Cinema Alfresco

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July 19, Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927): The costliest German film of its period and one of the most awesome spectacles in the history of silent cinema, Lang's monumental vision of the society of the future is also a dynamic document of expressionism. Despite its sentimental conclusion, Metropolis remains one of the key sci-fi flicks of all time. With the Alloy Orchestra. (Stein)

July 26, Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955): Ray caught the timeless qualities of frustrated adolescence and proved himself a master of the CinemaScope format in this directorial triumph, still a powerful film today and the best of all the youth movies of its era. James Dean's perf as Jim Stark, supercharged, but with an undercurrent of sweetness, is the finest of his career. (Stein)

Brazilian nuts: Sanity gets a face-lift.
photo: Universal City Studios
Brazilian nuts: Sanity gets a face-lift.

August 2, The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930): Von Sternberg's first talkie (and only German film) is as stodgy as it is sleazy, as static as it is iconic, in detailing the s/m affair between a meaty, young Marlene Dietrich and a decrepit, old Emil Jannings. With the BQE Project. (Hoberman)

August 9, Around the World in 80 Days (Michael Anderson, 1956): This big-budget, Oscar-winning adaptation of Jules Verne's novel is a lavish but exhausting three-hour travelogue interspersed with entertaining cameos by Buster Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, and a little army of famous personalities. (Stein)

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June 18, Viva Las Vegas (George Sidney, 1964)

June 25, The Wild One (Laslo Benedek, 1954): America meets its nihilistic, black-jacketed postwar young in the form of Marlon Brando, iconically answering the timeless question "What are you rebelling against?" with the just as eternal answer, "Whatta you got?" The first film to ever make horror-movie plain how threatening an autonomous youth culture can be, this Benedek-directed time capsule is still raw with social dread, and Brando still bedazzles. (Atkinson)

July 2, Jazz on a Summer's Day (Bert Stern, 1959)

July 9, Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944): Wilder's classic film noir based on the notorious Snyder-Gray case is a carefully stylized masterpiece of murder filled with crackling dialogue. The dream cast is headed by Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, and Fred MacMurray, who, in a great change of pace, gives the perf of his career as the loner insurance salesman enticed by a deadly dame. (Stein)

July 16, You Can't Take It With You (Frank Capra, 1938)

July 23, Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954): Hitchcock's vulgar modernist masterpiece remains one of his greatest stunts—a thriller with neither on-screen violence nor a visible corpse, unfolding in a single room facing out on one of the most elaborate sets ever built on the Paramount back lot. The movie is as entertaining as it is self-reflexive—shamelessly concerned with voyeurism and movie history, building a bridge from Soviet montage to Andy Warhol's vacant stare, while pondering the mystery of James Stewart's ambivalent relationship with Grace Kelly. (Hoberman)

July 30, Stalag 17 (Billy Wilder, 1953)

August 6, The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940): Cukor's box- office-smash adaptation of Philip Barry's play boasts a splendid cast and a witty and sophisticated script; if it is a bit of a talkfest, all the ingredients for an excellent romantic screwball comedy are firmly in place. (Stein)

August 13-14, Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)

August 20, An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951)

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July 11, Orfeu (Carlos Diegues, 1999): A reconstitution of Marcel Camus's 1959 masterpiece Black Orpheus that peppers up the contempoghetto mythic love story with drug-war chaos, Diegues's film is grungy moviemaking in flight. Rio itself is shot as a mad maze of vertical clutter, the costume-ball-on-Mars Carnival scenes are amazing, and the unembarrassed magical realism is infectious. Hope it's a hot night. (Atkinson)

July 18, Pericles in America (John Cohen, 1988)

July 25, TBA

August 1, A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden (Michal Goldman, 1987)

August 8, Wattstax (Mel Stuart, 1973)

August 15, The Italian (Reginald Barker, 1915)

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July 11, Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976): It came, it was seen, it lodged itself in America's psyche. (Hoberman)

July 18, Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960): The mother of all modern horror films, Hitchcock's master-piece radically revised the rules of the game. If, upon repeated viewings, the suspense is blunted, Hitch's delicious, jet-black sense of humor becomes increasingly apparent. (Stein)

July 25, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Milos Foreman, 1975)

August 1, Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

August 8, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975)

August 15, Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985): Although the plot is full of gaping holes, this latter-day Orwellian story of a bleak dystopian alternative future is realized with such brilliant visual imagination that it hardly matters. Art direction is stunning. (Stein)

August 22, The Matrix (Andy & Larry Wachowski, 1999): Gravity defiance, echoing bullet trails, black dusters and shades, Keanu-ness raised to the nth: This nightmarish cybercatapult has the artillery, but it's also got a stunningly sophisticated battle plan, working with the most original and thoroughly conceived SF premise since the Apes cycle. Cool, and then some. (Atkinson)

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