Once again, movie lovers have plenty to rejoice about over the next week. Three international heavyweights have new releases and we're not including Jodie Foster going crazy on an airplane in that equation. One of New York's most important production companies gets saluted at MoMA plus there's this little thing starting at Lincoln Center tomorrow night which should dominate much of the city's film landscape for the coming fortnight just as it does this week's Time Out.
A Gothamist Pick: This week's pick isn't a recommendation as much as the movie we most want to see. Director David Cronenberg's A History of Violence has been getting huge buzz ever since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, the film depicts the after-effects of a small-town diner owner who kills a man seemingly in self-defense. Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt and the always-excellent Ed Harris in some freaky dead-eye makeup star.
The New York Film Festival cometh: The biggest event for film lovers in NYC this week, however, is undoubtedly the Film Society of Lincoln Center's presentation of the 43rd annual New York Film Festival. This year's lineup is chock full of excellent selections, and Gothamist intends to help guide you with some pretty comprehensive coverage as the festival proceeds. For now, things kick-off tomorrow night with Good Luck, and Good Night, a remarkable film co-written and directed by George Clooney depicting the showdown between CBS News great Edward R. Murrow and communist witch-hunt propagator Senator Joe McCarthy. This is a phenomenal and eerily timely film. Both screenings tomorrow are sold out, but there will be stand-by lines if you want to try getting in. (The film opens in theaters on Oct. 7.) Stand-by is how you might have to see many of the titles in this year's program due to all the sell-outs, but take a chance on some of the lesser known foreign works, and you'll never know what you luck upon. Check the festival web site for information on which shows still have tickets available.
This week's "Midnight Movie Smackdown," more new releases and a day-by-day of other film happenings after the jump:
Midnight Movie Smackdown: We're really starting to wonder if the IFC Center and the Landmark Sunshine coordinate their weekend midnight movies at all. OK, so maybe last week's combo of GoodFellas and. DiG! didn't have much in common other than swearing, but the amount of death, violence and sociopathic tendencies sure as hell comes right up front and center, albeit in different ways in this week's selections. If you head to the East Village on Friday or Saturday at midnight, you'll have the pleasure of catching The Godfather on a big screen -- always a good thing. Personally, we'd be a bit wary of starting a three hour movie at midnight, but hey, it still leaves you an hour to hit the bars. Still, if you only have one midnight movie in you this weekend, we'd say skip The Godfather -- heresy, we know, but you've seen it already, haven't you? -- and make sure you catch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer at IFC Center. Henry is a terrifying but excellent movie, a provocative, chilling and yeah a bit graphic look into the psyche of a serial killer. Director John McNaughton has never been able to match his brilliant work in what was his first narrative feature.
So what else is new?
- Dear Wendy: Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg took the international film scene by storm as part of the Dogme 95 movement with his amazing 1998 feature The Celebration. Since then, Dogme has kind of petered off, and Vinterberg has made a couple blink-and-you-missed them other features. Now he directs a cast led by Jamie Bell and Bill Pullman in a script by his compatriot and mentor Lars von Trier about a group of teens best described as pacifist gun lovers. (Opens Friday at Angelika)
- Oliver Twist: Living in exile isn't slowing down Roman Polanski. The filmmaker follows-up his Best Director Oscar for The Pianist with this latest retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel featuring Ben Kingsley as Fagin. There have been an absurd number of filmed treatments (many for TV) of Dickens' story with David Lean's 1948 version standing heads-and-tails above most, if not all. Polanski's involvement is what makes this film a notable curiosity. (Opens Friday at Loews Lincoln Square and Loews Village VII)
- Flightplan: If you haven't seen the trailer to this thriller on an plane, you either never go to the movies or haven't watched TV or both. For months. Gothamist loves Jodie Foster, and we probably love Peter Sarsgaard at least equally, but we already don't care about whether Jodie is crazy or her daughter really was somehow kidnapped and hidden at 30,000 feet. (Opens Friday)
- Dirty Love: Like you, we've been waiting for a movie not only starring but also written by Jenny McCarthy. Still, the most fascinating thing to us about Dirty Love is the marketing campaign: "got dumped?" the poster asks above a photo of a mascara-smeared McCarthy. Well, yeah! The film was directed by John Asher who at the time was McCarthy's husband -- the couple filed for divorce earlier this year.
- Roll Bounce is Malcolm D. Lee's (Spike's little cousin) follows-up his last effort Undercover Brother. This time, he takes us on a trip back to 1970s roller-skate jams. (Opens Friday)
- Occupation: Dreamland is a documentary which follows a platoon of soldiers stationed in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 (Friday at Cinema Village)
- Into the Fire has a very talented cast in this story about three people trying to get past their personal tragedies to discover what's important in life (Friday at Landmark Sunshine)
- Dorian Blues is a quirky coming-of-age/coming-out comedy about a high school senior learning about himself and his sexual orientation (Friday at Quad Cinema)
- Loudmouth Soup proclaims "Seven actors, eight cameras, no script, one night." To us that sounds like, "Fascinating experiment, horrible idea, save your cash, buy a slice." (Today @ Two Boots Pioneer)
- Novo: While we generally like psycho-sexual dramas, comedies and ... well anything psychosexual, the fact that it's taken Jean-Pierre Limosin's film three years to hit a US theater doesn't bode well for it. The presence of the stunningly sexy Paz Vega, however, is another matter. (Now playing at IFC Center)
A quick pseudo day-by-day
MoMA kicks off a great series saluting one of the most daring, innovative and always-independent production companies on the New York film scene. Swoon: Ten years of Killer Films honors producers Christine Vachon (read today's interview), Pam Koffler and Katie Roumel by screening more than a dozen of the company's fantastic work. Today features one of Killer's earliest -- and best -- films, Todd Haynes' Safe featuring a phenomenal performance by Julianne Moore, followed by the company's most recent, The Notorious Bettie Page starring Gretchen Mol as the famous '50s pin-up. Visit the web site for schedule information and to see the rest of the titles in this fantastic program.
Sure, it would be nice to get in to Good Night, and Good Luck at Lincoln Center, but since that's probably not going to happen you should check-out Francois Truffaut's classic love triangle in Jules and Jim at the IFC Center at noon before heading out to Astoria to see the Shaw Brothers Hong Kong martial arts classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin at Museum of the Moving Image at 7:30 PM. Sure, this pair doesn't really fit together, but between the two of them, you get just about everything you could want from the movie-going experience: seriousness, laughs, action, romance, death ... it's all there. (Jules and Jim also plays Saturday at noon, and 36th Chamber has additional screenings on Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 6:30 PM.)
BAM wraps-up its short Alfred Hitchcock-Cary Grant series with one of the best thrillers of all time, North By Northwest and one of Grant's best performances whether he's being almost mowed down by a crop duster or scaling Mt. Rushmore. See it Saturday at 3, 6 or 9 PM. In fact, you can see it Sunday at those times too!
MMI makes it easy to keep talking about its complete Billy Wilder series without feeling guilty about it. This week's primary feature? Just the film that may be the greatest , as well as most influential, movie comedy of all time: Some Like It Hot. As Joe E. Brown tells Jack Lemmon at the end of the film, "Nobody's perfect," but this film very well may be. It only gets better with age, and Marilyn Monroe was never finer than in this performance. It screens at 4:30 PM. (There's a Sat. 4:30 screening as well.) You might want to head out early and make a double-feature out of it. At 2 PM is Wilder's underrated World War II P.O.W. drama Stalag 17.
Not to be overlooked at the New York Film Festival are sidebars and special events. One of the more interesting ones is Monday: "Greeneland: Graham Greene and the Cinema". Greene was one of the greatest novelists of the 20th Century; more than a few of his novels were adapted into films, and some more than once; he even wrote a few original screenplays; and he was a very prolific film critic. This event is something akin to an annotated lecture as British film scholar Adrian Wootton will talk about Greene's intimate relation to the cinema and show clips from many of the films based on his works. This show is currently marked as sold-out, but get there early in the stand-by line, and you should have a chance to get in.
The major NYFF sidebar this year is "The Beauty of Everyday: Japan's Shochiku Company at 110", a retrospective of one of Japan's greatest film studios. There's an amazing selection of films from the Shochiku library being screened at the Walter Reade Theater, but on Tuesday at 6:15 PM you can see Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu's 1934 silent triumph A Story of Floating Weeds. Ozu remade this film with sound and in color as Floating Weeds in 1959, but this earlier version doesn't screen as frequently and is worth checking out, as are many of the other 43 films included in this series.
Greta Garbo would have been 100 years old this past Sunday. Cable network Turner Classic Movies has been celebrating her work all month, and this week Scandinavia House kicks-off a three month retrospective screening her films every Wednesday and Saturday. This Wednesday features Garbo's penultimate performance and one of her best in Ninotchka from the master of '30s and '40s film comedies, Ernst Lubitsch and a script by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and Walter Reisch. You can find more information about Scandinavia House's "Garbo's Garbo" exhibit and "Forever Garbo: A Retrospective" film series here.