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Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Phantom Thread // Opens 3/2/18

Phantom Thread with a silky Daniel Day-Lewis, casts a remarkable spell, nominated for 6 Academy Awards comes to the Nightlight Cinema on Oscar weekend!

Phantom Thread (2017), Opens March 2nd

Like all Paul Thomas Anderson movies, Phantom Thread is both strange and mesmerizing. Daniel Day-Lewis, who has said that this will be his final screen performance, turns in a masterpiece of silky irritability as 1950s fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock.

Set in 1950s England, it’s a story in which little, on the surface, happens. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a fashion designer whose elegant atelier (upstairs in his London town house) creates meticulously constructed, beautifully restrained clothing for wealthy socialites. A young waitress, Alma (Vicky Krieps), catches his eye and becomes his muse and his lover — to the dismay of his imperious sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville), who runs her brother’s business. Because this is a PTA movie, the relationship between Reynolds and Alma takes an odd turn. Exquisite garments are constructed; glorious music is played; and three actors quietly take us on a journey.

Daniel Day-Lewis, who has said that this will be his final screen performance, turns in a masterpiece of silky irritability. Dressed in tailored suits and perfectly tied ascots, his silver hair forming twin inverted commas over his brow, he creates a man obsessed with perfection. His voice is slow, like pouring cream, and filled with languid frustration; Alma both fascinates and annoys him. (“I think they’re well and truly shaken now,” he drawls, as Alma takes too long to toss backgammon dice.) In silence, his face tells stories, whether gazing at a woman or a dress. If this is truly the last one he tells for us, what a note on which to go.

~~ Moira Macdonald,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // A Fantastic Woman // Opens 3/16/18

A Fantastic Woman Lives Up to Its Title, in More Ways Than One.

A Fantastic Woman (2017), Opens March 16th

A Fantastic Woman is at once a straightforward story of self-assertion and defiance and a complex study of the nuances of identity. The complications extend to the title. Marina (Ms. Vega), a waitress and sometime cabaret singer who lives in Santiago, Chile, seems at first to fulfill the romantic fantasies of her lover, Orlando (Francisco Reyes). Later, her daily routines, and Mr. Lelio’s adherence to the conventions of realism, will be disrupted by moments of fantastical spectacle and surreality. And in the course of a series of ordeals that begins with Orlando’s death, many of the people Marina encounters will question whether she’s really a woman at all.

Like the heroine of Mr. Lelio’s previous film, Gloria (2013), Marina insists on her own dignity, her basic rights to respect, safety and the pursuit of pleasure, in the face of condescension, indifference and contempt. Their situations are not identical: Gloria is a middle-aged, upper-middle-class, divorced mother; Marina is young, transgender and from a modest background. But they both rebel against a stubbornly patriarchal society that pushes them to the margins and expects them to be content with a half-invisible, second-class status.

Psychologically astute and socially aware as the film is, it is also infused with mystery and melodrama, with bright colors and emotional shadows. Almodóvarian and Buñuelian grace notes adorn its matter-of-fact melody, and its surface modesty camouflages an unruly, extravagant spirit. You may not realize until the very end that you have been gazing at the portrait of an artist in the throes of self-creation.

Spanish language with English subtitles

~~ A.O. Scott,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool // Opens 3/2/18

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a tender portrait of faded glamour and it comes to the Nightlight Cinema on March 2nd.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017), Opens March 2nd

Though she’s mostly been lost to history now, Gloria Grahame really was a bona fide film star; she even won an Academy Award (for 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful). But by 1979, her fame had dimmed to the point that she found herself scraping for midline gigs, like a regional theater job in Northern England, which is where she met a much-younger aspiring actor named Peter Turner, whose memoir forms the backbone of Paul McGuigan’s gentle, bittersweet dramedy.

It’s a minor-key tale by any measure: a May-December romance played out in the fading shadow of Old Hollywood glamour. But it also has the benefit of a thoughtful script, sensitive direction, and leads gifted enough to breathe fresh air into nearly every moment. The heaviest burden naturally falls on the actress chosen to play Grahame, and Bening, who, let’s be real, is about 15 years and eight performances overdue for her own Oscar already, holds the movie in her hands. Always a formidable presence onscreen, she pivots here to something messier and more delicate, playing Gloria as a still-kittenish starlet well into her fifties, with swinging hips and a breathy Marilyn boop of a voice.

The pair’s unlikely mutual attraction serves them both: he’s awed, and she’s adored. But it’s more than circumstantial, a fact that becomes apparent when it’s revealed that she’s seriously ill and not getting better.

~~ Leah Greenblatt,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Get Out // Opens 2/23/18

This socially aware scary movie takes you by surprise, setting the scene for a slasher flick that’s a ticking timebomb.

Get Out (2016), Opens February 23rd

Get Out solidified its status as an awards season powerhouse with four Oscar nominations Tuesday, all in high-profile categories, with Jordan Peele snagging a trio of nods.

Universal’s low-cost horror-comedy received nominations for best picture for producers Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Peele; best actor for Daniel Kaluuya; and best director and original screenplay for Peele.

Get Out in which Kaluuya’s black photographer character reluctantly agrees to meet the family of his white girlfriend, was a box office sensation with $254 million in worldwide grosses. It also earned the praise of critics, with a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Of the nine films nominated for best picture, Get Out had by far the earliest release date of Feb. 24, 2017, underlining its status as a movie that’s thoroughly penetrated the culture.

It’s the first feature directing gig for Peele, who made the movie for $4.5 million. With the recent Oscar nods, Peele becomes only the third filmmaker to receive directing, writing, and best picture nominations for his feature directorial debut.

Peele was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for both the directing and first-time director awards. He received a Writers Guild of America nomination for the original screenplay, which has been widely praised for its nuanced portrayal of America’s fractured race relations.

Kaluuya has received SAG and Golden Globe nominations and the cast — which includes Allison Williams as Kaluuya’s character’s girlfriend along with Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, and Catherine Keener — was nominated for a SAG ensemble award.

~~ Dave McNary,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // The Shape of Water // Opens 2/16/18

With 13 Oscar nominations, The Shape of Water is weird, wonderful, and one of the best films of the year.

The Shape of Water (2017), Opens February 16th

Director Guillermo del Toro has said that the film was inspired by seeing Creature From the Black Lagoon as a 6-year-old boy in Mexico. And the movie, which is very adult, has a childlike sense of wonder and fantasy. Set in Baltimore during the paranoid early-’60s height of the Cold War, and painted in an eye-candy palette of greens (from vibrant aquamarine to jewel-like emerald to mossy olive and back again), the film stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a lonely mute cleaning woman who mops up at a top secret government lab where the U.S. military is housing an amphibious gilled creature that the Russians also want to get their mitts on (that’s the sinewy movie-monster maestro Doug Jones beneath the slime and scales).

Richard Jenkins is aces as Elisa’s closeted starving-artist neighbor. The same goes for Octavia Spencer as her loyal wisecracking co-worker. A gonzo Michael Shannon (is there any other kind?) smirks and snarls as the creature’s sadistic, cattle-prod-wielding jailer. And Michael Stuhlbarg does a lot with a little as the scientist who’s sympathetic to the misunderstood merman. But not as sympathetic as Elisa, who forms an unlikely intimacy with it. Hawkins, who was so good in Happy-Go-Lucky and Blue Jasmine, says more with her soulful eyes than she ever could with mere words.

If this all sounds bizarre, well, it is. But it’s also poignant, tender, funny, romantic, and flat-out breathtaking in its shoot-the-moon ambition. There’s even a Busby Berkeley dance-fantasia number! If you’re willing to go with this fishy fairy tale, The Shape of Water is a haunting sci-fi love story like nothing you’ve ever seen before — or dreamed that you ever wanted to see. It’s pure movie magic.

~~ Chris Nashawaty,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Oscar Shorts 2018 // Opens 2/9/18

For the 13th consecutive year, Shorts HD and Magnolia Pictures present the Oscar-Nominated Short Films, opening on Feb. 9th. 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, March 4th.

Oscar Shorts 2018 (2017), Opens February 9th

Live Action Shorts (Running Time: 97 minutes)

DeKalb Elementary – Reed Van Dyk, USA, 20 minutes
The Silent Child – Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton, UK, 20 minutes
My Nephew Emmett – Kevin Wilson, Jr., USA, 20 minutes,
The Eleven O’Clock – Derin Seale and Josh Lawson, Australia, 13 minutes
Watu Wote/All of Us – Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen, Germany, 22 minutes

Documentary Shorts “Program A” (Running Time: 102 minutes)

Traffic Stop – Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, USA, 30 minutes
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Frank Stiefel, USA, 40 minutes
Edith + Eddie – Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wrights, USA, 29 minutes

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

Heroin(e) – Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon, USA, 39 minutes
Knife Skills – Thomas Lennon, USA, 40 minutes

Animated Shorts (Running Time: 83 minutes)

Dear Basketball – Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant, USA, 5 minutes
Negative Space – Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, France, 5 minutes
Lou – Dave Mullins and Dana Murray, USA, 7 minutes
Revolting Rhymes – Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, UK, 29 minutes
Garden Party – Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, France 7 minutes
Lost Property Office (additional film) – Daniel Agdag, Australia, 10 minutes
Coin Operated (additional film) – Nicholas Arioli, USA, 5 minutes
Achoo (additional film) – details TBD

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // In Between // Opens 2/23/18

Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture in this timely new drama.

In Between (2016), Opens February 23rd

Watching In Between about a trio of young Palestinian women in Tel Aviv trying to shape their own destinies despite being part of a conservative society entrenched in patriarchy, I realized the sisterhood created by Arab-Israeli filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud, making her feature debut, was partly indebted to Hollywood’s gaggle-of-girls genre. Think Three Coins in the Fountain, Where the Boys Are, Sex and the City and even hints of 9 to 5 and Thelma and Louise.

Yes, there are English subtitles onscreen, but the actions of these roommates easily translate into a familiar pattern, one that I have always found to be irresistible: Three or four single women with distinctive personalities: an extrovert, a goody-goody, an arty type, etc. share their intertwined lives. Usually, one suffers a tragic incident of sorts that causes their bond to grow stronger.

What elevates Hamoud’s screenplay beyond typical Tinseltown fare, however, is what is at stake by rebelling against cultural norms and choosing a liberal lifestyle, namely, bringing shame to your loved ones and being ostracized by your community. Then there are three vibrant lead actresses, who are beautiful without any Max Factor-like artifice to soften their natural edges. They feel as if they are at one with their apartment-sharing characters, ladies who could actually exist on this planet instead of only in the glossy pages of fashion magazines.

On a side note, which might particularly tickle and impress fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm, an actual fatwa was issued against Hamoud, the first against a Palestinian in 70 years for her depictions of homosexuality, intoxication and drug use. That, combined with no less than Isabelle Huppert declaring the women featured in In Between as “heroines of our time” while presenting an award at Cannes last year is as good a recommendation you can get.

Spoken language in this film is Hebrew and Arabic presented with English Subtitles

~~ Susan Wloszczyna,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // The Lodgers // Opens 2/23/18

Filmed in one of Ireland’s most haunted houses, Loftus Hall, comes the acclaimed new gothic ghost story, The Lodgers from the director of Let Us Pray, Brian O’Malley. Prepare to be chilled to your core…

The Lodgers (2017), Opens February 23rd

The Lodgers tells the tale of haunted, soon-to-be impoverished, twin orphans Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) who, in the early part of the 1930s, are literally trapped in their crumbling mansion by an ancient family curse. Said curse, hammered home by a lilting nursery rhyme the siblings sing and that is also lyrically woven into the fabric of the soundtrack, insists that Rachel and Edward must never let any outsiders into the house and must be locked up in their rooms before midnight and never, under any circumstances be separated, lest they face the wrath of the spectral “lodgers” who prowl the corridors at night, keeping an otherworldly eye on them, as they have for generations of their brood before them.

O’Malley ratchets the tension, beautifully realizing writer/co-composer David Turpin’s gently-disturbing script, with its implications of the taboo, and then pushes the story to wild, hallucinatory heights, employing delirious dream-state, Id-stimulating visuals to exemplify both the states of mind of his doomed characters and an aesthetic distortion of the “secrets” of the movie. These passages are stunning, like Ken Russell’s The Devils by way of Brian Glazer’s Under the Skin, with dripping liquids, black voids, people floating wide-eyed in water (water itself being a character in the film) and a fetishization of Vega’s poreclain-like face.

The Lodgers is an almost pornographically Gothic movie. If you adore this sort of stuff, and I most certainly do, you’ll eat every inch of it. There hasn’t been a more effective, disturbing and sensorially pleasing film of this kind since Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others and, like that masterpiece, O’Malley’s artful, lurid and meticulously orchestrated exercise in atmosphere, pretty misery and dread seeps deep under your skin. And it stays there. For keeps.

~~ Chris Alexander,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Love Streams // Opens 2/17/18

The Nightlight Cinema Film Society is proud to present the final produced screenplay of John Cassavetes whilst he was alive, Love Streams, this February 17th for one night only in our Lounge 237 area screening on our 135″ screen! Only 25 tickets available for this event.

“Love is a stream. It’s continuous. It does not stop.”

Love Streams (1984), Opens February 17th

John Cassavetes’s penultimate film, Love Streams, is the grand summation of a career devoted to prodding at all the messy, complicated layers of life. It contains fragments of the director’s earlier work (the midlife crises of Husbands, the mania and disconnect of A Woman Under the Influence, the drunken self-doubt of Opening Night), but reframes their open-ended explorations around the finality that Cassavetes felt approaching after being diagnosed with terminal cirrhosis.

At the start of the film, however, you could mistake it for a bleak comedy about the fear of getting old, not of never reaching advanced age. Two distant siblings, Robert (Cassavetes) and Sarah (Gena Rowlands), must each contend with upheavals in their lives: alcoholic author Robert learns that he has a son, Albie (Jakob Shaw), and must square the boy’s presence with his usual bacchanalia, while Sarah (Gena Rowlands) reels from a divorce from her husband (Seymour Cassel) and the maddening blow of her daughter requesting her dad take sole custody. Other filmmakers might have been content to simply stick with this premise, wringing humor from Robert’s befuddled entry into fatherhood and Sarah’s abandonment issues, but Cassavetes instead uses these shake-ups to loosen the characters and observe how they react.

The title alludes to a philosophy that Sarah clings to like driftwood as she faces the indifference of her ex-husband and daughter, that love is “continuous, it doesn’t stop.” But a stream, like any flowing body of water, also takes the path of least resistance, and it responds to sudden obstacles with diversions that can magnify and ultimately chart a vastly different course. It’s that potential for slowly reverberating change and growth that Cassavetes stresses with the film, and he tracks these mounting reverberations with subtle variations in his own directing style.

Love Streams drops hints throughout about Cassavetes’s illness, from his appearance to that fond wave goodbye that closes the film, but it may be the equilibrium bestowed upon Robert and Sarah that best suggests a benediction. Hopeful, open-ended conclusions are common in Cassavetes’s films, but this film gives the most powerful impression that its characters have been markedly improved by their experience. It’s a preparation for death by getting one’s life in order, and even if this wasn’t technically Cassavetes’s last film, it certainly feels like the end of his legacy.

~~ Jake Cole,

Just Booked @ The Nightlight // Call Me By Your Name // Opens 1/26/18

Sultry and oh-so sexy, Call Me By Your Name is a masterful piece and romantic enough to win over even the hardest of hearts.

Call Me By Your Name (2017), Opens January 26th

Seventeen-year-old Elio (Timotheé Chalamet) is spending his summer being bored in his parents’ impossibly stylish villa. Confident and ridiculously smart, he hangs around smoking cigarettes being all bilingual and comfortable with himself, liked by everyone who meets him. His summer plans go off on a tangent when American student Oliver (Armie Hammer) rocks up in his pastel shorts and hi-tops. Full of braggadocio and looking like a Ralph Lauren model with a penchant for bopping to pop music, Elio has met his match and is immediately transfixed.

Their romance is more of a slow burn than a whirlwind, the two circling each other in sun-drenched fields with the occasional brush of skin and glances that last a second too long. The fact this is against a backdrop of 80s fashion, electronica and a Sufjan Stevens soundtrack makes for a heady experience that’s hard to shake. Guadagnino obviously wants to set up his homeland as a land of sensual delights, and Call Me By Your Name will make you long for endless evenings spent drinking prosecco, skinny dipping at midnight and lingering kisses in the moonlight.

With such joy there is also sadness, and Call Me By Your Name perfectly captures that sweet ache of first love that never leaves you. There’s the breathlessness of snatched moments and the first forays into sexual awakenings, illustrated beautifully by long shots of fruit ripening on trees and the lengthening shadows of summer announcing the end of this holiday romance.

It offers such a powerful account of love, it’ll make you wonder if you’ve ever experienced anything this profound.

~~ Becky Buter,