Don't get confused – today is Friday. Gothamist has been a bit under the weather, hence our little weekend movie preview showing up today rather than on its usual Thursday. And while we all anxiously count down the minutes until Monday's Golden Globes, there are a lot of great movie options available without even considering all the 2005 films hoping to take home a prize.
Some Quick Gothamist Picks: One of the best places to start could be at The Walter Reade Theater. Yeah, we're a couple days late with this too, but Wednesday marked the start of the 15th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival, this year featuring 32 films over the course of its 16 days. (The series runs through Jan. 26.) Every year the NYJFF manages to offer a surprisingly diverse selection of titles from a bevy of filmmakers from all over the world. Our suggestion, take a look at the schedule and play a bit of roulette. Unfortunately, ou won't get a chance to see many of these films elsewhere.
Gothamist has long professed our love for the late great Billy Wilder, and starting today for one week only, Film Forum is showing One, Two, Three an odd but compelling Cold War comedy featuring the also late great James Cagney in one of his last, and best, performances.
And in Astoria at the Museum of the Moving Image, the annual New York Film Critics Circle Series "Foreign Affairs" continues with a couple interesting -- and trippy -- selections. David Cronenberg has made noise this year with his brilliant A History of Violence, but in 1991 he proved he wasn't afraid of difficult material by attempting to film William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch. The film is uneven, but you can judge for yourself on Saturday and Sunday at 4. If you stick around until 6:30, you can also catch the highlight of the weekend, David Bowie's feature film debut as an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
What's New? Here's a relatively simple movie trivia question for your Friday: what do Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rapa Nui, Waterworld, One Eight Seven and The Count of Monte Cristo have in common? "They all suck" is not, in fact, the right answer, even as it may be true. That's not even totally fair because as big a flop as it was, Waterworld wasn't a horrible film. What it was, however, like all the films in this list was a great idea utterly ruined by its director, Kevin Reynolds, who happens to be responsible for that entire list. Some filmmakers lead charmed lives, and Reynolds is one of them. Reynolds manages to keep bouncing bac, and that's why today we celebrate the opening of Tristan and Isolde.
To be fair, we have yet to actually see Reynolds' latest, so feel free to take your chances. However, since it is early January, that means another new annual tradition is due to arrive in theaters: the uplifting, dramatic, underdog overcoming, sports-based film from Disney. This year's entry: Glory Road starring Josh Lucas as basketball coach Don Haskins who in 1966 made small Texas Western University the first college to start an all-black team. And guess what? They won the National Championship.
Meanwhile, what happened to Wayne Wang? In the late-'80s/early-'90s he made a minor splash on the indie films scene as one of the few (only?) filmmakers presenting the Chinese-American experience. This culminated in his directing the adaptation of The Joy Luck Club before experimenting with two omnibus films written by novelist Paul Auster -- Smoke and Blue in the Face. For the past decade, he's continued working, yet his films have barely made a blip on the radar. Well, that new Queen Latifah movie you may have heard about opening today -- Last Holiday? Wang fans have some appointment viewing this weekend after all.
The one new movie that does actually pique or interest? Take one part "Little Red Riding Hood" and one part The Usual Suspects, slap them together in a world of CGI make-believe and what do you get? Hoodwinked, of course.
Midnight Movie Smackdown: This is certainly one weekend when it's worth making it to both the IFC Center and the Landmark Sunshine for the midnight movies tonight and Saturday. The IFC Center continues its new "Scorsese at Midnight" series with the film critics justifiably voted the best movie of the '80s: Raging Bull. If you've never seen Michael Chapman's stunningly beautiful black & white cinematography projected on a big screen, get thee to the IFC (where there will be a Sunday night showing as well). Meanwhile, for something pretty different, at the Sunshine you can see the film that recent Gothamist Interview, author Ron Hogan considers one of the more important films from the '70s. You see, as Hogan told us in December, The Muppet Movie "is maybe a metaphor for the rise of all those freewheeling talents who decided they'd make the trek out to Hollywood, where they land 'the standard rich and famous contract.'"