Spring Preview: A Repertory Calendar

Spring Preview: A Repertory Calendar (photo)

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Repertory theaters on the coasts are truly offering a window onto the world this spring, with Jia Zhangke and Bong Joon-ho retrospectives, as well as New French Cinema in New York, “Freebie and the Bean,” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and Jason Reitman’s favorite films invade Los Angeles, and the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin is offering a fond farewell to the video cassette. But consider this a hello to seeing classics, oddities and rarities on the big screen over the next few months.

Cities: [New York] [Los Angeles] [Austin]
More Spring Preview: [Theatrical Calendar]
[Anywhere But a Movie Theater]

New York


Is there a more energetic way to start the spring than with a screening of Russ Meyer’s “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (Feb. 20, with editors Rumsey Taylor, Leo Goldsmith and Jenny Jediny in attendance)? Perhaps not, but it’s only the start of an exciting spring season at the 92YTribeca Screening Room, which will present several special events over the next few months. Many filmmakers will be stopping for screenings of “Gosford Park” (Feb. 23, with film editor Tim Squyres and author Bobbie O’Steen in person), the Amber Tamblyn-Tilda Swinton drama “Stephanie Daley” (March 5, with writer/director Hilary Brougher in attendance), David Lowry’s drama “St. Nick” (Feb. 27), the family dramedy “City Island” (March 8, with star Andy Garcia in attendance), and “SNL” writer Tom Schiller’s rarely screened comedy “Nothing Lasts Forever” (March 20, with Schiller in person)

The 92YTribeca is also keeping the energy up with a series of music-themed movies, including the New York premiere of “Family Jams” (Feb. 26) Kevin Barker’s doc about life on the road with Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Vetiver, a two-night stay for Peter Esmonde’s “Trimpin: The Sound of Invention” (March 12-13), and a screening of four short documentaries about the avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis (March 24). And audiences who want to get in on the act can sing-along to “Somewhere Out There” when “An American Tail” screens on February 20th, followed a month later by “Teen Witch” (March 26).

Meanwhile, 92YTribeca and Hammer to Nail is making it safe for to love bad movies with the series “Misunderstood Gems: 2000-2009,” a look back at the disasterpieces of the Naughts, including the Lindsay Lohan twin sister thriller “I Know Who Killed Me” (March 4), and M. Night Shymalan’s ill-fated fairytale “Lady in the Water” (April 1). Other ongoing series include “Kevin Geeks Out about…Monkeys” (Feb. 19) and “…Sharks” (March 19), a collection of clips of the primate and fish variety, respectively; Cinema Tropical’s Music and Film Series – Focus on Brazil, featuring the docs “Simonal – No One Knows How Tough It Was” (Feb. 25), Helena Solberg’s “The Enchanted World” (March 25), featuring performances from Adriana Calcanhotto, Arnaldo Antunes, Chico Buarque, Lirinha, Lenine, Maria Bethânia, Martinho da Vila, and Tom Zé, and Paulo Henrique Fontenelle’s “Loki – Arnaldo Baptista,” about the Brazilian rock star (April 22); Elliott Kalan’s “Closely Watched Films,” which will screen the original “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (March 3, with special guest Wyatt Cenac) and Kihachi Okamoto’s 1968 samurai comedy “Kill!” (April 7, with special guest Evan Dorkin), and the Short Slam competitions (Feb. 17, March 17, April 21) where filmmakers show off their short films in a bid to win JetBlue tickets.

02152010_MonsieurVerdoux.jpgAnthology Film Archives

One of the most intriguing series in New York this spring might be the Anthology Film Archives’ comparison of adaptations of Charles Perrault’s fable “Bluebeard” by some of the most striking filmmakers around, the latest incarnation being told by Catherine Breillat. Her take will kick off the series on March 3rd, followed by the adaptations by Edgar G. Ulmer (March 4, 7), Ernst Lubitsch (March 4, 6), Michael Powell and Georges Méliès (March 5, 7, with Powell’s widow Thelma Schoonmaker onhand to introduce the March 5th screening), Fritz Lang (March 5-6), and Charlie Chaplin (March 6-7). Also bound to pique interest is the series Marguerite Duras on Film (March 12-18), centering on the film forays of the French novelist and playwright. Other classic films set to screen at the Anthology include all 170 minutes of D.W. Griffith’s “Intolerance” (Feb. 20), the German krimis (i.e. crime thrillers) “Monster of London City” and “The Phantom of Soho” (Feb. 26-27), Buster Keaton’s “The General” (March 20-21), a weekend of Andrei Tarkovsky (March 19-21) with “The Mirror,” “Solaris” and the complete 205-minute director’s cut of “Andrei Rublev,” and the ongoing Austrian Writers on Film series featuring Volker Schlondorff’s adaptation of Robert Musil’s “Young Torless” (Feb. 25) and Axel Corti’s adaptation of Franz Werfel’s “A Woman’s Pale Blue Handwriting” (March 25).

For more experimental tastes, the Anthology is ever reliable with a steady diet of filmmakers questioning what is cinema with programs of the work of Dani Leventhal (Feb. 18, with Leventhal in person), Jerome Hill (Feb. 21, including a brand new print of “Film Portrait”), the program “Double Trouble: Six Films by Gary Goldberg” (March 5-6), and shorts from Ian Hugo, Helen Levitt and Willard Maas (March 6), Humphrey Jennings, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, Rene Clair and Francis Picabia (March 7), and Peter Kubelka (March 21), and the digital trickery of “Computational Sublime: Videos by Gregg Biermann” (March 26). There will also be screenings of the Ken Jacobs feature “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son” (March 7) and Dimitri Kirsanoff’s 1934 musically-experimental drama “RAPT” (March 20), as well as the series The Films of William E. Jones (Feb. 26-March 4), which is a full retrospective From Ecstasy to Rapture: 50 Years of the Other Spanish Cinema (Feb. 19-21), presenting experimental shorts and features that are rarely even shown in Spain that demonstrate the elasticity of the medium through films that run the gamut from animation to found footage.

Documentary buffs will also find plenty to enjoy this spring at the Anthology as the theater plays host to the internationally-minded screenings of Kamal Aljafari’s Palestinean resettlement doc “The Roof” (March 8, with Aljafari in person) and Marc Bauder & Dörte Franke’s East Germany doc “Last to Know” (March 11), before concentrating on the homegrown series Leo Hurwitz & The New York School of Documentary Film (March 10-19), a collection of nonfiction films from doc pioneer Hurwitz and the filmmakers like Pare Lorentz and Willard Van Dyke who blossomed under his tutelage during the 1930s and ’40s. Anthology will also dig up Films from New York’s Vault on March 25th, screening rare home movies and archival footage of the Big Apple that have been preserved by the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Anthology is also serving up the four-course meals of the Newfilmmakers program, which collects shorts, features and various ephemera around a given theme and will soon be shining a light on Brooklyn filmmakers, including Keren Atzmon’s feature “Failing Better Now” (Feb. 24), Joseph Christiana’s “Motel Americana” (March 2), Middle East and NewLatino Groups (March 10), the John McKeown feature “Six Semesters” with coming-of-age shorts (March 17), Christian Sex Night with the features “Godawesome,” “The Christians,” and “The Truth About Angels” (March 24), and the Newfilmmakers’ Sports Night (March 31).


After a highly successful retrospective in Los Angeles in December, Bong Joon-ho will be treated to a similar fete in New York at the BAMcinématek to celebrate the upcoming release of his drama “Mother” (Feb. 27, with Joon-ho in attendance), with a screening of rare shorts and his first three films “Barking Dogs Never Bite” (Feb. 28), “Memories of Murder” (Feb. 25), and “The Host” (Feb. 27, with Joon-ho in attendance).

But much of BAMcinématek’s spring schedule is devoted to bringing international cinema to American shores, first with foreign-heavy 8th annual Best of the African Diaspora Film Festival (Feb. 19-24), which highlights the experience of African émigrés through films like American Clayton Broomes, Jr.’s “Pro-Black Sheep” (Feb. 20, 24, with Broomes, Jr. in person), the Nigerian drama “Arugba” (Feb. 19, 21) and the French drama “When the City Bites” (Feb. 20). And for New Yorkers unable to afford tickets to the Netherlands, BAM is bringing the Rotterdam Film Festival to Brooklyn with an assortment of films direct from this year’s fest from March 3rd through 9th, including Martjin Smits’ miserablist drama “It’s Already Summer” (March 7), Sophie Letourneur’s coming-of-age drama “Life at the Ranch” (March 9) and recent Sundance entry “The Temptation of St. Tony” (March 5). The late March series Focus on IFC Films will also have an international flavor to it, with screenings of the latest films from Claire Denis (March 19th’s “White Material”), Johnnie To (March 21st’s “Vengeance”) and Bruno Dumont (March 21st’s “Hadewijch”). Christophe Honoré and Chiara Mastrioianni will also steal away from the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Rendez-vous with French Cinema” to present “Making Plans for Lena” on March 20th.

However, if American classics strike your fancy, BAMcinématek will be presenting That’s Montgomery Clift, Honey! (March 11-25), a retrospective of the dashing leading man’s all-too-short career filled with classics like “A Place in the Sun” (March 12) and “From Here to Eternity” (March 14, with an introduction by Patricia Bosworth) to rarely projected films like 1950’s “The Big Lift” (March 15) and “Freud” (March 23), which like the 1941 Basil Rathbone thriller “The Mad Doctor” (March 2) is part of Elliott Stein’s ongoing Cinemachat series. Meanwhile, there will also be special screenings of the Dan Klores doc “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks” (March 10, with Klores in attendance), and “Waking Sleeping Beauty” (March 17, with the filmmakers in attendance).

02152010_FiveEasyPieces.jpgFilm Forum

After some personal friends of Martin Scorsese’s were out of luck during the first run of the restored version of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s “The Red Shoes” at the Film Forum, the film is returning for another limited engagement from February 19th through 25th, followed by one-week runs of a 40th anniversary celebration of “Five Easy Pieces” (Feb. 26-March 4), Joseph Losey’s 1951 noir “The Prowler” (March 19-25), the 20th anniversary of Abbas Kiarostami’s “Close-Up” (March 26-April 1), and F.W. Murnau’s “Sunrise” (April 2-8). Additional special screenings include Josef von Sternberg’s 1928 drama “Docks of New York” (March 22) and Bill Forsyth’s “Housekeeping” (April 15, with Forsyth in attendance) and a double feature of Forsyth’s “Gregory’s Girl” and “Local Hero” (April 22).

Film Forum is also launching two major series this spring. The first is a two-week retrospective of Golden Age of Hollywood helmer Victor Fleming (March 5-18) that displays the director’s versatility with a selection ranging from 1924’s mariner drama “Code of the Sea” (March 12) to 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” (March 7,8, 13 & 14). And the theater is pulling out all the stops for Fleming, with live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner on many of the filmmaker’s silents, new 35mm prints of Henry Fonda’s “The Farmer Takes a Wife” (March 9, with “Tortilla Flat”) and “Common Clay” (March 16) as well as visits from Fleming biographer Michael Sragow for the opening double feature of “Red Dust” and “Bombshell” on March 5th and 6th and Molly Haskell for the March 13th screening of “Gone With the Wind.” And although the days of the ink-stained wretch may be numbered, the Film Forum is offering up a month-long movie salute to muckrakers from April 9th through May 6th with the 35mm print celebration of The Newspaper Picture, kicking off with Billy Wilder’s ahead-of-its-time “Ace in the Hole” (April 9-10) to more obscure titles like Michael Curtiz’s 1932 flick “The Strange Love of Molly Louvain” (April 19, with “Love is a Racket”) just one of several films in the series to feature the dogged fictional reporter Lee Tracy.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.