Author: lemkey

SYMPHONY OF REDUCTION

SYMPHONY OF REDUCTION
An evening of 8mm and Super 8 films

After the breakout success of our past 8MMMINUTE event we’ve decided to bring it back! For a paltry $5 you get a full night of condensed movies crammed into your cerebral cortex. If that’s not enough, we don’t know what to tell you. Just to sweeten the pot though here’s Dave Mustaine with his take:


You take a feature film
And cut it down to size
Watch it flicker on the screen
Before your very eyes
Your eyes…Your eyeeeeeeees…

Just like the Pied Piper
Led you to your seats
Dance like you’re marionettes
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction

8 minute DINOSAURUS?
THE FRENCH CONNECTION 2?
GODZILLA VS. THE THING?
The choice is up to you
To you…To youuuuuuuuuuuuu

The Spec starts to rumble
Bodega bags will fall
A-warring for the heavens
Projector beam stands tall
Stands tall…Stands taaaaaaaaall

Just like the Pied Piper
Led you to your seats
Dance like you’re marionettes
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction

Just like the Pied Piper
Led you to your seats
Dance like you’re marionettes
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction
Swaying to the Symphony of Reduction

Will Include Some or All of the Following:
GODZILLA VS. THE THING
DINOSAURUS
CURSE OF THE FLY
YONGARY
THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN
REPTILICUS
EQUINOX
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
DR. X
THE GIANT BEHEMOTH
THE DAYS THE EARTH WENT MAD

MAIKU HAMA, #1 PRIVATE EYE

Movies-wise, Mike Hammer – the hard-boiled private dick antihero created by master pulpist Mickey Spillane – was most memorably rendered by Ralph Meeker in Robert Aldrich’s atomic-anxiety noir classic KISS ME DEADLY. There was also I, THE JURY two years prior (starring Biff Elliot) and the ill-advised Armand Assante remake three decades later. But less famous is Japanese auteur Kaizô Hayashi’s surrogate “Maiku Hama”, hardheaded as ever but occasionally lacking one in the chamber – running his office out of an ancient movie palace, where clients have to buy a ticket (no exceptions!) to get in. This March, Spectacle is pleased to present three unsung classics of Japanese neo-noir: this is MAIKU HAMA, #1 PRIVATE EYE, embodied immortally by the rubber-faced Masatoshi Nagase (most famous for his starring turn in Jim Jarmusch’s MYSTERY TRAIN), who would reprise the character in a made-for-TV followup decades later.

(Special thanks to Film Detective Pictures.)



THE MOST TERRIBLE TIME IN MY LIFE
(我が人生最悪の時)
dir. Kaizô Hayashi, 1994
92 mins. Japan/Taiwan.
In Japanese with english subtitles.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 8 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 15 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 23 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 26 – 7:30 PM

Hayashi’s breakout THE MOST TERRIBLE TIME IN MY LIFE is still the most famous of the three MAIKU HAMA pictures. After losing a finger trying to protect a Chinese restaurant employee from a local hoodlum, Hama is contracted to find the waiter’s long-lost twin brother, plunging him into an intense rivalry between Taiwanese and Japanese gangsters (including a small role by TETSUO: THE IRON MAN auteur Shinya Tsukamoto!) Hayashi embosses the story in sleek CinemaScope black-and-white, anchoring its allegiances to filmmakers like Seijun Suzuki and Kihachi Okamoto – a whirling pop-art whodunit that moves so fast you barely have time to notice its ice cold satiric streak.



STAIRWAY TO THE DISTANT PAST
(遥かな時代の階段を)
dir. Kaizô Hayashi, 1995
101 mins. Japan.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 6 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY MARCH 14 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 23 – 10 PM

In Japanese with English subtitles.STAIRWAY TO THE DISTANT PAST is a mile-a-minute tragi-comedy in the cinema du look vein of Luc Besson and Jean-Jacques Beneix, wherein Hama and his kid sister (Haruko Wanibuchi) go on the hunt for their long-missing parents among the flotsam of Yokohama’s underworld. While Hama continues spending more time getting his ass kicked than solving mysteries, long-denied traumas and disappointments have a way of reasserting themselves, while street toughs on sea-doos remind Hama his every move is being watched. After switching from comedy to mystery in THE MOST TERRIBLE TIME OF MY LIFE (to rib-bruisingly funny effect), STAIRWAY ups the ante to include to a surprisingly heartfelt story of family reconciliation (against the usual mob-warfare backdrop.)



THE TRAP
(罠)
dir. Kaizô Hayashi, 1996
106 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, MARCH 6 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 23 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, MARCH 26 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 29 – 10 PM

Hayashi would give his fans a pulse-pounding, breathtaking surprise in 1996’s THE TRAP – a film whose macabre bleakness flies in the face of the go-for-broke goofiness of the trilogy’s first 2/3rds. Making a decent living and finding himself in love for the first time, Maiku Hama would appear to have turned a corner – until a murderer goes on a streak poisoning innocent women, and leaving Hama’s fingerprints behind. The same duo of annoying police detectives are following him, but they’ve been privy to his shenanigans before; Hama is a doofus, not a serial killer. Hayashi uses a straightforward descent-into-hell scenario to indulge in narrative detours both surreal and faux verite; THE TRAP appears to embody a few different movies at once, a perfect analog for Hama’s queasy, uncertain headspace as he gets further down the trail of the killer.

SPECTACLE’S SECOND EVER SPACE JAM

Face it, Earth is over. It’s time to begin anew. We had a good run but like a dead goldfish we need to flush ourselves down the commode and hit the pet store. That’s why with eyes towards the heavens we here on Spaceship Spectacle are proud to launch our second ever (since 2012 anyway) SPECTACLE SPACE JAM 12ish hour Science Fiction marathon. Strap in and bare witness to all manner of creatures, craft, and colonization with visions of the future from here to kingdom come. The bleak and the beautiful explode like a supernova and your brain dissolves like freeze-dried ice cream on the tongue of God. We can’t promise any actual interstellar travel but it’s a nice vacation nonetheless.

Noon – WARNING FROM SPACE
1:30 – CHRONOPOLIS
3:00 – DEAD KIDS
4:30 – MUTILATIONS
6:00 – THE QUIET EARTH
7:30 – TERRORVISION
10:00 – LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE
Midnight – FEEDERS

WARNING FROM SPACE
dir. Kôji Shima, 1956
87 min, Japan

A rash of UFO sightings across Tokyo has scientists baffled. Sending a rocket up to gather more information and photographs is less than successful and everyone is left scratching their heads. In the meantime, though unsuccessful at attempting to contact humans, the aliens being to appear in lakes and rivers. The Pairan, as they are known, obtain a picture of a famous entertainer Hikari Aozora and transform one of their own from their starfish-like form into hers in order to infiltrate the area.

They bring with them a warning. Their planet is on the other side of the Sun and a rouge planet – dubbed “Planet R” by the media is on a crash course with Earth. Meanwhile the one person who could possibly deter this fate, famed scientist Dr. Kumara is abducted by spies who want to steal his nuclear formula. Can everyone work together before world is smashed to bits?

Jumpstarting the marathon with some 50’s flare WARNING FROM SPACE boasts hosts of tropes and rubber costumes to boot. Crack open your popcorn and drink your coffee while it’s still hot, we’re just getting STAR-ted.


CHRONOPOLIS
dir. Piotr Kamler, 1983
65 min, Poland

A massive city lurks high above the clouds inhabited by gods and immortals who have grown weary with eternal life. To pass the time they create ornate structures and creates to bow to their whims while waiting for the “ultimate gift.”

Director Kamler (his first and only film) began work on this stop-motion gargantuan in 1972 and created it over five years on a grant from the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel of Paris and Centre National du Cinema. Almost entirely silent with a score by composer Luc Ferrari, CHRONOPOLIS is nothing short of hypnotic.


DEAD KIDS (aka: STRANGE BEHAVIOR)
dir. Michael Laughlin, 1981
94 min, New Zealand

Special thanks to AGFA.

The sleepy little town of Galesburg, Illinois (by way of New Zealand) is being plagued by power outages. On top of that the mayor’s son has disappeared. Local cop John Brady (Michael Murphy – CLOAK & DAGGER, SHOCKER) has his hands full already trying to solve these mysteries and also deal with his college bound son, Pete on his own. John also clips his toenails at the breakfast table which is gross.

Against his wishes, honor student Pete has been trying to squirrel away money by taking part in weird scientific experiments at the local college with a dead professor who’s lectures are saved on tape. Soon Pete’s poppin’ pills under the guise of research but can that account for his…(wait for it) strange behavior? Are these murders somehow connected to the college? Why does John insist on his son going to school out of state?

The first part of a never realized trilogy, the film pays homage to the pulp of the 50’s and 60’s with a midwestern flair – complete with age appropriate actors and a dry sense of humor that really lands. Director Michael Laughlin was a producer on TWO LANE BLACKTOP and screenwriter Bill Condon, only 26 at the time, plays the first teen to be murdered. DEAD KIDS also boasts hot looks and a killer score by legends Tangerine Dream with a soundtrack peppered by the likes of Lou Christie and The Boys Next Door!



MUTILATIONS
dir. Larry Thomas, 1986
70 min, USA

Special thanks to Massacre Video.

“In all the infinite vastness of space, in all the universe, there surely exists life – intelligent life – other than our own.”

Astronomy professor Jim McFarland (Al Baker) has dedicated his life to the pursuit of proving the existence of life on other worlds. Unfortunately for him he’s been right all along. Together with his “secretary, assistant, and loyal compadre” Ann Bennet (Katherine Hutson) and a group of true believers they take a field trip to a nearby town in order to investigate strange lights in the sky and brutal cattle mutilations (like in the title, get it?) Upon arrival they come face to face with a race of bloodthirsty aliens and the fight for survival is on.

Thomas flexes by making the most of what he has – limited locations, stop-motion antics, and a cast who isn’t afraid to give it their all. A passion project if there ever was one, Thomas’ tongue doesn’t leave his cheek but the film does an amazing job of not hitting you over the head with it. “It” being his tongue. The students all settle into their Breakfast Club-esque roles and everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. When the group stumbles onto a cache of weapons in a farmhouse McFarland remarks “Well this is unexpected.” without so much as a wink to the camera.

At it’s core MUTILATIONS is like 1950’s shoestring sci-fi armed with a minivan and a lot of heart. Fans of the almighty EQUINOX, the films of Burt I. Gordon, and fog machines take note – this is the cult film you’ll wish had been tucking you into bed since childhood. Also, it’s about friendship.

Another gem from our friends at Massacre Video, rescued from the void and crammed into your cerebral cortex where it will never leave.



THE QUIET EARTH
dir. Geoff Murphy, 1986
91 min, New Zealand

Special thanks to Film Movement.

Despondent scientist Zac Hobson awakens on the sunny dawn of July 5th like it was any other morning. Going about his daily routine, he discovers he is the only one around for miles. Soon the realization hits that he may, in fact, be the last man alive on Earth. He sends out radio transmissions begging for any living soul to contact him as he relocates to a mansion.

He dawns a nightgown, destroys a church, and contemplates suicide before he finally meets the lovely and lonely Joanne. He explains to her that something went wrong with “Project Flashlight” that led to the disappearance of all life on the planet. Together the two play house until one day they run into the wrong end of a machine gun. On the trigger they meet the volatile Api and the three butt heads about what to do. Hobson fears a second burst from the glitch in “Project Flashlight” could wipe them out as well.

Director Geoff Murphy (UNDER SEIGE 2) showcases these desolate landscapes and a cast you can count on one hand. The emptiness is all consuming and despite a world so large one can’t help but feel claustrophobic. Relying less on the inevitable love triangle and more on the helplessness the film boils over with tension and hurtles towards an ending that must be seen to be believed.



TERRORVISION
dir. Ted Nicolaou, 1986
73 min, USA

Special thanks to Ted Nicolaou!

Swinging super-parents Mr. and Mrs. Putterman (Gerrit Graham and Mary Waronov) head out for the evening and leave their son home with Grandpa (Bert Ramsen) to watch TV and bask in the glory of their new satellite dish. Unfortunately for them, the satellite has picked up some way out transmissions all the way from deeeeeeeeeeep space. These freaky frequencies are from a planet who decided to solve it’s trash problem by beaming their garbage to Earth. A monster gets loose in the house and it’s up to the Puttermans to put it back where it belongs.

It’s hard not to gush when it comes to the almighty TERRORVISION. With a perfect cast, Richard Band score, big rubber monsters, slime, and jokes on top of jokes it’s concentrated fun. If you’ve never seen this absolute masterpiece, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to right that wrong immediately. But don’t just take our word for it…

“TerrorVision is a caffeinated jackhammer molded into a movie. It’s goopy, hilarious, action-packed…all the things that make life good. Also it’s one of the few intentionally campy features that actually entertains, and boy, does it ever…TO THE ULTIMATE MAX!” – Zack Carlson, DESTROY ALL MOVIES.



LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE
dir. Jan Schmidt, 1967
85 min, Czechoslovakia
In Czech w/ English subtitles

Special thanks to Facets.

Some time after the nuclear holocaust a group of young women roam the desolate countryside. Ambling about without a real sense of purpose and led by an “old woman” in military garb they wander around merely surviving. Soon they come upon an old man running a small hotel (like in the title, right?) and for only a moment it seems peace is within their grasp.

Far and away the bleakest entry in this year’s marathon LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE was largely unseen for almost 40 years after it’s release. Now heralded as a masterpiece of the genre and a favorite here at Spectacle.



FEEDERS
dir. Jon McBride, 1996
69 (nice) min, USA

A park ranger is worried a crashed meteor is going to start a forest fire but instead it starts something much worse. Meanwhile, two dorks (director Jon McBride and John Polonia) are driving though the Pennsylvania countryside in search of a good time. The wind up in a suburb where, for some never explained reason, the town has been ravaged by a broken dam. They take some pictures presumably to eat up time in the film. Luckily for them there’s a babe at nearby gas station and they plan a picnic/party in the same woods where the meteor crashed. Unluckily they run down a fisherman with their car and have to take him to a doctors office where he dies. While this is happening the babes – Donna and Michelle – are being terrorized by the titular Feeders. You can see where this is going. Eventually they have to stop these bloodthirsty papier-mâché beasts from taking over PA and maybe the rest of the world.

Let us be 100% clear – we love this movie. On par with other jaw-dropping feats of SOV like BLOOD LAKE, FEEDERS is by and large the crown jewel of this marathon. The Polonia’s are the kings of 1990’s and if we have to die on this hill we will. It’s been a long day and if your brain isn’t silly putty by now it certainly will be after this. Think of it as dessert.

MARCH MIDNIGHTS

DIVINE EMANUELLE: LOVE CULT (Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps)
Dir. Christian Anders, 1981
West Germany/Cyprus, 98 min.
In dubbed English
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MARCH 9 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 – MIDNIGHT

WE ARE ALL LOST.
Before you get too worked up about the professed Emmanuelleness of this film, note the one E — that title is just a bit of bait and switch because Laura Gemser of the Black Emmanuelle films is our co-star, along director/writer/actor/composer/martial artist Christian Anders, who here presents a breezy sex romp/retelling of the Jonestown massacre. Still with us? There are great bombastic disco-pop songs, karate expos, hypnosis headtrips, and best of all Gemser in her most Femme Domme Babylon role: if Anders is the pie-eyed naif, Gesmer is the enforcer, playing her role to the hilt.

IVAN MAXIMOV: LIVE SCORE BY TELAH

SATURDAY, MARCH 31 – 7:30 and 10 PM
The last day of March will bring two opportunities to see selected work from animator and former astrophysicist Ivan Maximov, scored by Brooklyn’s TELAH. You may remember TELAH from last June’s transportive live score for Mamoru Oshii’s ANGELS EGG. The lineup of the band has changed slightly, but still features the room-reverberating drums of Jeff Widner and bassist Evan Gill Smith.
The band will provide new sounds for the anatomically unusual animations of Moscow-based Maximov. In his animated shorts, creatures both globular and mammilian partake in peregrinations of form and mood. Many of these shorts operate without a logical storyline, but are as captivating as a tank of unknown and bizarrely-behaved tropical fish.
Ivan Maximov’s work has earned him many animation awards in Russia, Germany, Italy, and Hungary. He was also involved in early video game culture, contributing to Russia’s first video game magazine, Video-Ace Dendy.

 

Program time: 60 minutes

DEVIL AT YOUR HEELS / STUNTS

THE DEVIL AT YOUR HEELS
Dir. Robert Fortier, 1981
Canada, 102 min.
In English
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 – 7:30
MONDAY, MARCH 12 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 18 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 27 – 10 PM

“I still believe that Evel Knievel is the second best daredevil in the world. And I say that because I feel that I’m number one.”

The late 70s/early 80s was arguably the golden age of jumping vehicles over stuff, and it should come as no shock the Canadians had their own golden boy, Ken “The Mad Canadian” Carter. This National Film Board of Canada documentary examines Carter and his crew as he prepared for his greatest feat ever: jumping the mile-wide St. Lawrence River in a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental. This jump became an endless series of problems: ABC pulled out of sponsoring the jump for Wide World Of Sports, wind speed called off multiple jumps, his protege’ Kenny Powers secretly tried and failed the jump after believing Carter lost his nerve, Evel “World’s Biggest Asshole” Knievel badmouthed him at every turn, but dreams never die. Stuntpeople, sadly, die: two years after the filming of this documentary, Ken Cater was killed instantly attempting to jump a pond.



STUNTS
Dir. Mark Lester (1977)
USA, 89 min.
In English
SATURDAY, MARCH 10 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 12 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 20 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 27 – 7:30 PM

Director Mark Lester (CLASS OF 1999, COMMANDO, FIRESTARTER) blends murder mystery and stunt reel in a film that sits comfortably next to HOOPER and STUNT ROCK. Featuring Robert Forster (MEDIUM COOL, TWIN PEAKS) and Ray Sharkey (a great back-to-back run on CRIME STORY and WISEGUY) as a stuntman and a reporter trying to figure out who is murdering film’s greatest stuntpeople, it’s got everything from slow-motion footage of cars flying end-over-end, a breezy drive-in vibe, multiple helicopter gags, dirtbikes for days and did I mention STUNTS?

BLACK MASS EXTINCTION EVENT

BLACK MASS EXTINCTION EVENT (1983, 2018, what’s the difference)
various directors, edited by Darren Bauler
USA, 60 min.
FRIDAY, MARCH 30 – 10 PM
“You know what Einstein said about World War III? He said he didn’t know how they were gonna fight World War III, but he knew how they would fight World War IV: With sticks and stones.”
By 1983, the cinema of nuclear obliteration was already well-established; Japan’s HIROSHIMA (which we hope you saw at Japan Society earlier this year!) set the bar decades earlier, while more recent films such as THREADS and THE WAR GAME provided dark views into the reality of surviving even the most limited nuclear attack.
A certain American made for TV movie became the nexus for water-cooler panic, playground death meditations and a million articles in a million hometown papers. That movie was two hours long, cut down from a four-hour workprint. We have taken that workprint, with missing music, SCENE MISSING interstitials and footage never seen on television, plus the film edited into this film (1979’s FIRST STRIKE), and edited it to remove the least important part of this film: the human actors. Scored by ambient composer April Larson, we hope this take on Cold War panic warms your heart. And you flesh, and your hair, and your eyes.

FURTHER APPLIED FICTIONS: NEW FILMS OF JEAN-PIERRE BEKOLO

Jean-Pierre Bekolo occupies a unique space in post-colonial African cinema. Twenty-five years since his exuberant debut QUARTIER MOZART, the Cameroonian director remains playfully genre-defying, conceptually inventive, and utterly unpredictable. Following the dystopian subversion of 2005’s LES SAIGNANTES and up-to-the-minute political-media discourse of 2013’s LE PRESIDENT (all of which were included in a full retrospective at Spectacle in 2013), he’s now traveled 150 years for the fascinating post-modern future of NAKED REALITY. Paired against LE PRESIDENT, which we’re bringing back, the two form a complex portrait of Africa today and into the future.


NAKED REALITY
Dir. Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2016.
South Africa / Cameroon. 62 min.
THURSDAY, MARCH 8 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 19 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 29 – 10 PM

In an entirely urban Africa 150 years from now, energy is scarce and power lies in the past, channelled via prayer in defense against the genetic disorders of “Bad Luck”. Weather forecaster Wanita’s DNA may contain ancestral solutions, pulling her out of her life and into a post-modern odyssey. But no synopsis can suffice to contain the open-ended and constantly shifting world of the film: genetics, technology, time-travel, doppelgangers, the body as text, and meteorology appear as ambiguous signs along the hero’s journey. Each scene offers its own insights and reconfigures what came before, as the layers of artifice peel back towards the elusive reality of the title. The future, here, is evoked with icy minimal space that suggests its own meanings: if non-urban space has ceased to exist, perhaps this world of digital overlays and empty sound stages is an indication that all non-virtual existence will also be a thing of the past.



LE PRESIDENT
(The President)
dir. Jean Pierre Bekolo, 2013
Cameroon. 64 mins.
In French with English subtitles
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 4 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28 – 10 PM

“Our president was betrothed to Cameroon with great love and passion, yet over the years the fire has died. He spends more time in Switzerland than in Cameroon. What is he – too good for us now?” – JEAN-PIERRE BEKOLO

The night before an important summit in the near-future, the head of state vanishes into ostensibly thin air. Potential heirs and overthrow-ers converge around the capitol, while bloggers, hangers-on and talking heads tussle with the president’s problematic legacy. Never snarling, Bekolo gestures both unmistakably towards Cameroon’s own 31-year president Paul Biya as well as the varied bigshots across the continent who have consolidated post-colonial power in the vacuum of leadership.

Bekolo’s piercing film is a fake documentary that asks barbed, tough-love questions of his homeland’s catastrophic experiments with democracy. “It was through the small screen that he punctuated every moment of my life!”

TAKASHI MIIKE’S DEAD OR ALIVE TRILOGY

DEAD OR ALIVE
Dir. Takashi Miike, 1999.
Japan. 105 min.
SATURDAY, MARCH 3 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 5 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 9 – 10 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 19 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 25 – 5 PM
“A hit of pure aesthetic cocaine”
-Slant
“BREATHLESS for a new century”
-Tom Mes

Beginning with perhaps the longest line of coke ever snorted on screen and finishing with nothing short of the destruction of the entire world, Takashi Miike’s DEAD OR ALIVE is sure to please fans of the director’s trademark transgressive shock. Yet beyond Miike’s typical chaotic cult movie appeal DEAD OR ALIVE manages to also demonstrate a remarkably well put-together genre offering that makes a compelling case for Miike as a more refined, nuanced auteur than he is typically given credit. When small-time Yakuza boss Ryuuichi (Japanese action movie icon Riki Takeuchi) starts murdering rival gangsters in an effort to gain power in the underworld, Detective Jojima (early Kiyoshi Kurosawa regular, Show Aikawa) must weave his way through various underworld networks to end the bloodbath. While typical Miike oddities like a gangster getting his hand breaded and fried or a man in a giant chicken suit getting blown to bits in a sea of feathers certainly shine throughout, these are often only window dressing for the emotionally engaging tale of masculine aggression and crumbling family structures that form the meat of the story.


DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS
Dir. Takashi Miike, 2000.
Japan. 97 min.
SATURDAY, MARCH 3 – 10 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 5 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 13 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 22 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28 – 7:30 PM

“Miike’s greatest achievement.”
-Tom Mes, Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike

More pastoral poem than yakuza film, DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS detours significantly from the previous film into a more elegiac and contemplative tone than Miike is typically known for. When hitman Mizuki (Show Akawa) finds his target assassinated by a rival hitman just as he’s about to pull the trigger, the biggest surprise is that the other assassin is childhood friend and fellow orphan Shuuichi (Riko Takeuchi). After encountering each other again while hiding out on the island where they grew up, the two gangsters reconnect and take a rosy trip down memory lane. As they relive erotic schoolyard games, pay respects to a dying former mentor, and don colorful animal costumes to perform a sexual children’s play for the local orphan, the two tough guys start to reflect on the lost dreams of childhood. Yet this idyllic tone is continually upset by Miike’s ever-provocative direction which takes delight in frequent reminders of the hyper-violent yakuza massacre that is happening back on the mainland. What results from these sudden tonal and narrative shifts is a truly bold and unified poetic vision on the dreams of childhood and violences of maturity that manages convey as much tenderness as chaos.


DEAD OR ALIVE 3: FINAL
Dir. Takashi Miike, 2001.
Japan. 89 min.
SATURDAY, MARCH 3 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 11 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 22 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 30 – 7:30 PM

After the hyper-violent chaos of the first film and the nearly languid nostalgia-trip of the second, Miike takes DEAD OR ALIVE 3: FINAL through another wild turn towards pure cyberpunk territory. Set 300 years in the future when Japan is the last country on earth and yet almost no one speaks Japanese, Show Aikawa plays a fugitive replicant who befriends a small boy and falls in with a group of bickering resistance fighters. Hot on his trail is Riki Takeuchi in sunglasses and a stylish leather trench coat, begrudgingly taking orders from a maniacal general bent on spreading sexual repression throughout the land. Filled with stylish MATRIX-inspired action sequences, some impressively dystopic looking Hong Kong cinematography, and a wonderfully weird semi-nude saxophone obsessed henchman, DEAD OR ALIVE 3: FINAL manages to expand upon everything great about the series so far, while underscoring it with a refreshingly self-referential subtext that delivers some truly gonzo thrills of its own.

THE AMUSEMENT PARK

THE AMUSEMENT PARK
dir. George A Romero, 1973
60 min, USA
SUNDAY, MARCH 4 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, MARCH 10 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 15 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 25 – 7:30 PM

An elderly gentlemen sets out for what he thinks will be a normal day at an amusement park and is soon embroiled in a waking nightmare the likes of which you’ve never seen! When we say that, we mean it.

This PSA on age discrimination directed by the late, great George A. Romero was filmed for TV but never released. In fact the only mention of it anywhere is in his biography where he laughs it off. Romero was, of course, no stranger to the world of industrial filmmaking. In the early 60’s after graduating from Carnegie-Melon University he co-founded his first production company, Latent Image.

Witness a crackup on the bumper cars where the police and insurance agents show up! See swindlers and hucksters take advantage of old people left and right! Witness a coffin plunked right in front of innocent attendees! Made the same year as genre giants SEASON OF THE WITCH and THE CRAZIES, THE AMUSEMENT PARK was lost to the ages…until now.