Quick: what was the only bank that was actually prosecuted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis? The astonishing answer is Abacus Federal Savings, a community bank in New York’s Chinatown. Steve James’ (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) new movie brings the under-told story to light.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016), Opens June 23rd
Akron-raised producer of the film and longtime Steve James collaborator, Mark Mitten, will visit The Nightlight for an opening weekend screening, with details to be announced as we approach the date!
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a vivid chronicle of the legal battle mounted by Abacus’ CEO, Thomas Sung, and his formidable daughters when the Manhattan DA’s office charged the bank with systemic fraud, larceny, and conspiracy. Abacus is a moving portrait of a family, a community, and a way of life. It is also a cautionary tale.
~~ Lincoln Center
Kristen Stewart is the medium, in more ways than one, for this sophisticated genre exploration from director Olivier Assayas.
Personal Shopper (2016), Opens March 31st
As a fashion assistant whose twin brother has died, leaving her bereft and longing for messages from the other side, Stewart is fragile and enigmatic—and nearly always on-screen. From an opening sequence in a haunted house with an intricately constructed soundtrack to a high-tension, cat-and-mouse game on a trip from Paris to London and back set entirely to text messaging, Personal Shopper brings the psychological and supernatural thriller into the digital age.
~~ New York Film Festival
SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock, the Mick Rock documentary, is an odyssey into the colorful and crazy recesses of rock ‘n’ roll’s history. Join Film Critic Shawn Levy for an advanced, pre-release screening on 4/10.
SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock (2016), Opens April 10th
A reckless joyride that delves deep into the mind of rock’s greatest living photographer: Mick Rock. Told through the distorted lens of rock ‘n’ roll mythology, icon-maker, psychedelic explorer, shambolic poet and custodian of dreams, Mick Rock navigates his story from the glam rock shimmer of London to the snarl of NYC punk, and deep into the new millennium.
Awaiting heart surgery after after a series of heart attacks, Mick turns inward to face himself – his past, the present and the future that will be born from the ashes of his resurrection. He stretched his nervous system to the limit to bring us the iconic images of the likes of David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Blondie, Queen, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. He shot them all and imprinted them on our collective psyche forever. “I’m still in awe of the power of the camera and its magical reflections. In many ways I love it more than ever.” This is The Mick Rock story.
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.
Up for best animated feature, this French-Swiss stop-motion tale of a young boy’s life in a group home offers a small, meticulously detailed story that leavens melancholy with humor.
My Life as a Zucchini (2016), Opens March 24th
Animated films can do more than babysit kids; instead of simply quieting children for an hour or two, they can act to open conversations with them. Most American animation does not share this goal, however, and aims instead to feed kids a steady diet of hyperactive screen candy. That’s why the Oscar-nominated French-Swiss cartoon My Life as a Zucchini might feel like a vegetable instead of the delightful treat that it is.
Told in stop-motion, Zucchini packs a lot of detail into its brief, 67-minute story of an orphan who moves into a group foster home. That detail comes both through its intricate storybook sets, with claylike figurines, and in its thoroughly depressing screenplay. Even though the movie stars lots of cute kids who bumble around and make friendships, it’s dark enough by U.S. standards to warrant a PG-13 rating –- a stamp which should not dissuade parents from bringing their smart kids, but merely signal the need to talk about some things with them afterwards.
~~ Andrew Lapin, NPR
“I want you to watch the movie screen. There’s something I want to show you.” ~~ Frank, Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko (2001), Opens April 8th
Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Richard Kelly set the template and the high-water mark with his debut feature, Donnie Darko.
Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days 06 hours 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum.
Described by its director as The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick, Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast pre-stardom Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, heartthrob Patrick Swayze, former child star Drew Barrymore, Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell and Katherine Ross, and television favorite Noah Wyle and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran.
This brand-new 4K restoration, carried out exclusively for this release by Arrow Films, allows a modern classic to finally receive the treatment it deserves.
Essential viewing, A United Kingdom is a slice of neglected post-war history, a true story of love triumphing over prejudice and a reminder of how much further we still have to go in the fight for equality.
A United Kingdom (2016), Opens March 17th
Part sumptuous costume drama; part expose on the evils of colonialism, Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom tells the real story of Seretse Khama, an African Prince and future President of Bechuanaland (now Botswana). A law student in London in 1947, Seretse meets and falls in love with Ruth, a young bank clerk. The couple’s eventual marriage is greeted first, predictably, with familial disapproval, and later, more unexpectedly, governmental objection. Seretse’s kingdom borders South Africa, where the newly established apartheid laws would be undermined should neighboring Bechanaland be ruled by a high profile mixed-race couple. South Africa tries to coerce Britain to put an end to the union and Seretse and Ruth’s love is put under unbelievable duress.
Hold on tight for Werner Herzog’s blistering new film focusing on ecological disaster in South America. Join Film Critic Shawn Levy for an advanced, pre-release screening of Salt and Fire. He’ll speak with star Michael Shannon as bonus on-screen talk-back following the film.
Salt and Fire (2017), Opens March 27th
From acclaimed director Werner Herzog comes this tense psychological thriller! Two ecologists (played by Veronica Ferres and Gael Garcia Bernal) are sent to South America as part of a U.N. investigation into an ecological disaster. They are quickly kidnapped by the villainous CEO (played by Michael Shannon) of a large company held responsible for the ecological disaster. But when a supervolcano nearby begins to show signs of erupting, they must unite to avoid a disaster.
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.
Strutting ankle-high amid the many glittering wonders of Istanbul are countless feline wanderers. Considered the “keepers of the city,” these cats prowl the streets freely alongside their fellow pedestrians. In Kedi, we glimpse the private lives of these independent creatures, as well as the humans who’ve become attached to them – 96% on Rotten Tomatoes!
Kedi (2016), Opens March 10th
Even the gruffest fisherman melts while brushing his furry companion and describing their mutual devotion. But these are not pets in the way that we in the West think of them: The cats’ attachment is ultimately to the city itself. We marvel at the resourcefulness of these creatures via agile camerawork that tracks their movements along terraces and tiled rooftops, whether they’re sunbathing on a balcony or stopping by the local market for their daily morsel. Kedi reveals the surprisingly complex community that has developed between the citizens of Istanbul and the cats that share their neighborhood.
~~ RM, Full Frame Fest
The Salesman takes an ambitiously complex look at thought-provoking themes, and the well-acted results prove another consistently absorbing entry in writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s distinguished filmography. – 97% on Rotten Tomatoes
The Salesman (2016), Opens March 10th
Academy-Award winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s latest film is a simmering drama steeped in intellect and nuance that premiered at Cannes in 2016, taking home the awards for Best Actor and Best Screenplay. The film follows young couple Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), who are forced to find a new apartment in Tehran. While fate seems to finally smile on them in the form of a recently vacant apartment owned by their acting buddy, an incident linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life. Set against the lead up to the production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” the film draws a Hitchcockian web around the anger, fear and moral anxiety that stem from the young couple after the seemingly isolated incident.
[Toni Erdmann is] a stunningly singular third feature by German writer-director Maren Ade that transports the intricately magnified human observation of her previous work to a rich, unexpected comic realm. (#variety)
Toni Erdmann (2016) Opens March 3th
Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann”: Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that’s both genuinely moving and impressively ambitious.
–– 93% on Rotten Tomatoes