Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Greta Gerwig presents: Something Wild + Mistress America

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

SOMETHING WILD on 35mm, followed by a post-film discussion with Greta Gerwig! Plus a free sneak preview screening of MISTRESS AMERICA (DCP projection).”A double-feature of dreams.” – Time Out New York

An evening of modern screwball — before the release of MISTRESS AMERICA, her new film as star and co-writer, Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) joins us to present one of the film’s inspirations, Jonathan Demme’s 1986 colorful cult classic SOMETHING WILD on 35mm, followed by a discussion with Gerwig, and a free preview screening of MISTRESS AMERICA for all ticketholders, introduced by Gerwig. MISTRESS AMERICA opens Fri Aug 14. Special thanks to Fox Searchlight.

SOMETHING WILD (1986, Jonathan Demme, USA, 117 min.)

“Jonathan Demme’s picaresque joyride across the American landscape is still arguably the best thing he’s ever done. Jeff Daniels is Charlie, a New York corporate schmo who becomes sexual prey to Melanie Griffith’s Lulu (a nod to Pabst’s Pandora’s Box) and later punching bag for her estranged, psychotic husband (Ray Liotta). Demme’s concerned with the ways his characters interrelate, bobbing between Preston Sturges social farce and Blue Velvet antisocial nightmare, but also with the American character generally, the environments that give messy shape to individual lives, force and urgency to particular obsessions… the best American [film of 1986]—in its action-movie energy, in its preference for practical sociology over ruminating psychology.” – Chicago Reader

MISTRESS AMERICA (Noah Baumbach, USA, 86 min.)

In MISTRESS AMERICA, Tracy (Lola Kirke) is a lonely college freshman in New York, having neither the exciting university experience nor the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle she envisioned. But when she is taken in by her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke (Gerwig) – a resident of Times Square and adventurous gal about town – she is rescued from her disappointment and seduced by Brooke’s alluringly mad schemes.

Leslye Headland presents: Working Girl

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Post-film discussion with filmmaker Leslye Headland! 35mm print

Before the release of her new film SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE, writer-director (and fellow 35mm purist) Leslye Headland joins us to present a print of one of her personal favorites and biggest inspirations, the smashing hit 1988 comedy by the late, great Mike Nichols.

“This Mike Nichols-directed comedy/drama/romance has got everything. Sex. Romance. Money. Power. Harrison Ford. It ushered in the ‘Cinderella’ era of Rom-Coms with a heroine as playful as the title. She was neither slut-shamed nor punished for her ambition. Her triumph was professional AND personal. Too bad no one followed suit for the next two decades.” – Leslye Headland

Stung

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Mrs. Perch, an elderly, wealthy lady from rural America, is throwing a fancy garden party at her remote country villa. Same procedure as every year – except this time her illegally imported plant fertilizer seeps into the ground. Subsequently, a local species of killer wasps that usually lay their eggs into other insects mutates into 7 ft tall predators. And the celebrating upper class company provides just the right kind of prey.

It’s up to Paul and Julia, the two catering staffers, to stop the creatures, fight for their lives, and incidentally getting their stumbling romance in order.

Sight Unseen: Alex Ross Perry presents Secret Ceremony

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Post-film discussion with Alex Ross Perry! Studio archive 35mm print

Two women holed up in a house, lost in a game of their own private rituals and slowly driving each other insane… This description of Alex Ross Perry’s new film QUEEN OF EARTH (opening Wed Aug 26) could just as easily apply to Joseph Losey’s SECRET CEREMONY from 1968. Though Perry readily admits the influence of Polanski and giallo on his latest work, it shares undeniable DNA with Losey’s movie – except Perry has never it. For this special evening, Celluloid Dreams explores the idea of unconscious influence, as we show SECRET CEREMONY for the first time ever to Perry and possibly you, too – this marks the film’s first NYC screening in several years.

“Elizabeth Taylor is very fine as a tacky madonna: a devout prostitute who’s offered a respite from the streets when a regressive child-woman called Cenci (Mia Farrow in long wig and Pollyanna tights) adopts her as substitute mother and moves her into a mansion of art-déco splendour. No wonder then that Taylor/Laura should fervently pray ‘Oh Lord, let no one snatch me from this heaven’; and as the strange ‘secret ceremonies’ begin, her treatment of Cenci displays the same mix of greed and generosity. Losey’s mannered direction, somehow entirely appropriate, makes for a memorable film. ” – Time Out (London)

Movie Night with Takashi Murakami: THIEF

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Post-film discussion with Takashi Murakami! Murakami’s JELLYFISH EYES opens Wed Jul 15!

DCP projection “A silently professional night-time jewel robbery, reduced to near-abstract essentials and paced by a Tangerine Dream score, sets the electric tone for Mann’s fine follow-up to The Jericho Mile: a philosophical thriller filled with modernist cool. Caan’s the thief, contradictorily building and risking a future mapped out as meticulously as any of his lucrative hi-tech jobs; testing his emotional and criminal independence to the limits; eventually recognising that he’s either exercising or exorcising a death wish.” – Time Out (London)

In the ongoing “Movie Night” program, IFC Center invites special guests to present a screening and acknowledge the brilliance of a timeless classic, spotlight an unsung gem, or defend a guilty pleasure. Past guests include filmmakers Paul Schrader, Miranda July, David Gordon Green, Terry Gilliam, Baz Luhrmann, Gaspar Noe, John Cameron Mitchell, James Toback, Guy Maddin, Paul Verhoeven, Frederick Wiseman, Catherine Breillat and Michel Gondry; Slovenian theorist and philosopher Slavoj Zizek; playwright Annie Baker; musician-actor Will Oldham; author Jonathan Lethem; actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini; actor Nick Offerman; comedian and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Fred Armisen; and members of the band Interpol.

Superman III

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

35mm print

“A splendid opening during the credits, with Lester displaying his dazzling skills in perfectly timed slapstick, sets the tone for the most satirical of the series so far. Here our superhero undergoes a psychotic reversal and turns into a real sleazo as he comes up against a megalomaniac tycoon (Vaughn in fine form) who is using computer wizard Pryor as an accomplice in his attempts to take over the world and destroy Superman.” – Time Out (London)

Batman Returns

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

35mm print

“Tim Burton’s sequel to his phenomenally successful 1989 BATMAN doesn’t try to top the first picture, either with splashier special effects or with loftier pretensions to significance; nor does it simply go through the motions, repeating the surefire stuff with a self-satisfied air of professionalism. It’s a blend of playful novelty and reassuring familiarity—a difficult mixture to get right. This time, the hero (again Michael Keaton) does battle with a greedy businessman named Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) and the roly-poly arch-criminal known as the Penguin (Danny DeVito). And whenever Batman ventures out on one of his nocturnal crime-fighting missions, he runs into a mysterious woman who dresses like a cat and carries a whip. The hilariously twisted relationship between the hero and the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) plays like an apache dance in animal costumes, and it’s the glory of the movie. The cat clothes seem to release something strange and wild in Pfeiffer: her performance is ferociously sexy and uninhibitedly, over-the-top funny. As in the first movie, Burton gives the material a luxurious masked-ball quality and a sly contemporary wit without violating the myth’s low, cheesy comic-book origins. He’s an artist who’s comfortable with both the higher aspirations and the lower instincts of his nature as an entertainer: he and Batman are an ideal match. Also with Michael Gough, Michael Murphy, Pat Hingle, and, in a cameo, Paul Reubens (better known as Pee-wee Herman). Screenplay by Daniel Waters; cinematography by Stefan Czapsky; score by Danny Elfman; production design by Bo Welch.” – The New Yorker

Batman

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

DCP projection

“Dark, haunting and poetic, Tim Burton’s BATMAN is a magnificent living comic book. From its opening shots, as the camera descends into the grim, teeming streets of Gotham City, the movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It’s an enveloping, walk-in vision. You enter into it as you would a magical forest in a fairy tale, and the deeper you’re drawn into it, the more frighteningly vivid it becomes.

“Ultimately, that’s what BATMAN is — a violent urban fairy tale. And it’s as rich and satisfying a movie as you’re likely to see all year. But though it springs from American pulp origins and provides comic book pleasures, it expands upon them as well, transmuting the raw material into operatic gold. Burton’s pop vitality and his ability to make the world over in surreal cartoon terms could have been predicted from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, but nowhere in those films is there a sign of the muscularity and emotion he shows here…

“Clearly, the movie’s Gotham is meant to be a nightmare variation on present-day New York City. (It even has Ed Koch and David Dinkins stand-ins, played by Lee Wallace and Billy Dee Williams.) As its 200th-birthday celebration approaches, it is in the grip of a brutal crime wave, orchestrated by Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), the boss of bosses, and his head henchman, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson). In his stylish threads, Napier is the most dapper of the crooks, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Grissom’s moll, Alicia (Jerry Hall), who’s two-timing the capo with his lieutenant…

“Nicholson, too, seems to be having a blast, and he brings a sense of dangerous hilarity to the character. Dressed in lurid lavender suits with orange silk shirts and aquamarine ties, he plays his green-haired trickster as a prancing, camp maniac. Beneath the Joker’s killer jokes, though, the violence is palpable. Nicholson’s acting here is dexterous, dancerly; physically, he’s a wild-man combination of Barrymore, Baryshnikov and Jackie Gleason. Ogling a picture of the famous photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) — who becomes Wayne’s girlfriend — he hisses, “She could put steam in a man’s strides.” This may be the nuttiest serious performance ever given by a major star. Nothing Nicholson does is expected or mundane — he’s brilliantly bonkers.

“But if Nicholson’s maniacal Joker is the movie’s engine, Michael Keaton’s Batman is its cool, forceful center. Burton specializes in freaks, and in this sense the comic book characters that Bob Kane and others created are certainly prime subjects. What he does, simply, is make them and their world real. Miraculously, he does this by heightening the story’s fantastical theatricality. When Batman makes his entrance, unfurling his cape to display its full wingspan, the image carries a charge of supernatural grandeur. In black from ear-tip to toe, this Batman is truly a larger-than-life figure, potent and terrifying, and the flourish with which he’s brought onstage allows him to rise to his full superhero stature…

“Inspired by the classic Batman stories in DC Comics and the revisionist versions of Frank Miller, Alan Moore and others, this Batman tale is very much Burton’s and very much centered in the physical world of gravity and human limitations. These heroes are our metaphorical selves, colorful externalizations of our psychological conflicts, and therefore, at times, overwhelmingly potent. They’re our pop archetypes, and Burton applies a flamboyant showmanship to bring them to life. The adversaries’ final danse macabre — or, as the Joker calls it, ‘the big duckeroo’ — is an electrifying bit of moviemaking. Your emotions are plugged right into it in a way they seldom are in movies like this. But then again, there haven’t been many movies like this. In some ways, it’s a masterpiece of pulp, the work of a true artist.” – Washington Post

Five Star

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

After John’s absent father is struck by a stray bullet, Primo takes it upon himself to verse the young boy in the code of the streets—one founded on respect and upheld by fear. A member of the Bloods since the age of twelve—both in the film and in reality—the streets of Brooklyn are all Primo has ever known. While John questions whether or not to enter into this life, Primo must decide whether to leave it all behind as he vows to become a better husband and father. Set during those New York summer weeks where the stifling heat seems to encase everything, Five Star plunges into gang culture with searing intensity. Director Keith Miller observes the lives of these two men with a quiet yet pointed distance, carefully eschewing worn clichés through its unflinching focus. Distinctions between fiction and real life remain intentionally ambiguous, allowing the story of these two men to resonate beyond the streets, as they face the question of what it means to be a man. Official selection: Tribeca Film Festival

Phoenix

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Germany in the stunning new film from acclaimed director Christian Petzold (BARBARA, JERICHOW). Berlin, 1945: Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German-Jewish, ex-nightclub singer, has survived a concentration camp. But, like her country, she is scarred, her face disfigured by a bullet wound. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Nelly emerges with a new face, one similar but different enough that her former husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. Rather than reveal herself, Nelly walks into a dangerous game of duplicity and disguise as she tries to figure out if the man she loves may have been the one who betrayed her to the Nazis. Submerged in shadowy atmosphere and the haunted mood of post-war Berlin, Phoenix weaves a complex, Hitchcockian tale of a nation’s tragedy and a woman’s search for answers as it builds towards an unforgettable, heart-stopping climax.



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