January 27th, 2012 | by WW Arts & Culture Staff Movies & Television |

Before You Watch The Grey, Watch These Three Movies

     
Tags: the grey
the-red-shoesThe Red Shoes has been restored with the support of Martin Scorsese.
With its bloody Liam Neeson-on-wolf action, blockbuster The Grey, which opens in cinemas today, is going to generating all the buzz this weekend. You can slum it in multiplexes full of soda-slurping teenagers if you want, but here's what we'll be watching:

Suspiria
Italian shock purveyor Dario Argento’s films, from quality splatterfests such as 1980’s Inferno to his almost unwatchable latter-day catalog, are frequently unintelligible chunks of loose exposition lumped between gruesome set pieces. 1977’s Suspiria—screening here on a rare 35 mm print—is no exception. The film takes a fairly simple premise (American ballerina Jessica Harper travels to a gothic European Juilliard run by a coven of witches) and renders it nearly incomprehensible. But the film’s surreal, unrelenting assault on comprehension is what makes Suspiria Argento’s enduring masterpiece. Like a slasher take on a David Lynch film, Suspiria feels like being immersed in somebody else’s nightmare. Argento bathes—nearly drowns—each scene in bright reds and glowing blues, augmenting tension and electrifying the gruesome murders. The throbbing synth score by Goblin—which recalls The Exorcist’s “Tubular Bells” with added monster noises—guides Harper through the school’s sprawling hallways and headlong into dead ends, traps and scenes of slaughter. Nothing makes sense in this glowing, pulsing world. Everything is a threat. It’s almost unbearably goofy. Yet Argento snares us in a mental bear trap, hypnotizing viewers into terrified submission as the seeds of future nightmares are planted in our minds. AP KRYZA. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The Red Shoes

A showbiz fairytale with a sting, this British classic by filmmaking duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is so satanic and dreamy that it inspired many people to become dancers, and others—Brian De Palma, Dario Argento—to make horror movies. Freshly restored with the support of Martin Scorsese, The Red Shoes offers sympathy for the devil, in this case a Russian ballet director based on Diaghilev and played by the incomparable Anton Walbrook. He seduces into his theatrical company a boy and a girl, a composer and a dancer. Life imitates Art; Art imitates Hell. “Colour by Technicolor,” announce the credits. As that spelling suggests, it’s a very British sort of Technicolor, loud and muddy. The Red Shoes is certainly something to see on the big screen, a ripe old chestnut roasting on an open fire. If you like ballet, it’s probably already a favorite. ALISTAIR ROCKOFF. 5th Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall St. 7 and 9:30 pm, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 27-28. 3 pm, Sunday, Jan 29.

An Evening With Joanna Priestly
Rendered in lovely 3-D animation with retro cartoon graphics, Portland animator Joanna Priestley’s new short Dear Pluto is Pixar-meets-Schoolhouse Rock with the titular planet personified as an outcast struggling to find his place in the universe. He’s an adorable rubber ball with a frown. Slam poet Taylor Mali provides indignant narration, making his case for Pluto’s return to planethood with his poem “Pizza.” After all, he points out, without Pluto to represent the pizza in the planetary mnemonic device (“my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas”), children everywhere would starve. PENELOPE BASS. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 934 Southwest Salmon St. 7 pm Saturday, Jan. 28. Joanna Priestley will attend the screening.

 
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