A lot of us may be hoping to spend the middle of summer in theater A/C, but are absolutely too spooked to sit through Midsommar. The hottest months are typically a lull between awards posturing. Aside from Ari Aster’s Swedish pagan nightmare-scape, plus that wildly high-concept Beatles-based comedy I haven’t yet gotten around to seeing, there’s mostly superhero reboots and high-budget misfires on the marquees right now. But with their retrospectives and lovingly-curated series, the lower Manhattan and Brooklyn arthouse theaters have us covered.
If 30 years of Keanu Reeves is somehow exactly what you’ve been craving, Nitehawk heard you loud and clear. It’s kicking off a retrospective this weekend with Reeves’s early ’90s excellence, Dracula and My Private Idaho, and will continue following his career chronologically into August. Beginning the 19th of this month, Film Forum has another four-week retrospective, of a slightly different tenor: it’s looking back on the expansive career of Burt Lancester, from From Here to Eternity to Elmer Gantry, which won him the Oscar.
On Monday the 15th, Anthology will honor Carolee Schneemann, the experimental and highly influential feminist multimedia artist who passed away earlier this year. They’re showing back-to-back screenings of her weird– and weirdly feline-themed– works, Kitch’s Last Meal and Infinity Kisses. And in the vein of femme empowerment, they also have a full docket of girl-centered coming-of-age films on the calendar for August—everything from 1966’s Catholic-school-set The Trouble with Angels to The Diary of a Teenage Girl, that highly-praised 2015 film with Alexander Skarsgard and Kristen Wiig.
And if you’re in the mood for something bizarre-r, Metrograph once again has summer late-nights: every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (or rather, early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), you can catch something surreal or offbeat, like John Carpenter’s 1987 H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Prince of Darkness. “Absolute Evil,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review of Carpenter’s film, “its time has come again. Here it is now, green and amorphous, whirling around inside a giant glass tube like zucchini in a blender.” Sure, why not?—fill the seasonal hole in your movie-buff heart, and get yourself out of the heat, to boot.