2X: JOHN CARPENTER, BILLY WILDER, MICHAEL MANN, JACKIE CHAN
Our first 2023 calendar offers double doses (presented over two consecutive weeks) of four very different and highly idiosyncratic auteurs. The first two features of celebrated genre director John Carpenter provide a glimpse into Carpenter’s developing style (Dark Star) and a fully-realized embodiment of that style (Assault on Precinct 13). Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is represented by two wonderful but lesser-known comedies: one from his first decade of filmmaking (A Foreign Affair) and one from his last (Avanti!). Thief and Heat are two highly stylized and critically acclaimed crime films of Chicago-born Michael Mann, and both will be shown on 35mm prints! The amazing martial arts acrobatics of the legendary actor-producer Jackie Chan will be on full display when we screen one entry from each of the popular film series that definitively established his big screen persona: Drunken Master II and Police Story III: Supercop.
- Sat., Feb. 18 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Bearded space bros travel the galaxy blowing up unstable planets, clearing the way for future Earth colonies. Along the way, they do battle with a beachball-shaped “pet” alien and argue with “smart” bombs as well as each other. John Carpenter’s seminal stoner sci-fi spoof takes aim at tropes established by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, while also providing proof of concept for co-screenwriter/star O’Bannon’s next project; 1979’s Alien. (BR)
- Sat., Feb. 25 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
One of the very best independent movies of the 1970s takes place in a soon-to-be-defunct inner city police station. When a massive, marauding mob of criminals lay siege to the practically empty building, it’s up to one lone cop, a secretary, and a mysterious prisoner to defend Precinct 13. Though neither a traditional Western or zombie movie, writer/director/music composer Carpenter’s second feature plays like a pulse-pounding hybrid of Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead. A new 4K restoration from the American Genre Film Archive will be screened!
- Sat., Apr. 1 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In his finest lead performance, Caan plays Frank, a home-invading safecracker and ex-convict living and working by a strict code. He has a reliable partner in Barry (Jim Belushi) and a mentor in the still-behind-bars Okla (Willie Nelson). When a Chicago mob outfit recruits Frank for some high-end heists, the thief finds his entire way of life in jeopardy, especially his new marriage with Jessie (Weld). Writer/director Mann’s first theatrical feature, with its neon-lit nightworld pulsating to the music of Tangerine Dream, is one of the most exciting and stylish debuts of the 1980s.
- Sat., Apr. 8 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
A group of L.A. police detectives, led by Vincent Hanna (Pacino) are closing in on a clever, well-armed group of thieves, led by Neil McCauley (De Niro). Cross-cutting between the cops and criminals, writer-director Mann explores their codes of personal behavior, their working methods, and their relationships with women, finding more similarities than differences. Ditching plans to film in Chicago just before production began, Mann nonetheless delivered one of the definitive Los Angeles movies, and one of the greatest crime epics of our time.
- Fri., Apr. 21 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Returning as Wong Fei-hung 16 years after Drunken Master established his big screen persona as an ingenious comic acrobat and fighter, Jackie Chan outdoes the original with this sequel’s series of stupefying stunt set pieces. While taking on crooks selling Imperial Chinese treasures, our hero finds himself in jaw-dropping fights that take place under a train, in a busy marketplace, and, ultimately, in an iron foundry where Jackie must contend with a plethora of hot coals! A new 4K DCP of the original international version will be screened.
- Sat., Apr. 22 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Berlin, 1947: a congressional delegation is headed to a war-torn Berlin to evaluate military morale. U.S. Representative Phoebe Frost of Iowa (Arthur) is particularly concerned with the whereabouts of Erika von Schlütow (Dietrich, giving a career-best performance), a cabaret singer rumored to have been the mistress of high-ranking Nazi officials. Phoebe enlists Captain Pringle (Lund), one of her constituents stationed in Berlin, to aid in her investigation, blithely unaware that Pringle and Erika are lovers. A romantic farce colored by striking tones of lingering wartime danger, A Foreign Affair remains one of legendary writer/director Wilder’s most underrated comedies. (JB)
- Fri., Apr. 28 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The third chapter in the internationally popular action saga finds Jackie Chan’s HK Inspector teamed up with Yeoh’s cop from mainland China in order to bust up a drug smuggling ring. Quentin Tarantino said Supercop has “the greatest stunts ever filmed in any movie ever" and we are pretty sure he was thinking about Yeoh’s driving a motorcycle onto a moving train and Chan’s jumping from the sixth story of a building onto the rope ladder of a helicopter! A new DCP of the original international version, running eight minutes longer than the 1996 U.S. release version, will be shown.
- Sat., Apr. 29 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Be careful what you say when someone asks you ‘Permesso,?’” reads the poster tagline of Wilder’s Italian-set comedy. Wilder perennial Lemmon plays Wendell Armbruster, an uptight married American executive who turns up on the Mediterranean coast to claim the body of his dead father. Slowly, Armbruster falls in love with the daughter (the radiant Mills) of his father’s unknown-to-him mistress, discovering he has more in common with his old man than he thought.