2005_10_mg13_langlois.jpgYou won't have to hear us babble on about the New York Film Festival anymore as another edition has come and gone. Some of the films that played are already in theaters -- Good Night, and Good Luck, The Squid and the Whale, Capote -- and others will be coming out in the coming weeks and months including the fantastic Korean political assassination satire, The President's Last Bang. As usual, New Yorkers are treated to a plethora of film choices in the coming week from new releases -- like Elizabethtown and Domino (to which you can still enter to win some free tix and swag in our contest until 6 PM today) -- and revival and repertory programs, most of which happen to focus on French and Asian cinema.

A Gothamist Pick: Yes, last week we did highlight Film Forum and their one-week engagement of Robert Bresson's Pickpocket, yet we find ourselves compelled to return as the Houston Street art house triplex goes all French all the time this week. Today's your last day to catch Pickpocket, but tomorrow you have a chance to catch another Bresson triumph Mouchette, which begins its own one-week only engagement. Even better news is the return of Jean-Luc Godard's Masculine Feminine after its sold-out engagement some months back. Both of these are don't miss films, and we'd highly suggest you utilize Film Forum's online system to purchase tickets in advance if you want to avoid sell-outs.

But that's not all. On their first-run screen is Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque, a documentary about the cofounder of Paris' Cinematheque Francaise, the world's first film archive and the birthplace of the French New Wave. The film started yesterday and will play through Oct. 25. It has apparently been chopped from 212 minutes to 129, hopefully not to its own detriment. A trustworthy friend of ours saw and reviewed the long version which screened at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April, and no matter how good the three-and-a-half hour version might have been, we're sure your ass will better appreciate not spending much more than two hours in a Film Forum seat. Regardless, submit to your francophile tendencies and spend some time at Film Forum this week.


Midnight movies, new releases and more after the jump:

Midnight Movie Smackdown: Well there goes our theory regarding thematic competition between the midnight programming at IFC Center and the Landmark Sunshine. The only connection we can make between this weekend's selections is that cannibal's might find glam rockers particularly tasty, although we can't confirm or deny this claim. Depending on your tastes (ahem), you might prefer Todd Haynes' David Bowie/T. Rex-influenced glam rock epic Velvet Goldmine starring Ewan McGregor and a pre-Batman Christian Bale playing at the IFC Center Friday through Sunday at midnight. If you prefer your late-nights a bit more bloody, you'll want to check-out Cannibal Holocaust at the Sunshine, a Blair Witch Projectpredecessor -- the film is supposed "found footage" from four documentary filmmakers who disappeared in the Amazon -- celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The film was banned for a long time, but the Sunshine is screening this cult classic completely uncut on Friday and Saturday at midnight. Star Robert Kerman will also be at both screenings.


So what else is new?
2005_10_mg13_elizabethtown.jpgThe major releases this weekend are Domino and Elizabethtown, two films that carry big Hollywood pedigrees and based on the talent attached should be must-sees. Sadly, we keep hearing that neither movie is up to snuff. Domino director Tony Scott has an uneven track record, often letting his stylistic choices get in the way of his storytelling. While we wouldn't want to overly prejudge a film we have yet to see, the trailers look like this could be more than a small issue this time as he tries to tell the story of model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey. We have way more faith in Cameron Crowe -- he is a Billy Wilder disciple and all -- but Vanilla Sky was a major letdown and Elizabethtown received such negative buzz at the Toronto Film Festival just last month that the rest of us will be seeing a new, shorter, reedited version hitting screens tomorrow. Also opening wide is The Fog, a remake of John Carpenter's 1980 frightfest.

Another director we usually like is Canadian Atom Egoyan. Early '90s films like The Adjuster and Exotica helped introduce us to a filmmaker with a unique sense of mood, style and storytelling, and in 1997 he blew us away with his brilliant adaptation of Russell Banks' The Sweet Hereafter. To call his latest Where the Truth Lies a misfire is to give it too much credit. The usually fantastic Alison Lohman is utterly miscast here as she tries to play a weird combination of breathless innocent young ingenue and sultry sexual femme fatale. This hackneyed 1970s film noir which focuses on the breakup of a Martin & Lewis-like '50s comedy team after the discovery of a naked dead young woman in their hotel suite is based on a novel by Rupert Holmes. We're not sure whether to lay the blame on a bad story by Holmes or an obvious, predictable and overly-manipulative adaptation by Egoyan, but horrible dialogue and hey-my-audience-is-stupid-so-let-me-show-and-explain-everything editing had us guffawing in disbelief. At best, save this for a late drunk night of Netflixing.

The new release to catch this week is the previously mentioned Korean film The President's Last Bang (opening at the Cinema Village and The ImaginAsian), which we discussed during the NYFF. Other smaller releases piquing our interest this week include the latest from great German filmmaker Wim Wenders, whose Land of Plenty opened at the IFC Center yesterday for a one week only engagement; an absolutely remarkable cast compiled by Six Feet Under and Carnivàle vet Rodrigo Garcia for his series of vignettes Nine Lives (opening tomorrow at the Paris and the Angelika); Sundance attendee Loggerheads (opening tomorrow at the Landmark Sunshine) tells three interconnected stories dealing with family, adoption, identity and sexuality.

Also opening: Innocent Voices (AMC Empire 25 and Landmark Sunshine); The Dark Hours (Two Boots Pioneer)


The rest of the week, day-by-day

Tonight
Calling him the Pedro Almodovar of Thailand isn't really fair because his work is utterly unique in its own right, but it's still easier to say than actually pronouncing his name: Apichatpong Weerasethakul. For the utterly unfamiliar, BAMcinématek presents "The Next Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul", starting today with The Adventures of Iron Pussy and concluding Sunday with his latest Tropical Malady.

Friday
Just one week left in the Shochiku series at the Walter Reade Theater, but there are plenty of great selections left. One is Shohei Imamura's serial killer thriller Vengeance Is Mine. If you miss either of its Friday screenings (1 & 6:30 PM), you can catch it again on Sunday at 6:30.

Saturday
MoMA continues its series "Rebels With a Cause: The Cinema of East Germany", and a good one to try just might be Berlin-Schonhauser Corner, a 1957 cult film about East German teen life in Berlin. It screens at 8:15 PM paired with the short film Yell Once a Week, which was banned in East Berlin before it was ever able to be screened. The directors of both films -- Wolfgang Kolhaase directed the feature and Gunter Jordan made the short -- will be there to introduce their work.

And earlier in the day at 4:30 PM, as part of its ongoing "Early Autumn:Masterworks of Japanese Cinema from the National Film Center, Tokyo" series, MoMA will screen Sisters of Gion from Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi.

If you're an early riser and getting to midtown on the East Side is just too much trouble for you, you might want to swing by the IFC Center where their Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Noon Weekend Classics series celebrates French New Wave icon Francois Truffaut through November. This weekend you can catch the penultimate film in his Antoine Doinel series, Bed and Board.

Sunday
We know you're expecting us to send you to theMuseum of Moving Image in Astoria on Sunday as we've been doing every week, and you know what? We won't disappoint, but not for the reason you think. MMI takes a week vacation from its great Billy Wilder series in order to present "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941". We're especially curious about Sunday's 2 PM program Picturing a Metropolis: NYC Unveiled. If that's not enough for you to justify a trip to Queens, you can also go see an earlier Truffaut classic, Jules and Jim at 6:30 PM (also playing Saturday at 7:30).

Monday2005_10_mg13_imitationlife.jpg
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hosts a monthly film series called "Monday Nights With Oscar," and this month's selection is an excellent one. Imitation of Love was the last feature ever made by master of '50s melodrama Douglas Sirk and one of his best. As seemingly dated today as its 1934 predecessor must have seemed in 1959, Sirk's subversive (although not always subtle) treatment of controversial subjects of the day never carried more weight then in this story about the relationship between a white woman, her black housekeeper and each of their daughters. Love, family, friendship, and racial identity all make appearances here. The screening on Monday is at 7:30 PM at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International (111 E. 59th St.), and features a post-screening Q&A with Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner, co-Best Supporting Actress nominees for their powerful performances in this film.

And although we hesitate to highlight the film which disappointed us at the NYFF, Monday at 7 PM, MoMA kicks off a six week series showcasing French star Isabelle Huppert with a screening of her new film Gabrielle. Monday's screening will be introduced by Huppert and director Patrice Chéreau. A better selection might be Wednesday's 8:15 PM screening The Lacemaker, the film that brought Huppert International acclaim. She won't be in attendance at that screening, however you will be able to see her perform live on stage if you buy a ticket for 4.48 Psychose which is part of BAM's Next Wave Festival.

Tuesday
The Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space has an interesting double-feature on Tuesday as part of its "Children in the 20th Century" series. And we mean real double feature: one ticket, two films. At 6 PM is the original Gloria starring the great Gena Rowlands from late director and forefather of indie cinema John Cassavetes. It's followed by Pixote, Brazilian director Hector Babenco's film about a young boy living on the streets of Sao Paulo.

Wednesday
The Walter Reade Theater presents a special screening of Marc Levin's new documentary Protocols of Zion. We'll have more to say about the film next week -- it opens here in New York on Friday 10/21 -- but at Wednesday's 6:30 PM screening you'll also have the chance to hear Levin and others as part of a post-screening panel discussion. The film is a wonderfully incisive look at the surge of anti-semitism throughout the world post-9/11. He focuses on a long-time hoax that took the form of a book called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which reportedly relates the discussions of a group of Jewish leaders who have plans to rule the world. In reality, the book was written by the Russian secret police in the 19th Century, but even though the "Protocols" have been repeatedly reputed, many people, especially in the Arab world, seem to continue to believe they are proof of a Jewish conspiracy.