Cinema 21's still in the midst of A Bit of the Old Ultra-Kubrick, their four film Stanley Kubrick series, which comes to a close on Thursday. I was thrilled to see last night's DCP screening of the digitally restored Dr. Strangelove last night and still hope to make it a 35mm showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey after catching an advance screening of Hyde Park on Hudson tomorrow night. And while news of their upcoming bookings of the 4K digital restoration of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia as well as Sergio Corbucci's spaghetti-western classic Django (nicely timed to take advantage of the holiday release of Q.T.'s Nero-indebted latest film, Django Unchained) are bound to thrill film fanatics, it's pretty likely that a whole bunch more excitement is going to be generated when folks hear that there's a Wes Anderson series a comin' to Cinema 21 this holiday season.
The announcement certainly comes at an interesting moment in Anderson's career. His latest, Moonrise Kingdom, has done much to illustrate a critical and popular divide between those who revile his style and the fans who lap it up. Personally, I liked Moonrise Kingdom quite a bit and really don't agree with the all-too-often cited issue that some have with Anderson's work--the notion that he's just making the same film over and over again. Still, I'm not as enamored with some of his films (The Life Aquatic, though it has its fervent defenders, felt pretty flat to me) as I am with what I feel are the true highlights of his career.
The upcoming holiday series at Cinema 21 nicely sidesteps this debate, which mostly seems centered on his post-Tenenbaums work, by programming Anderson's initial three releases. Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums are, in my opinion, truly solid films that even the most miserly of film goers would have to concede as having sprung from the imagination of a creative and talented original. There might be plenty of films out there approximating Wes Anderson's moves (Thumbsucker, Rocket Science, Boy, Submarine, etc.), but few sport the authenticity suggested by his considerable influence.
He is the origin of several parodies and even more copy-cats. He is an oeuvre unto himself. He is, according to Martin Scorsese, "the Next Martin Scorsese."
Cinema 21 is exceedingly proud to announce:
A VERY WES ANDERSON CHRISTMAS His first three feature films on vibrant 35mm prints.
-Bottle Rocket (1996, 91 mins.)
-Rushmore (1998, 93 mins.)
-The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, 110 mins.)
Starting Christmas Day! Don't take this for granted! In a very dark room, on a big, bright screen. The colors, the music, the charm, the humor, the nostalgia, the dysfunction, the obsession, the outright joy! It will bowl you over. This is the perfect opportunity to re-discover the birth of the most unique voice in American cinema over the last two decades.
-$6 for one film, $9 for two, or $12 for a triple feature!
Celebrate the holidays watching relationships even more dysfunctional than your own.
Now on to the trailers:
As a bonus, here's the original 1994 Bottle Rocket short that Anderson made prior to his feature debut:
And here's Anderson in conversation with director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) on the subject of how Bottle Rocket was seen as a failure on its initial release:
A Very Wes Anderson Christmas begins on Tuesday, December 25th and runs through Sunday, December 30th. Keep an eye on the Cinema 21 webpage for soon to be announced showtimes (TBA) and more.
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