When I ventured out to Fire Island last weekend, it took us nearly an hour to get from the ferry landing to the house by traversing a forest path in pitch darkness. As I strained to wheel a suitcase through the sand, we joked nervously about the classic horror movie scenario, and I wondered which one I was going to get first: poison ivy? lyme disease? eaten by coyotes? Once we got to the house, though, we were enveloped in blissful solitude, and I cracked a book about Fire Island only to be reminded that Robert Moses had once sought to run an expressway through the quiet little place.
Friday October 28 through Thursday November 3 at IFC Center: $14.50
I’m hoping at least a few of you out there, like me, are cursed/blessed by a bizarro Pavlovian response to the words “No Fun”– whenever they’re uttered, even in passing, you immediately drop whatever or whoever you’re doing, wherever you may be, and start thrashing around like a seahorse at the tail end of his week-long soak in a Benzedrine bath.
Michael Moore in Trumpland
Monday October 24 through Thursday October 27 at IFC Center: $14
Yeah, yeah we know, Michael Moore is… well, he’s Michael Moore. His particular way of showing outrage feels almost obsolete by now, a bit like a relic of the Bush ere, or worse– like an old white dude who insists on putting himself at the center of his films for some reason that seems to have disintegrated long ago. For his latest film, you might expect that Moore has aimed his camera squarely at “Trumpland” aka underemployed, undereducated white men in flyover America. But that’s not the case at all, actually.
“Last night was—pardon my French—batshit crazy,” said Jon Vanco of IFC Center, referring to the surprise premiere of Michael Moore in Trumpland on Tuesday. “It was the most circusy, bizarre night on Sixth Avenue that I think we’ve ever had here.”
Finally, the American public got an October surprise that didn’t involve forcible fondling or 400-pound hackers. Monday night, Michael Moore basically dropped some balloons on everyone by announcing that his new movie, Michael Moore in Trumpland, would be premiering Tuesday at IFC Center. Little was known about what promised to be the Beyoncé of agitprop cinema, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from storming the theater like they had decided where to invade next.
Saturday October 14, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout the month of October, Spectacle is running a series on Pink Film, a Japanese cinematic movement that began in the groovy ’60s– a time when counterculture thrived in Japan and, just like the U.S. and France and other countries across the world, ideas about free love and experimental art-making began to take hold.
According to the theater, this is “the largest and most comprehensive [retrospective] of its kind in North America” and covers Pink’s evolution from start to present. Sick.
Friday September 30 through Thursday October 6 at IFC Center: $14
Danny Fields was the music manager “at the pulse of the underground,” the man behind the best rock n’ roll to come out of the ’70s New York City scene and actually some of the most influential rock of all time. Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and the Ramones were just a few of his associated acts and though all of this stuff is standard by now, back in Danny’s glory days it was nothing short of insanity.
Friday September 16 to Thursday September 22 at IFC Center: $14
This film follows the illustrious but fraught career of Sergei Polunin, aka the “James Dean of the ballet world,” and his progress from child prodigy to a top-dancer wunderkind. I mean, you couldn’t really call anyone the James Dean of interpretive dance, because that would just be a dumb joke. It actually makes sense with Polunin though, as a figure who’s equally as intense, if not more so, than ballet itself, a sport that demands self-torture of its devotees, legit from the very first step.
Thursday September 8, 7:45 pm at Metrograph: $15
This one’s been held over at the Metrograph again and it looks like this is finally, actually, literally the last time you can catch Spa Night within the stylish confines of the Lower East Side’s newest art house theater and perhaps the only ciné in the whole wide city with a concession stand that looks like it was designed by a serial killer. You’ll find that Spa Night is replete with that very same understated but stylish weirdness. It’s a quiet, crawling film fraught by teeth-gritting tension so overwhelming you get the feeling everything’s about to come crashing down if you breathe too loudly.
Strawberries Need Rain
Friday September 2, Friday September 9, Saturday September 17, Saturday September 24, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout September, Spectacle is screening a whole slew of films by midnight master, Texas filmmaker, and self-proclaimed “schlockmeister” Larry Buchanan. Old photos of the dude could easily fool you into thinking he’s a jolly pediatrician who makes house calls and checks your pulse with the aid of a pocket watch. Best known for his schlocky sci-fi/horror B-movies like Mars Needs Women and the 1969 original of It’s Alive! (not to be confused with the 1974 cult classic written/directed by Larry Cohen), Buchanan made some super awful and yet somehow successful films, as the story goes. The Times put it best after Buchanan died in 2004 at the age of 81: “It was not so much that his films were bad; they were deeply, dazzlingly, unrepentantly bad.”