Man this week has been brutal. What with the snow and the slow-as-hell trains and the wind and the ice, how will we ever get through the magnified pain of daily existence from here until, like, May? An old-fashioned trip to the cinema, that’s how! There are a slew of great new films to see and some old ones screening this week too. Check out our picks for films this week below.
The Devil Queen A Rainha Diaba
What better way to beat the cold than sit through a fast-paced, psychotic bender of a movie set in what looks like sweltering Brazil. Live vicariously through these characters, or not. Maybe not, because they always seem to be getting into gun battles. This Antonio Carlos da Fontoura film, which Spectacle Theater writes “was clearly influenced by weed,” is a vibrant, hallucinatory portrayal of 1970s Rio de Janerio’s drug-fueled underground. The Devil Queen is loosely based on the exploits of Madame Sata, or Madam Satan, who is a sort of cult hero from 1930s Brazil — he was an ex-slave, drag and cabaret performer, and also a convicted murderer. Saturday January 10th, Wednesday January 21st, and Wednesday January 28th at Spectacle Theater; tickets, $5 at the door.
Tis the season for political films, and Vessel is a must-see if activism and human rights are your thing. This documentary follows the daring mission of Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch citizen who charters a large yacht around the world, harboring in countries where abortion remains illegal or highly stigmatized. When the ship docks, Dr. Gomperts performs safe abortions where women might otherwise have to risk their lives in order to terminate a pregnancy. Despite intimidation, threats of violence, and organized protests against her and the possibility of arrest, Dr. Gomperts presses on with her humanitarian mission. If you catch this film at IFC, you’ll have several chances to speak with the director in person and Dr. Gomperts via Skype during a Q+A session following the screening. Friday January 9th through Tuesday January 13th at IFC Center; tickets $14
Cronenberg films are generally teetering on the edge of impossible-to-watch-without-barfing category, which is exactly what makes them so great. However Naked Lunch, a wildly creative interpretation of William S. Burrough’s junk-fueled novel of the same name, plunges right in. Complete with animatronics and Cronenberg’s signature ewwwww tactics, this film is a must see for huge fans and a great way to freak out first-timers. Friday January 9th at midnight and Saturday January 10th at midnight, IFC Center; tickets, $14
The Imitation Game
I can’t say this film is the best I’ve ever seen, but it sure has an interesting premise. The movie is a dramatized biography of sorts of Alan Turing, a brilliant British mathematician who embedded himself within the Royal Navy and used his cryptography skills to help crack secret German codes win the war. Turing is often credited as being the founder of modern computer science and the first person to construct an actual computer, which resembled nothing of the tiny laptops we use today. Turing’s machine was a massive piece of machinery that was obnoxiously loud and took up the space of an entire room.
The film is not without its problems: until the last minute it only hints at Turing’s biggest secret, and one that would eventually lead to his demise. Turing spent most of his life as a closeted gay man, but once his affairs with men were revealed, he was charged with “gross indecency.” Rather than going to prison, he opted for chemical castration, which caused all sorts of painful physical and mental ailments for him. He eventually killed himself by eating an apple poisoned with cyanide, another thing the film hints at but fails to account for. If nothing else, the Imitation Game is a thought-provoking account of a story that was until very recently kept under wraps by British intelligence. Friday January 9th through Thursday January 15th at Nitehawk Cinema; tickets, $11
Ever wonder who made those horrible paintings which seem to clog the tweenage Tumblr sphere? You know the same ones that seem to hang in those brand new Bushwick establishments that are hoping to cash in on the “creative types” by covering the walls of fancy restaurants in “edgy” “alt” “art”? Well, apparently they were painted by a woman named Margaret Keane, and then stolen by a dude who posed as the real artist behind the, um, masterpieces (??). Either way, this guy committed some heinous crimes against Margaret Keane, after he manipulated her into thinking that the only way her work would become respected or famous would be for a man to assume responsibility for its creation. Friday January 9th through Thursday January 15th at Angelika Film Center; tickets, $14.50