use of close ups, freeze frames and dissolves on minimal sets...and by ghod it works!
A great pity that the program was never produced, it marks Welles as an innovator in film, radio and television.
We will also be screening some theatrical trailers from Welles' film career, running the gamut from his own productions to the amiable hackwork he did for the money.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Channel Zero Returns this Thursday in (Romantic) Arlington!

It Ain't over yet folks, we are not finished yet!


An Evening with Orson Welles

We are proud to Present it’s own eccentric collection of authentic Welles short films and related rarities in this one time only screening in Arlington. Celebrating his legacy as both journeyman actor and director this is a film event not to be missed!
“Lord Mountdrago” in which Welles plays a British politician seemingly haunted by a living colleague!
“The Return to Glennescaul” Narrated by Welles, this is an old Irish ghost story adapted by the famous Gate Theatre in Dublin.
“The Fountain of Youth” an unsold television pilot directed & narrated by Welles in which a cuklolded scientist exacts a fitting revenge.
Celebrating his legacy as both journeyman actor and director this is a film event not to be missed!

This Thursday July 28th 8pm
Movies on a Menu 148 Mass Ave Arlington Ma.
Just a few doors down Dagg’s Deli in East Arlington
On the #77 & 79 Bus Route
Now in Our tenth year of genteel video transcendence...

The Fantastic Four:

Kinda of a misfire if you ask me, great performances from Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans as the Thing and the Human Torch but Jessica Alba and Julian McMahon all but sink the film. The script was weak, the SPFX pedestrian and the ending utterly indistinguishable from say Mystery Men.
But it still made a hundred million so we will still hear Stan Lee's nasty high pitched self congratulatory squeak for yet a while longer.
Saw it at the Tri Town Drive, which is, the proper and indeed only venue for a film like this.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Tamer Tamed July 16th 20005

Shakespeare & Co Lenox Ma.
This is Elizabethan playwright John Fletcher's nominal sequel to "The Taming of the Shrew". As such, Petruchio (whose Guantanamo style treatment of Katerina has apparently lead to her demise) has now remarried and is in due course comically beaten down and humiliated by his new wife the frankly amazonian Maria.
Fletcher knew were all his laffs were I'll give him that (Supposedly he was one of Shakespeare's collaborators on various plays) but the play is utterly trivial and bereft of any memorable lines or meaningful poetry.
On the other hand as a meditation on male-female relations it is surprisingly broadminded in every way.
I do hope Tina Packer keeps up with this emphasis on the other Elizabethan playwrights, Massachusetts is in desperate need of a "Doctor Faustus" for the ages...and I'd love to see Jonson's "Fall of Sejanus" staged by someone with class and talent.

Up on the mainstage Celia Madeoy is playing Katerina in Packers' "all up" version of "The Taming of the Shrew".
Celia is a woman of destiny in every way, back in 1999 or so, she actually played Petruchio in a gender reverved version of "The Shrew". This was a perfectly heavy handed harebrained idea in every way, or it was until Celia strode out onto the stage and took over the play and the audience without firing a shot.
Believe me, this was a once in a decade performance combining the actor's vital trilogy confidence, technique and talent.
It was an amazing show in every way, the fact that she is now playing Katerina is a thing to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The War of the Worlds

He is the man who put the Hunk in Homonculus with a mongoloid's grin, spastic and possibly as gay as whistle...yup you know him you love him it's TOM CRUISE and he gets his ass handed to him acting wise by an eight year old girl named Dakota Fanning!
Truly whats not to like about "War of the Worlds"? It is schaedenfreude it's payback it's Tom's Waterloo or Waterworld or some damn thing!

For who else but Steven Spielberg would highlight the massacre of Mankind, the route of Humanity as a chance for a blue collar bloke to bond with his estranged kids? Who else by Steven would cast an allegedly deeply closeted gay man as a New Jersey Paterfamilias??

Okay it is a better film that I had expected although as previously noted I do decry the purge of H.G. Wells' martians and their replacement by generic "Independence Day" type CGI aliens. It is a well realized type thrill ride, and lacks only Tom's disintegration in the end to make it the family film of the summer.