Cinematalk Podcast #21: DEMONS & Heavy Metal Movies, with Mike McPadden

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

A perfect companion to the Cinematheque's presentation of Demons, this episode of Cinematalk, features Jim Healy in conversation with writer and cinephile Mike McPadden. McPadden is author of two positively essential film guides, the recently published Teen Movie Hell and, now in its third printing, Heavy Metal Movies, a compendium that describes Demons as "Italy’s hallucinogenic meta-commentary on its own berserk splatter movies of the ‘80s." McPadden has provided commentary tracks for several home video releases on blu-ray, and he’s also the co-host of two other podcasts we highly recommend, Crackpot Cinema, co-presented with TV writer Aaron Lee, and 70 Movies We Saw in the 70s, co-hosted with the Cinematheque’s Ben Reiser.  

Listen to Cinematalk below, or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

A Halloween Treat: See DEMONS For Free!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

While the Cinematheque’s regular cinema screening spaces remained indefinitely closed, our series of free, view-at-home movies continues over this Halloween weekend with Demons a 1980s cult horror movie that, among other things, plays with the notion of movie theaters as a source for viral infection…and demonic possession.

DEMONS (Italy, 1985, 88 min.) Demons is Italy’s hallucinogenic meta-commentary on its own berserk splatter movies of the ‘80s. The film takes place in a theater showing a berserk splatter movie from Italy. The movie-within-a-movie features a silver monster mask that transforms its wearer into a demon. The same mask is on display in the lobby. In fact, on her way inside, a hooker cut herself on the mask. Before long, the prostitute’s wound spews goo, and she grotesquely mutates into a demon a lot like the one up on screen. From there, Demons is an electrically kinetic orgy of body-breaking and gore-spraying, as one patron after another gets bitten and infected, flailing wildly in some truly awesome monster makeup” (Mike McPadden, Heavy Metal Movies).

Filmed in Berlin on brilliantly designed sets, Demons is produced and co-written by Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, in collaboration with director Lamberto Bava, son of the Godfather of Italian horror, Mario Bava. The soundtrack for this fun, stylish, and deliriously over-the-top scarefest features a pulsating score from Goblin’s Claudio Simonetti and a plethora of pop, rock, and metal songs from artists like Saxon, Rick Springfield, Go West, Billy Idol, and Pretty Maids.

From October 29 through November 1 only, the Cinematheque is offering unlimited home viewing of the original, uncut version of Demons. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word DEMONS in the subject line.

Another Halloween treat, Xia Magnus' Sanzaru, is also still available for free viewing-at-home through November 5. Learn how here on our blog.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Jim Healy talks Demons with writer and cinephile Mike McPadden. McPadden is the author of two positively essential film guides, the recently published Teen Movie Hell and, now in its third printing, Heavy Metal Movies, a compendium that describes itself as “Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear and Eye ripping big scream films ever!” McPadden has provided commentary tracks for several home video releases on blu-ray, and he’s also the co-host of two other podcasts we highly recommend, Crackpot Cinema, co-presented with TV writer Aaron Lee, and 70 Movies We Saw in the 70s, co-hosted with the Cinematheque’s Ben Reiser.

Listen to Cinematalk below or subscribe through Apple Podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #20: SANZARU, with Xia Magnus

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In conjunction with the Cinematheque's free view-at-home screening of Wisconsin native Xia Magnus' Sanzaru, this episode of Cinematalk features our own Ben Resier in discussion with Xia Magnus.

A young director who spent much of his youth here in Madison, Xia has been wowing audiences at Wisconsin Film Festival and beyond since 2016 with his short films Hunter and Round River (Golden Badger Award, 2016 WFF). Xia Magnus talks about his approach to storytelling, his horror film inspirations, filming in Texas, and working with his Mom. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

See Wisconsin Film Festival Selection SANZARU for Free!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues with another selection of the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival, the chilling and evocative Sanzaru, directed by Wisconsin native Xia Magnus. Sanzaru made its world premiere earlier in 2020 at the Slamdance Film Festival.

SANZARU (USA, 2020, 88 min.) Strange things start happening on a run-down Texas ranch where a young Filipina nurse (Aina Dumlao) works as a live-in caregiver for an elderly matriarch (Jayne Taini) slipping into dementia. This deeply unsettling modern day gothic marks the feature directorial debut of Xia Magnus whose prize-winning short films have been featured in other recent Wisconsin Film Festivals. Magnus establishes a mood of quiet dread right from the start, and as the screws tighten in this well constructed slow-burner, the atmosphere becomes almost unbearably tense. Gorgeously photographed by Mark Khalifé and featuring a note-perfect lead performance by Dumlao, Sanzaru expertly balances traditional genre thrills and chills with a deeper, more contemporary examination of the complications that result from buried secrets and repressed childhood trauma. (Ben Reiser)

Beginning October 22 for a limited time, the Cinematheque is providing an opportunity to watch Sanzaru for free at home. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word SANZARU in the subject line. 

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks to Xia Magnus about his approach to storytelling, his horror film inspirations, filming in Texas, and working with his Mom. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk here through Apple Podcasts.

Cinematalk Podcast #19: THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

In support of the Wisconsin Science Festival and the Cinematheque’s virtual engagement of a classic science fiction double feature, this episode features Cinematheque Programmers Jim Healy and Ben Reiser in a spoiler filled-conversation about The Incredible Shrinking Man. For an equally fun and digressive discussion on Silent Running, we invite you to listen to a new episode of another podcast, 70 Movies We Saw in the 70s, co-hosted by Mike McPadden and Cinematheque Programmer Ben Reiser. Listen to both podcasts below or subscibe to Cinematalk and 70 Movies through Apple Podcasts.

See a Classic Sci-Fi Double Feature for Free Oct 15-18!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies brings you, for a very limited time, a double feature of Hollywood science-fiction classics that were originally selected to play in the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival. These two clever and thought-provoking gems are presented with the support of the Wisconsin Science Festival, October 15-18.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1956, USA, 81 min.) “The mist...That mist!” After being exposed to an ominous cloud while relaxing at sea, everyman Scott Carey (Grant Williams) discovers that he is suddenly shrinking in stature. At first, Scott’s condition causes tension in his marriage, then he must contend with the media when he becomes a national curiosity. Soon down to a tiny fraction of his former size, the title character finds himself in a strange new world fraught with danger that comes from previously harmless things around his house, like his pet cat, a leaky water heater, and a basement spider. Working with a clever, literate screenplay by science fiction and fantasy giant Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone), the talented Universal Pictures contract director Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space) manages to deliver action-packed, ingeniously devised special effects sequences while keeping a firm grip on Matheson’s powerful, existential subtext and awe-inspiring conclusion. 

SILENT RUNNING (1972, USA, 89 min.) This science fiction cult classic is set in a future when all organic plant life has disappeared from earth. A wild-eyed Bruce Dern plays Freeman Lowell, one of four human voyagers eight years into their mission aboard the space vessel Valley Forge. Assigned to watch over the geodesic domes that protect and nourish the last remnants of trees and vegetation, Lowell is the only one of his comrades who is devastated when orders are given to destroy the forests. Lowell’s impulsive reaction sends him and his plants hurtling toward Saturn, accompanied only by three drones he re-names Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Silent Running marked the directorial debut of genius special effects creator Douglas Trumbull, celebrated for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Working from a script written by Michael Cimino and Deric Washburn, future collaborators on The Deer Hunter, with an assist from soon-to-be-TV-colossus Steven Bochco, Trumbull crafted an unforgettable tale of survival and a potent ecological warning. The wonderful costumes, production design, and miniature effects later influenced a number of other sci-fi milestones from Star Wars to Alien to Interstellar. 

Beginning at 12 a.m. on Thursday, October 15, the Cinematheque will present a virtual cinema engagement of The Incredible Shrinking Man and Silent Running that you will be able to watch at home for free. The engagement ends Sunday, October 18 at 12 midnight. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word SCIFI in the subject line. 

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, join Cinematheque Programmers Jim Healy and Ben Reiser in a spoiler filled-conversation about The Incredible Shrinking Man. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

For a fun and digressive discussion on Silent Running, we invite you to listen to a new episode of another podcast, 70 Movies We Saw in the 70s, co-hosted by Mike McPadden and Cinematheque Programmer Ben Reiser. Listen below or subscribe to 70 Movies through Apple Podcasts.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #18: SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF with Ira Deutchman

Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

As part of the Cinematheque’s tribute to the legendary independent distribution company Cinema 5, this episode of Cinematalk features an interview with Ira Deutchmann, director of Searching for Mr. Rugoff, and himself an important and influential figure in independent movie distribution. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

See SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF & GIMME SHELTER for Free!

Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

Beginning October 8 for a limited time, the Cinematheque continues its series of free movies to watch at home with two feature length documentaries that were both originally selected to screen at the cancelled 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival. Seen together, both movies offer a tribute to Cinema 5, a pioneering distributor of American independent and international films.

SEARCHING FOR MR. RUGOFF (2019, USA, 94 min.) One of the most influential people in the history of independent movies, Donald Rugoff was a New York theater chain owner who later founded his own distribution company, Cinema 5. With a gruff, and sometimes downright impossible personality, Rugoff kicked art films into the mainstream with outrageous marketing schemes and pure bluster. Some of his most successful releases included Costa-Gavras’ Z, Lina Wertmuller’s Swept Away, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Robert Downey's Putney Swope, and the legendary Rolling Stones documentary, Gimme Shelter. His impact on the art film business is undeniable. Yet, mysteriously, Rugoff has become a virtually forgotten figure. In Searching for Mr. Rugoff director Ira Deutchman, himself an important figure in independent releasing, sets out to find the truth about the man who had such a major impact on his life, and uncovers some surprising and poignant truths. “An enthralling documentary that movie buffs everywhere will want to see. Don Rugoff… had a dream, and Searching for Mr. Rugoff is an infectious salute to what that dream was: a place where cinema could live” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety)

GIMME SHELTER (1970, USA, 91 min.) In late 1969, at the peak of their popularity, the Rolling Stones agreed to appear at a festival rock concert at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. This ultimately disastrous event, ending in mayhem and murder, has come to be considered by many as the symbolic nail in the coffin of the 1960s. Interviewed after Altamont, and captured at other venues on their tour by a camera crew that included George Lucas, Joan Churchill, and This is Spinal Tap cinematographer Peter Smokler, the Stones are spellbinding subjects and stage presences, as they perform classics like “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” and “Under My Thumb.” Originally released by Cinema 5, Donald Rugoff’s distribution company, Gimme Shelter was cut to earn a PG rating. Uncensored in this digital restoration, the movie also has a revamped Dolby Stereo soundtrack. In the 50 years since its original release, Gimme Shelter has steadily been regarded as one of the greatest of all “rockumentaries.” Join us as we celebrate a half century of this exhilarating and haunting classic. 

Beginning October 8, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view both Searching for Mr. Rugoff and Gimme Shelter at home for free. To receive access, send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and simply include the word RUGOFF, in the subject line.

And, on a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, Cinematheque Director of Programming Jim Healy interviews Ira Deutchmann, director of Searching for Mr. Rugoff. Listen below or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Plus, limited free access is still available for previous Cinematheque selections Can You Hear Us Now?, Jazz on a Summer's Day, and Narrowsburg, the latter two movies were also 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selections. Click on each title to learn how to gain access. Separate emails are required for each request.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

Cinematalk Podcast #17: CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? with Jim Cricchi and Susan Peters

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

Tieing-in with the Cinematheque's presentation of Can You Hear Us Now?  this new episode of Cinematalk features director Jim Cricchi and writer/producer Susan Peters discussing their documentary and the Wisconsin electoral process. Jim and Susan first came to our programmer's attention with the short documentary, Los Lecheros, which premiered at our 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival. Jim and Susan were scheduled to present Can You Hear Us Now? at the 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival, so we are delighted to have them for this Q&A session.

See CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? For Free!

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Posted by Jim Healy

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies continues this week with another opportunity to see a 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selection: Can You Hear Us Now? from filmmakers Jim Cricchi and Susan Peters.

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? (2020, USA, 87 min.) After “Act 10” protests and a Supreme Court gerrymandering case, a potent question lingered in the minds of Wisconsinites: what happens when your government stops listening? The answer is contained in this — Wisconsin’s own version of Knock Down the House. Can You Hear Us Now?  gives us an intimate, on the ground view of several assembly and state-wide races from the 2018 midterm elections, focusing on the campaigns of some fresh-faced female Democratic candidates. As the women crusade against strict voter I.D. laws, gerrymandering, and the Republican establishment, they expose the inequities in our state’s current electoral process. The film becomes a bracing document, laying bare the state of our state. (Ben Reiser)

Beginning October 1, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view Can You Hear Us Now? at home for free. To receive access, simply send an email to info@cinema.wisc.edu, and make sure to include the word DEMOCRACY in the subject line. 

To read more about Can You Hear Us Now? check out Rob Thomas in The Capital Times and Catherine Capellaro in Isthmus.

On a new episode of our Cinematalk podcast, the Cinematheque's Ben Reiser leads a discussion with Can You Hear Us Now? director Jim Cricchi and producer Susan Peters. Listen below or here on Soundcloud or subscribe to Cinematalk through Apple Podcasts.

Plus, limited free access is still available for previous Cinematheque selections Jazz on a Summer's Day, Werner Herzog's NomadFeels Good Man, and Narrowsburg, the latter three movies were also 2020 Wisconsin Film Festival selections. Click on each title to learn how to gain access. Separate emails are required for each request.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.

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