Green Room
Friday, April 29 through Thursday, May 5 at Nitehawk: $12
Is there anyone more punk than Patrick Stewart? Apparently there is, and it’s Patrick Stewart on a murderous rampage, hellbent on killing a little punk band for no apparent reason. Green Room might be the most bizarre combination of genres we’ve seen come together under one film in a long, long time. Fusing together snuff, Saw-like torture horror, teen drama, punk movies, and backwoods suspense, the film follows a punk band as they embark on a tour that takes them to some real hillbilly places.

At one such bar flanked in Confederate flags and packed with muscle-headed hicks, it becomes clear that this time they won’t be jumping back into the van and hauling ass to the next town. And then at some point Patrick Stewart makes an entrance, looking an awful lot like Bryan Cranston. Our full report here.

Fassbinder: to Love Without Demands
Friday, April 29 through Thursday, May 5 at Metrograph: $15
It’s the moment all you movie nerds have been waiting for (or maybe just a few of you, who knows?)– the Rainer Werner Fassbinder documentary is here! The German filmmaker who had one of the most impressive prolific (and too-short) movie careers ever, happened to be as fascinating as many of the 44 films he made during a 16-year career that was cut short by a drug overdose. There are a lot of twists and turns to follow– including a tumultuous love life, partner abuse, and lots and lots of drugs, as you might expect– and producer Christian Braad Thomsen (author of Fassbinder: the Life and Work of a Provocative Genius) is maybe the best person to guide us through it all.

Not only were Fassbinder’s personal and artistic lives enthralling, but the era that molded him was a fascinating one too. At the time, Germany was split into East and West, and struggling to define and forgive itself after the horrors of World War II. Guilt, self-hatred, denial, and disassociation reigned supreme, and the doc delves into how Fassbinder’s films reflect how German society was struggling to deal with these issues. Through archival footage, lost interviews, and conversations with friends and colleagues, Thomsen pieces together the life of a remarkable artist, and one of the few people ever who could make a beer gut, double chin, and skeezy stashe look sexy and make a funky cowboy outfit– leopard suit-print suit/bolo tie/orange button down– look cooler than anything Mick Jagger’s ever done.

Elvis and Nixon
Friday, April 29 through Wednesday, May 5 at Sunshine Cinema: $14
Well, if we’re gonna get weird, we might as well get hella weird. Now for a movie starring Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley. It’s about the time that Elvis stopped in, unannounced, to meet with Nixon and the Secret Service had to get super fresh with him. Which apparently was, like, super weird because c’mon guys, this is Elvis we’re talking about here. The film shows Nixon and his button-down D.C. conservative cronies as a bunch of out-of-touch losers while Elvis is the eccentric rockstar who’s slowly slipping into legitimate weirdo territory, owing to the fact that he’s literally Elvis.

I can’t promise you that this movie isn’t actually just an Onion article, but I can definitely promise you that it’s probably worth finding out.

(Flyer via Black Maria Film Festival)

(Flyer via Black Maria Film Festival)

The Black Maria Film Festival
Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1 at Anthology Film Archives: $11
Now for something a little more, uh, meaningful– just in time for May Day. The Black Maria Film Festival retrospective series, dedicated to screening “fiercely independent short films in the 21st century,” is already underway at Anthology Film Archives, but you can still catch programming parts two and five, which focus on a variety of themes. Tonight’s series features six short films made between 1965 and 2014 that confront black history, inequality, protest, and “life on the street.”

At least one of the films on view tonight has a local NYC angle: “Bullets in the Hood: a Bed-Stuy Story” is a documentary about Terrene Fisher, a kid growing up in the Louis Armstrong Housing Projects who witnessed the murder of his best friends at the hand of a police officer. On Saturday, the theme is “Needs, Wants, Constraints, and Fears” which features a documentary made with the help of Syrian girls, who captured their own perspective on the war through photographs and film.