It’s that time of the week again– bow down to our illustrious cinematic picks for this week or risk choosing something embarrassing for your first attractive Tinder date in ages. It’s nothing but slim pickins in February. Everyone’s already paired off in anticipation of the big 1-4, otherwise known as vom. Yes, this is unfortunate and disgusting at the same time, but we know you just want in on the V-day fun. But we promise you that you will literally be alone forever if you continue to insist on dragging your love interest to see yet another installment of Taken. Oh, wait– sorry about that. But nevermind what we do, this is about you and your love life.
Hard To Be A God
Russian filmmaker Aleksei Guerman’s last work is Hard To Be a God. Guerman was plagued by the same monumentalism as Tarkovsky and confronted the same strict censorship policies as his colleague, two things that severely limited the output of both Russian filmmakers. But finally, after 15 years of work, the film that’s been anxiously awaited by Guerman fans is screening in New York. You better believe it’s going to be hard to catch on the big screen, so don’t sleep on this one if you’re a devotee.
Based on the science fiction novel by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, the film is set on a nearby planet called Arkanar, where a mission of scientist arrive from Earth. They quickly come to realize that the beings on Arkanar have not progressed in the same way as Earthlings have — in fact, they are stuck in some bizarro Dark Ages period where filth and barbarism reign supreme. However the scientists must obey strict orders from their superiors back at home not to interfere with life on Arkanar, no matter how backwards and ignorant its people, which proves to be rather difficult. Friday, Feb. 5 through Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Anthology Film Archives, East Village; tickets, $10 at the door
Picture Farm Film Festival
Hey, why would you waste your time watching all those Academy Award nominated short films? Those are, like, so mainstream. Show how indie or whatever you are and support local filmmakers who are screening their feature films, documentaries, and shorts alike at this weekend’s Picture Farm Film Festival in Williamsburg. Oh, and by the way — this thing is so, so free. Admission is free and beer and popcorn may or may not be complimentary, there’s only one way to find out.
Make sure to check out Crystal (shown above), which is a super dark look at a teenager who lives a mega-boring life in Ontario (LOL where the hell is that?) but dreams (like legit spends her entire existence day dreaming) of becoming a pop star. Also check out The Birdman (see top of this page), a short documentary about Rainbow Music in the East Villlage. Saturday, Feb. 7 and Sunday, Feb. 8 at Picture Farm, 338 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg; tickets, $ FREE
OMG CLUE! This movie is literally the best thing to come out of 1985. Ronald Reagan’s second term? No thanks. Coca-Cola releases “New Coke”? WTF. Wrestlemania debuts at Madison Square Garden? Pretty sweet. Back to the Future is released? Ah, OK I guess. But CLUE? For the first time the best board game possibly ever comes to life. And Tim Curry is just perfect as that twit Wadsworth.
Legit I watched this until my VHS copy turned to dust, so you better believe I’ll be at Videology this weekend, where the film’s namesake board game will also be provided. Clue will be followed by a screening of Murder by Death, a 1976 film that apparently was some, but duh not all of the inspiration for the masterpiece that was to follow. Saturday, Feb. 7, 10 pm at Videology, Williamsburg; tickets, FREE
Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) is going through what’s often a comically terrible existence as a single young woman living in Bushwick. And to make matters worse, like every person under 30 or maybe even under 85, she’s struggling with her identity. Shirin’s caught between run-ins with idiot men who exoticize her the minute they hear she grew up in Iran and confrontations with her conservative family who have no idea she’s bisexual. That is, until she meets Maxine. One night at another stupid Brooklyn party, Shirin meets a woman who’s just as disgruntled as herself. “I hate so many things too,” she says, gazing into Maxine’s eyes. Soon enough they’re making out. But that’s not where we meet Shirin. No, we meet Shirin at the end of her relationship with Maxine, when she’s trying to piece together her life, rewinding, reminiscing to figure out what went wrong.
Variety writes that Appropriate Behavior “frequently tests audience patience” for basically sharing a lot of traits with Girls, “its relentless deadpan affectlessness and insistence on leaving no Brooklyn cliche unmined.” So we’re guessing that, much like Girls, you might have to watch this film in secret and if you can make it through the cringing, you might end up enjoying it. Friday, Feb. 6 through Thurs., Feb. 12 at Nitehawk Cinema, Williamsburg; tickets, $14
This documentary was shot almost like a surrealist film– something that makes you have to look twice and remind yourself that yes, this is really, really happening– and recalls Jodorowsky’s obsession with the sacred and profane in Latin American culture. Purgatorio is a stark look at the struggles of undocumented immigrants as they either succeed or fail, give up or try again, to break across the United State-Mexico border.
The filmmaker spares nothing rotten in making it abundantly clear the hows, whys, and wheres of the stories of Latin American immigrants traversing the border into the United States. You’ll leave confident that the issue is a much more complex one that you could have ever imagined. Saturday, Feb. 7, 3 pm at Museum of the Moving Image, Long Island City; tickets, included with $12 admission fee