Just Booked at The Nightlight: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016), Opens 8/26

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World finds Werner Herzog bringing his distinctive documentarian gifts to bear on a timely topic with typically thought-provoking results. –– 92% on Rotten Tomatoes!

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (2016), Opens August 26th

“The corridors here look repulsive, and yet this one leads to some sort of a shrine,” [Herzog] says… That room is home the first machine ever to send an electronic message via what would become the internet. (The message—“LO,” an interrupted transmission of the “LOGIN” prompt—is where the film title comes from.) Yes, in keeping with Herzog’s ambitious documentary themes, this one is entirely on the internet.

[The film is] not so much a sweeping view of the internet as it is 10 serialized chapters of how our humanity interacts, retracts and abuses “one of the greatest revolutions,” as Herzog says. Some of these chapters include appearances by Arizona State cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, Carnegie Mellon brain researcher Marcel Just, Stanford roboticist Sabastian Thrun and everyone’s favorite Silicon Valley poster boy, Elon Musk. Topics include a colony of people who claim to suffer from sensitivity to wireless radiation signals and who live off the grid, people recovering from internet addiction, questioning scientists about whether the internet will dream of itself or fall in love, [and] how video-gamers helped with mapping and solving molecule puzzles that baffled scientists for years.

With each topic, Herzog is compassionate but stoic. He is not here to judge but also not to be skeptical, after all, he’s a documentarian, not a journalist. In many ways, the film depicts the negative side of humanity, with commentary on the world’s materialism, cruelty and abuse of power (the power of anonymity to be exact). Sometimes it is comical and other times devastating. On one hand, we have the possibilities of the future or self-driving cars and creating colonies on Mars, and the next we have physicist Lucianne Walkowicz explaining how a solar flare could bring the whole internet to a devastating crash that would not project civilization back to the 19th Century but more like the 8th Century.

~~ Emma Sandler, Forbes

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Train to Busan (2016), Opens 8/16

Train to Busan pulses with relentless locomotive momentum. As an allegory of class rebellion and moral polarization, it proves just as biting as Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi dystopia Snowpiercer, while delivering even more unpretentious fun. –– 96% on Rotten Tomatoes!

Train to Busan (2016), Opens August 19th

Despite the vibrancy of genre cinema in Korea, you can count the country’s zombie films on the fingers of one hand…However, with a MERS epidemic sweeping South Korea in 2015 and soaring discontent with corruption and economic disparity, a zombie apocalypse serves as a potent allegory for the dog-eat-dog world. In Seoul Station, Yeon depicted a homeless enclave inside the central train station as the ground zero of a zombie outbreak. Train to Busan picks up where that film left off. While the anime’s excoriation of the police and army is softened in the live-action sequel, scenarios of humans and zombies precariously separated by carriages fittingly symbolize the dangerous gap between society’s haves and have-nots.

Shooting in standard 1.85.1 instead of widescreen, the confined mise-en-scene nonetheless affords lenser Lee Hyung-deok plenty of room for nifty camerawork of stunts in unexpected nooks. Washrooms become thrilling battlegrounds and unlikely sanctuaries. An extended sequence in which the driver tries to switch trains is choreographed with the utmost suspense.

Craft contributions are top-drawer, especially breakneck editing by Yang Jin-mo, who raises suspense to nearly unbearable levels. Music by Jang Young-gyu and sound effects by Choi Tae-young are both sparingly and effectively deployed for genuine shocks rather than false jolts.

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Multiple Maniacs (1970, Opens 9/23

Remastered and restored by Criterion, John Waters tasteless and filthy 1970 crime, comedy classic, Multiple Maniacs comes to the big screen!

Multiple Maniacs (1970), Opens September 23rd

Funded with a loan by Waters’ nice parents (which he later paid back), Multiple Maniacs is the kind of no-fi home movie made by your friends if all of your friends were nuts. The plot is skeletal but has the wrath and body count of Jacobean tragedy. Divine plays “Lady Divine,” the hotheaded leader of a gang of thieves. They like to court squares into a tent, promising them an assortment of depravities: a woman tonguing a bikeseat, armpit-licking, necking beardos, a junkie in the throes of withdrawal, a naked pyramid. Usually the patrons are then robbed, but Lady Divine has grown bored with such jazz. She decides to escalate to murder, prompting her exasperated lover (David Lochary) to plot her death with a bubbleheaded blonde (Mary Vivian Pearce).

Thing is, Waters is no slack with content. He stuffs his amateur hour battering ram silly with great stuff — sights that still bewilder as equally as they elate, hairpin plot turns that put a crick in the neck, and one of the great out-of-nowhere the-hell-was-that endings. Like the end of Psycho, this happening still surprises even if you’d already watched the clip of it on YouTube. If Waters had never scored the dough to make another movie, Multiple Maniacs would have ensured his immortality. It is, in its imperfect way, perfect.

~~ Matt Prigge, metro.us

Just Booked at The Nightlight: The Land (2016), Opens 8/12

In case you’re not hip to the lingo, “The Land” is Cleveland, city of champions! A basketball championship and a contending baseball team have brought some new found respect home to the North Coast and writer/director Steven Caple, Jr.’s gritty feature debut The Land keeps the winning streak going.

The Land (2016), Opens August 12th

Cisco (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.) is a restless Cleveland teen, skipping school and skateboarding around the inner city streets with his crew Junior (Moises Arias), Patty Cake (Rafi Gavron) and Boobie (Ezri Walker). Stealing cars for quick cash, the boys pop one trunk to uncover a large stash of MDMA capsules, and quickly enter a more lucrative business.

Caple contrasts intimate settings of the boys’ tough homelife with more panoramic shots of familiar Cleveland landmarks, achieving a nicely subtle reinforcement of the desire to escape.

Impressive instincts for camerawork are here as well, especially during the skateboarding sequences. The urgent, pulsating soundtrack is another plus. Even better is Caple’s obvious rapport with his cast, and the effective characterizations that follow.

~~ George Wolf, maddwolf.com

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Don’t Think Twice (2016), Opens 8/19

Don’t Think Twice, Mike Birbiglia’s wonderful new film, is so spot-on in its evocation of that whole “scene,” onstage and off—its intimacy, competition, struggles and rhythms—that at times it feels like a documentary.

Don’t Think Twice (2016), Opens August 19th

The movie has the patience and intelligence to approach extremely esoteric concepts: improv’s “group mind,” the generosity of good performers, the specific rules of improv and how they impact the group outside the theatre. Birbiglia is a stand-up comedian and director (Sleepwalk With Me is his first film), with a background in improv. Not only does he know that world so well, he also knows how to communicate it to an audience. Don’t Think Twice is hilarious, yes, but it’s also thoughtful and sad and sweet. Birbiglia knows how to communicate those things, too.

Don’t Think Twice follows a New York-based improv group called, appropriately, “The Commune” through a year in their lives. The Brooklyn theatre where they’ve been doing improv has been sold, and homelessness approaches. It’s a very New York problem, as small black-box theaters disappear one by one, gleaming condos and Starbucks rising in their place, a situation that strands the non-Union theatre scene in a desert. The Commune casts around desperately for an affordable space, and along with that are the trials and tribulations of each group member. It sounds like Don’t Think Twice is your run-of-the-mill, 20-something ensemble comedy, but it’s not. Grounded in a very specific scene, it understands the world in which these characters operate, and what happens when a close group like that faces fracturing change.

~~ Sheila O’Malley, rogerebert.com

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Café Society (2016), Opens 7/29

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and the protean Steve Carell, Cafe Society is of course funny, but it also ends up, almost without our realizing it, trafficking in memory, regret and the fate of relationships in a world of romantic melancholy where, as someone says, “in matters of the heart, people do foolish things.”

Café Society (2016), Opens July 29th

There is…a feeling throughout Cafe Society of Allen pleasantly indulging himself, doing things he enjoys like coming up with mini-bios of nightclub patrons we barely meet that the director conveys with relish in the voice-over he reads himself.

Also, and again in the best sense, Cafe Society presents itself as an older director’s film, dealing as it does with the difference between dreams and reality and the presence and persistence of regret.

Yes, someone says, though the unexamined life may not be worth living, “the examined one is no bargain either.” Unless it’s Woody Allen doing the examining.

~~ Kenneth Turan, LA Times

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Akron (2015), Opens 9/11

The long-awaited movie that packed the houses during CIFF, finally comes home – Akron: The Movie hits The Nightlight Cinema’s screen on September 11th and 12th featuring a live Q&A with director, Brian O’Donnell both dates!

Akron (2015), Opens September 11th

Benny and Christopher, college freshmen, meet playing football and begin a relationship. They fall in love supported by their family and friends. As their love for each other grows, a past tragic event involving their mothers comes to light. This revelation tests their own love and Benny’s close-knit family.

Throughout this reflective love story, with the beauty of rural Ohio as its backdrop, Benny travels an emotional journey that examines both his own feelings and his family’s ability to come to terms with the past. Akron is a sensitive and unique independent film that puts a progressive, Midwestern spin on a classic family drama from an original screenplay by Brian O’Donnell, who was inspired by the notion that the love between family members trumps all.

In conversations O’Donnell had with friends, gay and straight, it became obvious that people are ready to hear stories that include gay characters but are not primarily concerned with the characters’ sexuality. As people are accepting themselves and others at younger ages it’s important to show that, like Benny and Christopher in Akron, gay men and lesbians are a natural and essential part of the fabric of society, part of the family. Akron shows what it is like when gay men don’t have to leave their families for acceptance, where people are not so different after all. Where people can love each other for who they are.

~~ Akronthefilm.com

Just Booked at The Nightlight: The NYFCS Presents: Five Nights in Maine (2016), Opens 8/7

Join Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers for an advanced, pre-release screening of Five Nights in Maine. He’ll join in conversation with guests David Oyelowo , Rosie Perez and Director Maris Curran.

Five Nights in Maine (2016), Opens August 7th

Exploring the difficult and complex elements that come with the death of a loved one, Maris Curran’s Five Nights in Maine bravely swims in a lake of raw emotions. One of the memorable things about Curran’s direction is her ability to let the mood linger. Her measured pacing allows the character’s grief to drive the narrative forward. Sherwin and Lucinda have lost the knot that once unified their two ropes. Now they are force to figure out how, and more important if they want to, unite those same threads again.

Curran strips her characters emotionally bare to emphasize not only the unpredictable nature of life, but also the importance of the connections, whether good or bad, that one makes with those who enter their lives. While Lucinda and Sherwin may argue who deserves to wallow more, the grieving mother or the grieving husband, the fact does not change that they have both lost someone who impacted their individual lives greatly.

Showing a gift for character-driven story telling, Maris Curran’s debut marks the arrival of an artist who will be commanding the audience’s attention with each new project. Curran’s direction extracts some strong performances from her talented cast. David Oyelowo does a great job in his portrayal of the wry Sherwin, a man who cannot seem to find his way out of a grief filled fog. His scenes with Diane Wiest, who is equally strong as the controlling matriarch, crackle with the level of awkwardness and emotion one would expect from a situation such as they are in. Intimate, moving, and honest, Five Nights in Maine is a film that is not afraid to dig deep into the pool of emotions that make makes life both rich and complex.

~~ Cortney Small, cinemaaxis.com

About the NY Film Critics Film Series: A regular series of ongoing preview screenings is established in approximately 50 selected major markets. Audiences experience all of the excitement of live Q&A sessions held in New York City, hosted by Peter Travers. The big screen events deliver 9-13 curated pre-release films per year to discerning audiences on a monthly basis. Each movie in the Screening Series is introduced live by Peter Travers. Audiences then see award contenders prior to their release followed by live, HD Q&A between Travers, audiences and talent from the films. Each piece brings the energy and VIP nature of prestigious, NYC screenings for nationwide audiences to interact with stars and directors via two way simulcast.

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Zero Days (2016), Opens 7/22

Alex Gibney’s Zero Days is a documentary thriller about the world of cyberwar. For the first time, the film tells the complete story of Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware (known as a “worm” for its ability to burrow from computer to computer on its own) that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target.

Zero Days (2016), Opens July 22nd

Zero Days is the most comprehensive accounting to date of how a clandestine mission hatched by two allies with clashing agendas opened forever the Pandora’s Box of cyberwarfare. Beyond the technical aspects of the story, Zero Days reveals a web of intrigue involving the CIA, the US Military’s new cyber command, Israel’s Mossad and Operations that include both espionage and covert assassinations but also a new generation of cyberweapons whose destructive power is matched only by Nuclear War.

~~ Magnolia Pictures

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Level Up (2016), Opens 8/26

FilmBuff presents the taut thriller, Level Up starring Josh Bowman for an exclusive limited theatrical engagement!

Level Up (2016), Opens August 26th

Matt is working to create a new tech company with a friend, but what they’re actually mostly doing is playing video games and watching videos on Youtube, much to the dismay of Matt’s girlfriend, Anna. One morning Anna is kidnapped, and Matt is presented with an ultimatum by the kidnappers: Deliver a package, or Anna will be killed in this fast paced thriller!