Yes, there are better things playing right now than Mission Impossible number… whatever. Ethan Hunt is the hero to end them all, perhaps, but why make yourself feel any dumber this week than you need to? There’s plenty of time for Tom Cruisin’ (that movie’s got at least a billion more dollars to make back before Scientology’s satisfied), so get tootin’ on some of these other films instead.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Thursday, Sept. 3 through Tuesday, Sept. 15 at Film Forum: $13 non-members
A brand new documentary depicts the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the Black Panther Party. Filmmaker Stanley Nelson starts at the beginning, when the Black Panthers was founded in Oakland, California, formed in response to police brutality and systemic racism. And while Nelson clearly depicts the FBI’s persecution and pursuit of the party leaders and local police department’s dogged abuse of the group despite their positive contributions to the black community, he doesn’t mislead his audience by implying the Panthers were completely absolved of wrongdoing.
The documentary incorporates archival footage from the 1960s, much of it rarely seen, including contemporary media depictions of the Panthers. Thankfully, it sounds like the film is light on didactic storytelling, plotting a clear historical timeline and presenting the facts, so as to step back and allow the audience to come to their own conclusions about right and wrong.
Though the underlying circumstances for the party’s formation are hella wack– poverty, racism, entrenched inequality– there was something freaking badass about the Black Panthers. As the Times points out, “they managed, at least for a time, to be both glamorous and grass-roots, and to put a scare into what was known in those days as the white power structure.”
7 Chinese Brothers
Thursday Sept. 3rd through Tuesday Sept. 8th at IFC Center: $14
Larry (Jason Schwartzman) is an incurable loser, girlfriendless, and totally punchable. So when he gets fired from his shitty bartending job it seems like he’s losing what little grip he has. Did we mention Larry’s pretty much unemployable? Well, he finally finds a job working at a quickie lube, and low and behold his boss is an attractive young female who smiles at him once in a while. There seems to be hope for Larry yet.
You may feel a sneaking suspicion that you’ve seen this movie, also staring Mr. Schwartzman, once, maybe even twice before. So what gives? That’s a hard question to answer, but all we know is that we’re pretty charmed by whatever Jason Schwartzman does, as lame as that sounds. So we’ll take it.
Friday, Sept. 11, 10 pm at Spectacle Theater: $5 at the door
Everybody with eyes and ears has heard something about this Narcos show on Netflix — the promotional campaign has been freaking relentless, amiright? But seriously, what’s with that dude playing Pablo Escobar, Wagner Moura or whatever? Why is he smiling like that? It seems very unbecoming of a drug lord.
But no need to even blink an eye at that series when we’ve got plenty of narcos at Spectacle behaving exactly as we’d like them to. And with the bravado and bloody ridiculousness that only ’80s action movies can bring, Drug Runners gets our vote for totally accurate portrayal of the violent heights of the War on Drugs.
Friday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 6, midnight at Sunshine Cinema: $10
Clue is not only arguably the best film ever made, it’s a fantastic romp. DON’T BE FOOLED BUSTER, this flick ain’t for kiddies. Actually, I have all sorts of screwed-up associations from a childhood spent watching Tim Curry’s face morph into a variety of deviant sneers, so do what you will with that information.
But tbh I don’t think there will ever be a better board-game-to-celluloid or even toy-to-big-screen transition than Clue. Everyone said The Lego Movie was a work of art, but I tend to massively distrust any adult who thinks watching kids movies is A-OK. Like, shouldn’t that be the equivalent of hanging around a playground without the company of a child? Not OK.
So if you really feel the urge to relive a childhood spent covered in ketchup and bruises from getting beat up by your classmates who confused you for Wednesday from the Addams Family, be my guest. But don’t come to Clue looking for answers, all you’ll find are mysteries.