9/13/18 – 9/19/18
Here’s a quick rundown of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, including a couple repertory screenings of milestone classics.
Movies We Haven’t Seen Yet
1. Mandy – This might be my most anticipated movie of the year. Nicolas Cage wields a chainsaw in a neon-lit Hell, as directed by Panos Cosmatos, the mad genius behind Beyond the Black Rainbow. Looks like a slow-moving, psychedelic freak-out and we’re extremely lucky that The Broad Theater is picking it up for a week-long run even though it’s also premiering on VOD this week. See this madness on the big screen while you can.
2. The Miseducation of Cameron Post – In most scenarios this indie drama mutation of But, I’m a Cheerleader! might not have been a must-see priority for me, as a miserable story about teens imprisoned in gay conversion camps seems like A Lot To Handle. However, director Desiree Akhavan’s debut film, Appropriate Behavior, was one of my favorite films of 2015, so I’m very much excited to see this follow-up. Only playing at The Broad Theater.
3. We the Animals – A lyrical drama as interpreted through a child’s POV that’s been earning near-unanimous critical acclaim. Looks to be similar in tone to other traumatic first-person children’s dramas like George Washington, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Florida Project, and Tigers Are Not Afraid, which is thematic territory I’m always a sucker for. Only playing at The Broad Theater.
4. A Simple Favor – Paul Feig graduates from churning out over-the-top, female-led comedies like Bridesmaids & Spy to making an over-the-top, female-led noir in what appears to be a tongue-in-cheek riff on Gone Girl. I’m consistently pleased by his straight-forward comedy work, very curious to see what he can accomplish outside that genre.
5. The Predator – Shane Black follows up his creative upswing in The Nice Guys with a decades-late sequel to an action classic he got his acting start in with a minor, throwaway role. The movie is reported to be obnoxious in its performative Political Incorrectness, but also looks cartoonishly violent in a potentially entertaining way.
6. Fiddler on the Roof (1971) – A three-hour, big-budget musical epic adapted from the Broadway stage to earn three Academy Awards, including one for Best Cinematography. I’ve somehow never seen this cultural milestone, so the opportunity to experience it on the big screen feels significant, even if daunting. Playing at The Prytania Theatre September 16 & September 19.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
1. Boogie Nights (1997) – It’s embarrassingly basic, but this is typically my answer when pressed for My Favorite Movie of All Time. I’ve never seen it projected on the big screen before (most of my early viewings were on a two-cassette VHS), so it’s incredibly cool that The Prytania Theatre is screening it September 13 in memoriam of the recently-deceased Burt Reynolds (on a double bill with Smokey & The Bandit, a movie Reynolds himself was much more positive about).
2. BlacKkKlansman – BlacKkKlansman is a much better-funded, more commercially minded picture than we’ve seen from Spike Lee in years, 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 been a while since a movie had me ping-ponging from such extremes of pure pleasure & stomach-churning nausea, making for one of the year’s most essential cinematic experiences.
3. White Boy Rick – Extremely well-behaved in its style & structure as a biopic, approximating what Good Time might have felt like if it were a mid-90s VHS rental at Blockbuster Video instead of a modern stylistic freak-out. This is the kind of movie your aunts & uncles are asking for when they say they just want “a good story” without all the artsy-fartsy stuff getting in the way, but that’s not always a bad thing.
4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Tom Cruise risks his life staging a series of increasingly dangerous stunts in hopes that it’ll make us forget that he’s effectively the figurehead of a global cult. It’s mostly working! The consensus seems to be that this is the best action film since Mad Max: Fury Road and I’m struggling to come up with a reason why that’s not true.
5. Searching – Full disclosure: this one is a controversial pick among the Swampflix crew. It’s basically the Lifetime Movie version of Unfriended, where a trashy genre we love for its cruelty & absurdity is softened by safer, less goofy sentimentality so that it can appeal to the cheesiest of suburban parents. James & I complained about it at length on the most recent episode of the podcast, but Britnee was a big fan, as she’s all-in on the Lifetime aesthetic. Either way you fall, it’s worthy of discussion and its success can only mean good things for a gimmicky, technophobic genre we all love.
6. Crazy Rich Asians – Part wish-fulfillment rom-com & part extravagant wealth porn, this comedic romance fantasy is a crucial slice of escapist fun. It’s also 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.