July 30, 2013

A Double-Feature On The Deuce

Last night, I had a lovely evening at the movies on 42nd Street.  I went to the newish summer film THE HEAT, featuring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Though I love both these actresses, I was truly drawn to the film because of its director, Paul Feig, who also helmed the summer smash BRIDESMAIDS. That film was one of my favorites of 2011 (though I actually didn't see it until 2012!) and one of the smartest comedies I had seen in a long while. Feig's work reminds me somewhat of Preston Sturges, one of my old time fave directors and a personal inspiration to me as well. He gets the screwy in screwball comedy while, at the same time, keeps the characters real and grounded in the world--something even Sturges (to high comic effect) often dispensed with. And THE HEAT is squarely in that tradition, though a more violent type of comedy with the slapstick elements taken to hilarious extremes.

THE HEAT was playing at the huge AMC 25 screen monster-plex on 42nd where tickets are now $14.50. Fortunately, the second half of our planned double feature was free, making it a deal almost as a 2-for-1 night. We took a slow stroll down 42nd (jammed with Euro-tourists even on a Monday) to Bryant Park where the free outdoor screenings have been going on now for almost 20 years to see Billy Wilder's A FOREIGN AFFAIR. This is one of my top Wilder flicks, and one that doesn't get as much play due to its grim setting and dark storyline. But leave it to Wilder to find the humor in devastated post-war Berlin, which he does to great effect while also making a steamy romantic comedy too (Marlene Dietrich helps on that front). Anyway, it was easy to get a seat shortly after showtime maybe because the film was not the usual Bryant Park blockbuster. And the film looked great on the supersized screen. All in all, a lovely night at the movies on ol' 42nd street!

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