Blog Archives

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Turbo Kid // Opens 1/25/18

One night only horror double feature at the Nightlight Cinema! Dread Central Presents: Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Two movies for the price of one! Buy a ticket for Zombiology and stay for an encore screening of Turbo Kid (2015). One ticket gets you two great genre movies!

Turbo Kid (2015), Opens January 25th

Turbo Kid is everything you want in a French-Canadian post-apocalyptic ode to 1980s sci-fi, superheroes and pop culture’s most powerful entity: nostalgia.

Many of you are probably wincing at the mere mention of a post-apocalyptic story, and that’s warranted given the glut of gritty, dark YA parables are flooding theaters and book stands every week. Turbo Kid is blessedly full of light and life and heart and color, as The Kid (Degrassi‘s Munro Chambers) teams up with the impossibly cheery Apple (played by Laurence Lebouef, exuding a brand of charming that should be illegal) to battle Zeus (MICHAEL IRONSIDE ALERT!), the Wasteland’s one-eyed overlord.

It’s a delightful hodgepodge of comic book, sci-fi, coming-of-age and dystopian storytelling, crafted into a wondrously tasty B-movie chili with all the right ingredients, with SO MUCH BLOOD sprinkled on top. The movie is clever, simple and stupid, all at once, and the result is something that resurrects your childhood and imagination in a way that modern movies often can’t do. This feels like a classic Amblin movie, if that movie was made by a grown-up version of yourself that blessedly hasn’t changed a bit, set to a rollicking techno synth score.

Awesome is probably the most overused word on the internet, and I’m one of the culprits, so I’m sorry (not sorry) for saying this: Turbo Kid is awesome.

~~ Andy Greene,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight // Opens 1/25/18

One night only horror double feature at the Nightlight Cinema! Dread Central Presents: Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Two movies for the price of one! Buy a ticket for Zombiology and stay for an encore screening of Turbo Kid (2015). One ticket gets you two great genre movies!

Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight (2016), Opens January 25th

Trying to grow up in life, a pair of slacker friends are forced to put away their fantasy life when a strange zombie outbreak arrives in their small town and brings them to the realization that they’re going to have to rely on their former lifestyle in order to save their friends.

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Stranger Than Paradise // Opens 1/27/18

The Nightlight Cinema Film Society is proud to present Jim Jarmusch’s classic hipster comedy, Stranger Than Paradise this January 27th for one night only in our Lounge 237 area screening on our new 135″ screen! Only 25 tickets available for this event.

“You know, it’s funny… you come to someplace new, an’… and everything looks just the same.”

Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Opens January 27th

Stranger Than Paradise is filmed in a series of uninterrupted shots; the picture fades in, we watch the scene, and when the scene is over, there’s a fade to black. Then comes the next fade-in. This is not a gimmick, but a visual equivalent of the film’s deadpan characters, who take a lot to get excited.

The movie’s hero is Willie (John Lurie), who arrived on these shores from Hungary about ten years ago, and has spent the intervening decade perfecting his New York accent and trying to make nothing out of himself. He lives in an apartment where the linoleum is the highlight. On a good day, he’ll sleep late, hang out, play a little poker.

Stranger Than Paradise is a treasure from one end to the other. I saw it for the first time at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, where it was having its first public showing. Half the people in the theater probably didn’t speak English, but that didn’t stop them from giving the movie a standing ovation, and it eventually won the Camera d’Or prize for the best first film.

It is like no other film you’ve seen, and yet you feel right at home in it. It seems to be going nowhere, and knows every step it wants to make. It is a constant, almost kaleidoscopic experience of discovery, and we try to figure out what the film is up to and it just keeps moving steadfastly ahead, fade in, fade out, fade in, fade out, making a mountain out of a molehill.

~~ Roger Ebert,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Una // Opens 1/5/18

Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn are riveting in the raw drama Una.

Una (2016), Opens January 5th

Una is an adaptation of David Harrower’s 2005 play Blackbird, which had a run on Broadway last year with Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels. Una’s onscreen duo is Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn, the former being the title character: a sullen party girl in the U.K. who goes to a local hardware store one day looking for the owner. The latter is said owner of the store, Pete, a happily married man with a successful business. But when Una shows up and knows his real name, Ray, the two start a quarrel over why Una is there and if Ray has truly absolved himself of his sins.

With its minimal filmmaking frills, Una relies heavily on its actors that come out swinging. Rooney Mara is in top form, so restrained throughout the movie yet furious and almost cunning in her revenge against her monster. Even when Mara finally blows up (which is built-up in the movie and is not even its climax) it’s a whirling dervish of raw rage that consumes everything in its path. And then, miraculously, she brings it all back down and keeps going. Taking all of this brutal assault is Ben Mendelsohn, who plays with how much sympathy the audience should be giving him.

Una is a thrilling, miniaturized cat-and-mouse game that stands almost extra pertinent in today’s discussions. With talks of numerous sexual allegations in Hollywood now running rampant, Una’s story of a victim’s wounds and an abuser’s escape looks like a cautionary tale. A nightmare of a situation for both parties in the past and present of the situation. There’s no ambiguity in Una’s message, nor did there need to be.

~~ Jon Winkler,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Wonder Wheel // Opens 1/5/18

Kate Winslet Is Stunning In Woody Allen’s Gorgeous ’50s Romance delivering one of her best performances in this Coney Island-set dramedy.

Wonder Wheel (2017), Opens January 5th

Wonder Wheel opens with Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a wannabe playwright and current Coney Island lifeguard, staring at the camera and making an excuse on Woody Allen’s behalf: “I relish melodrama and larger-than-life characters,” he says. There are a lot of those in this lush ‘50s romance, one of the more confident Allen pictures of late, but Kate Winslet looms above them all.

As Ginny, a failed actress-turned-clam-bar-waitress yearning for something more, Winslet delivers her most powerful, emotionally resonant performance in more than a decade. Though inevitable comparisons to Cate Blanchett’s fiery turn in Allen’s Blue Jasmine hold water, Winslet delivers a softer, melancholic woman, with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s lush, expressionistic camerawork complimenting her poetic anguish. She transforms a bumbling alcoholic caricature who exudes bleak jokes about missed opportunities, injecting her with majestic sadness.

Wonder Wheel stands out as a dark, brooding dramedy, one tinged with more overarching sadness than any of Allen’s late-period offerings. Winslet often remains in the frame as characters abandon her offscreen, and the tragedy resonates even as the absurdity of scenario lingers. This is a mesmerizing portrait of being abandoned by the world, fighting for a new role to play, and winding up more alienated than ever before. Say what you want about the storyteller, but the stories speak for themselves, and Wonder Wheel proves they still have a lot to say.

~~ Erik Kohn,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // The Disaster Artist //

Cult films aren’t made, they’re born.

The Disaster Artist (2017), Opens

They’re born, often from the strangest of people, with the best worst movies never made cynically or intentionally, finding oddity just pouring out of the creation naturally. The journey for The Room began in 2003, where writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau elected to take his thespian dreams into his own hands, creating an awkward psychodrama to best display his acting gifts to the world.

The end result was inept from top to bottom, but its passion for tuneless filmmaking launched the picture as a midnight movie oddity, snowballing in popularity as hip audiences latched on to Tommy’s wacky vision. The Disaster Artist tracks the construction of The Room from the perspective of its co-star, Greg Sestero, who also wanted to acquire Hollywood glory, only to be mortified by Tommy’s creation. For director/star James Franco, the opportunity to dramatize this prolonged agony of production is irresistible, and his wildly entertaining The Disaster Artist is a loving ode to the power of delusion.

The Disaster Artist is a terrific picture, brightly made and exceptionally performed, with James Franco completely inhabiting Tommy Wiseau, becoming the man instead of creating a cartoon (the physical and vocal transformation is outstanding). Perhaps fans of The Room will get the most out of the feature, but Franco generates a welcome atmosphere of strangeness to survey, finding the heart of a truly bad movie, sharing the lunacy with everyone, even triggering a newfound appreciation for Tommy’s singular obsession: the creation of his own world.

~~ Brian Orndorf,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // I, Tonya // Opens 1/12/18

Based on the unbelievable, but true events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history.

I, Tonya (2017), Opens January 12th

The story is created by using interviews and flashback storytelling which creates a fun and exciting back and forth between the audience and the characters. Because of the use of the interview footage, there is a lot of breaking the 4th wall and getting the audience involved. The interviews from Tonya, her mother, LaVona Golden (Allison Janney), her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), and other characters gives a behind the scenes look at the insanity that was the life of Tonya Harding.

What makes I, Tonya so memorable and engaging are the characters and the performances. These people are in a lot of ways, unbelievable. Allison Janney knocks it out of the park as LaVona, the distant, violent, chainsmoking, curmudgeon mother who says impossibly horribly things to and about Tonya. She is easily the most entertaining part of the film with her hilarious commentary and apathetic attitude.

The story of Tonya Harding is one of poverty, triumph, and heartbreak. Craig Gillespie does superb work with the material giving the audience a look at the many aspects of Tonya’s life that have led her to the pivotal point in her career and the time after that. The behind the scenes look at the rise and fall of her career is one that is genuinely fascinating, entertaining, and honestly, a little sad. I, Tonya is a must-see film that will make you laugh, cry and cringe. It is a spectacularly memorable film that will stay with you long after it has finished.

~~ Ashley Menzel,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Brimstone & Glory // Opens 12/22/17

Goodness Gracious Great Balls Of Fire!

Brimstone & Glory (2017), Opens December 22nd

In his feature debut, Viktor Jakovleski has achieved that rare feat for a documentary and created a film culled from reality that makes you question whether you’re still in your theater seat. And I want to emphasize that, your theater seat; not your couch, or a subway car or wherever else you might watch things. Brimstone & Glory is an adrenaline inducing documentary, with a pulsing soundtrack that needs to be experienced on a big screen with big sound.

Brimstone & Glory immerses you in the world of Tultepec, Mexico during the town’s annual Fiesta de San Juan De Dios. The festival is a week-long pyrotechnic extravaganza, bookended by flaming towers of metal the height of radio towers and enormous painted bulls top loaded with fireworks. As you might imagine, it’s total bedlam.

Brimstone & Glory prioritizes sentiment over information, imparting upon the viewer the sensation of stupefied wonder that a child might feel seeing fireworks for the first time; because it is like redefining your whole concept of what fireworks are and can be.

But that’s not to say that it’s purely sensational; the concept of a town gripped by a tradition that it both resents and celebrates and the unmaskable emotion brought out by displays of colored sparks lend the film a depth that goes beyond merely an experiential surrogate. This is just a really unique documentary and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not catch it in theaters. Why would you do that, don’t you love yourself? If you love yourself, see Brimstone & Glory.

~~ Arlin Golden,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Life of Brian // Opens 12/29/17

A beautiful film, a perfect comedy, and a gentle triumph of silliness over pomposity, self-importance, and intolerance – Life of Brian could be the best British comedy ever.

Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” (1979), Opens December 29th

In Judea, a mother tends her newborn child. Lo, from the east three wise men appear to pay tribute to the infant – but they want the stable next door: this is Brian Cohen not Jesus Christ! Rolling forward 33 years, Brian joins the People’s Front of Judea, a wannabe terrorist cell out to undermine the occupying Romans. Brian gets roped into their plot to kidnap Pontius Pilate’s wife but they run into another terrorist gang on the same mission and everyone is captured while squabbling among themselves.

From the opening scene and the belting Shirley Bassey-esque score, this is Python par excellence. This is the “Catch 22” of cinema, and in its politics, like Joseph Heller, the Python crew refuse to spare anyone. Always threading in and around biblical stories, the plot never contradicts or denies the Bible, it just pokes fun at the hangers-on, charlatans, and pompous officials that organized religion often attracts. This playful subversion is hilariously shown in the scene where Brian escapes from the Romans by posing as a preacher. At first he is mocked by a crowd of jaded messiah seekers, then they seize on a bizarre interpretation of his words and proclaim him their Messiah. Brian denies it, only to be told “I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.”

~~ Matt Ford,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Black Christmas // Opens 12/23/17

The Nightlight Cinema Film Society is proud to present Bob Clark’s holiday horror masterpiece, Black Christmas this December 23rd for one night only in our brand new Lounge 237 area screening on our new 135″ screen! Only 25 tickets available for this event.

“Little baby bunting, daddy’s went a-hunting, gonna fetch a rabbit skin to wrap his baby Agnes in.”

Black Christmas (1974), Opens December 23rd

It can be argued convincingly that Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974) forever changed and influenced the pacing and camerawork of future horror films. The movie’s opening contains an extended optical POV shot in which a prowler sidles around the Canadian sorority house, Pi Kappa Sig, and makes his way up lattice, stepping into an old attic.

This scene and others in Clark’s film are an example of what film historian David Bordwell calls directly subjective narration. The cinema audience only catches glimpses of the stalker (Billy) and never fully sees his face. Although Black Christmas may not have been the first, there were a bevy of horror movies that predominantly took the perspective of the killer after the release of this film.

Clark and his cinematographer Reginald Morris create a master floor plan inside the house for the psychopath to surreptitiously lurk and stalk his waiting prey. The film attains a remarkably sustained feeling of dread throughout and up till the last shot. Carl Zittrer’s ominous score and Clark’s sound design, while non-diegetic, seem so immaculately woven that it could have been played on the set in perfect harmony and felt just right. Black Christmas is unmissable and deserves to be part of the canon as one of the essentials.

~~ Stephen Larson,