In the waning days of Summer, Nitehawk will be celebrating death on the screen with a series of brunch films that dwell on death and what comes after it. For the Midnights, we’re getting animated, with a wide selection of films that explore traditional animation, rotoscoping and even CG.
Hatched’s Summer Movie Guide
August 3 and August 4; Midnight: The Transformers: The Movie (1986) – 35mm presentation | Tickets
Dir. Nelson Shin
You’ve got the touch! We’re starting off our month of animated midnights with a big bowl of toy-schilling sugar cereal: The Transformers. Made back before the robots in disguise fired canisters of Mountain Dew or had giant wrecking ball testicles, the Transformers’ first foray onto the big screen has some surprisingly dark moments, boldly sending many of the line’s most popular heroes to the scrap heap. Not only does it feature voice work from two of the medium’s all time greats, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, but the cast also boasts heavyweights like Orson Welles (see what I did there?), Leonard Nimoy, Scatman Crothers, Robert Stack, Casey Kasem and Eric Idle. Presented on the big screen in glorious 35mm.
August 4 and August 5; Noon: Love and Death (1975) | Tickets
Dir. Woody Allen
What if Woody Allen were a character in a Dostoyevsky novel? That’s the basic premise to Allen’s 1975 comedy, Love and Death. Made between two of his biggest hits, Sleeper and Annie Hall, Love and Death shows the comedian in transition from broad slapstick to more well-rounded dramatic work. In the film, Allen plays a Russian pacifist who’s dragged into the Napoleonic Wars against his will, and paying a pretty hefty price for it.
August 4 and August 5; 12:15 pm: Country Brunchin’ Presents Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – 35mm presentation | Tickets
Dir. Hal Needham
Our second 35mm presentation in August is to kick off our new monthly brunch series, Country Brunchin’, and we’re starting with the ultimate good ol’ boy: The Bandit. See Burt Reynolds at his most charming team up with Jerry Reed, Sally Field and a burger-eatin’ hound dog to outrun Smokey and deliver 400 cases of frosty Coors to a big fancy party. Get there early to hear a set from Nitehawk’s resident shit-kickers The Gentlement Callers at 11:30, and during the show we’ll be serving up special Chicken Fried Steak and ice cold Coors bootlegged fresh from Texas (… okay, that’s not true, Coors is a lot easier to come by now).
August 10 and August 11; Midnight: Fantastic Planet (1973) with Live Score by Morricone Youth | Tickets
Dir. René Laloux
The French/Czech animated film Fantastic Planet is one that’s difficult to shake. The film depicts a future where humans have become both pets and pests to the massive species known as the Draags. The rich detail of the artwork mixed with odd, stilted movement is akin to Terry Gilliam’s work in “Flying Circus,” but without his overtly silly hand at the helm. The result is a film that’s surreal, wild and, well, fantastic. The film will be accompanied by an original score by New York based band Morricone Youth.
August 11 and August 12; Noon: Defending Your Life (1991) | Tickets
Dir. Albert Brooks
When an advertising executive (Brooks) dies in a car accident, he finds himself in Judgement City, a pit stop on the road to the afterlife. Killing time at purgatory’s best free buffets and comedy clubs, Brooks must defend the choices he made in life to earn a spot in the next plane of existence. This whimsical comedy didn’t conquer the box office, but did well with critics, who were smitten with Brooks’s take on life, death and whatever comes after that.
August 17 and August 18; Midnight: Wizards (1977) | Tickets
Dir. Ralph Bakshi
From the oddity of Fantastic Planet to the creepiness of Ralph Bakshi, our animation month is riddled with images that, while beautiful, are somewhat unsettling. The bulk of animator Ralph Bakshi’s work veers into the latter category. More animator than storyteller, Bakshi’s work often feels incomplete (especially his adaptation of Lord of the Rings, which just sort of stops rather than ends), but his most successful film, 1977’s Wizards, is likely his most coherent and complete work. In the film, two wizards face off against one another, with the good using the power of magic, and the evil using the industrial strength of technology.
August 17 and August 18; Midnight: Top Gun (1986) with Live Comedy from The Raspberry Bros. | Tickets
Dir. Tony Scott
This month The Raspberry Bros will be tearing into the ultimate in pure, uncut 80’s cheese: Top Gun. Come for Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer flexing it up during cinema’s most homoerotic game of Volleyball, stay for the riffing.
August 18 and August 19; Noon: Better Off Dead (1985) | Tickets
Dir. Savage Steve Holland
I didn’t ask for a dime! Two dollars! Two dollars! CASH *rides off on BMX*
August 24 and August 25; Midnight: Starship Troopers (1997) | Tickets
Dir. Paul Verhoven
Many didn’t get Paul Verhoven’s epic satire Starship Troopers when it was released as a typical CG laden war film in 1997. Verhoven used Robert Heinlein’s original novel, which advocates a kind of militaristic fascist society, as a cudgel against itself. Steeped in satire, the film depicts Heinlein’s rigid society as a cartoonish update of Nazi Germany, and Verhoven drives the point home by using many of the same cinematic techniques as Hitler’s propaganda machine. Coupled with some still impressive CG, and hammy performances from Casper Van Dien (a hometown hero for co-editor Caryn), Denise Richards and, everyone’s favorite, Neil Patrick Harris, Starship Troopers is still a lot of fun. IT’S AFRAID!
August 25 and August 26; Noon: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) | Tickets
Dir. Baz Luhrmann
Switching out swords for guns and Elizabethan garb for jeans and Hawaiian shirts, Baz Luhrmann’s modernization of Shakespeare’s play put the director on the worldwide map. While wildly stylized with some remarkable set pieces, Romeo + Juliet is almost overwhelmingly geared towards the MTV crowd. It makes for an interesting slice of 90’s culture, one that attempts to elevate its aesthetic by retaining Shakespeare’s dialogue while keeping its audience pleased with its fresh cast and a contemporary soundtrack from The Cardigans, Radiohead, and Garbage.