Main image via BAM
Sundays may be a “wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday” or a day of “forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure,” but a weekend is still a weekend. We wait for the pleasure of a Friday night, knowing the burdens of the work week have a brief respite, and what better way to indulge than by seeing some great films—be they new treasures or your favorite classics. And this weekend from MoMA to BAM, there are more than enough wonderful films for you to happily disappear into. Here are 13 film showings in New York this weekend that have us running to the theater.
***FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2***
WORKING GIRL, Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols’ deliciously witty take on the ruthlessness of office politics features Melanie Griffith’s breakthrough performance as Tess, a Staten Island-bred secretary climbing the corporate ladder. When her villainous supervisor (Weaver) breaks her leg, the coast is clear for Tess to take her place and forge a deal with a handsome investment broker (Ford). Nominated for six Oscars, this whip-smart portrait of 80s New York City features original music by Carly Simon and hilarious performances by Joan Cusack and Alec Baldwin.
DEADLY BLESSING, Wes Craven
”DEADLY BLESSING was directed by Wes Craven, whose other credits include The Last House on the Leftand The Hills Have Eyes. Mr. Craven has a flair for scaring his audience and an even more useful talent for making his characters comfortable and believable, even under the weirdest circumstances. The performances here are restrained and plausible, even from Mr. Borgnine, who appears in a long beard and a black hat playing someone called Isaiah. Also notable in the cast are Lois Nettleton, playing one of Martha’s stranger neighbors, Miss Jensen, Susan Buckner, Sharon Stone, and Jeff East, playing a Hittite who takes one look at the blondes from California and is ready to stray.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
ANATOMY OF LOVE, Alessandro Blasetti
Five-part omnibus film with, among others, Marcello Mastroianni, Yves Montand, Michel Simon, Sophia Loren, and Totò; with faded aristocrat De Sica wistfully reuniting with Elisa Cegani as extras on a movie set, and as an amorous Roman bus driver.
TWO WOMEN, Vittorio De Sica
Fleeing to her native South from Rome and Allied bombing, Sophia Loren and daughter Eleonora Brown find friendship with local intellectual Jean-Paul Belmondo, but which is worse?: fleeing Germans or advancing French colonial troops, the Moroccan Goumiers? Twenty-six-year-old Loren won both the Cannes Best Actress award and an Oscar — the first ever given for a foreign language performance. Adapted from a novel by Alberto Moravia, based on actual events.
***SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3***
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, Susan Seidelman
A bump on the head and a case of amnesia leads a vanilla Jersey housewife (Arquette) to take on the persona of a Lower East Side-dwelling hipster (“Like a Virgin”-era Madonna) who’s being pursued by killers. Susan Seidelman’s goofball take on Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating is a spirited slice of retro-80s cool featuring cameos by downtown mainstays John Turturro, Richard Hell, John Lurie, and others.
THE SIGN OF VENUS, Dino Risi
It’s tough for desperate-to-attract-men typist Franca Valeri (co-scenarist) when your cousin is Sophia Loren, who in turn wishes she didn’t. With Alberto Sordi as a fast-talking stolen car salesman; Raf Vallone as a straight-arrow fireman; and De Sica as a perpetually lira-sponging but silver-tongued “poet.” Plus alternate ending.
BACK TO THE FUTURE, Robert Zemeckis
A supercharged DeLorean sends teenager Marty McFly back to 1955, where he finds himself presiding over the romance of his parents (Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover)—if he can get past his future mom’s inconvenient crush on him. Long trapped in turnarounds and plagued by casting problems, Back to the Future unexpectedly emerged as a box office smash, and it stands today as one of the best-loved American films.
THE FLY, Kurt Neumann
Imagine you have a scientist partner who toils away the days in the laboratory and eventually presents to you the discovery of the century: he’s invented a teleportation machine. Joy! Now imagine there’s a small hiccup when he teleports himself and half turns into the fly who snuck into his device while that fly has half turned into him. Would anyone believe you? Would you believe it? What lengths would you go to fix it? The Fly surely isn’t a pretty tale but it’s a good one full of shocking reveals and gory ends. Starring the legendary Vincent Price as the non-insect brother, The Fly disrupts the nuclear family ideal and taps into the atomic mutilation fear of the 1950s that still gives us a damn good fright.
THE SHINING, Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick meets Stephen King: in the deserted off-season at a massive, isolated resort hotel, new caretaker Jack Nicholson descends into madness, with wife Shelley Duvall and their son the only witnesses. “Critic’s pick! Gloriously diabolical.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
THE CRAFT, Andrew Fleming
In the cult classic The Craft, a powerful coven is formed when a new girl in town befriends three other misfits with supernatural tendencies. But it becomes good witch v bad witch when some of those in the group start to use their powers for revenge and their own personal gain. Self-centered, vengeful, and vain, these teens with special powers are a heightened version of the typical high school girl flick. Only in this case there’s levitation, love spells, and Manon. Teenage witches in the 1990s, gotta love ’em.
***SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4***
AUNTIE MAME, Morton DaCosta
Russell gives one of her most iconic performances reprising her stage role as a flamboyant Park Avenue bon vivant who brings her young nephew into her extravagant lifestyle when his father dies unexpectedly. Set in the Roaring Twenties, this wildly popular Technicolor comedy showcases a cavalcade of lavish costumes, zany characters, and acerbic zingers courtesy of Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in the Rain), while also offering a celebration of bohemian life that has made the film an enduring gay cult classic.
YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW, Vittorio De Sica
The regional accents fly as Neapolitan black marketer Loren can’t be jailed if pregnant — but can loving hubby Mastroianni keep up his stamina? Outside Milan, rich industrialist’s wife Loren and lover Mastroianni have it out over a highway mishap. And in Rome, call girl Loren keeps Mastroianni’s “man from Bologna” yelping with a legendary striptease — but she’s otherwise on the wagon for the week. Academy Award, Best Foreign Language Film.
VERTIGO, Alfred Hitchcock
“One of the landmarks—not merely of the movies, but of 20th-century art. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film extends the theme of Rear Window—the relationship of creator and creation—into the realm of love and sexuality, focusing on an isolated, inspired romantic (James Stewart) who pursues the spirit of a woman (the powerfully carnal Kim Novak). The film’s dynamics of chase, capture, and escape parallel the artist’s struggle with his work; the enraptured gaze of the Stewart character before the phantom he has created parallels the spectator’s position in front of the movie screen. The famous motif of the fall is presented in horizontal rather than vertical space, so that it becomes not a satanic fall from grace, but a modernist fall into the image, into the artwork—a total absorption of the creator by his creation, which in the end is shown as synonymous with death. But a thematic analysis can only scratch the surface of this extraordinarily dense and commanding film, perhaps the most intensely personal movie to emerge from the Hollywood cinema.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader