Seattle Screens: ‘The Movie Orgy’ and a Side of Schtick

29 March, 2012 (16:25) | by Sean Axmaker, Seattle Screens | By: Sean Axmaker

A Joe Dante cinema inferno, a night silent shorts with original music and live entertainment, and festivals of Cary Grant movies, British noir, and classic Bollywood musicals all compete for your attention this week. And that doesn’t even take into account the theatrical debuts of Cannes Film Festival award winner The Kid on a Bike and Oscar winning documentary Undefeated. Read on to plan you cinema fix this weekend…

Jetting off to watch 'The Movie Orgy'

Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy is legendary in some circles. Neither a feature nor a documentary nor even a compilation, at least in the conventional sense, The Movie Orgy was first created in 1968 by movie-mad buddies Joe Dante and Jon Davidson, spliced together from Dante’s collection of films, serials, trailers, shorts, TV commercials, and other 16mm ephemera, not simply strung end to end but intercut, stirred around, one big melting pot of pop culture bouncing between genres and media.

Glenn Erickson reviewed a 2008 screening at The New Beverly in Los Angeles: “The resulting psychological profile of Dante and Davison proves that their wicked sense of humor and sarcastic outlook began long before their association with Roger Corman: this explains where Airplane! came from. ” Dennis Cozzalio was at the same screening and wrote up his take for his website, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule: “The Movie Orgy isn’t really a movie. It’s more like a hallucinatory party for the certifiably movie mad.”

The current incarnation, which Joe Dante digitized for digital screenings (the original version was literally spliced together, making it quite fragile), runs just over 4 ½ hours.

Grand Illusion presents a single showing of this event to celebrate its 9th anniversary as an independent, non-profit cinema on Saturday, March 31 at 7pm. The event is free but you must RSVP. Send to movieorgy [at] grandillusioncinema [dot] org.

And while we’re on the subject of “events,” the one-night celebration “The Sound of Silence with a Side of Schtick” presents an evening of movies and music with live performances between the shorts. It’s a modern take on the cinema programs of old, playing out on Thursday, April 5 at The Uptown. The shorts in the program include the landmarks Voyage dans la lune by George Melies and The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter and Orson Welles’ 1934 “student film” The Hearts of Age, which are accompanied live with original compositions performed live by a chamber orchestra, and magicians and comedians perform in between. Details at SIFF website here.

A Cary Grant film festival begins at Grand Illusion, kicking off with a brand new 35mm print of Bringing Up Baby this weekend. It plays four shows, alternating with His Girl Friday (also shown in a 35mm print). Both films, by the way, are directed by Howard Hawks, and you can read an interview with the director that Kathleen Murphy and Richard T. Jameson conducted just months before his death at Parallax View here, and an in-depth essay on Bringing Up Baby by Kathleen Murphy here. The latter is an essay, not a review, and is best read after seeing the film.

The Seattle Art Museum’s Spring film series, “Shadow Street: The Best of British Film Noir,” opens on Thursday, April 5 with Went the Day Well?, a 1942 war noir of invasion and resistance. The series continues through May, with such highlights as Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, These Are the Damned and Deep End on the schedule, which you can find on the SAM website.

“Raj Kapoor and the Golden Age of Indian Cinema” continues at SIFF Film Center with newly restored films from Indian superstar-turned-director Raj Kapoor spanning from the 1940s to the 1980s, mostly on new 35mm prints (with some digital prints). Schedule here.

“Bicycle Film Shorts Festival” features (what else?) a collection of short films about bicycling, screening at REI on Friday, March 30 at 7pm. Details here.

“Occultural Film Series: Magic in Cinema” is a program of short films curated by filmmaker Brian Butler that “explores the occult as depicted in avant garde and experimental film.” The program screens on Thursday, April 5 and includes films by Kenneth Anger, Harry Smith and Curtis Harrington. Details here.

Openings

'Kid with a Bike'

The Kid with a Bike from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2011, opens at The Uptown for an open run.

The Raid: Redemption, a balls-to-the-wall action hit from Indonesia about an elite squad of cops and a small army of a drug gang, opens at multiple theaters.

Undefeated, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary, opens at The Varsity. Co-director T.J. Martin will appear for Q&A at the Friday 7pm show.

The Christening, from Poland, plays for a week at NWFF, but its showtimes have changed from the calendar listings. It is now set for one showing a night at 9pm.

More documentaries: Jiro Dreams of Sushi opens at The Egyptian and Kati with an I , a documentary by Robert Greene, opens for a week at NWFF.

Gerhard Richter Painting has been extended for a week at NWFF, playing 7pm daily.

Repertory

On Saturday, there is Back to the Future (with Lea Thompson in person) at The Uptown and Big at SIFF Film Center, and on Tuesday is Die Hard at The Uptown.

Late nights: Walt Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland, the original psychedelic cinema experience, is at the Egyptian, Battle Royale is back for another late night screening at NWFF on Friday, March 30, and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is in the late-night spot at Grand Illusion.

For more alternative screenings, read Moira Macdonald’s At A Theater Near You roundup at The Seattle Times.

Schedules and Showtimes

You can check your favorite independent cinemas, neighborhood theaters and multiplexes here.

Independent theaters:
SIFF Cinema
Northwest Film Forum
Grand Illusion
Seattle Art Museum
Central Cinema
The Big Picture
Majestic Bay Theatres
Cinerama

Multiplexes and Chains
Cinebarre
Landmark Theatres (Egyptian, Guild 45, Harvard Exit, Metro, Varsity and others)
Regal Cinemas (Meridian 16, Thornton Place and others)
AMC Cinemas (Pacific Place, Oak Tree, Alderwood and others)
Kirland Park Place
Lincoln Square Cinemas
Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas

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