20 Movies to See This Week: Lumet, Van Sant, Polanski + More

Share Button

***MONDAY, JUNE 23***

EXHIBITION, Joanna Hogg
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“A married middle-aged couple (Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick), both artists, live in a beautiful modernist house in Chelsea, designed and built by an artist—a labyrinth, a refuge, a prison house, a battleground. As they confront their conflicts and competitions, they slowly arrive at the painful decision to sell, thus inviting interlopers into their private world. Joanna Hogg’s new film is structured as a cinematic mosaic of interlocking sights, sounds, exchanges, happenings great and small, everyday advances, and retreats. It is, finally, a portrait of two people in a state of change in a house that effectively becomes a third character, and an agent in that change. Hogg’s film is a rarity, at once exactingly minimal and intimately character-driven. It is also a wonderful “London movie.”

READ MORE

THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY, Josephine Decker
BAM

“Psychosexual tensions boil over in this hair-raising erotic drama, set on an idyllic farm in the Kentucky countryside. When hired hand Akin (DIY staple Joe Swanberg) arrives to help out for the summer, he becomes increasingly entangled with the mysterious and emotionally manipulative relationship between farmer (Robert Longstreet) and daughter. Using time-lapse photography and shifting points of view, Decker imbues the bucolic scenery with a mounting sense of dread that evokes John Steinbeck and David Lynch.”

READ MORE

NETWORK, Sidney Lumet
Nitehawk

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore! Fired after twenty-five years as an anchorman on UBS, Howard Beale proclaims on his last broadcast that he was going to commit suicide and, although he doesn’t, his on-air rant of self destruction becomes an unexpected ratings sensation. Fueled by the ambitious programming executive Diana Christensen, the focus of the network takes on a new trashy but lucrative turn that is to the disappointment of the news division president Max Schumacher (Beale’s longtime friend and Christensen’s occasional lover). Forty years after release, Sidney Lumet’s satirical film about the exploitative nature of trash news television is more relevant than ever.”

READ MORE 

BLOOD IN THE STREETS / REVOLVER, Sergio Sollima
Anthology Film Archives

“A prison warden’s wife is kidnapped, and the kidnapper demands the release of one of the warden’s prisoners in exchange. The plot is a familiar one, except that in this case the warden, played by the charismatic and boozy Oliver Reed, takes matters into his own hands by kidnapping the convict (Fabio Testi) after orchestrating his very escape. What ensues is a surprisingly compelling drama between the two men as they set out, through the foggy streets of northern Italy to the bohemian lofts of Paris, to uncover the truth and save Reed’s wife. Sollima considered the film foremost a drama set against a crime backdrop rather than a straight entry in the genre.”

READ MORE

THEY CAME TOGETHER, DAVID Wain
BAM

“More than a decade after the release of cult summer camp spoof Wet Hot American Summer, Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter reteam to lampoon the rom-com with this sidesplitting send-up. The concept is familiar: Molly (Poehler) runs a small Upper West Side sweets store; Joel (Rudd) works for the big candy conglomerate that’s opening across the street. After a bookstore meetcute sparked by a shared, uncanny love of fiction, their initial rivalry leads to improbable romance and Wain and Showalter’s absurdist hijinks gleefully rip to shreds every cliché in the book. A Lionsgate release.”

READ MORE 

PARANOID PARK, Gus Van Sant
MoMA

“Based on a young adult novel by Blake Nelson, Van Sant’s 2007 film takes him back to the Pacific Northwest of his earliest work. Gabe Nevins heads a mostly non-professional cast as a teenaged skateboarder profoundly traumatized when he witnesses a killing; with his sudden maturity, life with his cheerleader girlfriend will never be the same. Photographed by Christopher Doyle in a delirious swirl of video, Super 8, and 35mm.”

READ MORE 

EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, Darius Clark Monroe
BAM

“Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe revisits his journey from honors student to convicted bank robber at the age of 16. Contemplating the ramifications of his crime, Monroe gathers interviews with relatives, accomplices, and victims, who react to his efforts to make amends in unpredictable ways. His unflinching and cathartic confrontation with his past examines how the effects of one bad decision reverberate throughout a community.”

READ MORE 

***TUESDAY, JUNE 24***

LIFE ITSELF, Steve James
Museum of the Moving Image

“This unvarnished, revealing, entertaining, and deeply moving documentary by Steve James (Hoop Dreams) recounts the life of film critic Roger Ebert. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, Life Itself explores the legacy of Roger Ebert’s life, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America to his public battle with the cancer that took his life in 2013. “A life spent at the movies gets the cinematic epitaph it richly deserves,” wrote Scott Foundas in Variety. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Chaz Ebert, Roger Ebert’s widow; Scott Foundas, Variety film critic; and filmmaker Ramin Bahrani.”

READ MORE

VENUS IN FUR, Roman Polanski
IFC Center

“Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) stars as Thomas, a stage director auditioning a new female lead: a woman who takes a man as her slave. But when the volatile and erotic Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, the filmmaker’s wife) comes barreling into his Paris theater, she stuns Thomas with her commitment to the role, and the boundaries between life and art begin to crumble. Adapted from David Ives’s Broadway hit, Polanski’s 20th feature offers a devilishly funny, classically Polanskian investigation into the dynamics of sex and power.”

READ MORE

I ORIGINS, Mike Cahill
BAM

“Director Cahill’s luminous, Brooklyn-set follow-up to his acclaimed Another Earth(BAMcinemaFest 2011) further plumbs the romantic and metaphysical dimensions of science. A molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) studying the evolution of the eyes finds his romance with an enigmatic young woman inextricably linked to a potentially earth-shaking scientific breakthrough. Intelligent and provocative, I Origins is a lush sophomore effort from one of independent filmmaking’s most intriguing voices. A Fox Searchlight release.”

READ MORE

WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY, Elio Petri
Anthology Film Archives

“Following a string of anonymous letters, a man is killed during a hunting party. A leftist professor begins sleuthing around for the truth as he becomes involved with the man’s widow and her cousin. With a sort of strange happy ending, Petri’s foray into Sicilian ways is a rarely-seen suspense/romance film with top-notch performances from Gian Maria Volonté, Irene Papas, and Gabriele Ferzetti (L’AVVENTURA).”

READ MORE 

A SUMMER’S TALE, Eric Rohmer
IFC Center

“Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), a recent university graduate, arrives at the seaside in Bretagne for three weeks’ vacation before starting a new job. He’s hoping his sort-of girlfriend, the fickle Léna (Aurélia Nolin), will join him there; but as the days pass, he welcomes the interest of Margot (Amanda Langlet, the titular character from Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach), a student of ethnology working as a waitress for the summer. Things start to get complicated when the spoken-for Margot encourages Gaspard to have a summer romance with her friend, Solène (Gwenaëlle Simon), and he complies. When Léna turns up, and scheduling complications abound, Gaspard will have to make a choice…

Rohmer’s characteristically light touch allows his characters to discourse on love and friendship, even as their body language complicates and even contradicts their words. Diane Baratier’s cinematography perfectly captures the languor of youth and the feeling of a French beach vacation–the sea, the sunlight and the lovely surroundings convey the openness of a world of possibilities faced by these young people.”

READ MORE

L FOR LEISURE, Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn
BAM

“It’s Baywatch meets Rohmer in this gauzy, sun-kissed paean to vacation. Shot on glorious 16mm, L for Leisure follows a group of quasi-intellectual grad students circa 1993 as they jet off to various international destinations (Baja, France, Iceland, and beyond) in search of adventure. This deliciously retro first feature from directing duo Kalman and Horn boasts impromptu Greco-Roman wrestling, a boogie-boarding dog, and extended discussions about everything from alternative universes to Michael Jordan—all set to a blissed-out synth-pop soundtrack.”

READ MORE

***WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25***

SNOWPIERCER, Bong Joon Ho
BAM

“In his first English-language film, Korean genre maverick Bong (The Host) mounts a visually breathtaking dystopia in which all the survivors of Earth’s new Ice Age are packed aboard a perpetual-motion locomotive. Equal parts allegory and thriller, this ambitious adaptation of the popular French graphic novel follows a railway Spartacus (Chris Evans) and his band of ragtag revolutionaries as they break out of the cramped caboose to liberate the train from its decadent ruling class, led by an evil prime minister played by an uproarious (and barely recognizable) Swinton. A Radius-TWC release.”

READ MORE

AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, Werner Herzog
MoMA

“Herzog, like Fassbinder, is a unique talent who shot this 16th-century tale on location in the Amazon. Kinski, the movies’ perfect modern madman (he played Dracula and Jack the Ripper, among others) is terrific as the obsessed seeker of the mythical “Seven Cities of Gold.” Herzog is the embodiment of auteurism in creating his vision of a private universe, perhaps in the tradition of Richard Wagner.”

READ MORE

THE VIOLENT FOUR aka BANDITS IN MILAN, Carlo Lizzani
Anthology Film Archives

“Based on an actual band of bank robbers in Milan in the 60s, Carlo Lizzani’s pre-cursor to the popular crime noir of the following decade employs cinema vérité techniques to expose the underbelly of Italy’s most modern city. Tomas Milian is the detective hot on the trail of a pack of bandits led by the charismatic Gian Maria Volonté. This essential entry was selected for the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled due to the tumultuous political events of May ’68.”

READ MORE

***THURSDAY, JUNE 26***

NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY, Lav Diaz
The Film Society of Lincoln Center

“In the northern Philippine province of Luzon, a law-school dropout commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man takes the fall and receives a life sentence, leaving behind a wife and two kids. At their best, Lav Diaz’s marathon movies reveal just how much other films leave out. In his devastating twelfth feature (and at four-plus hours, one of his shortest), the broad canvas accommodates both the irreducible facts of individual experience and the cosmic sweep of time and space. A careful rethinking of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishmentshot in blazing color, this tour de force offers a masterful recapitulation of Diaz’s longstanding obsessions: cultural memory, national guilt, and the origin of evil. The wounds and defeats of Filipino history loom large in each of Diaz’s films. Fabian, Norte’s tortured antihero (superbly played by Sid Lucero), may well be his most indelible creation: a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology.”

READ MORE

SOMETHING, ANYTHING, Paul Harrill
BAM

“In the wake of a life-altering tragedy, Southern newlywed Peggy confronts a profound spiritual crisis and sets out on a quest to discover a higher purpose. Without knowing what she seeks, Peggy jeopardizes her marriage, career, and friendships to find fulfillment. Harrill’s impressive debut feature is a meditative and quietly transfixing study of a woman attempting to put her life back together.”

READ MORE

HATED: GG ALLIN AND THE MURDER JUNKIES, Todd Phillips
Nitehawk

“Todd Phillips’ (Old School, Starsky & Hutch, The Hangover) debut film is a documentary about the notorious punk musician G.G. Allin. Allin, who died during post-production from a heroin overdose, was famous for his excessive and confrontational manner especially during his shows where he’d perform naked, defecate onstage, yell obscenity, and get physically assaultive/assaulted. You know, all the good stuff. Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies includes interviews with Allin, band members, fans and haters. It goes through his childhood, includes amazing footage of his legendary shows, insane party moments alongside quieter moments, and scenes from his funeral.”

READ MORE 

CALIBER 9, Fernando Di Leo
Anthology Film Archives

“Gastone Moschin (THE CONFORMIST) is Ugo Piazza, a tight-lipped gangster just released from prison. He is hounded by Rocco, the psychopathic right-hand man of a powerful Milan gang, played with manic energy by the inimitable Mario Adorf, who believes that Ugo had something to do with a large sum of money that’s gone missing. Di Leo, who got his start as one of the screenwriters for Sergio Leone, gives this film – the first chapter of what is known as the ‘milieu trilogy’ – a near Shakespearean touch. Stylized action sequences, a terrific score by Luis Enriquez Bacalov, the gritty setting of Milan in the 70s, and clever plot twists are just a few of the reasons why Quentin Tarantino has called this the best Italian noir ever made.”

READ MORE