So Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia and Harry Brown just aren't enough incentive to venture indoors this Memorial Day weekend? Allow us to point out a couple of movie-going alternatives. Night owls are directed to The Belcourt's midnight movie tonight and Saturday night: the 1980 Flash Gordon, which we love without a speck of irony. From this week's Scene:
“He’s for every one of us! Stands for every one of us!” Furthering one of the least predictable careers in cinema — would you have pictured the same man making the 1971 Get Carter, the icy Michael Crichton thriller The Terminal Man and Morons from Outer Space? — director Mike Hodges turned this 1980 revamping of the Alex Raymond comic strip into eye-popping glam psychedelia, keyed to Queen’s glorious cheez-opera score. Dubbed blond beefcake Sam J. Jones plays N.Y. Jets quarterback Flash Gordon, waylaid to the planet Mongo with ingénue Melody Anderson and mad scientist Topol; only he, some brawny hawkmen and the crime-fighting pipes of Freddie Mercury can defeat ruthless emperor Ming the Merciless — Max von Sydow, having more fun than seems humanly possible in a 70-pound space-villain suit. As designed by Fellini’s frequent collaborator Danilo Donati (the maestro himself almost directed), the movie’s a lollipop-colored riot of butterscotch skies, Day-Glo landscapes and Art Deco futurism, with Batman TV-show scribe Lorenzo Semple Jr.’s spot-on space-camp dialogue delivered by a suitably oddball cast: future 007 Timothy Dalton, Lina Wertmuller sexbomb Mariangela Melato, even Look Back in Anger playwright John Osborne. The icing on this delectably garish cake: a strong contender for the top five opening-credits sequences ever.
"No! Not the bore worms!" But if Flash isn't your camp of tea, this weekend starts a two-film retro at The Belcourt curated by guest programmer Harmony Korine, who has a film of his own opening at the theater. Perhaps not what you'd expect as one of Korine's choices, 1974's Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is one of Clint Eastwood's best mid-’70s vehicles:
From this week's Scene:
First up is this fluky, unpredictable 1974 caper film — the promising debut of director Michael Cimino, who went on to mount a dizzying two-film rise and fall with his next projects, The Deer Hunter and the unfairly reviled Heaven’s Gate. Much of its charm rests on the rapport between grizzled bank robber Clint Eastwood and puppyish neophyte Jeff Bridges, an odd pairing on paper that proves winningly well-matched — especially once Bridges turns up in a dress. (We told you it was unpredictable.) Co-starring Geoffrey Lewis and a sadistic George Kennedy, it plays Saturday and Sunday only. Next up: a rarer-than-rare one-night screening of Jean Eustache’s post-Nouvelle Vague masterpiece The Mother and the Whore.