Film Forum

209 W. Houston Street,
New York, NY 10014

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Showing 126 - 150 of 187 comments

evmovieguy on August 15, 2005 at 2:47 pm

Yeah, the old Watts St. Film Forum was great. the theaters and the screens were much bigger. Not to take anything away from the Houston St. Film Forum mind you. I remember seeing Godard’s ‘Two or Three Things I Know About Her’ at the old Film Forum. It was in Cinemascope (or a comparable format) and the image was huge. Same for all the other ‘Scope stuff they showed there. The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Festivals were great as well. Speaking of not being able to get the same experience on home video, how about all these great films I saw at the FF Sci-Fi and Fantasy’s LSD Week. “The Big Cube” Lana Turner on acid! “Skidoo” Jackie Gleason on acid!!!!! “Taking Off” Buck Henry high on dope (ok that’s not too surprising). What do these films have in common? You cannot go out and rent them. MAYBE 'Skidoo’ is available in a bootleg or foreign release, but in general these films are hard to come by.

PKoch on August 15, 2005 at 2:10 pm

Right on, Irv. I haunted them all except for The Public Theater and the Bleecker Street Cinema. No, nothing will replace the ambience of a movie theater, the big screen, audience reaction. The Watts St. Film Forum seemed especially good that way, waiting outside on line, chatting with other fans, like kids queued up for a Saturday matinee, especially during the summer sci fi, fantasy and horror festivals.

evmovieguy on August 15, 2005 at 2:02 pm

Yankee Mike-

I agree with you. While their repertory schedule is decent it’s a bit on the inconsistent side. They need to bring back some of the programming they used to have. For some reason I remember more classic Holywood films and more sort of ‘off the beaten path’ Hollywood and foriegn stuff in the past at FF. I was at the 7pm “Gang’s All Here”/“Cobra Woman” screening last night (Sunday) and it was completely sold out. I know “Gang’s” is a hard one to come by and that’s probably why there was such a good turn out, but since the early 90s New York has lacked good repertory film programing. It used to happen all the time, now it just comes in waves and it’s dry until you get a Michael Powell festival at Walter Reade or a ‘Before the Code’ or a rare one like “Gang’s All Here” at Film Forum. Back in the day you had Thalia Soho & Uptown, The Regency, The Biograph, Cinema Village, Theater 80 St. Mark’s, The Public Theater, Bleecker Street Cinema, etc. all showing repertory. What happened?? Yeah..I know…home video, but does home video and DVD really replace the experience of seeing a film on the big screen? No way.
New York’s film schedule should be more active than it is these days. If the screening at Film Forum last night is any indication, there is still an audience who would go out and pay for good revival film here in the city.

YMike on July 25, 2005 at 2:42 pm

If you look at the calendar there are only 2 weeks of classic Hollywood films for the entire Summer/Fall. The Seven Year Itch playing now and “The Gang’s All Here” & “Cobra Woman” next month. (Both 1 week shows). I have no problem with a Samurai series because I know there are a lot of fans of those films. But I think more of the rest of the calendar could have been devoted to another classic Hollywood theme. 3 Hollywood films in 3 months is just not enough considering how many people buy memberships to the Film Forum. (Like myself.)

VincentParisi on July 25, 2005 at 12:46 pm

A number of people seem to be disappointed with this summer film program. Especially after the Paramount.

YMike on July 25, 2005 at 12:40 pm

I agree. I might be there once in the next few months. For the Carman Miranda/Alice Faye film. Hope there are better films on tap on the Fall/Winter schedule.

hardbop on July 22, 2005 at 10:01 am

Well, after practically living down on East Houston Street to see all those obscure Paramount Pre-Code films (many not even listed in the “Maltin Guide”) the Summer/Fall schedule doesn’t really float my boat. The big retro is a Samurai series, heavy on Kurosawa films. Not my cup of tea.

RobertR on July 13, 2005 at 2:29 pm

The Film Forum on a Taiwan site
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br91975 on July 8, 2005 at 9:49 am

The Film Forum might have outbid those other theaters (or chains) for ‘Saraband’, may have made an initial deal with Sony Pictures Classics to run an exclusive engagement, only for that portion of the arrangement to have later been dropped, or there might have been some other sort of ‘gentleperson’s agreement’ or original arrangement made for it to have been booked there concurrently with the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

hardbop on July 8, 2005 at 9:41 am

I noticed that Ingmar Bergman’s SARABAND, which opened today, is booked at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and at the Film Forum. I can’t remember another film that opened at the Film Forum and at a commercial cinema simultaneously. Sometimes films open at FF and then slide into a commercial cinema.

I was under the impression that Film Forum was only supposed to screen films that wouldn’t get a commercial screening elsewhere. I can’t believe that IFC, the Angelika or the Landmark wouldn’t have liked to have that Bergman film considering the junk they have been booking lately.

YMike on July 6, 2005 at 12:42 pm

I beleve she came for the 6:30 showing of “Follow Thru” so the seats would have been roped off for that film also.

hardbop on July 6, 2005 at 11:27 am

What was obnoxious about the Film Forum was that they roped off that whole aisle where Ms. Carlisle sat for all the screenings. So, no one could sit in those seats for the afternoon/early evening screenings — premium seats — even though the cinema was packed and no one would use those seats until 8 p.m.

YMike on July 3, 2005 at 7:28 pm

I was at the 8 PM screening of “June Moon” and the show was sold out. I bought my ticket 3 hours in advance and the stand-bye line went half way up the block. By the way in attendance at this show was former actress and “Game Show” legend Kitty Carlisle. She was sitting right behind me and she really looked great for her age.

hardbop on July 3, 2005 at 9:05 am

I’ve been sampling the Paramount Pre-code series and it is drawing real well. The screenings I’ve attended haven’t sold out, but I would estimate the theatre is 85/90% full. Even the rare “June Moon” didn’t sell out. If you are a member the Film Forum’s $5 price tag for a double-feature is one of the best bargains, if not the best bargain, is NYC.

I remember back in ‘93 the Film Forum did a similar series, but focused on the Warner Brothers Studio output. I remember those screenings being packed and possibly selling out. I also think they were screening many triple features, for one admission, at that series. Of course movies from that era fun between 65 and 80 minutes or so.

br91975 on June 5, 2005 at 10:00 pm

File under ‘Huh?’ – today’s ad in the Arts & Leisure section of the NY Times makes mention of this week’s upcoming engagement of ‘East of Eden’… at the Film Forum AT 57 WATTS STREET… never mind that Film Forum moved out of that address in 1989/90 and that the building was torn down shortly thereafter…

PeterKoch on April 1, 2005 at 4:45 pm

No, but they are fun, sometimes.

VincentParisi on April 1, 2005 at 4:36 pm

So everyone go see the Haunting tomorrow night at the Loews Jersey and/or go see the great Jean Arthur tonight at the Film Forum. Not everyone’s got to have a gimmick.

PeterKoch on April 1, 2005 at 3:49 pm

The Gimmick-O-Rama that I remember attending was September 1988, at the 57 Watts Street Film Forum.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 1, 2005 at 3:45 pm

They did have one, in the old Film Forum. I think it was 1987 or 1988. They called it “Gimmick-O-Rama” and they showed all the Castle gimmick movies with the gimmicks re-created (including “Mr. Sardonicus” and the Punishment Poll). There were other gimmick movies included too, like “Wicked, Wicked” in Duo-Vision. This festival went on for several weeks!

At the first night’s screening of “13 Ghosts” (in Illusion-O), William Castle’s wife and daughter were sitting in the row behind me.

YMike on April 1, 2005 at 3:38 pm

Why not have a William Castle film festival. That would cover all these films and one more, “Mr. Sardonicus”.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 1, 2005 at 3:31 pm

… and “House on Haunted Hill” with the flying plastic skeleton, “Homicidal” with the Fright Break and the Coward’s Corner, etc. They even had to turn people away from a screening of “Queen of Outer Space” starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.

They’re missing a good bet if they don’t program these movies again someday. It’s been quite a few years since they were last shown.

YMike on April 1, 2005 at 1:50 pm

Lets not forget “The Tingler”. With the electrafied seats!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 1, 2005 at 1:04 pm

Hardbop, I also wish FF would bring back the annual summer sci-fi and fantasy films, even if it’s just for one summer. They used to draw huge crowds to the old Film Forum – I remember a line going around the block for “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”.

hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 12:43 pm

I am a regular attendee of the Film Forum and do remember occasionally attending screenings at the Watts Street site in the eighties. Out of curiousity I asked Bruce Goldstein how the long the FF was closed between the time the Watts Street facility closed and the new W. Houston Street site opened. He said they were closed for a about a year. Watts Street closed in ‘89 and W. Houston opened in '90.

I remember those annual “silly” summer fests and remember that the FF took a lot of flak for stopping them. I guess FF felt they had exhausted that fest, but the public didn’t.

bornjaded on March 22, 2005 at 4:40 am

The programming at Film Forum can’t be beat. It’s the best in the country, rivaled perhaps only by Los Angeles’s American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater. The concurrence of new films with retrospective films is absolutely brilliant, keeping this as a first-run venue while declaring the immortal relevance of past cinema.

It’s not the greatest place in the world to watch a movie, though. Far from it. It’s great seeing stuff on 35mm, and Film Forum almost always gets great prints. But the theaters are so small, it’s hardly a cinematic experience, nor is it very intimate. Spaces are narrow and screenings usually sell out, so there’s no leg room — you have to sit with both legs together, feet on the ground — and it’s easy to knock elbows or shoulders with the patron seated next to you. Furthermore, during the winter, the only option for stashing your winter coats is under the seat.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to see pristine prints of “Days of Heaven” and “Bound For Glory” while I lived in NYC, but the cramped atmosphere of Film Forum also cramped the epic grandeur of these films.

Also, the projected image has a foamy-looking texture, for some reason. Perhaps it’s the screens themselves.

Also, films are occasionally out-of-focus and the floor staff and/or management will argue the point and refuse to fix the problem. This happened on a few occasions, notably with ‘The Hidden Fortress,’ which, to date, I have not seen but would have had Film Forum sharply focused it.

Now, the good stuff. Film Forum is one of the only venues to regularly program silent films (at least one retrospective per year will include silent films), and live piano accompaniment is usually provided. Sound is usually good, the best available prints are nearly always obtained, and the lobby is attractive, with some nice food behind the concession counter and some even nicer people.

It’s also quite a bargain, if you’re a member. If I recall correctly, as a member, I’d get two-films on a double-bill for only $5. That means, brilliant prints of ‘Imitation of Life’ and ‘Written on the Wind’ for only five dollars. You’ll pay about the same price at the New Beverly in Los Angeles for ratty old prints, creaky seats and even creakier sound, for the micro-luxury you get at Film Forum.

In summary, this is a New York City staple.