Hey Central Cinema fans! We want to thank everyone for a great first month, during which time we’ve covered a lot of ground movie-wise and gotten a slightly better idea of what sort of stuff y’all are into. But we’re still experimenting with formats, and we’re particularly excited about this coming week’s program.
On September 23 our friends at the American Genre Film Archive are celebrating Art House Theater Day by releasing director John Landis’ debut feature SCHLOCK back into the wild. Written and directed by Landis when he was just 21 years old, the low budget creature-feature sendup (rated PG and not inappropriate for older children) promises to be a pretty fun time at the movies. (Schlock screens Sunday at 1pm, 3pm and 7:15pm.)
Having booked Schlock for this one-day engagement (an honor we share with just a handful of other arthouses across the country) we agreed pretty quickly on how to frame it: a hit-and-run mini-retrospective of Landis’ heyday as one of the 1980s’ most thoughtful and dependable comic filmmakers.
Landis’ repertoire is so stacked that classics like Animal House, Trading Places and Three Amigos! didn’t even make the cut this time around. But we’re that much more excited about the ones we’ve chosen!
Our Landis tribute kicks off with the first and most essential SNL screen spinoff, which parlayed John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd's unexpected R&B success as THE BLUES BROTHERS into an odyssey of car chases, magical realism and cracking musical numbers from a murderer's row of blues & soul greats, including the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. (The Blues Brothers screens Friday at 1pm & 7pm and Saturday at 3:45pm.)
The series continues with Landis’ second Eddie Murphy collaboration, 1988’s COMING TO AMERICA. Spotlighting Murphy’s charm as a romantic lead and introducing his tendency to sop up makeup-heavy supporting roles in his own films, the royal fish-out-of-water story became an instant milestone and eventual classic among mainstream black comedies. (Coming To America screens Friday at 4pm and Saturday at 1pm & 7pm.)
Our mini-restrospective then finishes out with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, Landis’ most indelible film and an indisputable touchstone in the Central Cinema team’s own taste in movies. A witty and sophisticated spin on the wolfman genre that may double as its defining work, American Werewolf blends comedy and real horror in a way that far too few films have equaled. (An American Werewolf in London screens Friday at 10pm, Saturday at 10pm, and Sunday at 5pm and 9:15pm.)
And if famously crowd-pleasing comedies somehow aren’t your thing, this week also sees the debut of Kelly Robinson’s “Enjoy The Silents” film series (kicking off with the 1920 crime thriller THE PENALTY Wednesday at 8pm) and the return of our Martial Arts Theatre series (screening RETURN OF THE 5 DEADLY VENOMS Thursday at 8pm.)
See you at the movies!