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David O. Russell getting career retrospective at N.Y. museum

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: David O. Russell is about to be honored with a very cool event, and if you happen to live in the vicinity of New York City, you’re going to want to check it out.

Russell, who is busy promoting his awards contender “The Fighter,” will be recognized by the newly expanded Museum of the Moving Image with a career retrospective that’s set to run from Jan. 19 through Feb. 6. Russell is the first director to be feted with such a distinction since the renovated museum has re-opened to the public.

Moving Image plans to screen all five of Russell’s feature films, starting with 1994’s “Spanking the Monkey” and running up to “The Fighter,” with Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.

“Fighter” will kick start the retrospective on Wednesday, Jan. 19, with a special screening in the museum’s new 267-seat Moving Image Theater. Russell will be in attendance for a post-screening conversation moderated by his friend, director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich,” “Where the Wild Things Are”).

Here is a complete schedule of the museum’s planned events:

The Films of David O. Russell
January 15–February 20, 2011

Special screening: The Fighter
Wednesday, January 19, 7:00 p.m.
2010, 115 mins. Paramount Pictures. With Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa
Leo, Amy Adams.
Russell’s vibrant new film is a true-life boxing drama and a family drama about the rivalry between two brothers and between a controlling mother-manager and her son’s girlfriend. Gaining atmosphere from its Lowell, Massachusetts setting, this film features four of the year’s most indelible performances. A labor of love for producer/star Wahlberg, the film is also a dazzling comeback of sorts for Russell, making his first feature film in six years.
TICKETS: $15 public / $10 Museum members / Free for Silver Screen members and above. Order online at movingimage.us or call 718 777 6800.

Spanking the Monkey
Friday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.
1994, 100 mins. With Jeremy Davies.
In his impressive debut, which won the Audience Award at Sundance, Russell brings deadpan humor and emotional complexity to what could have been very lurid subject matter: the improper relationship that develops over a summer between a housebound mother and her college-age son.

Flirting with Disaster
Saturday, January 29, 6:00 p.m.
1996, 92 mins. With Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni.
Madcap road movie meets screwball romance meets dysfunctional family comedy in Russell’s wild and assured film about an adopted man who decides to track down his biological father. Russell’s sophomore film is filled with surprises and great acting from an ensemble that includes George Segal, Lily Tomlin, Patricia Arquette, Richard Jenkins, and Josh Brolin.

Three Kings
Saturday , February 5, 6:00 p.m.
1999, 114 mins. With George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube.
An audacious, satirical movie and one of the few Hollywood films set during the first Gulf War, Three Kings, about a group of cynical American soldiers tracking down a pile of gold stolen by Saddam Hussein, was described by Roger Ebert as “some kind of weird masterpiece, a screw-loose war picture that sends action and humor crashing head-on into each other and spinning off into political anger.”

I Heart Huckabees
Sunday , February 6, 5:30 p.m.
2004, 107 mins. With Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman.
A down-on-his-luck poet/activist enlists the help of an existential detective agency to help solve some cosmic questions in Russell’s brilliant one-of-a-kind philosophical comedy about nothing less than the meaning of life and the nature of reality. Russell’s most provocative and unpredictable movie is also his most personal.

Tickets for special screenings and events may be purchased in advance online at movingimage.us or by phone at 718.777.6800.

Museum of the Moving Image advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so by collecting, preserving, and providing access to moving-image related artifacts, screening significant films and other moving-image works, presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences, and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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