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Week in Film: a Very Lynchian Retrospective, Full-Frontal Greek Mythology, and More


Metamorphoses
Saturday March 25 (10 pm),  Sunday March 26 (7:30 pm), Tuesday March 28 (10 pm) Thursday March 30 (10 pm) at Spectacle: $5, advance tickets available 

You know what’s cool about ancient Greek mythology? It looks good on almost anyone. Even 21st-century French people, as you’ll see in Christophe Honoré’s new film Metamorphoses. It’s actually based on a really old poem–but you already knew that by the film’s title right? Metamorphoses (the original) dates to about 8 AD when this Roman dude named Ovid fused bits from more than 250 existing Greek mythos together to create a pretty wacky piece of non-linear literature that defies the standard didactic, A-to-B tellings that were popular back then. Thankfully, Ovid’s story is every bit as riveting as the OG mythos, which are always chock-full gore, guts, adultery, betrayal and, of course, horny gods mingling with orgy-prone mortals.

(Flyer: Spectacle)

Honoré takes on a complicated couple from the story, Jupiter and Europa. In Ovid’s telling, their relationship blossoms the old-fashioned way– 5 when Jupiter morphs into a bull and after Europa is drawn to the beast by his fancy flower collar, he kidnaps the “Royal Maiden” and then rapes her. Ugh, not cool. Ovid, however, is of the opinion: “Majesty is incompatible truly with love; they cohabit nowhere together.”

So it’s pretty telling that Honoré’s film takes a slightly different approach, where Europa isn’t quite as young as Lolita or anything as creepy as that, and though Jupiter is older and clearly well versed in the fine art of porking, he’s not like some creepy old dude. It’s easier to think of this version of Metamorphoses as a French translation of Buffalo ’66, if Vincent Gallo’s character was a comp lit dropout. Just swap out the stink-eyed, tap-dancing teenager played by Christina Ricci for Honoré’s Europa, who could easily pass for a precocious 14 year-old, but might also just be a 21 year-old virgin (hard to tell). And replace Vincent Gallo, the possibly psychotic, confirmed asshole with another kidnapper douche named Jupiter. Consent is equally iffy, Stockholm Syndrome probable, but unlike Gallo’s lovable but sometimes kinda misogynist. Ok, quite a bit in some scenes.

Eraserhead
Friday March 24 through Sunday April 2 at IFC Center: $14

We haven’t even completed our fourth moon cycle of the year, and IFC is already two-for-two with some bigtime retrospectives. The first was an epic Kubrick showcase, honor of a new documentary about the Tolstoy of film (as seen through the eyes of his personal assistant, a dude who interestingly enough doesn’t give two poo poos about movies). The theater’s second retrospective debuts today and it’s dedicated to David Lynch, whose very own biopic The Art of Life, arrives Friday March 31.

The Films of David Lynch, which of course includes all the classics (Eraserhead the freaky tearjerker, spooktastic Mulholland Driveand Wild at Heart in which you’ll find one of Nick Cage’s best-ever freakouts). But IFC went ahead and smushed in some surprises for the super-fans: Meditation, Creativity, and Peace is a documentary about Lynch’s obsessive devotion to transcendental meditation (apparently it works y’all), and a shorts marathon.

I’m just excited as the next gal to see Lynch films on the big screen, but more than anything I’m hoping all of this will put an end to a linguistic disease that now threatens an entire generation with a permanent speech impediment. It’s observed in the repeated, confused use of the term”Lynchian”– which unfortunately originated as a pretentious way to describe something as resembling the work of David Lynch, and henceforth lost all meaning. It’s usually coupled with a phenomenon that doctors are calling Neurocementia, and there’s a theory that Patient Zero was a member of the VICE editorial staff circa 2006.

The Blob
Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25 at Nitehawk: $12

If you’re feeling like a giant, grumpy slug despite the abundance of sunshine and just a hint of something resembling joy as we edge toward spring, then do us all a favor and don’t show up at the bar after work if you’re just gonna slump over your beer and shoot everyone the evil eye. Go put yourself in a dark room somewhere.

If you want another human to suffer your presence, consider purchasing them a movie ticket–The Blob, which is filling out the midnight slot on both Friday and Saturday this weekend at Nitehawk. Not only will you maintain some semblance of dignity by looking just like a slightly better organism than said Blob, but depending on your date’s taste in… squishy things, you might be able to convince someone to drag your limp, formless body home and you can be ornery blobs together, forever.

Female Trouble
Friday March 24 (9:15 pm), Monday March 27 (7 pm(, Thursday March 30 (9:15 pm) at Anthology Film Archives: $11

As part of Anthology’s Cross Dressing on Screen (March 23 through March 31) which might just be the screening series of the century– John Waters’s Female Trouble is on deck for three whole screenings. Get in line, boys. Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, a hitchhiking hustler looking for work, and crazy enough she finds it– even after getting knocked by a filthy vagrant she bangs on an even nastier mattress in the woods. (Psst, Divine is also the actress underneath all that bum costume.)

Unfortunately this is not the movie where Divine gets raped by an enormous, raging lobster– that’s Multiple Maniacs-. But the baby’s daddy might as well be a crustacean, because Davenport kicks into crazy beast mode that would make you think she’s had an animal bun in the oven when, desperate and on her own, she chews right through the umbilical chord, unleashing the little demon on this cruel and nasty world.

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Near Future in Film: Hungary For Sex Work, Untangle the Swastika, and More

(Image via Spectacle)

K: A Film About Prostitution 
Thursday March 14, 10 pm and Wednesday March 29, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5

“K” is just one film screening as part of Spectacle’s month of March series, Tricks of the Trade: True/False Portraits of Sex Work, which features four separate, cross-cultural, semi-fictional, but mostly very real portrayals of sex work. Shot in Budapest in 1989 by director György Dobra, the doc captures the world’s oldest profession– prostituáltakról in Hungarian (try saying that one ten times fast)– at a time of turmoil, when Communist Party-controlled governments and institutions across the Eastern Bloc were collapsing. Hungarians found themselves in an especially bizarre position because things in their country at least… were fairly calm during the transition to democracy.

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Week in Film: Polish Mermaid Strippers, a ‘Shapeshifting’ New Leftist, and More


The Lure
Friday February 10 through Thursday February 16 at IFC Center: $14

This beautifully shot, futuro nightlife fantasy flick is sort of like a glammed-up, femme-fatale version of Splash, only the mermaids here are hardly damsels in distress. These sister mermaids are flesh-eating fish people with vampy tendencies. They have the same power to entrance and, well, lure that sirens are supposed to have, but that somehow American imaginings have left out (Puritans, ughhh). I guess it took some Catholic guilt and Polish imagination to get this darkened-disco retelling of The Little Mermaid off the ground. IFC writes, “One sister falls for a human, and as the bonds of sisterhood are tested, the lines between love and survival get blurred.”

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Week in Film: Turkish Street Cats, Glue-Sniffin’ Delinquents, and More


Scrubbers
Friday February 3 (10 pm), Thursday Feb 13, (7:30 pm) Monday Feb 20 (10 p), and Sunday Feb 26 (5 pm) at Spectacle: $5 

“Punk” is maybe one of the most confused, contradictory, and misunderstood terms, like, ever. For some people it’s a lifestyle, a fashion statement, or a style of music, for others its Liberty Spikes and an ever-present leather jacket with pins and patches and even more spikes. In its simplest form it’s an immediately recognizable baditude, and boy do these ladies at an all-girls borstal (the British school system for juvenile delinquents) know a thing or two about punk.

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Week in Film: OG Badass Babe Mildred Pierce; Purple Reign in Blood, and More


Purple Rain: Terror Beyond Belief
Friday January 27, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5 always

Ok, so I might be outing myself as a giant lame by admitting this but, until I came across this mind-blowing feature presentation, I had no idea that “détournement” is actually, like, its own thing. Basically, that’s just a fancy word for (re)appropriated movies that have been drastically altered and yet retain some of the original characteristics of their source films which tend to be instantly recognizable classics. The result is a chunky, weird-tasting at first, but then loveably gritty combination of parody/homage, familiar/totally alien, nostalgic/apocalyptic– or post-modern upchuck that could trick your grandma and scare the kids. In other words, it’s very punk.

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Week in Film: Stanley Kubrick, Egyptian ‘Disco Vampire,’ and More


S is for Stanley 
Friday January 20 through Thursday February 2 at IFC Center: individual screenings, $14

To celebrate the premiere of the S is for Stanley, a documentary that takes a rather unique approach to the life and work of Stanley Kubrick, IFC Center is throwing a two-week retrospective for the director, and it’s starting this Friday. Which is actually perfect timing, really, because if there’s one day this year that you’re desperately going to want to hide from the world, Inauguration Day is probably it.

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Week in Film: Spectacle Back to Pack it in With ‘Best of’ + See This Doc or Else

Doomed Love
Friday January 6, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5

It’s been an awful long time since I’ve seen a movie at Spectacle… who am I kidding? I was pretty much lost for the two or so weeks when I was forced to go without this $5 standby, cini-mini home for everyone from underground-art house weirdos and to -sploitation freaks. I forgive you Spectacle workers, I guess you too needed to watch Law & Order with your family and drunkenly cry yourself to sleep in your childhood bedroom where Frank the teddy bear has been replaced by a mostly-empty bottle of desperately cheap whiskey.

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Week in Film: Love Poems You Never Knew Were Communist and Pour One Out for Your Katz’s Homies


Neruda
Now through Thursday January 5 at IFC Center: $14

For all you literary nerds out there, here’s your once-in-a-great-while chance to see a film about a poet– which, strangely, is something the movie bizz must be really feeling right now because whatddya know, Jarmusch’s new one, Paterson, also puts a poet front and center. What makes Neruda an even rarer opportunity is that Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet in question, is hardly some rugged, hard-boiled Anglo-centric beardo. Rather, Neruda is best know for his simple, yet heart-crushing love poems (especially the ones contained in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.)

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Week in Film: Herzog’s Inferno, Mayan Prophecy Collides with Screen-Zombie Apocalypse


Videofilia (And Other Viral Syndromes)
Friday December 2 through Thursday December 8 at Spectacle, $5

As we’re constantly reminded these days, technological progress is hurdling faster and faster toward the speed of light. These days, we don’t even have to get off our asses and schlep it to the dollar store for toilet paper– we can simply press a button and the butt paper shows up like magic, encased in an obscenely large cardboard box.  Then again, there are times when you’re riding the subway and you’re overwhelmed by an apocalyptic dread, having realized that every single human on board is playing Candy Crush. These things serve to remind us that End Times are nigh, and these phone zombies will be the beginning of a very dark, totally uncool end.

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Citizen Jane Is a Love Letter to the Villager Who Stopped Robert Moses in His Tracks

Jane Jacobs (Photo: Library of Congress)

Jane Jacobs (Photo: Library of Congress)

When I ventured out to Fire Island last weekend, it took us nearly an hour to get from the ferry landing to the house by traversing a forest path in pitch darkness. As I strained to wheel a suitcase through the sand, we joked nervously about the classic horror movie scenario, and I wondered which one I was going to get first: poison ivy? lyme disease? eaten by coyotes? Once we got to the house, though, we were enveloped in blissful solitude, and I cracked a book about Fire Island only to be reminded that Robert Moses had once sought to run an expressway through the quiet little place.

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Week in Film: See the Stooges Have a Real Cool Time and Get Shrieked at a Spooky Film Streak


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.

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Near Future in Film: Lambchop’s Under There and Trumplandia

Yeah, he still doesn't comb his hair (Film still from "Michael Moore Goes to Trumpland")

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.

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