The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: February 18-24

02/18/2015 8:16 AM |

escape_from_LA

Escape from L.A. (1996)
Directed by John Carpenter
This LA-centric sequel to Carpenter’s (increasingly?) iconic Escape from New York is an unrepentantly tawdry affair, the “escape a city/save someone” plot here augmented with such delights as a surfboarding Peter Fonda hotly pursued by a Jeep-comandeering Snake Plisskin (Kurt Russell), and Pam Grier double-crossing everyone (and playing transgendered). The secret, though, is that the wild inconsistency of Escape from L.A. is actually an asset, papering over the sometimes spotty pacing of the original with a gleeful morass of inconsistently deployed genre tropes, celebrity cameos, and set pieces so self-contained the film starts to resemble vaudeville more than the “thriller” model it briefly flirts with. A messier, knottier, and even campier film than its predecessor, it’s both worth a reappraisal and arguably the superior of the two films. Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli (Feb 21, 4:30pm, 9:30pm at BAM’s Carpenter retrospective)