Flash Gordon (foreground, left) joins forces with Prince Baron (foreground, right), aka the future James Bond.
FILM: “FLASH GORDON”
Crammed to capacity with garish sets, top shelf ham acting, a pop opera soundtrack by Queen — and a screenplay whose loyalties are divided between sci-fi and camp — the Dino De Laurentiis-produced “Flash Gordon” shouldn’t work…and sometimes, it doesn’t. But this endearing Me Decade attempt to bring Alex Raymond’s 1930s comic strip hero into the post-“Star Wars” age has more than enough virtues to inspire a trek to 92Y Tribeca.
Only there, on a big screen, can you fully appreciate the trippy art direction and special effects. Despite being created in the pre-digital era, the film manages to conjure consistently stunning (if not entirely convincing) images. An army of flying Hawkmen doing battle against the backdrop of a swirling, cotton candy-colored sky is one such memorable scene.
As for the human spectacle on display, Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless and Sam J. Jones as Flash are polar opposites on the acting ability scale — yet both are perfectly cast. Sydow elevates the villainous raising of painted-on eyebrows to an art, while Jones serves as a blank slate of dumb, blonde beefcake onto whom a variety of supporting characters (and audience members) can project their hopes, dreams and carnal desires. “Flash, a-ah. He’ll save every one of us,” croons Queen — and although he couldn’t save the film from tanking at the box office in 1980, Gordon and his allies (including a pre-Bond Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin) do have the ability to rescue 2012 audiences from the summer doldrums.
Thurs., Aug. 23, 7:30pm at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson St., btw. Vestry & Desbrosses Sts.) For tickets ($12), call 212-415-5402 or visit 92YTribeca.org.
Empowered by a soundtrack from Queen, Flash rides his rocket cycle to victory over Ming the Merciless.
ESCORT CLOSES “ECSTATIC SUMMER” CONCErT SERIES
Is it that time already? Apparently, it is — because on August 25, the free music series “Ecstatic Summer” comes to a close, by going out with a sizable bang. Cult fave Escort (a 17-piece disco revivalist group) will be joined by the equally formidable 18-member big band Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. It won’t cost you a dime to access these critical darlings. Pitchfork praised Escort’s self-titled debut as the “pinnacle of 21st-century disco fetishism,” and the Wall Street Journal dubbed Darcy James “one of the leading new big bands in jazz.”
Cult of disco: Brooklyn’s Escort holds court on Aug. 25.
Free. Sat., Aug. 25, 7pm at the World Financial Center Plaza (250 Vesey St., at West St.). For more info, visit artsworldfinancialcenter.com, myspace.com/weareescort and secretsociety.typepad.com.
SMUIN BALLET AT THE JOYCE THEATER
Bold, sexy and innovative: That’s how Smuin Ballet describes itself…and if the buff promo pictures for their upcoming gig are any indication, they’re not bluffing. So if you’ve had your fill of ogling London-based Olympic bods on the TV screen, treat yourself to a live experience at the Joyce Theater — where the entertainment value goes beyond eye candy and into the realm of food for thought. The program includes founder Michael Smuin’s powerfully hypnotic “Medea” as well as the New York premieres of Trey McIntyre’s “Oh, Inverted World” (set to music by indie-rock band The Shins) and “Soon These Two Worlds” — a ballet by Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, set to music from the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet.
Erin Yarbrough Stewart, Matthew Linzer and company perform “Oh, Inverted World.” See “Smuin Ballet.” Photo by David Allen
Aug. 13-18. Mon.-Wed. at 7:30pm; Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm and 2pm matinees on Wed. & Sat. At The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St.). For tickets ($10-$49) call 212-242-0800. The $10 tickets can only be purchased by phone. All other tickets can also be purchased at the box office or at joyce.org. Also visit smuinballet.org.
THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL LATINO FILM FESTIVAL
Short films, special events and star power distinguish the 2012 edition of the New York International Latino Film Festival. Launched in 1999, NYILFF showcases emerging filmmakers in the U.S. and Latin America who are producing works which celebrate the diversity and spirit of the Latino community. Sundance sensation Gina Rodriguez walks the red carpet on opening night, prior to the screening of “Filly Brown.” Set in Los Angeles, it’s the story of a street poet and aspiring rap artist striving to be a good sister while trying to get her mother out of jail.
Gina Rodriguez stars as “Filly Brown” — The NY International Latino Film Festival’s opening night event. Photo by John Castillo
Wilmer Valderrama also logs some red carpet time, when “The Girl is in Trouble” has its world premiere on August 18. Executive produced by Spike Lee, it’s about a Lower East Side bartender who gets involved in a murder mystery. Elsewhere on the schedule, “Elliot Loves” (winner of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Audience Award for Best Picture) headlines Dominican Night on August 16. The closing night film, “Lemon,” is a documentary depicting Lemon Anderson’s efforts to raise his family from poverty while exposing his own secrets on the New York stage.
Mon., Aug. 13 through Sun., Aug. 19. At Chelsea Clearview Cinemas (260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). The Aug. 13 free screening of “Selina” will be at Cinema Under The Stars (St. Nicholas Park, at St. Nicholas Ave. & 135th St.). For tickets and more info on documentaries, features, panel discussions and shorts, visit nylatinofilm.com.