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Jerry Lewis at TCM film fest, La Mirada, Curtis Harrington short films on DVD

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Some like it weird. If this describes your taste in film, put Andrew Bujalski’s “Computer Chess” (available from Kino Lorber on DVD) on your wanna-see list. It took me a while to get into it, but this black-and-white pseudo-documentary about a group of computer geeks at a tournament—at the dawn of the digital age—offers a distinctive antidote to multiplex blockbusteritis. As indies go, it’s seriously off the wall.

“The Curtis Harrington Short Film Collection” (Blu-ray/DVD combo edition available from Flicker Alley) will also appeal to aficionados of weird celluloid. From the first moments of the first film in this compilation of the avant-garde pioneer’s work—the shadow of a man falling across the ground as he enters a gate, to see a woman sleeping on a rooftop—you know you’re in for something decidedly different. A creepy conclusion that may remind you of “Psycho” is remarkable in that “Fragment of Seeking” was made in 1946.

In “The Assignation” (1953), filmed in color in Venice and long thought lost, a man in a mask journeys through the canals in a gondola, en route to an encounter I won’t spoil by revealing more. The longest film in the collection, “Usher” (2002) is based on Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Harrington knew a striking image when he saw one, and nearly every shot in every film fits that description.
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Jerry Lewis isn’t for all tastes, but he suits mine, beginning at the age of eight. The legendary comedian-filmmaker-humanitarian maintains a high profile for an octogenarian. On March 15, the eve of his 88th birthday, he’ll appear at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Though particulars haven’t been announced, my guess is “An Evening with Jerry Lewis” (slated for 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) will be light on pratfalls and heavy on reminiscence. Info: http://lamiradatheatre.com/.

The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will also honor the iconic comic, who’ll leave his hand and footprints in cement at the cinema formerly known as Grauman’s, aka TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, on April 12. Lewis is further slated to be on-hand for a screening of his much-heralded 1963 comedy “The Nutty Professor.”

The TCM Fest will pay tribute as well to Quincy Jones, who will appear at multiple events, including a 50th anniversary screening of Sidney Lumet's “The Pawnbroker” (1964), Jones' debut as a film composer. 75th anniversary screenings of the recently restored “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” (in IMAX 3D) are among the many on the festival agenda. Jerry Maren, the Last Munchkin Standing, will presumably appear. Passes for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival can be purchased exclusively through the official festival website: http://www.tcm.com/festival.

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Now on Kindle -- Beckett and Solo Performance:
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Visit my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jordan-R.-Young/e/B001K8E7NW
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