The Prison in Twelve Landscapes Friday November 4, 7 pm and 9:15 pm and through Wednesday November 9 at Anthology Film Archives: $11
This documentary explores the far-reaching consequences of incarceration across the United States, without ever setting foot inside the prison proper. It’s a fascinating take on the impact of the prison system from a different perspective than the one we’re used to, in which the cameras are literally being behind bars. Instead, the subject is approached through absence and invisibility, from the parallel infrastructures that bring food and supplies into penitentiaries to women prisoners fighting forest fires in California.
As of this morning, the beloved Pavilion is officially no more. Even visiting the Park Slope movie theater’s website early this morning turned up a ghostly message in washed-out grey: “http://www.paviliontheater.com/ has been disabled.”
It’s only appropriate, given that Nitehawk cinemas–the proud new owners of the ratty old Art Deco theater that’s been in decline for several years now– threw a proper New Orleans-style jazz funeral for the place.
Gimme Danger Friday October 28 through Thursday November 3 at IFC Center: $14.50
I’m hoping at least a few of you out there, like me, are cursed/blessed by a bizarro Pavlovian response to the words “No Fun”– whenever they’re uttered, even in passing, you immediately drop whatever or whoever you’re doing, wherever you may be, and start thrashing around like a seahorse at the tail end of his week-long soak in a Benzedrine bath.
Yeah, he still doesn’t comb his hair (Film still from “Michael Moore in Trumpland”)
Michael Moore in Trumpland Monday October 24 through Thursday October 27 at IFC Center: $14
Yeah, yeah we know, Michael Moore is… well, he’s Michael Moore. His particular way of showing outrage feels almost obsolete by now, a bit like a relic of the Bush ere, or worse– like an old white dude who insists on putting himself at the center of his films for some reason that seems to have disintegrated long ago. For his latest film, you might expect that Moore has aimed his camera squarely at “Trumpland” aka underemployed, undereducated white men in flyover America. But that’s not the case at all, actually.
Daydream Saturday October 14, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout the month of October, Spectacle is running a series on Pink Film, a Japanese cinematic movement that began in the groovy ’60s– a time when counterculture thrived in Japan and, just like the U.S. and France and other countries across the world, ideas about free love and experimental art-making began to take hold.
According to the theater, this is “the largest and most comprehensive [retrospective] of its kind in North America” and covers Pink’s evolution from start to present. Sick.
What’s Revenge? Saturday October 8 and Saturday October 15, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
I trust that most of us here can agree that far too many films about sex and relationships are heteronormative, replete with sexist tropes, gender binarism, the male perspective, and/or female archetypes that are just godawful and tend to make those of us with brains in our heads question whether we are just totally insane for feeling zero identification with these boring storylines and banal characters. So we either play along, grumble and complain, laugh darkly, develop a self-depleting tick like methodically tearing out each and every hair on our heads, or avoid any sort of TV/film portrayals of romance and relationshits as if they were a postulating butt rash.
Danny Says Friday September 30 through Thursday October 6 at IFC Center: $14
Danny Fields was the music manager “at the pulse of the underground,” the man behind the best rock n’ roll to come out of the ’70s New York City scene and actually some of the most influential rock of all time. Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and the Ramones were just a few of his associated acts and though all of this stuff is standard by now, back in Danny’s glory days it was nothing short of insanity.
Mono No Aware festival (Photo via Mono No Aware Facebook)
For a long time we’ve heard that analog film formats– for both making and viewing– are on the verge of mass extinction and very soon will be swallowed up by digital photography and filmmaking, never to be seen again. Recent events seem to confirm this prediction– in July, the last manufacturer of VHS players announced that it was quitting the game and shortly after, the Chinese factory where the clunky, black plastic boxes were made for Sanyo ceased production. The end came quietly, and some people were surprised that VHS consoles were still being made at all, since it had been nearly a decade since Eragon, an elf/fantasy movie, was the last ever to be released on VHS. Even before that, Fujifilm had stopped manufacturing motion picture film. As somebody once (pretentiously) told me, books, which are a lot like film in this context, are “nothing more than fetish objects” nowadays.
Elizabeth Wood may be a young filmmaker, still soaking up directorial lessons and figuring it all out, but she knew exactly what she was doing when she decided to call her first full-length feature, a semi-biographical film set in Ridgewood, White Girl. The label is alluring, gnawing, and sorta yucky all at once. Hilton Als wrote an entire collection of essays, White Girls, devoted to decoding the concept, which he determines is somewhere between an actual state of being and a mirage, both an all-powerful fantasy and the ideal object to be controlled : “Once I lived in a perpetual state of disbelief: How could one be a white girl and hate it? Wasn’t she— whoever she was— everything the world saw and wanted?”
It’s a pejorative, a term commonly attached to catcalls that’s less poetic than, say, “snowflake.” It’s “white girl wasted.” It’s a spoiled, naive little girl. It’s complaining too much. It’s traveling abroad and refusing to eat a stew made with chicken broth. It’s infantilizing, condescending, and rarely a compliment. It’s also a nickname for cocaine.
Dancer Friday September 16 to Thursday September 22 at IFC Center: $14
This film follows the illustrious but fraught career of Sergei Polunin, aka the “James Dean of the ballet world,” and his progress from child prodigy to a top-dancer wunderkind. I mean, you couldn’t really call anyone the James Dean of interpretive dance, because that would just be a dumb joke. It actually makes sense with Polunin though, as a figure who’s equally as intense, if not more so, than ballet itself, a sport that demands self-torture of its devotees, legit from the very first step.
Spa Night Thursday September 8, 7:45 pm at Metrograph: $15
This one’s been held over at the Metrograph again and it looks like this is finally, actually, literally the last time you can catch Spa Night within the stylish confines of the Lower East Side’s newest art house theater and perhaps the only ciné in the whole wide city with a concession stand that looks like it was designed by a serial killer. You’ll find that Spa Night is replete with that very same understated but stylish weirdness.It’s a quiet, crawling film fraught by teeth-gritting tension so overwhelming you get the feeling everything’s about to come crashing down if you breathe too loudly.
Strawberries Need Rain Friday September 2, Friday September 9, Saturday September 17, Saturday September 24, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout September, Spectacle is screening a whole slew of films by midnight master, Texas filmmaker, and self-proclaimed “schlockmeister” Larry Buchanan. Old photos of the dude could easily fool you into thinking he’s a jolly pediatrician who makes house calls and checks your pulse with the aid of a pocket watch. Best known for his schlocky sci-fi/horror B-movies like Mars Needs Women and the 1969 original of It’s Alive! (not to be confused with the 1974 cult classic written/directed by Larry Cohen), Buchanan made some super awful and yet somehow successful films, as the story goes. The Times put it best after Buchanan died in 2004 at the age of 81: “It was not so much that his films were bad; they were deeply, dazzlingly, unrepentantly bad.”