A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Burt Reynolds x 5 at Metrograph March 14
Reynolds In-Person! All Titles in 35mm
Beginning Wednesday March 14, Metrograph will present Burt Reynolds x 5. In an appreciation of Reynolds, on the occasion of the release of his directorial debut, Gator (1976), the Village Voice’s Molly Haskell wrote of Reynolds: “He is playful and quizzical, with the ability of a Fred Astaire or a Rock Hudson to deflect attention from himself to the woman beside him; he has the confidence of someone who’s physically there.” Reynolds, one of the great screen attractions of the 1970s following his breakthrough in Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972), was possessed of a screen presence defined by lightness of touch and twinkling bemusement, a feisty flirt who could get tough when the occasion demanded. It’s too easy to be underappreciated when you make it look as easy as Burt does—and as he returns to the screen in The Last Movie Star(2018), Metrograph has put together an assembly of some of his best blithe, breezy work in front of and behind the camera.
Deliverance (John Boorman/1972/109 mins/35mm) Reynolds and three of his fellow Atlanta businessman buddies head into the backwoods for what’s meant to be a little weekend canoe trip, and instead stumble across the hidden horrors of the old Southland. The endurance test crucible that they’ll pass through makes for pure, pulse-pounding cinema, and cuts deep into the question of what being a man means at the beginning of the 1970s—something that Reynolds’ persona would define and refine in years to come. Wednesday, March 14 - 7:00pm with Reynolds In-Person!
Gator (Burt Reynolds/1976/115 mins/35mm) Reynolds’ directorial debut—for a while he was the filmmaker-star peer of Clint Eastwood—is a sequel to 1973’s White Lightning, catching up with Okefenokee Swamp-dwelling outlaw moonshiner Gator McKlusky as he’s reluctantly recruited by the feds to penetrate the inner circle of Bama McCall (Jerry Reed), an ol’ pal of Gator’s who’s now running the rackets in Dunston County, Georgia. A combination of nimble comedy, bone-breaking action, romantic interludes with muckraking reporter Lauren Hutton, and a bunch of cats.
Semi-Tough (Michael Ritchie/1977/108 mins/35mm) Working from Dan Jenkins’s satirical novel, Ritchie (The Candidate, Smile) crafts this superb rom-com spoof of the 1970s-era human potential movement featuring Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson as Billy Clyde and Shake Tiller, NFL teammates and roommates forced by manager Robert Preston to add daughter Jill Clayburgh to their household, a touchy situation complicated still further by the fact that Shake is in the midst of exploring his feelings through a self-realization program.
Smokey and the Bandit (Hal Needham/1977/96 mins/35mm) An identifiable high point in the ‘70s trucker movie cycle and one of the biggest blockbusters of the decade, this crash-bang action comedy pits Burt’s Bandit (alongside real-live love Sally Fields), hauling a payload of contraband Coors beer from Texas to Georgia, against Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice, stopping only for a diablo sandwich and a Dr. Pepper while in hot pursuit of his man. Stunt coordinator extraordinaire Hal Needham directs this orchestra of vehicular mayhem, which Reynolds oversees with a lazy grin.
Breaking In (Bill Forsyth/1989/94 mins/35mm) Before Boogie Nights introduced a new generation to Reynolds the wry, wonderful character actor, he had among the finest roles of his middle age in Forsyth’s caper comedy, playing a retirement-ready safecracker working in Portland, Oregon who takes on young Casey Siemaszko as his overeager apprentice. A sweet- spirited character study from Forsyth (Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero), who discovers a new rueful charm in Reynolds’ old rogue persona.
Complete showtimes will be announced very shortly.