Latest Features

New to Streaming: ‘Selma,’ ‘Journey to Italy,’ ‘Mr. Turner,’ ‘American Sniper,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm 

selma_1

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Adult Beginners (Ross Katz)

adult_beginners

No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the estranged sibling relationship between he and sister Justine (Rose Byrne) is a trope used countless times each year. It’s a comedy about familial struggle with a bunch of adult “children” trying to find a balance in lives that are kicking them in the ass—plain and simple. You’ve probably already seen every situation writers Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive utilize this month alone and yet it still somehow works. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour)

a_girl_walks_home_header

It might feature a skate-boarding, hijab-wearing bloodsucker, but A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is much more than a hipster horror film. Set in a mythical landscape that feels like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton took a gig art-directing Iran, Girl establishes a raw and seductive edge that is also dreamy and wistful, enamored of Old Hollywood’s visual legacy, inspired by a rich independent heritage, and completely in love with its characters. Turning the tropes of Universal horror films on their head — one scene features a tawdry pimp discovering he’s the classic damsel in distress — Amirpour creates a wonderful character in Sheila Vand’s nosferatu. She’s not a monster, but a convergence of several cultural insecurities, wrapped in a feral, defiantly female shell. Crafted from the familiar, Girls’ best feature is just how fearsomely original and confident it feels. Eraserhead and Bride of Frankenstein have new, welcome company in the annals of filmdom. – Nathan B.

Where to Stream: Netflix

American Sniper (Clint Eastwood)

american_sniper

Where a lot of recent Eastwood pictures (Changeling, Hereafter, even Jersey Boys) contain patches of awkwardness, American Sniper — particularly in its war sequences, which Joel Cox and Gary Roach edit with white-knuckle precision — exhibits a riveting level of control. This may just be the result of well-matched material (a character study about a born-and-bred cowboy nicknamed “the Legend” could hardly be more perfect for a myth-minded director like Eastwood); regardless, few images this year left me as pinned to my seat as the sight of a bearded Bradley Cooper situated behind his rifle, the camera pushing in on him as he grazes his cheek against the weapon. (Tom Stern‘s washed-out, overcast palette here is customarily striking.) Credit Eastwood, too, for offering a balanced portrait of Chris Kyle, wisely (and uncomfortably) pitched between patriotism and reflective critique. The movie is disturbed by Kyle’s values even as it attests to their authenticity. – Danny K.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Black Sea (Kevin Macdonald)

black_sea

After coming and going with barely a peep earlier this year, the sea-based thriller Black Sea arrives on streaming today. While Kevin Macdonald‘s story of men searching for buried Nazi gold cribs from one too many films to make it highly recommended, it’s a standard-enough thriller that goes to some appreciated dark areas. There’s also Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy, who can excel regardless of the quality of film they are taking part in. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)

citizenfour

Perhaps the most important film of the year, Laura Poitras’ documentary captures the immediate aftermath following Edward Snowden’s leak of top-secret NSA documents to the world. For the majority of its runtime, we are placed in a Hong Kong hotel room with Poitras, reporter Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden as they sift through as much information as they can while Snowden tells you that everything you feared about our government was (and is) very much true. – Dan M.

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

From What is Before (Lav Diaz)

from_what_is_before

Depending on your attitude, the 5-hour, 38-minute length of Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before might represent a handicap in its favor, or a demerit. A certain stripe of viewer will praise the film in lieu of wearing an “I survived From What Is Before and all I got was this…” t-shirt; another will compensate for the numbness it induces with hostility. Frankly, I can’t divest myself of either feeling, and this disclosure is imperative to discussing Diaz. Because unlike Shoah, Berlin Alexanderplatz, or any number of Jacques Rivette films, From What Its Before reflects its length in almost every facet of its production value and aesthetic, and watching any given minute would provide most prospective viewers with the impression that there are around 337 more where that came from. – Sky H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Mubi

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NYC Weekend Watch: ‘Forbidden Games,’ Eric Rohmer, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Redford, and More

Written by Nick Newman, April 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm 

obsession brian de palma

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

BAMCinématek

“The Vertigo Effect” continues with Twelve Monkeys and The Joy of Life on Friday, Brian De Palma‘s Schrader-scripted Obsession and 4 Vertigo on Saturday, and Sans Soleil paired with Bell, Book and Candle on Sunday.

GDI_Poster_Medium1Museum of the Moving Image

MoMI’s Tsai Ming-liang retrospective ends by screening What Time Is It There? on Friday, Journey to the West (one of 2014′s greatest films) and Stray Dogs on Saturday, and, on Sunday, Past Present (a documentary on Tsai) and Goodbye, Dragon Inn.

“Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences” also ends its run, in this instance with The Americanization of Emily.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

“Eric Rohmer’s Comedies and Proverbs” closes out on Sunday. The Aviator’s Wife, Boyfriends and Girlfriends, and A Good Marriage all play on that day, while Full Moon In Paris continues its extensive run.

For their Robert Redford tribute, Lincoln Center has scheduled Jeremiah Johnson and The Candidate for Friday, while Butch Cassidy and Quiz Show screen on Sunday.

the-gold-rush-movie-poster-1925-1020198341Anthology Film Archives

Three Chaplin programs are offered, as are showings of The Gold Rush and City Lights.

Bad Girls Go to Hell is offered on Friday.

Museum of Modern Art

A series of Bruce LaBruce pictures can be seen.

IFC Center

Buñuel’s great Tristana screens before noon.

Fright Night, The Shining, and Alien play at midnight.

Film Forum

The new restoration of René Clément‘s Forbidden Games begins its run.

Nitehawk Cinema

Altered States (with a live score by Long Distance Poison) and The Kentucky Fried Movie play at midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Landmark Sunshine

Before Fury Road, watch the original Mad Max at midnight screenings.

What are you watching this weekend?

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,’ ‘The River,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 21, 2015 at 12:20 pm 

a_girl_walks_home_header

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour)

girl_walks_home_alone

It might feature a skate-boarding, hijab-wearing bloodsucker, but A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is much more than a hipster horror film. Set in a mythical landscape that feels like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton took a gig art-directing Iran, Girl establishes a raw and seductive edge that is also dreamy and wistful, enamored of Old Hollywood’s visual legacy, inspired by a rich independent heritage, and completely in love with its characters. Turning the tropes of Universal horror films on their head — one scene features a tawdry pimp discovering he’s the classic damsel in distress — Amirpour creates a wonderful character in Sheila Vand’s nosferatu. She’s not a monster, but a convergence of several cultural insecurities, wrapped in a feral, defiantly female shell. Crafted from the familiar, Girls’ best feature is just how fearsomely original and confident it feels. Eraserhead and Bride of Frankenstein have new, welcome company in the annals of filmdom. – Nathan B.

Escape From New York (John Carpenter)

escape_from_new_york

Arriving on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray this week is John Carpenter‘s remastered Kurt Russell-led Escape From New York. While previous audio commentaries from the director and actor, as well as producer Debra Hill and production design Joe Alves, are included, there’s also a new one with Adrienne Barbeau and directory of photography Dean Cundey. Also featuring a batch of new featurettes on the visual effects, the score, and more, it’s a must-own for fans of the 1981 film. – Jordan R.

The River (Jean Renoir)

the_river

Director Jean Renoir’s entrancing first color feature—shot entirely on location in India—is a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the Bengal river around which their daily lives unfold. Enriched by Renoir’s subtle understanding and appreciation for India and its people, The River gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and everlasting creation. – Criterion.com

Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu—Three Crime Dramas

silent_ozu

The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films about the hopes, dreams, and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films that Ozu adored, these movies are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius, accompanied here by new piano scores by Neil Brand. – Criterion.com

Also Available This Week

Everly (review)
Little Accidents
Taken 3 (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

22 Jump Street (Blu-ray) – $12.96

The American (Blu-ray) – $8.69

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.71

A Most Violent Year (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Anna Karenina (Blu-ray) – $12.02

The Babadook (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.49

Birdman (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $7.04

The Bling Ring (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Bronson (Blu-ray) – $10.91

Burn After Reading (Blu-ray) – $8.52

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $4.99

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.94

Captain Phillips (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray) – $6.97

Cloverfield (Blu-ray) – $8.68

Collateral (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Do the Right Thing (Blu-ray) – $9.48

Drive (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Frank (Blu-ray) – $10.39

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Gone Girl (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.35

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray) – $7.50

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $8.71

Haywire (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $8.73

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $9.97

The Illusionist (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.73

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Jane Eyre (Blu-ray) – $8.28

Killing Them Softly (Blu-ray) – $7.99

L.A. Confidential (Blu-ray) – $8.57

The Last Waltz (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Looper (Blu-ray) - $9.99

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.49

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $6.57

Margaret (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Blu-ray) – $7.44

Moonrise Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Never Let Me Go (Blu-ray) – $6.50

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.96

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $8.17

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Pariah (Blu-ray) – $6.13

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $8.41

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $8.72

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.49

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.23

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.98

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Seven Psychopaths (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $6.97

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $7.99

Synecdoche, NY (Blu-ray) – $9.05

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.35

The Tree of Life (Blu-ray) – $7.50

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $7.99

This is the End (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.38

Waltz with Bashir (Blu-ray) – $9.01

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $9.15

Where the Wild Things Are (Blu-ray) – $6.21

Whiplash (Blu-ray) – $14.99

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.73

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) - $9.96

What are you picking up this week?

New to Streaming: ‘The Babadook,’ ‘Hot Fuzz,’ ‘They Came Together,’ ‘Paddington,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 17, 2015 at 2:27 pm 

the_babadook

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Alex of Venice (Chris Messina)

alex_of_venice

After working with Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Sam Mendes, Ben Affleck, and more, the perpetually employed Chris Messina has gathered a wealth of knowledge behind the camera, culminating with his assured directorial debut. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival, Alex of Venice is an honest portrayal of the aftermath of a crumbling marriage. Coming to the end of their ten-plus year relationship, workaholic Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) learns that her husband (Messina) needs time apart, seemingly frustrated at himself with his recent role of “housewife.” – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)

babadook

Conditions are ripe for a monster in Jennifer Kent‘s directorial debut, The Babadook. ThewidowedAmelia (Essie Davis) and her ostracized six-year old Samuel (Noah Wiseman) are the kind of people demonic entities love to prey on. Both Amelia and Samuel’s lifelines to the outside world are dwindling quickly. Amelia, still not emotionally intact after the death of her husband, is finding it difficult to cope with the rigors of suburban motherhood and her son’s erratic behavior. In a repeated visual, Amelia hovers high above her bed, lost in the horrific nightmare that marked both Samuel’s birth and her husband’s death, before coming down to a reality far worse. – Zade C. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Dead Lands (Toa Fraser)

the_dead_lands_2

Set in pre-Colonial times in New Zealand, Toa Fraser’s The Dead Lands follows tribal conflict between two factions that is both illuminating and frustratingly clichéd. A young chieftain’s teenage son, Hongi (James Rolleston), is caught in the middle of conflict between the other tribe’s chieftain’s son, Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), who is ambitious and trying to bring glory to his name. Why peace isn’t enough for him is never explored, so he stands as a singular-minded antagonist along with his cronies. When Wirepa attacks the tribe and slaughters them, Hongi is the only male left alive. Thus he begins to seek revenge, despite being vastly outnumbered and having no talent for battle. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon

Far From Men (David Oelhoffen)

far_from_men

Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because it’s powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read while civil war wages on or his unwitting ward of the state Mohamed (Reda Kateb) awaiting trial in Tinguit for murdering his cousin. I’m referencing the backdrop—where those mountains are and the “why” of the ongoing rebellion amidst them that spans two ethnicities, two languages, multiple races, and one common goal of freedom. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes

Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard)

goodbye_to_language

Breaking the rules has always been something that Jean-Luc Godard seems to naturally gravitate towards. His latest film, Goodbye to Language, is no different, an acid trip into life, language, and the lunacy of the modern condition. The impressionistic use of 3D is reminiscent of the way he subverted digital technology with In Praise of Love during the advent of digital cameras, by shooting half of that film in black-and-white 16mm and the other in standard video format. Godard similarly uses different expressions and the third dimension to startling effects, like only a true artist who appreciates the complexity of the medium would. Bizarre, brazen and bold, it’s so refreshing to know that, at the age of 84, Godard has never felt more alive. – Raffi A.

Where to Stream: Netflix (Note: It’s only streaming in 2D, but a 3D version is available on Blu-ray.)

Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright)

hot_fuzz

With Edgar Wright‘s Cornetto trilogy now complete, looking back I’d name his middle entry as the most accomplished of the offerings. With razor-sharp editing and a number of iconic comedic beats, the adventures of Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and his partner (Nick Frost) as they slowly unravel the mystery behind a seemingly quiet town is perfectly executed. Now available to stream on Netflix, make sure to give it a watch if you have yet to. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Continue >>

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘The Babadook,’ ‘Goodbye to Language,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 14, 2015 at 11:36 am 

babadook

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)

the_babadook

Conditions are ripe for a monster in Jennifer Kent‘s directorial debut, The Babadook. The widowed Amelia (Essie Davis) and her ostracized six-year old Samuel (Noah Wiseman) are the kind of people demonic entities love to prey on. Both Amelia and Samuel’s lifelines to the outside world are dwindling quickly. Amelia, still not emotionally intact after the death of her husband, is finding it difficult to cope with the rigors of suburban motherhood and her son’s erratic behavior. In a repeated visual, Amelia hovers high above her bed, lost in the horrific nightmare that marked both Samuel’s birth and her husband’s death, before coming down to a reality far worse. – Zade C. (full review)

God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch)

god_help_the_girl

Although the reaction to the directorial debut of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch was divisive (just look at our Sundance review for proof), I found the story following a youthful band to be brimming with sincere energy and one that would make a great pairing with last year’s We Are the Best! (or even Not Fade Away, which was severely overlooked a few years back). Backed by an infectious soundtrack, it’s a deeply personal work that will hopefully find an audience as it hits DVD today. – Jordan R.

Goodbye to Language 3D (Jean-Luc Godard)

goodbye_to_language

Breaking the rules has always been something that Jean-Luc Godard seems to naturally gravitate towards. His latest film, Goodbye to Language, is no different, an acid trip into life, language, and the lunacy of the modern condition. The impressionistic use of 3D is reminiscent of the way he subverted digital technology with In Praise of Love during the advent of digital cameras, by shooting half of that film in black-and-white 16mm and the other in standard video format. Godard similarly uses different expressions and the third dimension to startling effects, like only a true artist who appreciates the complexity of the medium would. Bizarre, brazen and bold, it’s so refreshing to know that, at the age of 84, Godard has never felt more alive. – Raffi A.

Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg)

maps_to_the_stars

After making one of the most authentically emotional films of his career with A Dangerous Method, David Cronenberg has begun exploring the world of artificiality. Cosmopolis, which may end up standing as the director’s best film, explored the idea of capitalism in the digital age by creating a language, a series of green screen windows, and, essentially, a society in which numbers and data trumped any factors that might be described as physical. The same could be said for Maps to the Stars, except the target here is the artifice of Hollywood. - Peter L. (full review)

Odd Man Out (Carol Reed)

odd_man_out

Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong. Injured and hunted by the police, he seeks refuge throughout the city, while the woman he loves (Kathleen Ryan) searches for him among the shadows. Reed and cinematographer Robert Krasker (who would collaborate again on The Third Man) create images of stunning depth for this fierce, spiritual depiction of a man’s ultimate confrontation with himself. – Criterion.com

Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges)

sullivans

Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, he encounters a lovely but no-nonsense young woman (Veronica Lake)—and more trouble than he ever dreamed of. This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen. – Criterion.com

Also Available This Week

Big Eyes (review)
Class of 1984

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

22 Jump Street (Blu-ray) – $12.96

The American (Blu-ray) – $8.69

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.72

Anna Karenina (Blu-ray) – $12.02

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.49

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $6.99

The Bling Ring (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Bronson (Blu-ray) – $10.91

Burn After Reading (Blu-ray) – $8.89

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.88

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.95

Captain Phillips (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray) – $6.97

Cloverfield (Blu-ray) – $8.68

Collateral (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Contagion (Blu-ray) – $8.86

Do the Right Thing (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Drive (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Frank (Blu-ray) – $10.71

The French Connection (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.35

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray) – $7.50

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $8.72

Haywire (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $8.73

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

The Illusionist (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.00

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Jane Eyre (Blu-ray) – $9.39

Killing Them Softly (Blu-ray) – $7.99

L.A. Confidential (Blu-ray) – $8.58

The Last Waltz (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Looper (Blu-ray) - $8.00

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.49

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $4.99

Margaret (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Blu-ray) – $7.46

Moonrise Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Never Let Me Go (Blu-ray) – $6.49

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.96

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $8.17

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Pariah (Blu-ray) – $6.13

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $8.72

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.49

The Rover (Blu-ray) – $9.91

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.42

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Seven Psychopaths (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $6.98

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $7.99

Synecdoche, NY (Blu-ray) – $9.98

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.35

The Tree of Life (Blu-ray) – $7.50

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $7.99

This is the End (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.38

Waltz with Bashir (Blu-ray) – $9.46

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $9.04

Where the Wild Things Are (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Whiplash (Blu-ray) – $14.99

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.49

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) - $9.96

What are you picking up this week?

New To Streaming: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Lost River,’ ‘The Gambler,’ ‘La Ciénaga,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm 

star_wars

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Actress (Robert Greene)

actress

As if Sirk and the Maysles brothers had an anxiety-ridden child (don’t ask about that procreation process), Actress is one of the few functional “boundary-blurring” documentaries of late because Robert Greene, a keen observer of movement, had discovered a perfect subject and the best story for it. At one moment intimate and comfortable, at the next an unpleasant dive into an emotional maelstrom, its shape makes one wonder that the tired “we’re all actors” maxim would be tried anywhere but the documentary format. – Nick N.

Where to Stream: Netflix

The Better Angels (A.J. Edwards)

the_better_angels

The best biopic of last year is also one of the most formally engrossing, two aspects that often clash. Yes, Terrence Malick‘s influence is felt in the debut of his protege, A.J. Edwards, but it’s the first film not from the renowned director to harness, not cheaply rip off, his style. With a fascinating historical approach (the voice-over dialogue comes directly from family writings regarding Abraham Lincoln) and despite never naming the iconic President-to-be, we get an intimate sense of both the harsh and tender side of his upbringing. It may not have received its proper due upon release, but I imagine few films from 2014 aging more gracefully than The Better Angels. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

The Gambler (Rupert Wyatt)

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Opening with cold, narrative efficiency, Rupert Wyatt’s remake of Karel Reisz’s 1974 film is a stylish mess. Mark Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, a down on his luck English professor from a wealthy family, including father Ed (George Kennedy) and mother Roberta (Jessica Lange), who refuse to fund his gabling addiction. Jim’s problem is he doesn’t know when to stop, accumulating winnings he blows for no good reason other than the thrill. He quickly becomes deeply indebted to Korean kingpin Lee (Alvin Ing) and a “business man,” Neville (Michael K. Williams), whom he arrogantly insults. After exhausting the available options Jim turns to local loan shark Frank, confidently played by a frequently shirtless John Goodman. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Harvest (John McNaughton)

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I can see why director John McNaughton chose Stephen Lancellotti‘s script The Harvest to be his first feature length film in thirteen years, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort. There are some cool aspects to the horror thriller that may have worked better if its 104-minute runtime didn’t tick along at a snail’s pace—a shortcoming I guess he has no one to blame but himself. A lot of questions are posed, crazy becomes crazy about halfway through with a genuinely startling revelation, and yet in the end the resolution comes off as more of a “duh” than “huh.” But the biggest disappointment of all comes from realizing Michael Shannon isn’t the one flying off the handle. That’s not to say Samantha Morton wasn’t up to the task, he simply carries those expectations like a badge of honor. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: iTunes, Google

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Steve Pink)

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As far as absurdly dumb, high-concept comedies go, 2010′s Hot Tub Time Machine mostly hit its mark, riffing on everything 80′s while cramming in as many crude (and mostly funny) one-note jokes as possible. Returning five years later for the sequel that one can’t imagined many asked for is director Steve Pink, the writing trio of Josh Heald, Sean Anders, and John Morris, and most of the cast, including Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, and Craig Robinson. John Cusack, however, must have used his time-travel powers to wisely foresee sitting out this stale journey into the future. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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Olivier Assayas Talks the Complexities of ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ and the Genius of Kristen Stewart

Written by Nick Newman, April 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm 

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First, a bit of necessary context: I spoke to Olivier Assayas on October 9, at which time he was deep in preparation for Idol’s Eye — a title that ended up being cancelled in early November, reportedly just as cameras were set to roll. (I even waited for him to finish a text-message conversation with someone involved in that film before actually starting our interview.) While it’s fortunate that his intelligence and insight are as clear here as anywhere else in the interview, it’s also all the more disappointing how his frustrated comments foreshadow the disaster that awaited.

But the central point of discussion is Clouds of Sils Maria, which is finally being released stateside some eleven months after its Cannes debut. Fans of 1996′s Irma Vep (i.e. almost anybody who has seen Irma Vep) will be happy to know he’s working in a similar territory this time around, utilizing the powers of Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart to investigate the place an aging, transnational actress has in today’s world. It’s a beautiful, moving, and unsparing piece of work, the sort that feels like it could only come from a filmmaker who’s keenly aware of the world in which they’re operating. As I remember quite vividly from 2012, Assayas is in no short supply of things to say about the entire messy process — as well as just about anything that can relate to it — and the extended time we were given allowed for much ground to be covered.

The Film Stage: How are you?

Olivier Assayas: Good, good. Thank you. I’m a bit busy, because it’s very difficult — you know, I’m shooting, like, in ten days, so I have prep going on in Toronto. So it’s very difficult just to be in two places at once.

We chatted when Something in the Air played at the festival two years ago. When you come to a city like New York, which you don’t live in and which I can’t ever recall you shooting in, do you see it through a director’s eye — either how you’d shoot it or, even, just as little as a place you’d like to film in?

Well… yes. Yes, but no. “Yes,” in the sense that I’ve been coming here for ages. I love the city. I don’t know it the way you know a city — the way you need to live in a city to know it. I’m not familiar with so much about it, but it’s been part of my life for a long time. So I would love… often I imagine that. But I’d say that it’s technically impossible. I mean, it’s too expensive. I mean, you can’t shoot a movie. It’s too expensive to make movies here. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. The logic, the union logic — this kind of bureaucratic structure of how you’re supposed to make movies in the U.S. — is a nightmare.

And it’s ridiculous, because filmmaking is changing. It’s changing so fast. So, okay: you can make indie movies, and so on and so forth, but the problem means that you have to work with specific actors who are not union actors, whatever. You have to be, like, flying below the radar. And even if you’re functioning under the radar, it’s still kind of expensive. So it’s extremely frustrating. It’s extremely frustrating because the next film I’m shooting, I wanted to shoot it in Chicago, and the difference between shooting in Chicago and shooting it in Toronto is so big that I end up not even having a choice. I have to shoot Toronto for Chicago. It’s a drag.

Part of the reason I ask is becuase location matters a great deal in your work, and it’s unsurprising that Sils Maria makes great use of its own. The atmosphere of these Swiss mountains is very intrinsic to the emotions at this film’s center, and the title alone makes clear that you’d had it in mind, but were you thinking about it before anything relating to this film had sprung forward?

It’s based on very banal experiences. I went hiking with friends in the area. I mean, I have friends who go there, like, almost every year, and they’ve been, like, harassing me — “Why don’t you join us? It’s so beautiful.” — and so I ended up joining them, enjoyed the holiday, went back a couple of times. It’s really one of the nicest areas in Switzerland. That doesn’t say much, but…

So it’s at least familiar. I kind of had feelings for those landscapes, because they are not just beautiful — they are inhabited. They are inhabited by history. They are inhabited by the artists or the writers who have lived there, who have spent their summers there in the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century. So it’s not just a neutral landscape. There are ghosts there, and this is also kind of a ghost story, in a sense — you have this presence there, hovering. I thought there was some kind of connection between this story and those landscapes.

During our last conversation, you talked about the very meticulous work you do with your set designer — for instance, how you once took two hours to reorganize everything just the way you wanted it.

[Laughs] Yes.

When you’re shooting somewhere with such intoxicating imagery, does something along the lines of that design become less of a concern?

Well, it’s… set design, in this film, was important for a lot of the interior scenes. A big deal was building the set at the end of the film. Those were, like, the big issues. Otherwise, it was fairly simple. I mean, okay, the other issue was the chalet, so it was really about having the right chalet, and completely redecorating it and reinventing it and making it feel as close as possible to what we wanted. But, still, the important thing when you are making a film like Clouds of Sils Maria, it’s all about the outdoor photography, really. It’s more about finding the right path, the right angle — the right hour and the right angle to shoot the right path. Which is, ultimately, extremely complex. I mean, the film is, technically, very complex.

It’s kind of a headache, because, when I was writing it, I was kind of naïve. “I mean, after all, half of the movie is people hiking — it won’t be that expensive.” Yes, but if you want to find the right hiking path with the right background, with the right this, the right that, it involves searching for days, and it involves scouting with helicopters. Same thing once you make up your mind and you start shooting. You have to bring, via helicopter, the whole crew and the infrastructure of the shoot. It ends up being absurdly complicated. I tried to keep it as simple as I could, but, still, it involved complexities I had not anticipated.

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You shot this on film, which I know you prefer. There’s a real grain in the texture of Sils Maria, which also speaks to its atmosphere. When you’re shooting on celluloid and you need to go through all of these aforementioned steps to make what often plays as a drama about two people talking in a room, do financiers balk a bit?

[Pause] You know, the thing is that, in the end — if only for preservation purposes — you need a 35mm print. So once that is integrated into the budget, shooting on film is not a huge difference. It has become a difference, because labs are closing down, so the guys who still do it, it’s a much more specialized line of work, so they tend to charge you more. I think what will be happening in the near-future, it’s going to be some kind of a luxury to shoot on film.

But we’re talking about something that’s very recent. Two years ago — a year ago, maybe; I don’t know; let’s say two years ago — it was still very similar in terms of cost. It’s only because the labs have been closing down that, gradually, you have to deal with different partners who end up being more expensive. But it’s not big on the scale of a film, of the costs on a film. The difference between digital and 35mm is not relevant.

Do you absolutely prefer that a film be projected on 35mm?

I prefer it. I prefer it absolutely not for ideological or nostalgic reasons. I mean, I’ve been completely in love with every single technological evolution of cinema. I’ve been using digital editing, like, the second it started existing. I’ve used, obviously, digital technology for sound ever since it was possible. It’s just that I don’t think digital is as good. I think 35mm looks better. Not just in terms of taste; it’s just that the range of what you can do with the 35mm negative is wider than what you can do with your digital element. No one has ever given me coherent proof that there was anything, in any given situation, where digital was better than film. It’s different. The best thing you can do is that: it’s different. So, if you love that texture, you can have that texture.

I know you’re a big fan of Michael Mann, and if you can do something like him…

Yeah, no, I know. I know. I know Michael Mann uses digital, David Fincher uses digital, and the movies look spectacular. So it’s not like… again, it is something. In terms of texture, it’s something else. Also, those guys are functioning with much bigger budgets. If you have the time and the money, you can get digital pitch-perfect. When you work fast, on a smaller budget — when you don’t have much time to light, and so on and so forth — digital is not necessarily so great.

I’m sure you’re excited for Blackhat.

Oh, I can’t wait! [Giggles]

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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘The Immigrant,’ ‘The Voices,’ ‘A Most Violent Year,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor)

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The Sidney Lumet talk is apt, as J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year certainly captures the scope and pulse of the late master’s dramas. But this is a dark-side-of-the-American-dream epic with a reach all its own. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain create the most compelling couple of the year, and by the time the credits role, the viewer feels as if they have just witnessed the most significant moments in the birth of a giant. – Chris S.

The Immigrant (James Gray)

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Although essentially nothing about The Immigrant is difficult to grasp as it’s occurring, there’s nevertheless something mysterious about its cumulative effect — more specifically, why a film of such obvious, albeit clean-cut elegance earns the sort of plaudits often directed toward works of larger scales and greater ambitions. Subsequent viewings of James Gray’s classically minded melodrama might be all you need, given how neatly the larger whole coheres and the extent to which its narrative through lines build toward something of a strangely modest significance. Not a hair feels out of place. Oh, and the last shot will eventually earn its place as one of the greatest in all of cinema. – Nick N.

The Voices (Marjane Satrapi)

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Struggling to find his place in Hollywood after a string of failures, Ryan Reynolds has turned to a handful of independent features in some attempt to regain footing — and first out of the gate brings his most impressive, substantial performance yet, in Marjane Satrapi‘s profoundly dark comedy The Voices. The initial set-up sounds like it could be the next wacky Disney feature, with Reynolds playing Jerry, a happy-go-lucky employee at a bathtub manufacturer who literally sees butterflies next to Fiona (Gemma Arterton), the co-worker he’s pining over. This heightened reality is taken to another level when he comes home: his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers, talk to him, acting as a kind of shoulder angel and devil, respectively. - Jordan R. (full review)

Also Available This Week

Empire Records
Invaders from Mars
Singles

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

22 Jump Street (Blu-ray) – $12.96

The American (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.73

Anna Karenina (Blu-ray) – $12.02

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.49

Black Swan (Blu-ray) - $7.01

The Bling Ring (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Bronson (Blu-ray) – $10.91

Burn After Reading (Blu-ray) – $8.84

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.91

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.97

Captain Phillips (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Cloverfield (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Collateral (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Contagion (Blu-ray) – $8.83

Do the Right Thing (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Drive (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

The French Connection (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.35

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray) – $7.50

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Haywire (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.75

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Jane Eyre (Blu-ray) – $9.66

Killing Them Softly (Blu-ray) – $7.88

L.A. Confidential (Blu-ray) – $8.58

Looper (Blu-ray) - $9.99

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.49

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $4.99

Margaret (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Blu-ray) – $7.44

Night Moves (Blu-ray) – $9.39

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.96

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $9.29

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Pariah (Blu-ray) – $6.13

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.49

The Rover (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.44

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.98

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.00

Seven Psychopaths (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $7.99

Synecdoche, NY (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.35

The Tree of Life (Blu-ray) – $7.59

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $7.99

This is the End (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.40

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $9.18

Where the Wild Things Are (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Whiplash (Blu-ray) – $14.99

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.70

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) - $9.96

What are you picking up this week?

New to Streaming: ‘Goodbye to Language,’ ‘World of Tomorrow,’ ‘Ned Rifle,’ ‘Going Clear,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, April 3, 2015 at 12:30 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Big Eyes (Tim Burton)

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With a kind of quiet reserve, Big Eyes is a rare effort from the Tim Burton that plays it straight. The director wisely keeps the Burton-esque touches to a minimum, despite the temptation to explore the darker sides of Margaret Keane’s work, which appear to have influenced manga comics. The screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (known for their biopics including The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon and of course, Ed Wood) also plays it straight as a portrait of a marriage missing the psychological punch of Keane’s paintings. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Alex Gibney)

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If the bank of trustworthiness requires constant investment, Alex Gibney’s previous work pays dividends in what is his most challenging film to date, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. With a deep filmography that even the Church of Scientology have yet to find a flaw of veracity within, Going Clear is as thoughtful and carefully researched as it can be. To the extent in which this film can be called a hit piece, it’s not for a lack of trying to understand; perhaps the knowledge acquired within the church is difficult to parse out (including its creation myth), but Gibney and company were certainly exhaustive in their investigation. The church’s chairman, David Miscavige, appears in archival materials but declined an interview request, fearing perhaps a Frost/Nixon-style showdown. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: HBO Go

Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard)

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Breaking the rules has always been something that Jean-Luc Godard seems to naturally gravitate towards. His latest film, Goodbye to Language, is no different, an acid trip into life, language, and the lunacy of the modern condition. The impressionistic use of 3D is reminiscent of the way he subverted digital technology with In Praise of Love during the advent of digital cameras, by shooting half of that film in black-and-white 16mm and the other in standard video format. Godard similarly uses different expressions and the third dimension to startling effects, like only a true artist who appreciates the complexity of the medium would. Bizarre, brazen and bold, it’s so refreshing to know that, at the age of 84, Godard has never felt more alive. – Raffi A.

Where to Stream: iTunes, Google (Note: It’s only streaming in 2D, but a 3D version will be available on Blu-ray.)

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Mami Sunada)

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The fate of Studio Ghibli has remained uncertain since its co-founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement last August. Since then, rumors have swirled, with reports claiming that the Japanese animation giant will keep going, while others, including statements from Miyazaki himself, appear more skeptical. But when Mami Sunada first stepped inside Ghibli in the spring of 2012, the studio was very much alive and in the process of creating more of its signature hand-drawn work. Sunada’s documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness follows the parallel productions of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and his partner Isao Takahata‘s The Tale of the Princess Kayuga, two films that would punctuate the end of an era, along with the forthcoming When Marnie Was There. – Amanda W. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Last Knights (Kazuaki Kiriya)

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Clive Owen has the right figure and face for a world-weary medieval knight, but twice now he’s ended up in period action thrillers more grueling than the Middle Ages themselves. It’s been over ten years since Owen played the titular hero in Antoine Fuqua’s stubbornly flat spectacle King Arthur, and now he returns to deadly-but-principled warrior mode as Raiden, the sullen bruiser at the heart of Kazuaki Kiriya’s Last Knights. Although it’s surely been intended to cash-in on the current boom in bloody swashbuckling adventure, Knights is entirely the wrong kind of throwback. The plot hearkens back to sagas of Old Hollywood, and the production values seemingly suggest something opulent and absurd in the vein of the late 80’s, but the completed project has lost its way and most specifically reminds one of those bland, abandoned fantasy films that seemed to just materialize from nowhere on video-store shelves in the late 90’s. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

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NYC Weekend Watch: Stanley Kubrick, ‘Enter the Void,’ Dick Miller, ‘Imitation of Life’ & More

Written by Nick Newman, April 3, 2015 at 11:30 am 

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Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

BAMCinématek

Producer and screenwriter James B. Harris is celebrated in a limited-run series that includes Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, Lolita, and The Killing, as well as The Bedford Incident and the James Woods-led, Ellroy-scripted Cop. All are on 35mm.

d460cc42d43b747f2c0f2e902d419144Nitehawk Cinema

“Nitehawk Naughties” brings Anita: The Sweet Nymphet on Friday and Saturday at midnight. Running concurrent to that is a 35mm print of Enter the Void, which screens under the “April Midnite: Tune In, Turn On” banner.

The Natural plays around noon (and with brunch) on Saturday and Sunday for “Play Ball 3: Bases Loaded.”

Anthology Film Archives

The great Dick Miller is celebrated in a new series, which brings the likes of Joe Dante and Roger Corman to Anthology’s screens.

Four programs featuring the work of Joe Gibbons can also be seen.

dear-heart-movie-poster-1964-1020254516Museum of the Moving Image

The latest set of films from “Required Viewing: Mad Men‘s Movie Influences” are Patterns and Dear Heart.

Film Forum

Douglas Sirk‘s Imitation of Life has been restored and will play this week.

The Sound of Music is offered on Sunday.

IFC Center

A print of Twilight Zone: The Movie plays at midnight on Friday and Saturday.

A Clockwork Orange is screening around the same time on the same nights.

Museum of Modern Art

Josef von Sternberg‘s The Devil Is a Woman screens throughout the weekend.

What are you watching this weekend?

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