Located in Astoria, New York, The Museum of the Moving Image presents its annual summer series "See It Big: 70mm!", featuring six classic and contemporary films projected in 70mm. Among this years highlights are are two long-unavailable titles from Disney: Sleeping Beauty (1959), the first animated feature to be filmed in 8-perf Technirama and projected in Technirama Super 70, and the groundbreaking science-fiction fantasy Tron (1982), one of the first feature films to incorporate computer-generated imagery. The series also includes Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza (2021) and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), two retro-Hollywood works by filmmakers who continue to shoot on celluloid. The series opens with Douglas Trumbull's sci-fi thriller Brainstorm (1983), and closes with Tony Scott's smash hit Top Gun (1986).
"See It Big: 70mm!" is organized by Curator of Film Eric Hynes, Assistant Curator of Film Edo Choi, in collaboration with Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert, editors of Reverse Shot, the online film journal published by the Museum.
All screenings will take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater, Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, NY 11106. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum or online at the MoMI website.
Brainstorm — Friday, August 5, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, August 6, 3:15 p.m.; Sunday, August 7, 4:00 p.m. Director: Douglas Trumbull, Cinematographer: Richard Yuricich, ASC. 1983, 106 mins. 70mm. With Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson. Based on a story by Bruce Joel Rubin, writer of Ghost and Jacob's Ladder, Douglas Trumbull’s science-fiction thriller is about a device that can record thoughts and dreams. It utilizes widescreen (2.21:1) 65mm cinematography and stunning visual effects to portray these experiences, while a more confined 1.66:1 aspect ratio frames "the real world." Along with Silent Running (1972), Brainstorm is one of only two features directed by Trumbull, the visual effects legend best known for his work on such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Tree of Life.
Licorice Pizza — Friday, August 12, 6:45 p.m.; Saturday, August 13, 3:00 p.m.; Sunday, August 14, 1:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 3, 4:00 p.m. Director/Cinematographer: Paul Thomas Anderson, Co-Cinematographer: Michael Bauman. 2021, 134 mins. 70mm. With Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie. Anderson evokes his early-1970s San Fernando Valley childhood in this hazy misfit romance. Alana Haim, youngest sister of the rock trio Haim, and Cooper Hoffman, son of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, star as callow charmers Alana Kane, a mid-20s high-school photographer’s assistant, and Gary Valentine, a 15-year-old aging child actor, who form an unlikely attachment as they drift dreamily, sometimes dangerously, through a series of entrepreneurial misadventures.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood — Saturday, August 13, 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, August 14, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, August 19, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, August 21, 3:30 p.m. Director: Quentin Tarantino, Cinematographer: Robert Richardson, ASC. 2019, 161 mins. 70mm. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley. Tarantino’s ninth film revisits Los Angeles at the tail end of the 1960s, when the Hollywood studio system was fading and hippie subversion was ascendant. Enter past-his-prime TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his under-employed stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt), two walking anachronisms navigating a grainy world of B-movies and spaghetti westerns while crossing paths with hot-shot European auteurs, Bruce Lee, and, finally, Charles Manson. Informed by a melancholic nostalgia, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ambles along deliciously until a vicious, hyper-violent climax yanks proceedings into darker territories, poignantly resorting to ahistoricism in order to reclaim and redeem a fallen culture. [Read AC's coverage of the production from our Aug '19 issue.]
Sleeping Beauty — Saturday, August 20, 3:30 P.M. introduced by animation historian and filmmaker John Canemaker; Sunday, August 21, 1:30 p.m; Saturday, August 27, 1:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 3, 1:30 p.m. Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman, Les Clark. 1959. 70mm. At the time of its release, Sleeping Beauty was the most expensive animated film ever made, a passion project for Walt Disney and a venture into new frontiers for the form, in which the deliriously evil villain Maleficent makes things very difficult for betrothed royal lovers Aurora and Phillip. Eyvind Earle's striking art direction for this visually spectacular fairy tale was inspired by medieval and Renaissance painting and tapestries, making it one of the most evocative, exquisitely detailed of all hand-drawn animated movies.
Tron — Friday, August 26, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, August 27, 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, August 28, 1:30 p.m.; Sunday, September 4, 1:30 p.m. Director: Steven Lisberger, Cinematographer: Bruce Logan, ASC. 1982, 96 mins. 70mm. With Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes. Filmed entirely in 65mm, this groundbreaking feature follows rebel computer programmer Kevin Flynn as he is digitized into an autocratic metaverse of zipping vectors and shiny surfaces. An expensive and risky venture for Disney at the time, Tron is notable for its experimental electronic score by synthesizer pioneer Wendy Carlos, elaborate costumes by renowned French comic-book artist Moebius (Alien, 1979) and technical designs by famed illustrator Syd Mead (Blade Runner, 1982), but perhaps its true innovation lies in its amalgam of traditional animation and sophisticated computer-generated imagery. [See AC's complete cover story in our Aug. 1982 issue.]
Top Gun — Saturday, August 27, 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, August 28, 4:00 p.m.; Friday, September 2, 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 4, 4:00 p.m. Director: Tony Scott, Cinematographer: Jeffrey L. Kimball, ASC. 1986. 110 mins. 70mm. With Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Meg Ryan. A box-office smash and cultural touchstone of Reagan-era America, Top Gun was, and remains, a full-throttle Hollywood spectacle and unapolagetic recruiting material for the U.S. Navy. Cruise plays Maverick, a cocky naval fighter pilot in training who feels the need for speed and his beautiful astrophysics instructor (McGillis), in that order. Featuring a blockbuster, multi-platinum soundtrack (including Berlin's Academy Award–winning “Take My Breath Away”) and head-spinning aerial cinematography — originally captured in Super 35mm — Top Gun fully launched Cruise into the stratosphere and director Scott onto the A-list. [Read AC's coverage of the production from our May '86 issue.]