Blog Archives

Just Booked at The Nightlight: I Am Not Your Negro, Opens 2/24

“The people, in general, cannot bear very much reality. They prefer fantasy to a truthful recreation of their existence.”

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) Opens February 24th

In Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, that line is said by author/civil rights activist/sometimes narrator James Baldwin. A variation on the famous quote by T.S. Eliot, it’s a line that gathers in the back of the mind as one watches this extraordinary new film about Baldwin’s intertwined existence with the struggles of the civil rights movement. Here is a film that eschews easy answers while presenting an intimate story framed against the cosmic struggle of a nation fighting itself. I hesitate to call it a documentary. It should be a required history lesson.

Formed by director Peck from the unfinished draft of writings by James Baldwin entitled “Remember This House,” I Am Not Your Negro unmistakably channels the voice and attitude of its author. Elegantly loquacious and incisively smart about how he says things, the film intersperses photos and videos of Baldwin and his immersion into the civil rights story in the late 50’s after returning from living in Paris due to his disillusion with American Jim Crow tactics.

Becoming friends with all the key players, including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers, Baldwin provides a front row recollection of this time, stirring up so many feelings, emotions and mundane historical suggestions that it’s one of the most heartfelt memoirs I can imagine.

~~ Joe Baker,

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Elle

Genre subversive Paul Verhoeven, director of Basic Instinct and Black Book, teams up with the great Isabelle Huppert to craft this provocative, blackly comic thriller.

Elle (2016), Opens February 3rd

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle saw Cannes Competition 69 out on a high note. This beautifully judged drama/thriller is all about a provocatively powerful woman, much like Verhoeven’s last Competition entry – Basic Instinct, which played back in 1992. Elle is that picture’s equal, and, in a similar way, captures a new moment for film’s femme fatale.

Elle, starring the unrivalled Isabelle Huppert, threads sexual intrigue with knife-edged danger, punctuated by the occasional relief of unexpected, uneasy humour. It’s a film which could only have come from the hands of the Dutch master, back after a 10-year-absence since Black Book – and how we have missed him.

Huppert has rarely been better as the head of a videogame company who is attacked and raped in her home by a masked intruder. This plays out, however, at the onset and is just a launchpad for Verhoeven to examine his career-long themes of power and domination afresh.

~~ Fionnuala Halligan, Screendaily

Just Booked at The Nightlight: Oscar Shorts 2017

Oscar-Nominated Short Films come to Akron on February 10th, in advance of this year’s Academy Awards (February 26th). Be the one at your Oscar party who knows what’s up!

Oscar Shorts 2017, Opens February 10th

For the 12th consecutive year, Shorts HD and Magnolia Pictures present the Oscar-Nominated Short Films, opening on Feb. 10th. With all three categories offered – Animated, Live Action and Documentary – this is your annual chance to predict the winners (and have the edge in your Oscar pool)! A perennial hit with audiences around the country (and now the world), don’t miss this year’s selection of shorts. The Academy Awards take place Sunday, Feb. 26th.

Live Action Shorts (Running Time: 132 minutes)

Ennemis Interieurs – dir. Selim Aazzazi, France, 28 minutes
Silent Nights – dir. Aske Bang, Denmark, 30 minutes
Sing – dir. Kristof Deak, Hungary, 25 minutes
Timecode – dir. Juanjo Gimenez Pena, Spain, 15 minutes
La Femme et la TGV – dir. Timo von Gunten, Switzerland, 30 minutes

Documentary Shorts “Program A” (orders TBD, Running Time: 72 minutes)

Extremis – dir. Dan Krauss, USA, 24 minutes
4.1 Miles – dir. Daphne Matziaraki, USA, 22 minutes
Joe’s Violin – dir. Kahane Cooperman, USA, 24 minutes

Documentary Shorts “Program B” (Running Time 82 minutes)

Watani: My Homeland – dir. Marcel Mettelsiefen, 39 minutes
The White Helmets – dir. Orlando von Einsiedel, 41 minutes

Animated Shorts (Running Time: 86 minutes)

Borrowed Time – dirs. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, USA, 7 minutes
Pearl – dir. Patrick Osborne, USA, 6 minutes
Piper – dir. Alan Barillaro, USA, 6 minutes
Blind Vaysha – dir. Theodore Ushev, Canada, 8 minutes
The Head Vanishes (additional film) – 9 minutes
Asteria (additional film) – 5 minutes
Happy End (additional film) – 6 minutes
Pear Brandy and Cigarettes – dir. Robert Valley, Canada and UK, 35 minutes

Just Booked at The Nightlight: All Nighter – Exclusive NYFCS Preview, Opens 3/20

The fastest way to get over an EX? Stay up all night with her dad! Join Film Critic Shawn Levy for an advanced, pre-release screening of All Nighter. He’ll join in conversation with stars Emile Hirsch, Analeigh Tipton and J.K. Simmons.

All Nighter (2017), Opens March 20th–fmo

Meeting your girlfriend’s father is always tough, especially if you’re Emile Hirsch, but especially if her father is a particularly intimidating J.K. Simmons.

When a globe trotting, workaholic father (J.K. Simmons) trying to visit his daughter (Analeigh Tipton) on a last minute layover in Los Angeles discovers that she’s disappeared, he forces her awkward, nervous ex-boyfriend (Emile Hirsch) to help him find her over the course of one increasingly crazy night.

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: MOONLIGHT, Re-Opens 1/27

The year’s best film (we think), and one that’s breathtaking to behold, is back. We’re lighting the projector up with Moonlight in honor of this week’s Oscar nominations.

Moonlight (2016), Re-Opens January 27th

A film so beautiful in story, struggle, love, connection, danger, drugs, race, masculinity, black masculinity, and one made more poetic by cinematography and performance, particularly by Trevante Rhodes, that one leaves the theaters with images and thoughts lingering. As Rhodes told Out Magazine: “Being a black person in America right now is shit, being a homosexual in America right now is shit, and being a black homosexual is the bottom for certain people. That’s why I’m so excited for people to see Moonlight. I don’t feel like there’s a solution for our problems, but this movie might change people. That’s why you do it — because you feel like you’re doing something that matters. This is someone’s story.”

~~ Kim Morgan, Sunset Gun

Just Booked at The Nightlight: HUNTER GATHERER, Opens 1/13

Andre Royo of “The Wire” plays one of the most singular characters in recent indie film in this memorable, offbeat comedy.

Hunter Gatherer (2016), Opens January 13th

In this offbeat comedy, a middle-aged former convict returns to his old stomping grounds intent on winning back his dream girl, but finds things aren’t exactly as he left them.

One of the more singular characters in recent indie film, Ashley Douglas – marvelously played by Andre Royo of “The Wire” – is a man of many contradictions. Despite being unemployed and living with his mother after a stint in prison, Ashley possesses a tireless self-assurance frequently bordering on self-delusion. As Ashley tries to get his life back on track through a series of hilarious, off-kilter interactions with a band of memorable characters with whom he comes into contact, we begin to get a rare and beautiful glimpse into the world he’s been dreaming from for years. Chief among his confidants is Ashley’s friend and loyal sidekick Jeremy “Jerms” Pittman (George Sample III), a good-natured young man whose intellectual simplicity belies a startling emotional acuity. Director Joshua Locy’s low-key style and fondness for lovable outsiders recall the work of Richard Linklater and Michel Gondry, yet his debut feature has a distinctive rhythm and visual style all its own. Wandering along at a leisurely pace, Hunter Gatherer is as craftily moving as it is funny, building surprising emotional resonance as a study of friendship and redemption.

~~ Philadelphia Film Festival

Like a dog-eared Kodachrome postcard from Charles Burnett’s L.A., the story of Ashley’s daily struggle for survival is leavened with moments of surprise lyricism and a wry affection for the unlikely detail.

~~ Jon Kieran, New Orleans Film Festival

Just Booked at The Nightlight: SILENCE, Opens 1/13

Martin Scorsese’s 20 year passion project, Silence, finally arrives.

Silence (2016), Opens January 13th

“The nature of secularism is fascinating to me, but do you wipe away what could be more enriching in your life, which is an appreciation or some sort of search for that which is spiritual and transcends? Silence is just something that I’m drawn to in that way. It’s been an obsession, it has to be done… It’s a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions.” —Martin Scorsese

Based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel by the same name, Silence has been a passion project for director Martin Scorsese for over 20 years. Set in the 17th Century, the film follows two Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to find their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) and propagate Christianity. The priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver), arrive in a country that, under the Tokugawa shogunate, has banned Catholicism and forbidden almost all foreign contact. There they witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of a government that wishes to purge Japan of all western influence.

~~ San Francisco Film Society

Just Booked at The Nightlight: THE EAGLE HUNTRESS, Opens 1/6

Step aside, Katniss! Make room for Aisholpan, the 13-year-old eagle huntress from Mongolia.

The Eagle Huntress (2016) Opens January 6th

For 2,000 years, the Kazakh people of the Altai region in western Mongolia have practiced a tradition of hunting with golden eagles, whose wingspan can reach up to 7.5 feet wide. Though this practice has traditionally been the domain of men, Aisholpan decides that she wants to become an apprentice hunter after spending her childhood helping her father, a renowned eagle hunter, care for his birds. Under the tutelage and support of her father and her grandfather—and very few others—Aisholpan learns all aspects of falconry, from taming her very own eagle to training for an annual competition, where she will compete against 70 eagle hunters on her quest to gain acceptance.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography and intimate footage, this film not only explores the life of a young girl striving to pursue her passion and break down gender barriers in a very traditional culture but also provides an engaging glimpse into the lives of this remote community, as they balance their traditional lifestyle with the modern world.

~~ Sundance Institute

Just Booked at The Nightlight: 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, Opens 1/20

20th Century Women offers Annette Bening a too-rare opportunity to shine in a leading role – and marks another assured step forward for writer-director Mike Mills. –– 95% on Rotten Tomatoes

20th Century Women (2016) Opens January 20th

Mike Mills’s texturally and behaviorally rich new comedy seems to keep redefining itself as it goes along, creating a moving group portrait of particular people in a particular place (Santa Barbara) at a particular moment in the 20th century (1979), one lovingly attended detail at a time. The great Annette Bening, in one of her very best performances, is Dorothea, a single mother raising her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), in a sprawling bohemian house, which is shared by an itinerant carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist with a Bowie haircut (Greta Gerwig) and frequented by Jamie’s rebellious friend Julie (Elle Fanning). 20th Century Women is warm, funny, and a work of passionate artistry.

Just Booked at The Nightlight: OCEAN WAVES, Opens 12/30

Rarely seen outside of Japan, Ocean Waves is a subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation from Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away).

Ocean Waves (2016) Opens December 30th

Taku and his best friend Yutaka are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo whose attitude vacillates wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships.

Ocean Waves was the first Studio Ghibli film directed by someone other than studio founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, as director Tomomi Mochizuki led a talented staff of younger employees in an adaptation of Saeko Himuro’s best-selling novel. Full of shots bathed in a palette of pleasingly soft pastel colors and rich in the unexpected visual details typical of Studio Ghibli’s most revered works, Ocean Waves is an accomplished teenage drama and a true discovery.

About Ghiblies: Episode 2

Ghiblies: Episode 2 is a unique 25-minute short film from Studio Ghibli, featuring several comedic vignettes and caricatures of Studio Ghibli staff as they go about their day. Utilizing new animation techniques and software that would then be deployed on the production of My Neighbors the Yamadas, Ghiblies: Episode 2 has never been released in North America and will be making its North American premiere in December 2016.