From Godard and Hawks to Ozu and Kazan, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in NYC

As summer ends and we begin the descent into our winter of discontent, what better way to pass the time than in darkened theater? And this weekend, cinemas around New York are screening a generous amount of fantastic films—from French New Wave classics to the best in ’90s American indies—so there is certainly something to satisfy your need to escape into another world for the evening. And although you may be sitting at your desk lamenting the fact that you’re not in Toronto soaking in fifteen films today, take comfort in knowing this weekend is replete with screenings just around the corner.

To make your life easier, we’ve rounded up the best of what’s playing throughout the New York, so peruse our list, grab your sweater and an extra large bag of M&Ms, and curl up in the theater for the next few days.

IFC Center

Reality Bites
Passion 
Our Nixon 
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints 
Best Kept Secret 
The Canyons 
Frances Ha 
Fire in the Blood 
Il Futuro 
The Holy Mountain
I Am Breathing 
Museum Hours  
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Una Noche
Written on the Wind

Museum of the Moving Image

Rear Window
To Have and Have Not
Rio Bravo
Fig Leaves
The Cradle Snatchers
Fazil 
Senna

BAM

Gleaming the Cube
Blue Jasmine
Skateboard
The World’s End
The Grandmaster
Freewheelin’
Thrashin’
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

MoMA

Tokyo Story
Salvatore Giuliano
The Earrings of Madame de…
The Actress
On the Waterfront
East of Eden
To Catch a Thief
Mr. Arkadin/Confidential
Report

 

Nitehawk

The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
In a Word…
Passion Planet of the Apes
City Slickers

Landmark Sunshine

Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World
The Spectacular Now
The Room

Film Forum

Contempt
La Maison de la Radio
Russian Ark
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

Film Linc

Interior. Leather Bar.
Blackfish
Concussion 
In a World…
In the Name of…
Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet From Stardom
Geography Club
It Came From Outer Space
Love Me Not
Pit Stop
Newfest Shorts Program 1 & 2
The Last March
Free Fall
The Most Fun I’ve Had With My Pants On
You and the Night

Angelika Film Center

Salinger
The Grandmaster
Blue Jasmine
Closed Circuit

From Scorsese to De Palma, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in NYC This Weekend

We’ve finally reached the last stretch of our summer days, and although the beaches my be closing, there is plenty to look forward to on the film front. And whether you’re BBQ’ing your way through the weekend and relaxing on beach outside these humid streets or hiding away in your apartment savoring that extra day of doing absolutely nothing, you can always find the time to head down to the cinema and enjoy something wonderful.

This weekend there’s a generous plenty to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for classics or the summer’s best premieres. Take a look at the evil inside with Rosemary’s Baby or torture yourself with Taxi Driver and then discover the power of connection with Short Term 12 and fall into feeling with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints—just to name some options. But whatever your film fancy, there are a number of wonderful worlds to escape into this weekend. We’ve compiled the best of what’s playing in the city, so peruse our list, grab yourself a large box of candy and enjoy.

 

IFC Center

The Wild Bunch
Passion
The Canyons
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
El Topo
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Our Nixon
Prince Avalanche
Rio Bravo
Una Noche

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Enter the Dragon
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
The Grandmaster

Film Forum

Rosemary’s Baby
Tokyo Waka: A City Poem
Demon Seed
Alien
Aliens
Total Recall
The Howling
Starship Troopers
Village of the Damned

Film Linc

Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet from Stardom
Singin’ in the Rain
Re-Animator
In a World…
Far From Vietnam
Blackfish

MoMA

The River
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Never Fear (The Young Lovers)
Limelight
Steel Helmet

Museum of the Moving Image

Dog Day Afternoon
The Taking of Pelham One Two
Three Born to Win
Taking Off
The Panic in Needle Park

Landmark Sunshine

Taxi Driver
Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Afternoon Delight

Nitehawk

Moulin Rouge! Sing Along
In a World…
The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Frankenhooker
Car Wash
Rushmore

Director Joe Swanberg on ‘Drinking Buddies,’ Complicated Relationships, & Craft Beer

The last time I saw Joe Swanberg was at IFC Center in the winter of 2009. I was talking a class with filmmaker Caveh Zahedi who brought in guests to screen their films each week, and instead of presenting Hannah Takes the Stairs or Nights and Weekends, Swanberg chose to show us a rough-cut first hour of a very low-budget movie he was working on. In his Q&A afterwards, he expressed the challenges of making the film and the independent film world in general, seeming to have hit a point in his career that was dying for a shakeup. “I eventually finished that movie,” he told me earlier this week when we sat down to discuss his wildly enjoyable new feature Drinking Buddies. It’s been four years since he showed my class what would go on to be the Kate Lyn Sheil and Amy Seimetz-led Silver Bullets, but for the director who garnered acclaim for years as a leader in “mumblecore” cinema, his latest effort proves he’s not only crafted a film that has mass appeal but shows the work of a more matured director who has truly honed his own style of filmmaking.

Set in the world of a craft beer brewery in Chicago, Drinking Buddies tells the age old tale of intimate platonic love with a question mark. We’ve all been there and we’e all seen the way that underlying desire either fades or ignites into something substantial, but for the characters that populate his laid-back film—played fantastically by Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, and Anna Kendrick—when things get complicated, sometimes a good pint of beer isn’t simply enough to ease the tension. As his largest production to date, the film explores the relationship between best friends Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) and their significant others Jill (Kendrick) and Chris (Livingston) as they grapple with feelings they cannot quite come to terms with or have forced themselves to repress. But unlike most “romantic comedies” of the same ilk, Drinking Buddies has a natural ease and genuine mix of playfulness and dramatic emotion that resonates in its small gestures and humility. Due in large part to Swanberg’s affinity for improvisation and replying on the personal strength’s of his actors, the film arrives from one honest moment to the next and leaves you feeling wholly satisfied. 
 
I sat down with Swanberg last Monday to talk about his moral duty to comedy, getting lucky with his cast, and just how much beer was consumed on set.
 
I realy enjoyed the film. It just felt really honest, which is rare these days. But your films always deal with complicated interpersonal relationships, so how did this specific story come to you and what’s your connection to having it set in a brewery?

Well, it was a couple things. I brew beer and I really pay attention to the craft beer scene—especially in Chicago. I have friends that work in the industry so that was really an early inspiration, just to do something set in a brewery. Then also, the movie Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and the idea of making a movie about these two couples and mixing up that. And Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid was an inspiration—her stuff general is an inspiration—that movie specifically, I just loved how complex and squirmy the relationships are in that.
 
I realized last night that another big early inspiration was this filmmaker Madeline Olnek—she made this movie Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, which was at Sundance in 2011. I’d known her a long time and we were walking around, and she was saying that she had come to feel like, as a filmmaker, if you have the ability to make comedies, she said that she thinks it’s immoral not to. And I thought that was the most insane piece of film theory I’ve ever heard! But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what it meant, and at this point, what I consider the noble task of making people laugh. So that really kicked around in my head for a long time and had a lot to do with why I made something like Drinking Buddies after this period of really dark, personal insular stuff like Silver Bullets—to make a comedy or comedy-drama but something that was funny.
 
Your other films have been heavily improvised with very loosely structured scripts. Did you have more of a structure for this movie but then just let the characters breath and play out their fate?

Pretty much. On Drinking Buddies, it was much more solid than it’s ever been before. On something like Silver Bullets there was literally no direction, we just started shooting scenes and then over the course of two and a half years sort of came together. But with Drinking Buddies there was an outline that was very solidly in place that we were working from.
 
I really appreciated the ending—when does life ever have a nice resolve, right? And everyone has been in a relationship like that, either you just stay friends and in time whatever weird romantic longings fade or you fall in love. Had you planned out the ending of the film or did that change as the shooting went along?
I did. I knew how I wanted it to end. The final scene in the movie wasn’t the final scene in the outline, there was one other small scene, which we shot, but when we shot the scene that is the final shot in the movie, I knew even on set that that was how it was going to end. We went through with shooting the other scene just in case, but in the editing room I never even ended up editing it.
 
In a film like this, so much depends on the idiosyncrasies of its characters and what the actors bring to them. How did you go about finding the leading actors and do you think it would have been a different film if not for them?
I didn’t write it with people in mind but because of the way that I work, it’s always so dependent on the people that I work with. If you were to sub out any of those four actors with somebody else, it would be a totally different movie. It’s one of the reasons why I love working that way, I feel like I’m best taking advantage of the talent that I’m working with and really shaping the movie around their strengths and what I find exciting about them. Jason Sudeikis knew my work and sort of encouraged Olivia to check it out and nudged her towards doing something like this, and Jake was recommended by Lizzy Caplan who had done a couple episodes of New Girl and thought he was really great. So she encouraged me to meet him. 
 
Even with Ron and Anna, everyone has a very genuine and exciting chemistry.

They’re amazing. I’m so spoiled, it’s really an incredible cast to get to work with. 
 
I’m sure you didn’t have very much to spend just hanging out before shooting. Did everyone click really fast?

We couldn’t spend much time, yeah. It was crazy. Olivia was coming back from China because she had just finished Spike Jonze’s movie, so she got in like two days before we started shooting. Ron and Anna didn’t come in until a week into when we started shooting, so it was really kind of nuts in terms of how they had to get to know each other. But that’s what makes them professionals, they’re good at faking it until they don’t have to fake it. 
 
Going back to your affinity for improv and letting the actors take the reigns there, was a lot of dialogue and the playfulness of the film just the actors just riffing and doing what felt right in the moment?

Definitely. All the dialogue is them coming up with that. Jake described it as, like, the first take is the writing take, and then we kind of go from there and use that as a sort of baseline to do multiple takes. It’s shot pretty conventionally even though the film’s improvised—there’s a lot of over the shoulder cross-cutting and things like that—but it’s one camera and so we get a take that we like, riff on that a couple times, and then hone it from there.
 
k
 
The movie is so much about these close relationships and small moments between the characters and with the tenor of their lives, it really feels like it could be a story that could translate to any period of time. But it was interesting to see the little hints of modernity, like talking about Instagram. I thought I would hate hearing that in a film but it actually felt natural here.

I think it’s because it’s not a line. It’s not like I’m a screenwriter whose like, “I’m going to write an Instagram line to make my movie hip!” When that stuff comes out naturally in conversation, you can feel the difference between something that you feel like is trying to convince you that it’s cool and something that’s just two young people talking to each other. 
 
Drinking Buddies was obviously a bigger production than your past work and builds you out into a new audience as well. Was it a conscious decision for you to venture away from what you’d been doing and make something on a larger scale?

It was conscious in the sense that I was attempting to connect with a bigger group of people. That sort of goes back to what Madeline said—if you can make a comedy, it’s immoral night to. That fell in line with also the idea of wanting to reach the broadest audience possible with that movie. 
 
And to be able to make people laugh is not an easy feat.
It’s hard! I would argue—I’ll probably catch a lot of shit for this—that making a mainstream comedy is much more difficult than making an art film. That audience, the critical audience and the art house audience, it’s much easier at this point in my career to know exactly what they want and exactly what they would respond to, what kind of camera stuff they consider to be exciting or beautiful or whatever else. In terms of putting a movie in a multiplex and trying to make America laugh, I have no idea what they want. That’s a real challenge for me. But I didn’t know how big Drinking Buddies would be. It was a conscious effort to try and expand that and reach people, but I didn’t know that I would get these actors and that the movie would have the ability to reach so many people.
 
c
 
So how much beer did you actually drink daily?

A lot. I tried to limit my beer consumption to one beer at lunch but then after we would finish each day—especially the days we were shooting in the brewery—I would often pester the brewers because I’m a home-brewer. I had so many questions for them, which naturally led to us having to drink beer so they could explain certain things to me. But it was great, I would love to make more movies set in the world of craft beer.
 
You mentioned that you were unaware of how big the movie would be—so how does all the positive reception feel?

I keep waiting for the backlash to start. Whenever anybody likes anything of mine, there’s always this sort of this immediate push back, so we’ll see how that goes, but it’s been great. I love the movie, I’m very proud of the movie, and I want people to like it so it’s exciting that people are watching it. And because it’s Magnolia, we’re doing the ultra VOD, so it’s already been on iTunes and VOD now for a couple weeks and there’s hard evidence that people are watching it, which is really exciting—but the theatrical side of that is still a big question mark. But from my point of view, just because of the actors involved and how good they are in it, there’s nothing not to like. When people don’t like the movie I completely understand, but even in those instances I feel like you’re still afforded the opportunity to see four really good actors doing good work, which for me, just as a film viewer, is exciting.
 
What do you think attracts you to keep exploring relationship dynamics as a topic for your work?

I just think about them a lot. It’s fascinating to me the way people—just in the relationships that I get to witness through friends of mine—it’s so interesting to think about, to meet and get to know two discreet people who have decided to make a go of it together. And from an outside perspective, you get to see who they are and why they click or don’t, and it’s just endlessly fascinating and there’s a million variables.

The Most Exciting Films From This Year’s South By Southwest

This year the film portion of the South by Southwest Conference had thirteen entrees that premiered at Sundance and a number of studio-funded projects destined for wide release, meant primarily to bolster the star power attending the daily and nightly Paramount theater premieres. This is not a bad thing—rather, it’s a testament to how vital the SXSW Film Conference has become to the film scene in general, a diverse conflagration of anything and everything within the strata of a theatrical experience. However, it doesn’t make breaking new, below-the-radar films any easier, especially with a bigger schedule—the much-anticipated premiere of the The East comes on the final night of the conference, after this will be published—and more theaters scattered around town.

That’s where I focused most of my efforts on the film front, catching more than 20 films—in honor of the film conference’s 20th anniversary—most of them produced on very low budgets or premiering for the first time in the United States. I skipped Burt Wonderstone and the Evil Dead reboot, as they’re flicks I’ll see in my local megaplex depending on the Rotten Tomatoes reception. I skipped Before Midnight in favor of a local Austinite’s film, quite regretfully—I’d rather pay to see the final installment of Linklater’s walk-and-talk romance trilogy, anyway. The six films listed here are the ones I found to be the most impressive and important glimpses into the cultural zeitgeist at the 2013 film conference—though there are a number I didn’t get a chance to see due to scheduling conflicts and the fact that the press screening library crammed into the convention center stairwell was so atrociously barren. But with so much paranoia surrounding pirating these days, who’s going to risk turning in a DVD to the media?

Spring Breakers

Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, the charged 1,300 plus audience at the Paramount was—as a Deadline reporter put it—both “joyful and bewildered” when the lights went up after the North American premiere. While some critics may find the surface layers of the film to be a mile wide and an inch deep, or an extended Skrillex music video, this is merely the backdrop Korine wanted to create. The slow-motion montage of barely clothed coeds binge drinking on a Florida Beach in the opening minutes of the film is the ultimate thesis statement—the youthful, primal obsession with self-destruction, beautiful imagery, carefree sexuality and complete sensory overload is all about to come into sharp focus.

With a dreamlike storyline, seedy neon-soaked cinematography, and non-linear editing reminiscent of a Terrence Malick film, Spring Breakers preys on the audience’s senses. You kind of can’t look away, whether you’re enjoying yourself or not. And—without giving up the ending—one could even argue that Korine’s work is a bizarrely magnificent statement about feminism, where the pretty, aggressive blondes in this vapid fantasy world of a St. Petersburg Spring Break are the ones who are the true gangsters.  Regardless of if you agree with any of this analysis, you should see Spring Breakers for James Franco alone, as the corn-rowed, grill-sporting thug who goes by the moniker of Alien—it’s truly a performance for the ages.

Yellow

Heather Wahlquist has appeared in relatively minor supporting roles in her husband Nick Cassavetes’s films over the past decade, which makes her leading performance in Yellow all the more impressive. In it, she plays one of those artificially gorgeous yet vividly delusional California women named Mary Holmes, who is barely holding it together. She teaches elementary school children and chases pills with vodka nips throughout the day, regularly drifting into her own alternate realities, which are equally colorful, musical, hilarious, and horrifying. As her antics get worse, she is forced to return home to her family, where Wahlquist takes us inside the core of her character, revealing the origins of her mania. The entire film, which Wahlquist also co-wrote, is a quiet yet remarkable achievement.

Good Ol’ Freda

The Beatles have been covered from just about every angle possible by now—except the one director Ryan White found for Good Ol’ Freda, when he interviewed Freda Kelly, the head of the band’s fan club for much of the ’60s and perhaps the only Beatles employee who had never broken her silence about the band. It’s a sweet film and a fascinating look at an incredibly respectful and moral person who was tasked with protecting and representing some of the most famous people in the world. White’s storytelling does reveal a few new insights into who the Beatles were behind the scenes, but the film focuses primarily on Freda, examining how someone so close to those who were literally changing the world could remain so true to who they really are as a person.

Scenic Route

Bleak tales about the insignificance of man and the brutality of the world are tough to pull off without fine acting and crackling dialogue, which is why Scenic Route works so well. Two friends, played by the diametrical opposed Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, are stranded off the incredibly photogenic highway through Death Valley and forced to reexamine their friendship after drifting apart. The situation quickly goes from bad to worse, however, due in part to both men’s egos and stupidity, as well as a bit of bad luck—which, when you get all philosophical about it, is something that life often serves most of us in the end.

Drinking Buddies

There’s a incredibly unique tone to Drinking Buddies, thanks in part to director Joe Swanberg’s technique of having his actors tightly improv every scene in the film. It’s also probably because his core cast consists of seasoned professionals like Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, and—most impressively—Olivia Wilde, who really shows off her dynamic acting chops while also looking crazy hot. The result is a romantic dramedy—if that’s even a thing—that qualifies as one of the more realistic unrequited love stories that has worked in a while.

Cheap Thrills

The first film purchased at South by Southwest this year—by none other then Drafthouse Films, who held the world premiere in one of their theaters—this fine dark comedy is ultimately a real-world fable about what desperate men will do for money. Made on a shoestring budget with a quality cast (Pat Healey, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, and, by far the most impressive transformation, Ethan Embry as a tough guy) Cheap Thrills is a testament to true independents of the past that deserve to break through to a wider audience. It manages to break new ground and entertain, while keeping its message hidden until the very last frame.   

The South By Southwest Premieres We’re Most Anticipating

For those of you heading down to sunny Austin, Texas this Friday, you’re in for a real treat. The South by Southwest Film Festival begins on the 8th and will boast a week of non-stop events from film debuts, to 150 different workshops, and panels. This year, Steve Carrell and Jim Carey’s new comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will open kick off the fun, but the festival will also see premieres from all over the world. So in anticipation for the upcoming festivities we’ve compiled the features we’re most looking forward to seeing—from Joe Swanberg’s latest comedy Drinking Buddies to Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated Before Midnight, and all the cinematic gems in between. Enjoy.

Short Term 12 

Director/Screenwriter: Destin Daniel Cretton

The film follows Grace, a young supervisor at a foster-care facility, as she looks after the teens in her charge and reckons with her own troubled past. An unsparingly authentic film, full of both heart and surprising humor.

Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield

(World Premiere)

Evil Dead 

Director/Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues

Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival.

Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

(World Premiere)

Drinking Buddies 

Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg

Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.

Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston

(World Premiere)

Loves Her Gun 

Director/Screenwriter: Geoff Marslett, Screenwriter: Lauren Modery

This romantic tragedy follows a young woman’s transition from flight to fight after she is the victim of street violence, but will the weapons that make her feel safe again create problems worse than the ones she is escaping?

Cast: Trieste Kelly Dunn, Francisco Barreiro, Ashley Rae Spillers, Melissa Hideko Bisagni, John Merriman

(World Premiere)

Much Ado About Nothing 

Director: Joss Whedon

Shakespeare’s classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon’s film.

Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese

(U.S. Premiere)

Some Girl(s)

Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Screenwriter: Neil LaBute

On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings.

Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson

(World Premiere)

I Am Divine 

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz

The story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’s cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

(World Premiere)

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

Director: Sophie Huber

An iconic actor and passionate musician in his intimate moments, with film clips from some of his 250 films and his own heart-breaking renditions of American folk songs.

(U.S. Premiere)

Lunarcy!

Director: Simon Ennis

Director Simon Ennis introduces us to an unforgettable group of characters who all share one thing in common: an obsession with the Moon.

(U.S. Premiere)

Maladies 

Director/Screenwriter: Carter

A comedic look at the life of a former actor turned writer struggling to cope with reality, his work and interpersonal relationships. 

Cast: James Franco, Catherine Keener, Fallon Goodson, David Strathairn, Alan Cumming

(North American Premiere)

The Wait 

Director/Screenwriter: M. Blash

An enigmatic phone call from a psychic, catapults a family into a state of suspended belief while waiting for their recently deceased mother to be resurrected.

Cast: Jena Malone, Chloë Sevigny, Luke Grimes, Josh Hamilton, Devon Gearhart

(World Premiere)

Before Midnight 

Director/Screenwriter: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior

Pit Stop

Director/Screenwriter: Yen Tan, Screenwriter: David Lowery

Two men. A small town. A love that isn’t quite out of reach.

Cast: Bill Heck, Marcus DeAnda, Amy Seimetz, John Merriman, Richard C. Jones