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 8/8/19 – 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 8/1/19 – 8/7/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are playing in New Orleans this week, including a wealth of artsy-fartsy counterprogramming to the summertime blockbuster season.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

When I Get Home A multi-media music video/art film directed by adopted local Solange Knowles as a visual accompaniment to her album of the same name. Screening only at The Broad, one of a select few movie theaters in the country playing it.

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.

The Bayou Maharaja (2013) – A warts-and-all documentary about local-legend pianist James Booker, whom Dr. John once described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” Directed by Lily Keber, whose more recent doc Buckjumping is a gem. Screening free to the public Thursday 8/1 at The Orpheum.

Pasolini (2014) – Abel Ferrara directs Willem Dafoe in a biopic about the dying days of famed Italian iconoclast filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. Playing only at Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

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 Art of Self-Defense Jesse Eisenberg stars in an absurdly dry satire about MRA types who run a militaristic karate dojo in a strip mall, framing Toxic Masculinity as a literal cult. Directed by the same cheeky sicko who made Faults. Playing only at AMC Elmwood.

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.

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 7/25/19 – 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

Movies to See in New Orleans this Week 7/4/19 – 7/10/19

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)

Midsommar Ari Aster follows up last year’s excellent occultist drama Hereditary with a three-hour descent into daylit horror madness. It appears to be a darkly funny, playfully cruel update to The Wicker Man, which makes it the perfect folk-horror counterprogramming to combat more traditional summertime entertainment.

Fast Color A critically-beloved festival darling superhero drama starring GuGu Mbatha-Raw that might have been a big commercial hit but was instead quietly shoveled off to VOD. This is likely your only chance to see it on the big screen. Playing for one week only at Chalmette Movies.

The Bayou Maharaja (2013) – A warts-and-all documentary about local-legend pianist James Booker, whom Dr. John once described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” Directed by Lily Keber, whose more recent doc Buckjumping is a gem. Screening free to the public Wednesday 7/10 at The Orpheum.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982) – Steven Spielberg’s alien invasion classic that everyone remembers as an adorable buddy comedy between a kid & his extraterrestrial pal but is actually a heart-wrenching traumatic drama about loneliness, grief, codependency, and isolation. Playing Friday 7/5 and Saturday 7/6 as part of The Prytania’s Summer Kids’ Movie Series.

Avengers: Endgame Thanks to the emergence of yet another Spider-Man film on this week’s docket and Disney’s bizarre desperation to beat out Avatar’s box-office records, this year’s biggest superhero behemoth is back in AMC theaters with new promotional materials included after its end credits. Boomer was a big fan and, although less enthusiastic about it overall, I personally found it fascinating as a tipping point for our New Nerd America, so maybe there are worse ways to escape the summer heat.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Cool monsters, boring humans; achieves the bare minimum required for a decent Godzilla flick. These things are never going to be as charming as they were when they were stitched together with rubber costumes & hand-built miniatures, but this movie’s Pokémon-style approach of collecting all your favorite kaiju creatures for spectacular battles is still entertaining enough on its own terms.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans this Week 6/27/19 – 7/3/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, including some classic summertime gems and some recent documentaries on badass women.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

Chasing Dreams: A Leah Chase Story (2011) – To memorialize local culinary legend Leah Chase, who recently passed away, the New Orleans Film Society will be playing this short documentary about her life & her art. Screening free to the public Thursday 6/27 at The Orpheum theater immediately followed by the 2016 documentary Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache A long overdue documentary about the life & art of Alice Guy-Blanche, who has been almost entirely forgotten by male-dominated film criticism circles despite being a significant director in the Silent Era of early cinema. Playing all week (along with a recently restored short from Guy-Blache) at Zeitgeist Theater & Lounge, including a special screening with live musical accompaniment Saturday 6/29.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) – Wrap up the final days of Pride Month with this documentary profile of Marsha P. Johnson, legendary queer rights activist. The movie includes rare interview footage with Johnson herself, as well as research on the mysterious circumstances of her death. Screening for free at The Dragonfly, Friday June 28, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Jaws (1975) – The ultimate 4th of July movie is a Steven Spielberg-directed, big-budget mutation of the Roger Corman creature feature, in which a gigantic shark terrorizes a summertime beach crowd just trying to enjoy their vacation. Screening Sunday 6/30 and Wednesday 7/3 as part of The Prytania’s Classic Movies series.

Independence Day (1996) – The second-most ultimate 4th of July movie is a Will Smith-starring, big-budget sci-fi action epic, in which space aliens invade America on its birthday. Screening outdoors on Wednesday 7/3 via Front Yard Productions.

Labyrinth (1986) David Bowie steals babies, hangs around with goblins, and thrusts his crotch across every square inch of a Brian Froud fantasy dimension. It’s a dream. Playing Friday 6/28 and Saturday 6/29 as part of The Prytania’s Summer Kids’ Movies Series.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans this Week 6/20/19 – 6/26/19

Here are the few movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week, including a couple verified classics and some brand new genre trash.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

Child’s Play (2019) – I’m not entirely sold on the new CG design for Chucky himself and there’s almost no chance it’ll compare to the best of its franchise (1990’s Child’s Play 2, obviously), but this big-budget remake at least tries something new in updating the evil doll by connecting him to automated future-tech like drones & home security systems. Plus, Audrey Plaza’s there so it can’t be all bad.

The Dead Don’t Die Jim Jarmusch’s latest is disguised as a goofball horror comedy about a zombie invasion but is reported in its early reviews to be yet another low-key, meandering indie dramedy from a director who’s built an entire career off just that. There’s no telling whether Jarmusch’s low-stakes, low-effort schtick will be charming here (as it was in Down by Law) or painfully pointless (as it was in Coffee and Cigarettes), but it’s also impossible to deny the appeal of a zomcom with a cast this stacked: Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, Carol Kane, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, the RZA, Selena Gomez, etc.. etc., etc.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

Rear Window (1954) – An intense, perversely funny Hitchcock thriller about a disabled man (Jimmy Stewart) who can only watch in horror as he pieces together the mysterious murder of a neighbor by her traveling salesman husband. Screening as part of The Prytania’s Classic Movies series on Sunday 6/23 and Wednesday 6/26.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – A Tennessee Williams stage adaptation (featuring performances from Paul Newman & Elizabeth Taylor) just boiling over with alcoholic fury, repressed homosexuality, and intense Mississippi heat. Enjoy it out in the authentic Southern humidity on the roof of the Catahoula Hotel Wednesday 6/26.

-Brandon Ledet

Movies to See in New Orleans this Week 6/6/19 – 6/12/19

Here’s a quick rundown of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week.

Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)

Ma Octavia Spencer stars as an unhinged spinster who terrorizes a group of idiot teens who just want a place to party. Along with other recent titles like the Isabelle Huppert thriller Greta and the Lifetime Original Movie camp fest Psycho Granny, this looks to be part of an unexpected revival of the psychobiddy horror film, a genre we’ll be discussing on next week’s podcast.

The Souvenir Joanna Hogg’s A24-distributed British drama about a 1980s film student who falls in love with a potentially dangerous man. Features a supporting performance from the always-reliable Tilda Swinton and is now playing at AMC Elmwood, just a few short months after making waves at Sundance.

Movies We’ve Already Enjoyed

BooksmartThis may not be the most consistently hi-larious example of the femme teen sex comedy (in the Blockers/The To Do List/Wetlands tradition), but it is one with an unusually effective emotional core and more Gay Stuff than the genre usually makes room for. It’s very reassuring just to see that the kids are more than alright.

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) – The Frank Oz-directed musical comedy was filmed on location in New York City, features a cavalcade of 1980s somebodies, introduced the world to The Muppet Babies, and was the final Muppet film completed before Jim Henson’s death. Playing only at The Prytania as joint programming for their Summer Kids’ Movies series and their ongoing Classic Movies series.

-Brandon Ledet