Here’s a quick rundown of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, including two new re-issues of vintage classics.
New Releases We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
1. The Last Movie (1971) – A 4k restoration of the notorious flop that tanked Dennis Hopper’s career. Hopper cashed in his Easy Rider success to direct this psychedelic meta-narrative about the production of a Western film and was essentially exiled from Hollywood for the drugged-out mess he ultimately delivered (partially due to the encouragement & guidance of Alejandro Jodorowsky). The film was barely distributed in its early run, but has since earned a notable cult following and is finally back on the big screen to test if it was secretly a misunderstood, ahead-of-its-time masterpiece. That’s not likely, but it looks fascinating anyway.
2. BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee hasn’t exactly disappeared, but it feels like he’s been hiding in plain sight for the last decade or so by dedicating his efforts to small-scale, limited appeal experiments (like, for instance, a Kickstarter-funded remake of the esoteric cult classic Ganja & Hess). BlacKkKlansman appears to be a much better-funded, commercially minded picture than we’ve seen from the infamous indie auteur in a long while, one that filters satirical jabs at Trumpian racial politics through a classic buddy cop genre structure & a historical look back at the not-so-distant past of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s incredibly exciting.
3. Crazy Rich Asians – Part wish-fulfillment rom-com & part extravagant wealth porn, this comedic romance fantasy looks like a crucial slice of escapist fun. It also promises to incite a much-needed corrective for Hollywood’s dismally deficient Asian American representation on the big screen, so it’s a worthy film to support while it’s playing in theaters.
4. McQueen – I’m not very familiar with deceased fashion designer Alexander McQueen outside hearing his name dropped in rap songs and seeing a few of his pieces at NOMA’s A Queen Within exhibition earlier this year. I’m eager to correct that, though, and this documentary seems to be a great place to start. Only playing at Canal Place.
5. The Happytime Murders – Melissa McCarthy stars in a crime thriller parody alongside dozens of foul-mouthed puppets, directed by Brian Henson (son of Jim). Look, I know the reviews are horrendous and this Puppets Gone Wild comedy gimmick has been done plenty times before (Let My Puppets Come, Meet The Feebles, Greg the Bunny, Wonder Showzen, Crank Yankers, Avenue Q, to name a few), but the joke is still funny to me, because I’m an immature dweeb.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – AMC is staging a single-week run of “unrestored” 70mm prints of the sprawling, psychedelic Kubrick classic. The print was created from the original film negative, no digital touch-ups distorting its historical integrity, with Christopher Nolan being credited as part of the mastering process. It’s a rare opportunity to see one of the most highly regarded films in existence in its full, original glory. Check out AMC’s write-up & screening schedule for more information.
2. Hausu (1977) – A campy, psychedelic, hyperkinetic Japanese horror about witchcraft, ghosts, cats, and friendship. This all-time classic is Prytania’s midnight movie for the week and I can’t imagine a more perfect programming choice for that slot. Only screening Friday, August 24, Saturday, August 25.
3. Sorry to Bother You –I’ve now said this four weeks in a row, but this is very likely the last week to see one of the summer’s wildest surprise gems on the big screen (it’s now only playing at The Broad Theater). From Boomer’s review: “These continue to be dark days, and though we may not know how to fix them, we must not get used to them. And if you like your social commentary candy-colored but lacking in neat, pat answers, go see Sorry to Bother You. Hell, go see it even if that’s not your bag; your comfort zone could become your noose if you don’t push your boundaries.”
4. Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham’s directorial debut doubles as a teen girl coming-of-age drama and an Anxiety Litmus Test. Either you find the awkwardness of its protagonist’s last week of junior high amusingly adorable or it hits you like a relentless, anxiety-driven nightmare where each minor social interaction plays out with the creeping dread of a horror film. It’s an impressively intense tonal experience either way. Now only playing at The Broad Theater.
5. Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again – This decade-late sequel to the ABBA jukebox musical is notably better-made on a technical level than its predecessor (it shares a cinematographer with most Wes Anderson productions?), but it’s also a hell of a lot less horny & bizarre. For the most part, though, Here We Go Again delivers more of the same Mamma Mia! goodness, except this time with a little Cher for flavor. Britnee’s an especially big fan of this franchise and you can hear our dual review of both Mammas Mia! on a recent episode of the podcast.