Here are the movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week, including a wealth of artsy-fartsy counterprogramming for the closing days of the summertime blockbuster season.
Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
The Queen (1968) – A landmark documentary about a late-60s pageant drag competition that telegraphed a lot of the content & format of modern drag media like RuPaul’s Drag Race. Screening at the Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge as part of their ongoing queer cinema series Wildfire.
The Untitled Amazing Jonathan Documentary – A formally experimental documentary on the late magician-comedian The Amazing Johnathan, who updated traditional Vegas showmanship with a sinister Gen-X sensibility for the 1990s. Screening at The Broad Theater on Thursday, 8/16.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – A Guillermo del Toro-produced anthology horror adapted from a series of short stories that freaked us all out as children in the 80s & 90s.
Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed
Millennium Actress (2001) – Another surreal anime masterwork from the late Satoshi Kon, combining the fluid cinematic dream logic of Paprika & Perfect Blue with the tender warmth of Tokyo Godfathers to explore a poetic crossroads between memory, fantasy, and cinema. Screening Monday, 8/19 via Fathom Events.
Stop Making Sense (1984) – Often cited as the greatest concert film of all time, this Jonathan Demme documentary of the Talking Heads’ tour for their incredible album Speaking in Tongues is returning to theaters for its 35th Anniversary. Screening at Chalmette Movies on Friday 8/16 and Saturday 8/17.
Cool Hand Luke (1967) – A somber anti-hero tale starring Paul Newman that helped set the stage for the New Hollywood era. From my review for our Roger Ebert Film School series: “Cool Hand Luke is decidedly empty, meaningless, a monument to nothing. You can see its cold, nihilistic view of the world reflected in the aviators of ‘The Man With No Eyes,’ an especially cruel prison guard who serves as the film’s de facto Grim Reaper. You can see it in the way Luke lets down the prisoners who gave him all of their love & religious devotion in exchange for a big fat nothing. Perhaps the reason I ‘had a failure to communicate’ with Cool Hand Luke‘s hyper macho posturing in the early scenes is that I read it as a glorification, a tribute to something to believe in. Once I realized the film believes in nothing at all –religion, masculinity, or otherwise– I was fully on board. Fifty hard-boiled eggs & a frivolous bet was all it took me to get there.” Screening at the Prytania on Sunday 8/18 and Wednesday 8/21 as part of their regular Classic Movies series.