NYC Weekend Picks, Jan 27-29: Bruce Lee, Kubrick and Scorsese Classics, 70s Universal, and BEHEMOTH
Happy Year of the Rooster! And if, among the fireworks, parades, and consumption of chicken, duck, dumplings and longevity noodles, you can squeeze in some time for moviegoing, there's plenty to choose from.
Just in time for the Chinese New Year, The Museum of Modern Art salutes Chinese-American martial arts icon Bruce Lee with new 4K restorations of his kung fu classics;
IFC Center has a complete Stanley Kubrick retrospective;
Museum of the Moving Image's Martin Scorsese retrospective rolls on with three classics, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and New York, New York;
Metrograph looks back on the groundbreaking, iconoclastic films released by Universal Studios in the 1970s, and also premieres Behemoth, the latest film by premier Chinese documentarian Zhao Liang.
Click through the gallery below for further details.
Eternal Bruce Lee at The Museum of Modern Art
You could describe San Francisco-born, Hong Kong-raised kung-fu flick icon Bruce Lee as the James Dean of martial arts. To this day, he has had an immense impact and influence on not only movies, but American and Asian cultures in general, that remains just as strong as when he was alive, if not stronger. Lee's enduring fame very much belies the small body of film work he left behind: just five features released from 1971-1978, and only four completed before his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 33.
Lee projected an image of physical and mental strength, as well as charisma and virility, that made his astonishing physical skills transcend mere fighting scenes to become a magnetic kind of performance art. Culturally, he was an inspiration not only to Asians and Asian-Americans, but African-Americans as well. Bruce Lee's fame during his lifetime coincided with what came to be known as blaxploitation, and the image of Lee righteously fighting evil oppressors (notably those of the Caucasian variety) transfixed audiences in the grindhouses of 42nd Street, where Lee's films often played. Years later, Lee's films, as well as many other martial arts films, were staples on television; I fondly remember watching many of these on Saturday afternoons and later trying out the moves we saw on screen with friends in the neighborhood. Famously, Staten Island residents RZA and his cohorts of the Wu-Tang Clan took inspiration from Lee's films and many others of the genre to create their own enduring brand of hip-hop art.
This weekend's screenings:
Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection) (Lo Wei, 1972; Jan. 27, 7pm; Jan. 29, 6pm)
Game of Death (pictured) (Robert Clouse, Bruce Lee, and Sammo Hung, 1978; Jan. 28, 2:30pm)
The Big Boss (aka Fists of Fury) (Lo Wei, 1971; Jan. 28, 4:30pm)
The Way of the Dragon (Bruce Lee, 1972; Jan. 28, 7pm)
Enter the Dragon (Robert Clouse, 1973; Jan. 29, 3:30pm)
All films except Enter the Dragon are the North American premieres of new 4K restorations. Enter the Dragon will screen in a week-long run throughout the series, which runs through February 4.