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ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK

Monday, June 17
8:15

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U.S., 1981
Directed by John Carpenter
With Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes,
Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton
Approx. 99 mins. DCP.


1997, and President Donald Pleasence has escape-podded from an Air Force One terrorist takeover into Manhattan, now a river-girdled maximum security prison. Convicted bank robber Kurt Russell’s piece-of-cake assignment: ride a glider onto the World Trade Center and get him out, within the 22 hours before his own injected explosives go off.

Reviews

“ONE OF THE BEST ESCAPE (AND ESCAPIST) MOVIES. A brutal, very fine-looking suspense melodrama… by far Mr. Carpenter’s most ambitious, most riveting film to date. Works so effectively as a warped vision of ordinary urban blight that it seems to be some kind of hallucinatory editorial.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“To many fans who love the filmmaker’s tinkling synth scores, his impeccable widescreen compositions and libertarian wink, this Kurt Russell action flick occupies the sweet spot. For good reason too: The pleasures are right in your face, beginning with the million-dollar idea of turning NYC into a walled-off prison where criminals run free. Even born-and-raised New Yorkers (of which Carpenter was decidedly not) could smile at that histrionic setup; it’s an outsider’s joke made funny by our willingness to be entertained… It feels perfectly positioned between Hollywood’s ’70s-era political cynicism and the dawning age of the blockbuster. The movie proudly wears its affection for crusty Sergio Leone archetypes and countdown-clock suspense sequences; Carpenter was Tarantino long before Tarantino was.”
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“John Carpenter is offering this summer’s moviegoers a rare opportunity: to escape from the air-conditioned torpor of ordinary entertainment into the hothouse humidity of their own paranoia. It’s a trip worth taking.”
– Richard Corliss, TIME
 

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