"An extraordinary movie is being screened at Anthology Film Archives [today] through Sunday," writes the New Yorker's Richard Brody: "Unfinished Business, a bitterly passionate romantic drama with a relentless comic tone, from 1941, starring Irene Dunne and Robert Montgomery and directed by Gregory La Cava. It's part of the ongoing series Stuck on the Second Tier: Underknown Auteurs, programmed by Miriam Bale, and you can't get it on home video." And it's "a minor masterwork of performance, direction, and screenwriting."
Unknown Auteurs is actually a set of series running at various locations in New York, with Anthology focusing on La Cava; the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of the Moving Image, for example, will have other editions soon, but for now, Michael Rawls has an overview of the La Cava selections in Cinespect and David Cairns wrote about Unfinished Business here in the Notebook yesterday.
Also in New York, Reverse Shot's See It Big! series rolls on tonight and tomorrow at MoMI with a Woody Allen film from 1979. Justin Stewart: "It's worthwhile to ask why Manhattan looks so beautiful, why Allen went to the trouble (a processing lab had to be built to handle all of the black-and-white 35mm film) for this story and these characters in particular. Does the style suit the subject, or is it just distracting handsome packaging? I think it is a success of contrasts, between the lush visuals and the flawed, mostly mean and cunning characters' words and deeds."
San Francisco. "Sickos take note," calls out Cheryl Eddy in the Bay Guardian: "Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is screening an uncut 35mm print of Lucio Fulci's 1981 The House by the Cemetery. HUGE. Within the gore-splattered Fulci canon, House is maybe not as well-known as 1981's The Beyond, 1980's City of the Living Dead, or 1979's Zombie (which made a recent local appearance thanks to Blue Underground, the cult champions also responsible for this showing of House). But it's no less essential or enjoyable than the others, despite suffering from one nearly insurmountable flaw." Which, of course, she gets into. See, too, the Fulci feature at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.
Chicago. The Reader's JR Jones rounds up "This week's movie action."
In other news. "French filmmaker Georges Franju is to be the subject of one the retrospectives programmed for the 60th San Sebastian Festival to take place from 21-29 September 2012."
Awards. The nominations for this year's César Awards are out and Maïwenn's Poliss leads with 13. The Artist follows with ten. Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione has the full list.
"In 2012 BAFTA recognizes the extraordinary career of John Hurt with the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award."
Obits. "Eiko Ishioka, a designer who brought an eerie, sensual surrealism to film and theater, album covers, the Olympics and Cirque du Soleil, in the process earning an Oscar, a Grammy and a string of other honors, died on Saturday in Tokyo. She was 73." In the New York Times, Margalit Fox notes that her costumes for Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) "included a suit of full body armor for the title character (played by Gary Oldman), whose glistening red color and all-over corrugation made it look like exposed musculature, and a voluminous wedding dress worn by the actress Sadie Frost, with a stiff, round, aggressive lace collar inspired by the ruffs of frill-necked lizards…. Ishioka was closely associated with the director Tarsem Singh, for whom she designed costumes for four films."
"Joaquín Martinez, a veteran actor best known for his performance as the Indian character Paints His Shirt Red in Sydney Pollack's 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson, died Jan 3." Mike Barnes in the Hollywood Reporter: "A native of Cozumel, Mexico, Martinez also played the Apache leader in Ulzana's Raid (1972), which also starred Burt Lancaster."