Being There - double featured with BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET!
Dec 21 to Dec 23
Sunday to Tuesday 3:30, 8:30
Dir. Hal Ashby - 1979 - 130m
Subtitled "a story of chance," this is a provocative black comedy -- a wonderful tale that satirizes politics, celebrity, media-obsession and television. The subtle film's slogan proclaimed: "Getting there is half the fun. Being there is all of it." It is a placid fable about Chance (Peter Sellers), a reclusive, illiterate, passive and simple-minded gardener who is well-groomed, fed on schedule, and dressed in custom-tailored suits, has lived his whole sheltered life on the walled-in estate of an eccentric millionaire named Jennings (his father?). His only knowledge of the "real" outside world, an encroaching inner-city ghetto area, is through watching television. His meals have always been prepared by the estate's black cook Louise (Ruth Attaway).
The film was directed by director Hal Ashby (already known for Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Bound for Glory (1976), and the acclaimed Vietnam war film Coming Home (1978)). The politically-satirical, overly-long film about mistaken identity and the television age was adapted from a 1971 novel by Jerzy Kosinski, with Sellers in a chameleon-like role in his second-to-last film. His role is a forerunner to the mentally-challenged Tom Hanks character in Forrest Gump (1994).
The film had two Academy Awards nominations, including Best Actor for Sellers for his superb understated performance, and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Melvyn Douglas.
"Here is a comedy that valiantly defies both gravity and the latest Hollywood fashion." - Frank Rich, TIME Magazine
"A highly unusual and an unusually fine film." - Variety
"No one seems to know what to do with the allegorical undertone of Jerzy Kosinski's script, but as a whole this 1979 film maintains a fine level of wit, sophistication, and insight." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Hal Ashby directs Being There at an unruffled, elegant pace, the better to let Mr. Sellers's double-edged mannerisms make their full impression upon the audience." - Janet Maslin, New York Times
Brother From Another Planet - double featured with BEING THERE!
Dec 21 to Dec 23
Sunday to Tuesday 6pm ONLY!
Dir. John Sayles - 1984 - 109m - No matinees
Filmmaker John Sayles' first bonafide box-office success, Brother from Another Planet centers on a black escaped slave from a faraway planet (Joe Morton) who finds himself on the mean streets Harlem. Though the locals are put off by the slave's inability to speak, they are won over by his technical wizardry. He is adopted as a "brother" by his new friends, who protect him from pursuing white aliens played by director Sayles and David Strathairn.
"It manages to seamlessly mix wit, slapstick, poignancy and politics." - Bob Westal, Film Threat
"Sayles has done a pile of great films, and this is one of the best." - Scott Weinberg, eFilmCritic.com
"An excellent example of what can be achieved with a very small budget and a good screenplay." - James O'Ehley, Sci-Fi Movie Page
"brave and pure " - Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central