Three Sisters Tuesday, June 21 (7 pm) and Sunday June 26 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle Theater: $5
For six months, documentary filmmaker Wang Bing embedded himself in a tiny rural village, Xiyangtang, in China’s Yunnan province, following the lives of three sisters all under the age of 10, orphaned, and living under crushing poverty. Their mother has died and their father, who occasionally pops into their lives, but never long enough to see if they’re even meeting their basic nutritional needs, has gone to the city to work. The family represents some of the major problems for China’s rural residents– an extreme lack of resources that is leveled unevenly by women, and therefore children as well, when men leave to find work in urban areas (China is one of the few places in the world where the suicide rate for women surpasses that of men, and many of the suicides are related to death by fertilizer poisoning).
Green Room Friday, April 29 through Thursday, May 5 at Nitehawk: $12
Is there anyone more punk than Patrick Stewart? Apparently there is, and it’s Patrick Stewart on a murderous rampage, hellbent on killing a little punk band for no apparent reason. Green Room might be the most bizarre combination of genres we’ve seen come together under one film in a long, long time. Fusing together snuff, Saw-like torture horror, teen drama, punk movies, and backwoods suspense, the film follows a punk band as they embark on a tour that takes them to some real hillbilly places.
The Preppie Connection Friday March 18 through Wednesday March 29 at IFC Center: $14
I have a few words for you: Connecticut, prep school, conspicuous wealth, cocaine. If you can get past all of those without your face falling off from cringing so damn hard, then read on– I’m guessing you’re a fan of Cruel Intentions. And if you puked a little, I’ll excuse you. The Preppie Connection, if you can stomach it, takes place at a prep school for the uber-rich and mega-privileged. Unfortunately for Toby, as a kid from a working-class background he only fits into one of those categories, and he has a hard time making nice-nice with the ridiculously good-looking party kids at the school. Hoping to win their attention, especially that of his love interest, a super-blonde girl who adores doing huge rails of cocaine, Toby gets a friend from Colombia to supply him with some high-quality disco shit. Things get out of control and, before you know it, Toby’s the kingpin of an “international drug ring.”
River of Grass Friday March 11 through Thursday March 17 at IFC Center: $14
Director Kelly Reichardt’s first film, River of Grass, has been digitally restored and reissued so that it can finally get the love it deserves. The filmmaker is keen on letting landscapes dictate her characters’ (usually bizarre) states of mind. Reichardt’s 2010 Western drama, Meek’s Cutoff, was soooo Oregon Trail: it’s about a family that’s doing the covered wagon thing and find themselves lost in a desert with dwindling supplies– as the travelers grow increasingly thirsty, they begin to look more and more at home in the arid, harsh wilds of the desert. River of Grass is infused with a different kind of darkness, one that’s bitingly funny, which makes sense– the film is set in Southern Florida and the Florida Everglades, after all. We’re also not surprised that the wilds of Florida lend for a much wackier story than we saw with Meek’s.
Stan Brakhage’s series of several short films shot and released sequentially during the first half of the 1960s are what make up the 78 extremely dense minutes of Dog Star Man, screening as part of Anthology’s Essential Cinema program. In spite of its brevity, the film is often described as epic, grueling, and intense. And, you know, trippy. You know what to do before going to the theater. (Just please don’t do it in the bathroom of Biang noodles down the street, it wasn’t at all pleasant explaining to the servers that no, I wasn’t smoking jazz grass in the bathroom, actually I had a vaporizer back at the table.) And, I know it’s easy to mix them up, but go for the chiller strains– trust, you’ll need to keep your cool after your brain melts into you popcorn bucket.
Unholy Rollers Saturday February 27, 7 pm at Anthology Film Archives: $10
This trailer might be en Español, but if we’re going by Trump definitions of “American” this 1972 film is about as American as it gets, for better and for worse. Presented at Anthology in all its grainy 35mm glory, Unholy Rollers is not only 100 percent English-language cinema, but it alsofeatures battling broads, busty babes, and roller derby dames behaving badly, satisfying our inalienable right as taxpaying Americans to see hot girls beat each other up.
Big Al: a Week in the Life of the Reverend Al Sharpton Wednesday February 17, 7 pm at the Wythe Hotel: $11.50
Hey, it’s Black History Month which means we should be celebrating all kinds of incredible achievements from major badasses throughout American history. And, hey nothing against penis peanuts, but why don’t we give someone other than George Washington Carver a go for once? I’ll never, ever forget the look on my middle school teacher’s face when I told her, after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I was considering converting to Islam– but what about some black icons who are part of our living history?
Grace Jones, Queen of Everything (Via the Kitchen)
Dirty Looks: A One Man Show Monday February 8, 8 pm at The Kitchen: $10
So this one’s a little bit beyond this week, but we fear that if you don’t make plans quick-like, you’re gonna miss out. Tickets appear to be sold out online already, but the venue suggests that you contact them and hopefully they’ll have some availability at the door. DREAM BIG. Why? Because Grace Jones is worth it.
It’s about time we got a moon-landing conspiracy theory comedy– I mean, it’s all right there in front of us: everyone’s super loving the ’70s right now (don’t pretend you haven’t seen betches in bellbottoms recently, it’s happening whether we like it or not), cynicism regarding the government and Hollywood is at an all time high, and people are finally realizing there’s a high probability that lizard people rule the world.
Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art Friday January 8 through Thursday January 14 at IFC Center: $14
Save for a few grainy photos in art history books and the factory settings on our Macs, few of us have had much contact with land art, a movement started by a group of New York City-based artists in the ’60s. Now, land art (also called environmental art and earthworks)– stone mosaics, tree branch sculptures floating in a misty lake, flattened grass forming massive patterns that can only be really appreciated from the sky– is the stuff of screen savers, but Troublemakers makes the case for a fascinating foundation.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Friday Dec. 18 and Saturday Dec. 19, midnight at Nitehawk: $11
Everyone knows the only sufferable holiday films are Xmas-themed horror movies. This 1984 genre classic Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of a young boy who witnesses the murder of his parents at the hands of a psychopath dressed as Santa. Traumatized by his exposure to such unspeakable violence, the boy grows into a truly screwed-up young man whose thirst for blood knows no bounds. Oh, and of course he feels the need to don a Santa outfit during his mayhem sprees.