Slapstick With a Stiff Upper Lip
Frank Cullen, founder of the American Vaudeville Museum and author of Vaudeville Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America, is launching a series of classic film screenings at the Guild Cinema starting this weekend. Cullen will be on hand to host the inaugural festival, titled The British Are Coming! This four-day fest features classic films from the Golden Age of Comedy. Four films from England’s legendary Ealing Studios are slated for screening: 1951’s The Man in the White Suit; 1959’s I’m All Right Jack; 1949’s Whiskey Galore; and 1950’s The Happiest Days of Your Life. Admission prices are $7 per film or $10 per double feature. Cullen will be there to introduce each film and lead an audience discussion between double features. Trust me, the man knows his stuff. Future incarnations of this intermittent, yearlong festival will include When Comedy Was King in Hollywood (Sept. 17-22), The British Are Back (December) and Clowns and Idols of the Silent Screen (early 2011). For more info, log on to guildcinema.com or vaudeville.org.
Still Smashing Lightbulbs
An interview with writer/director Harmony Korine
At the tender age of 19, Harmony Korine wrote the controversy-courting screenplay for Larry Clark’s the-kids-are-not-alright opus Kids. He followed that by writing and directing a couple of bizarro, nihilistic dramas (or are they comedies?) about disaffected youth and their demented families (Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy). In 2002, he reunited with Larry Clark for the seedy suburban drama Ken Park (a film so blunt in its depiction of sex, drugs and violence among teens that it’s still not available on DVD in America). In 2007, he directed his slickest, most expensive and most puzzling indie film, Mister Lonely. Now, in 2010, comes Trash Humpers, the 37-year-old Korine’s tribute to ... well, it’s hard to say.
British revenge thriller bobbles the tone but nails the cast
Sure, you could be reductive and simplistic and write off Harry Brown as a belated British remake of Death Wish, but ... actually, come to think of it, you wouldn’t be far off the mark if you did.
Good News, Everyone!
“Futurama” on Comedy Central
When FOX announced it was bringing “Family Guy” back from cancellation following a hugely successful rerun stint on Cartoon Network, I wasn’t what you’d call super stoked. Personally, I didn’t find “Family Guy” funny the first time around, and I don’t find it funny now. But the decision to revive it made damn good business sense and was an amusing “screw you” to the programming executives who axed the show in the first place.