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Spectacle Theater Reopening Night: “Golem”

Still from "Golem" (Photo via Spectacle)

Still from “Golem” (Photo via Spectacle)

It was a tough month without Spectacle, but the DIY movie theater is back from renovations and, as you might expect, better than ever. And despite the major cash influx from a Kickstarter and a fancy new facade, the all-volunteer-run theater has managed to keep it real as hell. To celebrate, they’re looking back at their favorite films from the last five years for the “Best of Best of Spectacle” screening series (which will extend throughout the year). The theater is especially attuned to cinema from the former Soviet Block, so it makes perfect sense they’d screen Golem, a dystopian take on Der Golem, a 1914 Czech novel by Gustav Meyrink. But Polish director Piotr Szulkin swaps out Prague for a terrifying future that could easily be the backdrop for a Kafka novel.

Read more about Spectacle’s re-opening here.

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Spectacle Theater Reopening Night: Vera Chytilová’s “Panelstory”

Still from "Panelstory"

Still from “Panelstory”

It was a tough month without Spectacle, but the DIY movie theater is back from renovations and, as you might expect, better than ever. And despite the major cash influx from a Kickstarter and a fancy new facade, the all-volunteer-run theater has managed to keep it real as hell.

The first film screening open to the public is Vera Chytilová’s Panelstory (1979), a cinéma vérité exploration of one of the major tropes of life under a socialist regime: the apartment block, or dull concrete towers filled with thousands upon thousands of replicated, spartan homes that, in their supposed sameness, symbolize equality, unity, and communal living. The story is told from the various perspective of residents who are rewarded with their own apartments and quickly moved in, only to find that the buildings aren’t quite finished. Made in Socialist Czechoslovakia, Chytilova’s film satirizes the Communist Party’s inefficiencies and missteps, and was somehow able to squirm past the censors.

Read more about Spectacle’s re-opening here.

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Spectacle Theater Reopens, Shows Off Its New Digs

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Our favorite lil’ indie theater reopens tonight as a renovation project that choked up the reels for a whole month nears completion. For a brief time last year, the future of Spectacle at South 3rd Street, where it has occupied the ground floor for the last five years, looked like it was in jeopardy. Thankfully, the volunteer-run movie theater successfully raised more than $40,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fund an overhaul that saved it from being forced out. I popped by this morning to get a peek at what’s new, fingers crossed that the theater had stayed true to its roots.

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Brooklyn Filmmaker Nathan Silver Talks His Latest, Stinking Heaven

Nathan Silver is a relentless filmmaker who thus far has chronicled a variety of naturalistic social dramas which combine the weirdness of Harmony Korine with Fassbinder’s unwavering gaze at dysfunction. Silver’s fifth feature-length film Stinking Heaven, which has won some serious critical praise, sees the Brooklyn-based filmmaker continuing in this tradition.

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I Saw Star Wars in 4DX But You’ll Have to Wait a Lil Longer, Sorry

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

While everyone else was debating whether to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX or regular old 3D or whatever, I was in Bogota, Colombia, watching it in 3D and 4DX, a format that’s still unavailable in NYC despite hopes that it would (literally) rock New Yorkers by the end of the year. Unfortunately, if you want to smell an X-wing burn or feel what it’s like to get gutted by a lightsaber, you’re going to have to head to Chicago, which just got the country’s second 4DX theater.

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Week in Film: STP Freak-Outs Plague the Hippies; an Xmas Demon Stalks ‘Non-Believers’

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.

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Michael Alig Will Battle it Out as ‘Club Kid Zombie’ in Coney Island Horror Flick

Michael Alig and Ernie Glam (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Michael Alig and Ernie Glam (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Don’t run screaming when you find out there are a ton of characters to keep straight in ZomBikers aka Vamp Bikers Tres– it’s true: witches, bikers, zombies, vampires, and club kids are all on the scene. “It’s like The Warriors,” explained Michael Alig, who’s starring as King of the Zombies, aka God, in the third and final installment of Brooklyn filmmaker Eric Rivas’ Vamp Bikers Trilogy

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Film:They Read By Night Premiere

Still from "They Read By Night" (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

Still from “They Read By Night” (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

We’re only experiencing half of Joe Wakeman’s creative self when he’s belting out meta lyrics and writhing his wiry body around stage, frontman duties for his arty indie rock outfit Bodega Bay. He’s part of a network of pals in various other bands like The Yin Yangs, Heavy Birds, and Journalism. Together, they make up a bitty scene of their own within the Bushwick DIY circuit.

Joe’s managed to bring all of them together for his first feature length film, which embodies that other half of Joe Wakeman most of us have yet to see. They Read By Night is “leather jacket film” with plenty of drugs, rock n’ roll, and pulpy mayhem, all against a clever literary background. The film premieres at Gravesend Recordings next week in Bushwick.

Read more here.

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Week in Film: a Berliner Thriller and Rarely Seen Vids Shot By a Downtown ‘Ethnographer’

Still from Michel Auder film (via Light Industry / Facebook)

Still from Michel Auder film (via Light Industry / Facebook)

Michel Auder + Rebekah Rutkoff: Sunsets and Other Stars
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
French artist, photographer, and filmmaker Michel Auder left France in the ’70s for New York City, where he’s resided ever since. He’s maybe best known as Cindy Sherman’s ex-husband (JK, but for real — how do you compete with Cindy Sherman?). Much of his video work (though apparently Auder “did not consider it fine art”) consists of ethnographic snapshots and sceney vignettes, the stuff of Auder’s cool Downtown life amongst artists like Annie Sprinkle, Larry Rivers, Hannah Wilke, among others.

But another good chunk of his focus was deadly personal. Take My Last Bag of Heroin (For Real), a 1993 piece which shows the filmmaker, who battled with heroin addiction for many years, breaking apart a glassine baggie of heroin onto a piece of aluminum foil and smoking the stuff. The video demonstrates the banality of drug use, often depicted as an explosively orgasmic experience, particularly in film.

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Bodega Bay Member Made a ‘Leather Jacket’ Ode to the 60’s Underground, They Read By Night

Still from "They Read By Night" (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

Still from “They Read By Night” (Courtesy of Joe Wakeman)

We’re only experiencing half of Joe Wakeman’s creative self when he’s belting out meta lyrics and writhing his wiry body around stage, frontman duties for his arty indie rock outfit Bodega Bay. He’s part of a network of pals in various other bands like The Yin Yangs, Heavy Birds, and Journalism. Together, they make up a bitty scene of their own within the Bushwick DIY circuit.

Joe’s managed to bring all of them together for his first feature length film, which embodies that other half of Joe Wakeman most of us have yet to see. They Read By Night is “leather jacket film” with plenty of drugs, rock n’ roll, and pulpy mayhem, all against a clever literary background. The film premieres at Gravesend Recordings next week in Bushwick. We were lucky enough to see the film in advance, but for your viewing pleasure here’s a first-look at the trailer and a bit of what we discussed about the film with Joe when we recently caught up with him at Birdy’s.

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Film: English-Language Premiere of Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth

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From Paolo Sorrentino, the director of The Great Beauty, comes Youth, a sort of part II to the first film that offers a Northern European take on the theme of getting old. Instead of a lush, Mediterranean backdrop draped in eye-popping golds and jewel tones plucked straight from a Dolce & Gabbana runway show where everyone seems to be glowing with a dewey, youthful tan (achieved by way of plastic or otherwise), Youthbrings us far from the earthiness of The Great Beauty. Instead, we find ourselves elevated to a tight-lipped, carefully-placed-spectacles kind of place that’s big on daily regimes: a Swiss spa town. It’s all minerals and cold, wet stone here. Read more here.

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Film: Dangle for Expanded Cinema and See Marnie’s BF Looking Not So Hot

Iraqi Odyssey 
Thursday Dec. 3, 6:05 pm and 9:20 pm at IFC Center, 323 6th Avenue: $14
How much do you know about Iraq, like really? Take away the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein, and our 43rd President’s awful pronunciation of the name belonging to a country that’s informed so much public discussion in the past few decades (but so little real understanding), and we’re guessing the answer is: not so much. Iraqi ex-pat filmmaker Samir takes viewers on an informative trip through his homeland’s history through a very personal lens, his family tree.

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