Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 9/19/19 – 9/25/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, including a couple of our favorite picks from The Overlook Film Festival.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

HustlersA surprise critical-hit thriller about a crew of strippers who embezzle money from the Wall Street bozos who frequent their club. Features performances from pop music icons Lizzo, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, and Jennifer Lopez. Playing wide.

Downton AbbeyThe world’s best-dressed soap opera is back for a theatrical victory lap! Bigger, louder, and probably just as well-behaved as ever. Playing wide.

After the Thin Man (1936) – The first of five(!!!!!) sequels to the classic pre-Code studio comedy The Thin Man, wherein a wealthy alcoholic couple down martinis & trade witty sex jokes at a rapidfire pace in-between solving crimes as private detectives. Screening at the Prytania as part of their Classic Movies series on Sunday 9/22 and Wednesday 9/25.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) – Part French New Wave, part Benny Hill, and part gore-soaked horror, Funeral Parade of Roses is a rebellious amalgamation of wildly varied styles & tones all synthesized into an aesthetically cohesive, undeniably punk energy. Shot in a stark black & white that simultaneously recalls both Goddard & Multiple Maniacs, the film approximates a portrait of queer youth culture in late-60s Japan. Screening free to the public (with donations encouraged) Thursday 9/19 at the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans as part of their ongoing Queer Root series.

One Cut of the Dead A deceptively complex crowd-pleaser that starts as a low-key experiment in staging a single-take zombie movie, but eventually evolves into a heartfelt love letter to low-budget filmmaking of all types (and all the frustrations, limitations, and unlikely scrappy successes therein). One of the best films I’ve seen all year. Screening at Zeitgeist in Arabi (ahead of its eventual streaming release on the horror platform Shudder).

Tigers Are Not Afraid A dark fairy tale ghost story about Mexican drug cartels that’s admirably committed to its own sense of brutality, threatening to destroy young children by bullet or by ghost without blinking an eye. Anyone especially in love with similar past works like The Devil’s Backbone or The City of Lost Children should find a lot worthwhile here, though there’s a specificity to the Mexican drug cartel context that saves the film from feeling strictly like an echo of former glories. Screening at Zeitgeist in Arabi (ahead of its eventual streaming release on the horror platform Shudder).

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 9/12/19 – 9/18/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week, including plenty of sex & violence to lure you out of the heat and into a cool, dark movie theater.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

HustlersA surprise critical-hit thriller about a crew of strippers who embezzle money from the Wallstreet bozos who frequent their club. Features performances from pop music icons Lizzo, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, and Jennifer Lopez. Playing wide.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – One of the few stray Friday the 13th sequels I haven’t seen, but one of the many to claim to be the final word in their never-ending series. Features performances from Cory Feldman & Crispin Glover and make-up work from gore legend Tom Savini, so it appears to be packed with trashy 80s goodness. Screening in The Prytania’s midnight slot on Friday 9/13 and Saturday 9/14.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

One Cut of the Dead A deceptively complex crowd-pleaser that starts as a low-key experiment in staging a single-take zombie movie, but eventually evolves into a heartfelt love letter to low-budget filmmaking of all types (and all the frustrations, limitations, and unlikely scrappy successes therein). One of the best films I’ve seen all year. Screening at Zeitgeist in Aribi (ahead of its eventual streaming release on the horror platform Shudder) on Tuesday 9/17.

Good BoysFar more endearing & well-written than its initial “Superbad except with cussing tweens” reputation prepared me for. This is not a one-joke movie about how funny it is to watch children do a cuss; it’s got a lot on its mind about innocence, the pain of outgrowing relationships, and what distinguishes the earnest generation of radically wholesome kids growing up beneath us from our own meaner, amoral tween-years follies. These are very good boys. Playing wide.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 9/5/19 – 9/11/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week. It’s apparently time to bury summer in its steamy grave and get stoked for Halloween season, since everything of interest this week falls firmly in the horror genre.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

IT: Chapter Two Steven King’s novel IT is a lengthy screed about friendship and the loss of innocence upon the road to maturity, a book that holds the record for “Product Most Obviously Created by a Coked Up Lunatic.” It’s not King’s best work, but its recent film adaptation found a kernel of perfection in it and brought it to life, shining as one of the best big-budget mainstream horror films in recent memory (and one of our favorite films of 2017). It’s unlikely this “second chapter” of that adaptation will continue that accomplishment, considering that it covers the same section of the book that tanked the enjoyability of the 90s miniseries that precedes it, but we’re still optimistic about its chances. Playing wide.

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. Playing wide.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Midsommar – Ari Aster’s folk horror follow-up to Hereditary returns to theaters for one week only in its extended Director’s Cut, now featuring over 170 minutes of gore, grief, despair, relationship drama, and pitch-black humor. Playing only at AMC Elmwood.

Ready or Not Samara Weaving continues her delightfully over-the-top genre work after the underappreciated Netflix novelty The Babysitter & her brief appearance in Monster Trucks with this new high-concept schlock piece about a young bride who’s hunted on her wedding night by a wealthy family of board game industry tycoons she married into in a deadly game of Hide & Seek. It’s a lot of fun and also the topic of this week’s episode of The Swampflix Podcast! Playing wide.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 8/29/19 – 9/4/19

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 Garden (1990) – Derek Jarman’s surreal arthouse drama about homophobia & the AIDS crisis in 1990s England. Features an early performance from Tilda Swinton as a Madonna figure and is shot on location near the director’s bleak coastal home, which doubles for a nightmarish vision of The Garden of Eden. Screening at Zeitgeist as part of their ongoing queer cinema series Wildfire.

Ready or Not Samara Weaving continues her delightfully over-the-top genre work after the underappreciated Netflix novelty The Babysitter & her brief appearance in Monster Trucks with this new high-concept schlock piece about a young bride who’s hunted on her wedding night by a wealthy family of board game industry tycoons she married into in a deadly game of Hide & Seek. Playing wide.

The Nightingale – Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook looks to be a harrowing tale of colonialism, rape, and revenge that picks at the historical scabs of her home country of Australia. The film has been incredibly divisive since it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last year and, to be honest, I don’t know that I have the stomach to watch its brutal on-screen depictions of sexual assault myself, but it’s by all accounts an important work worthy of discussion. Playing only at The Broad.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Midsommar – Ari Aster’s folk horror follow-up to Hereditary returns to theaters for one week only in its extended Director’s Cut, now featuring over 170 minutes of gore, grief, despair, relationship drama, and pitch-black humor. Playing only at AMC Elmwood & AMC Westbank.

The Matrix (1999) – Hot off the announcement of an upcoming fourth entry in the series, the Wachowskis’ iconic cyberpunk blockbuster returns to theaters for a 20th anniversary victory lap. Presented in Dolby surround sound at AMC theaters.

The Thin Man (1934) – A classic pre-Code studio comedy wherein a wealthy alcoholic couple down martinis & trade witty sex jokes at a rapidfire pace in-between solving crimes as private detectives. Screening at the Prytania as part of their Classic Movies series on Sunday 9/1 and Wednesday 9/4.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week: 2019 Persistence of Vision Horror Fest Edition

Persistence of Vision: A Three-Day Horror Film Event will be making its debut as a local film festival this weekend at the Three Keys venue inside The Ace Hotel. In collaboration with Creepy Fest, the weekend-long horror marathon will be screening a ton of classic genre titles (including The Descent, Poltergeist, Hocus Pocus, Shaun of the Dead, and An American Werewolf in London), along with new-to-New Orleans independent short films. The promoters explain on the event’s Facebook page, “Inspired by our current political climate—and our, like, actual real-life climate—we decided that the only way to make it to 2020 is to: #1 Feel all our feelings—like through catharsis while watching horror movies! #2 Gain a better understanding of the world of the world, and the part(s) we play in it.”

Listed below are the few films we’re most excited about that are screening at the festival, as well as a few other stand-out genre films screening throughout the city this weekend.

Selections from Persistence of Vision

Get Out (2017) – Swampflix’s favorite movie of 2017 is a staggeringly well-written work that has convincingly captured the current cultural zeitgeist, becoming instantly familiar & iconic in a way few movies have in our lifetime. It’s a horror film that families should watch together, especially if you have some f those white “I’m not racist, but” family members. Let it flow through you and inform you about the daily experiences of people of color in our country. Let it teach you a lesson about the power of cell phone video as a liberator, and about the frequent hypocrisy of white liberalism. Let it be the light for you in the dark (and sunken) places. Screening Friday 8/23, at the Ace Hotel

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s classic cosmic horror is best experienced with a crowd in a proper theatrical environment, which is how I saw it for the first time at The Prytania in 2015. From my review after that screening: “The movie’s visuals are on-par with the best the director has ever crafted. The strange, rose-colored lighting of emergency flares & the sparse snow-covered Antarctica hellscape give the film an otherworldly look backed up, of course, by the foreign monstrosity of its titular alien beast.” Screening Friday 8/23 at the Ace Hotel

Vampire’s Kiss (1988) – The most absurd, bewildering, hilarious, upsetting, and absolutely essential Nic Cage performance to ever make it to the screen, which is no small feat. Preempts a lot of American Psycho’s themes & tones by casting Cage as a sociopathic businessman brute who gradually becomes convinced that he is, in fact, a vampire – a descent into madness that only looks more & more deranged from the outside looking in. Worth seeing alone for proof that Nicolas Cage can make even the simple act of reciting the alphabet the most compelling thing you’ve ever seen. Screening Sunday 8/25 at the Ace Hotel with live comedic commentary

Carrie (1976) – An iconic adaptation of Stephen King’s debut novel about a telekinetic teenage loner who’s pushed beyond her breaking point by her high school bullies and her extremely religious, abusive mother. Elevated by the auteurist vision of a young Brian De Palma and a stunning lead performance from Sissy Spacek. Screening Friday 8/23 at the Ace Hotel

Other Genre Films Playing Around New Orleans This Week

Phantasm (1979) – A late-70s indie horror cheapie (most recognized for its killer floating orb) that somehow earned a strong enough cult following that it spawned four sequels (the most recent of which was released in 2016). Screening in a new crisp digital restoration in the BYOB midnight slot at The Prytania on Friday 8/23 and Saturday 8/24

Desperate Living (1977) – My personal favorite John Waters film, and maybe the punkest thing about 1977. From Boomer’s review: “There are a lot of laughs to be had here if you’re in the right mood, and there’s also a lot of fetish fuel if you’re into that sort of thing, what with all the mesh shirts and leather pants floating around. Still, this is not a movie for the weak of stomach, or anyone who would find the detachment of a vestigial phallus odious. Recommended for lovers of the weird.” Screening free to the public (with donations encouraged) Thursday 8/22 at the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans as part of their ongoing Queer Root series.

Ready or Not Samara Weaving continues her delightfully over-the-top genre work after the underappreciated Netflix novelty The Babysitter & her brief appearance in Monster Trucks with this new high-concept schlock piece about a young bride who’s hunted on her wedding night by a wealthy family of board game industry tycoons she married into in a deadly game of Hide & Seek. Playing wide.

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. Playing wide.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 8/15/19 – 8/21/19

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.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 8/8/19 – 8/14/19

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)

Millennium Actress (2001) – A beautifully animated, dreamlike trip through memory from anime legend Satoshi Kon, director of Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, and Perfect Blue. Screening Tuesday, 8/13 via Fathom Events.

Cassandro, the Exotico! A documentary profile of the openly gay luchador Cassandro, who uses the glamour & pageantry of drag to intimidate his opponents in the wrestling ring. Screening at the Zeitgeist Theatre Lounge as part of their ongoing queer cinema series, Wildfire.

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.

Them That Follow A tense, moody drama set in a deeply religious, insular Appalachian community that utilizes poisonous snakes in their Christian worship.

White Heat (1949) – Often cited as the quintessential James Cagney noir and one of the greatest crime films of all time. Screening Sunday 8/11 and Wednesday 8/14 as part of The Prytania’s regular Classic Movies series.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Space Jam (1996) – Animated Looney Tunes characters play basketball in outer space with a live-action Michael Jordan to a Quad City DJs soundtrack. You have to appreciate the absurdity of that premise, whether or not you have any nostalgic associations with the finished products. Screening Friday 8/9 and Saturday 8/10 as part of The Prytania’s Summertime Kid’s Movie series.

Down by Law (1986) – Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni become unlikely buddies in an Orleans Parish prison cell, then escape into “the swamps of New Orleans.” Easily my favorite Jim Jarmusch film. Screening free to the public Thursday 8/8 at the Orpheum Theatre.

The Farewell Lulu Wang’s story of emigration, family, and truthiness amounts to a great, deeply personal film with an impressive tightrope balance between morbid humor and quiet emotional anguish. Starring Aquafina in a long-time-coming breakthrough role.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco – One of the best movies of the summer is a bizarre Sundance drama about gentrification & friendship. A wildly inventive directorial debut that filters anxiety & anger over housing inequality through classic stage play Existentialism & Surrealism touchstones like Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Playing only at The Broad Theater.

Once Upon a Time In . . . Hollywood Watch Quentin Tarantino transform into a grumpy old man before your very eyes as he yells “Get off my lawn!” at a scraggly group of hippies for nearly three hours solid.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 7/25/19 – 7/31/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week, including some high-brow art cinema and some summertime silliness.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

Once Upon a Time . . . In Hollywood Billed as the ninth feature film from genre sommelier (and obnoxious blowhard) Quentin Tarantino, this appears to be an irreverently obscured retelling of Sharon Tate’s murder by the Manson Family cult. Expect something just as immorally entertaining as that descriptor implies.

Suspicion (1941) – A lesser-seen Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Cary Grant opposite Joan Fontaine, whose performance is the only Hitch role to ever land an Academy Award for best acting. Screening Sunday 7/28 and Wednesday 7/31 as part of The Prytania’s Classic Movies series.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Girls Trip (2017) – A New Orleans-set friendship comedy that somehow finds common ground between maudlin Hallmark Channel sentimentality and over-the-top John Waters gross-out humor, set against the backdrop of Essence Fest. Screening free to the public (with stand-up comedians opening to warm up the crowd) Thursday 7/25 at The Orpheum.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco – One of the best movies of the summer is a bizarre Sundance drama about gentrification & friendship. A wildly inventive directorial debut that filters anxiety & anger over housing inequality through classic stage play Existentialism & Surrealism touchstones like Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Playing only at The Broad Theater.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 7/18/19 – 7/24/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week and are presumably much, much worthier of your time & money than the goddamn Lion King remake.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

The Art of Self Defense Jesse Eisenberg stars in a Foot Fist Way-reminiscent dark comedy set in a martial arts studio, satirizing Men’s Rights Activists and the general milieu of toxic masculinity. Playing only at AMC Elmwood.

Crawl The killer shark genre has already been revived in recent summertime trash titles like The Shallows & 47 Meters Down, so we’re far past due to bring back an even cooler killer creature from schlocky cinema past: the alligator. There’s no telling whether Crawl will stack up to killer-gator classics like Alligator & Alligator People, but our trashy, swamp-dwelling asses are excited no matter what.

Wild Rose – Irish pop singer Jessie Buckley follows up her excellent performance in last year’s criminally underseen thriller Beast with a critically lauded film about an aspiring country musician from Scotland. Features songwriting contributions from Mary Steenburgen of all people, who claims to have woken up from an arm surgery with the uncanny ability to write country hits. Playing only at AMC Elmwood.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

The Last Black Man in San Francisco – One of the best movies of the summer is a bizarro Sundance drama about gentrification & friendship. A wildly inventive directorial debut that filters anxiety & anger over housing inequality through classic stage play Existentialism & Surrealism touchstones like Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Playing only at The Broad Theater.

Midsommar Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary is yet another lengthy, morbidly funny meditation on grief, but this time wrapped around the folk horror template established by The Wicker Man. It’s a divinely fucked up melodrama about empathy, gaslighting, breakups, and finding your flock – whether they be academia bros or bloodthirsty cultists.

But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) – A brilliant coming-of-age queer teen comedy that filters the abusive horrors of gay conversion “therapy” through a 90s John Waters aesthetic while somehow maintaining a sweetness & empathy that combination should not allow. Easily one of the greatest films of all time, fresh off its 20th  anniversary. Screening free to the public (with donations encouraged) Wednesday 7/24 at the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans This Week 7/11/19 – 7/17/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week, including some high-brow art cinema and some dumb-as-rocks summertime trash.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

Crawl The killer shark genre has already been revived in recent summertime trash titles like The Shallows & 47 Meters Down, so we’re far past due to bring back an even cooler killer creature from schlocky cinema past: the alligator. There’s no telling whether Crawl will stack up to killer-gator classics like Alligator & Alligator People, but our trashy, swamp-dwelling asses are going to be in those theater seats opening weekend no matter what.

Ash is Purest White A Chinese crime thriller & class-conscious melodrama that competed at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018 to outstanding reviews. Catch it on the big screen now so you’re not scratching your head when it pops up on Best of the Year roundups in December. Playing only at Chalmette Movies.

Babylon (1980) – A British cult classic about class disparity & racism in Brixton, starring members of the London reggae scene and featuring their music on the soundtrack. The film initially competed at Cannes in 1980, but never saw an official theatrical release in the US until this recent restoration. Playing for one week only at The Broad Theater.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

The Wizard of Oz (1933) – Return to the pinnacle of Technicolor by watching this intensely, wonderfully artificial fantasy-musical on the big screen in the city’s oldest running movie theater. Screening Friday July 12 through Wednesday July 17 as dual programming for The Prytania’s Classic Movies series and Summertime Kids’ Films series.

Midsommar  Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary is yet another lengthy, morbidly funny meditation on grief, but this time wrapped around the folk horror template established by The Wicker Man. It’s a divinely fucked up melodrama about empathy, gaslighting, breakups, and finding your flock – whether they be academia bros or bloodthirsty cultists.

Child’s Play (2019) – Although it’s a drastic deviation from the 1988 original in terms of plot & tone, this decades-later remake feels like the kind of nasty, ludicrous horror flick kids fall in love with when they happen to catch them too young on late-night cable – the exact too-scary-for-children-but-too-silly-for-adults dynamic that made the early Chucky movies cult classics in their own day.

-Brandon Ledet