Rooftop Films Premiere
Wednesday May 18 through August 2016
The summer al-fresco screening series turns 20 years old this season, which officially makes Rooftop Films a millennial– meaning they’re addicted to their phones, underemployed, over-entitled, and why don’t they just grow up already and chain themselves to a cubicle desk and support the only real man in this race Donald Trump? Did that sound curmudgeonly enough to come from the desk of David Brooks or something? I figure the only way to drive the olds out of a universally beloved series such as Rooftop Films is to convince them either that it will somehow induce diabetic reactions and/or edema or that, like Snapchat, it’s something that only Millennials would understand.
But for real, the popular screening series– where young and old, families and single-and-dying-alones gather in peace and harmony– is whipping out the big guns for an epic season of more than 50 screenings happening all over the five boroughs. If you simply cannot wait until May 20 when Weiner slams into NYC theaters, then by all means dangle on over to Industry City in Sunset Park on Wednesday May 18 for a special preview screening of the hotly anticipated Carlos Danger documentary in which we find the disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner at the moment of climax– just as he’s about to recover fully from inadvertently tweeting a dick pic and maybe even win a bid for New York City Mayor.
Talk about being in the right place at the right freakin’ time hot damn– the filmmakers happened to be fully shacked-up in Weinerville when the politician makes an incredibly moronic mistake that mounted a Shakespearean fall from grace, proving that even the smartest people are capable of letting their wieners do the deciding. Would you feel bad for Weiner if I told you that the most notable thing he’s done recently is portray the Director of Nasa in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! ?
If Weiner’s HUGE mistake is too depressing for you to ruminate on, then perhaps short films and copious beer drinking are more your speed. In that case, get thee to the May 20 opening party, happening at the Bushwick Generator (the tech-office space/hotel sister project to Heritage Equity’s massive Brooklyn Generator development long the Williamsburg waterfront– the latter is inching toward approval for their special-permit rezoning). There will be live music prior to the screening, a Q+A to follow, and presumably free beer at the Stella-Artois sponsored after-party. Get it. Participating short films include MeTube2: August Sings Carmina Burana (see above) in which a pair of street performers stage an insanely bizarre onslaught of weirdness with the help of cheerleading gimps, those fake statue/ money snatcher dudes, and a raving grandma. We’re not sure if the brief description of Officer Arnaud means that mustachioed cop Arnaud loved his mother or love loved his mother, but the coffin in the promo image hints that the grosser interpretation might be more accurate. You know what they say about cops and the Oedipal complex…
Far Off Sounds
Friday May 13, 6 pm to 8 pm at Sunnyvale: FREE
Two Detroit-based filmmakers, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman and Nick George have been workin’ real hard on Season 2 of their web series, Far Off Sounds, in which they legit travel the world searching for esoteric music scenes and the weirdest aural traditions humanity has to offer. In Season 1, they brought us to places as diverse as backwoods Kentucky to hear the blues-influenced devotional music of a snake-handling evangelical church and to Jakarta where they meet a band that’s preserving their culture’s traditional music. Think Mississippi Records if the label had its own TV show.
The pair have been on a two-year hiatus from dropping new eppies because, well, as all of us anxiety-addled New Yorkers are acutely aware of, you can do whatever you want in Detroit, or at least that’s what Philip Kafka– the ad-exec behind that move-to-Detroit banner that taunted/haunted Bushwickians last year– would have you believe. Kafka, who recently opened up a restaurant in Detroit called Katoi, described the city as “the last frontier in America.” Yikes.
Thankfully, “Far Off Sounds” explores unfamiliar practices in distant lands without expressing a wanton colonialist attitude, which is something we can appreciate. Instead of doing the Vice thing and portraying people less as complex human beings and more like dimly-lit vessels of weirdness ripe for gawking, Nick George and Jacob lend an actual ear to what people are saying and playing, and no matter how far away they feel from home, they can always find common ground in their shared obsession– music.
Season 2, which was shot over the course of 2015, premieres as soon as you can get your butt to Sunnyvale. Happy hour drink specials will be on hand and the event is 100 percent FREE y’all.
Friday May 13 through Wednesday May 18 at Sunshine Cinema: $12
Based on the 1975 sci-fi novel by J.G. Ballard, High Rise asks its audience to take several leaps of faith– among them, that you’re going to be able to tolerate Sienna Miller’s blank, soulless stares (I will never forgive her for what she did to me with Factory Girl) and stomach two hours of British accents, and also that you can forgive the cinematographer and CGI people for flushing down the toilet the amazing opportunity to make a truly horrendous high-rise tower of terror. However, there is something to be said for making a film that’s ostensibly about the future, but seems more like a cautionary tale for tomorrow. It seems to be a trend these days with Sci-Fi films– swapping out the distant future for a future that, if you blur your eyes, looks creepily close to the present– and certainly makes things a little creepier, only it’s getting to the point of being played out.
Fingers crossed High Rise does something unexpected with their dystopian, real-estate state future. Once you can get past all of these concerns, the story of class warfare breaking out among the richers and the proles jammed into a high-rise together, beyond it seems well worth the risk.
The Inner Scar
Friday May 13 and Sunday May 14 at the Metrograph: $15
Get your classic art house film on with this multi-lingual psychedelic film starring Nico and a buck nekkid Pierre Clementi. The two were baes at the time, and apparently they were living in squalid conditions and occasionally resorting to thievery for dope money. How romantic. As Dangerous Minds tells us, “The entire apartment was covered in two coats of glossy black enamel paint. Their bed, apparently, was Garrel’s overcoat.” The same writer also declared that Clementi’s films are “preposterously tedious and self-indulgent,” but if you can manage to get beyond that and simply embrace the film for what it is– legit Nico and Clementi wandering through beautifully lit, moon-glow desert landscapes and occasionally screaming and/ or crying about, well, the tragedy of existence, then my guess is that you’ll be rewarded somehow.
You might recognize the ethereal image of Nico riding through the dusk-lit desert on a horse from the cover of her 1970 Desertshore album, and in turn, the music is featured in the film– so there’s at least a guarantee you can shut your eyes and ruminate on how Nico’s work was far superior to Clementi’s.