A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
March/April 2018 Week-Long Engagements at the Metrograph
February 23-March 1 Exclusive One-Week NY Engagement
THE YOUNG KARL MARX Raoul Peck's (I Am Not Your Negro) Portrayal of the Birth of Communism Peck In Person
From stalwart Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck, director of the fierce and timely I Am Not Your Negro(2016), comes a new study in revolutionary consciousness, no less radical for its classical period piece trappings. August Diehl plays a wet-behind-the-ears twentysomething Marx, in Parisian exile with his wife (Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps) when he finds an intellectual love-match with Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske), the beginning of a fervid conversation conducted across the cities of Europe drawing from visceral experience of human want, and the birth of an idea of world-historical import. A release by The Orchard.
March 2-8 One-Week Revival Engagement
MIND GAME Masaaki Yuasa's Rapturous, Head-Trip Anime Modern Classic Back on Screen for the First Time in a Decade
A cult phenomenon in Japan, Masaaki Yuasa’s shoot-the-works avant-garde head-trip anime, which tries, masters, and disposes of just about every animation style you can think of in the course of its runtime, is a psychedelic secret that’s ripe for discovery. Yuasa’s philosophical and earthy debut follows Nishi, a young Osakan man whose dreams of being a comic artist are seemingly dashed forever when a yakuza thug blasts a bullet up his ass—but then things really start to get weird. The pure product of an unchained—some would say unhinged—imagination matched to a dynamo talent, and a brain-blitzing experience that can scarcely be described. A GKIDS release.
BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE) One of 2017's Best Films is Back for One Week Revival Run
Robin Campillo (Les Revenants, Eastern Boys), a veteran of AIDS awareness protest group ACT UP, assays his experience into this intimate portrayal of the crisis in 1990s Paris, still a near epidemic thanks to the inactivity of Francois Mitterand’s government. The personal and political are inextricable here, as a burgeoning romance between ACT UP newcomer Nathan (Arnaud Valois) and longtime agitator Sean (Nahuel Perez Biscayart) unfolds amidst an urgent organized struggle with life-or-death implications.A release by The Orchard.
March 9-15 One-Week Revival Engagement
POLICE STORY New Restoration of Jackie Chan's Hong Kong Action Classic
A bone-cracking landmark in Hong Kong beat-‘em-up action, Police Story stars director Jackie Chan as Ka-kui/Kevin, an inspector assigned to protect a key witness (Brigitte Lin) in a drug case from the agents of her former employer, a task which will require him to dangle from a speeding bus by umbrella, go through one billion plate glass windows (conservative estimate) in the film’s department store finale, and maintain the affections of his fickle girlfriend, May (Cheung). Chan never looked better as a full-body performer—and his performance looks better than ever in this brand new restoration by L’Immagine Ritrovata Hong Kong! A Fortune Star Media Limited release.
March 30-April 5 Exclusive U.S. Theatrical Premiere Run
PERSONAL PROBLEMS Bill Gunn's Long Unseen Masterpiece Receives First-Ever U.S. Theatrical Run Ismael Reed with Cast & Crew In Person
Bill Gunn, actor, screenwriter, novelist, and director of art-horror classic Ganja & Hess (1973), teamed with writer Ishmael Reed and producer Steve Cannon to produce what Reed has called a “meta-soap opera,” an extraordinary, rough-edged ensemble piece exploring black middle-class lives with candor and emotional intensity, featuring a who's who of major artists including Walter Cotton, Vertamae Grosvenor, Jim Wright, and Sam Waymon, with music by Carman Moore, and cinematography by Robert Polidori. Rarely shown and, when screened, seen in a mutilated cut hampered by the poor quality of available materials, it appears for the first time in a full-length version which, as restored by Kino Lorber from original tapes, is nothing short of a revelation. A Kino Lorber release.
April 6-12 Exclusive One-Week NY Engagement
ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM A Documentary about The Demise of America's Largest Anti-Poverty Organization Directors Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard In Person
What does a fake pimp and prostitute have to do with ACORN, America's largest anti-poverty organization? A power player in the 2008 election of president Barack Obama, the community organizing group was targeted by conservatives, who accused them of committing voter fraud. ACORN critics found allies in amateur journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles whose undercover hidden camera investigations smeared ACORN, and helped launch a new entity called Breitbart Media. ACORN and the Firestorm is a thrilling recount of recent political history by Reuben Atlas (Sour Grapes) and Sam Pollard (Two Trains Runnin'), a film that fills in a missing puzzle piece in the big picture of how the hell we got where we are now. A First Run Films release.
April 13-19 One-Week NY Engagement
GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI An Intimate and Rousing Portrait of the Iconic Glam Pop Diva Jones In Person
One doesn't have to do much to make a film about the towering, tempestuous Jamaican-born Grace Jones visually stunning and frequently outrageous, but director Sophie Fiennes goes above and beyond in this documentary portrait of the powerful and pansexual glam-pop diva, observed in close quarters over the course of several years, the all-access segments of her quotidian existence on the road punctuated by larger-than-larger-than-life musical numbers. A treatment every bit as definition-defying as its subject, untamed by either age or life itself. A retrospective of Jones' film and video work will begin April 6. A Kino Lorber release.
April 20-26 Exclusive One-Week NY Engagement
THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH William Friedkin's Thrilling Return to His Documentary Roots Friedkin In Person
In his latest, William Friedkin returns not only to his documentary roots but to the subject of one of his most towering works, 1973’s The Exorcist. Friedkin, a legendary raconteur, leads a tour that moves from the infamous Exorcist steps in Georgetown to Italy, where he meets with the 91-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, official exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, and accompanies Amorth on one of his harrowing house calls. A sprightly, at times gonzo-style investigation into the long history of demonic lore, and a one-of-a-kind insight into the persistence of medieval belief in the supposedly modern world. A small retrospective of Friedkin's films will run simultaneously. A release by The Orchard.