Coming Attractions

MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS is being screened at Chautauqua.

Photos courtesy of Chautauqua


This month, we start in gorgeous Chautauqua before making our way to super-cool screening events throughout WNY. Don’t forget to check Spree’s August outdoor screenings calendar as well.


The Must-attends


Chautauqua Food & Film Festival

It is hard to think of a more gorgeous location for a film festival than Chautauqua Institution. Add great food, and you’ve got the first annual Chautauqua Food & Film Festival, scheduled from Aug. 19 to 24. The week-long event is centered around the theme Chautauqua programming this week, themed "Documentary Film as Facilitator: Storytelling, Influence and Civil Discourse."


Among the week’s highlights is “The Filmmaker as Collaborator: A Conversation with Ken Burns and Friends” on Aug. 20. Burns, the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated director of The Vietnam War and The Civil War, will discuss the art of storytelling through documentary film. In addition, he and longtime collaborators Geoffrey C. Ward and Dayton Duncan will talk about the process of film production.


Another highlight is a screening of the documentary May It Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers on Aug. 19. The inside look at the North Carolina band was shot over the course of two years, and earned raves at the SXSW Film Festival. A sold-out performance from the band will be held the following night.


Aug. 19-24 at Chautauqua Institution, One Ames Ave., Chautauqua;



Noir Essentials—Blood Simple
Essentials jumps ahead by several decades for its new season, titled “The Coen Brothers Bible of America.” First up is Joel and Ethan Coen’s debut, 1984’s Blood Simple. Host Alex Weinstein sees the “soul of noir” throughout the Coens’ work.


“There is a deep nostalgia to their works, and many of them are distinctly noir,” he says. “The Coen Brothers tell stories of crime and opportunity that manage to be shocking, funny, wise, and nihilistic all at the same time.”


Weinstein believes Blood Simple is a perfect starter to the season: “When you’re talking about their films, it really does make sense to start here. Part of what makes Blood Simple unique is its wide swath of influences. It’s pure pulpy neo-noir that borrows as much from Sam Raimi as it does Orson Welles and Jim Thompson. The film sweats with a discomfort that rivals Touch of Evil, and the Coen Brothers still haven’t made anything else quite like it.”


Following Blood is Miller’s Crossing on Sept. 26, The Man Who Wasn’t There on Oct. 24, No Country for Old Men on Nov. 14, and Fargo on Dec. 12. (For more on the latest season of Noir Essentials, see an updated version of this piece on


7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville;



Thursday Night Terrors—Killer Klowns From Outer Space

It’s hard to believe, but this month kicks off the fifth season for Thursday Night Terrors, the hugely popular horror/genre screening series. First up is 1988’s camp classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

“My hope is to always start a new season of Terrors with a bang, something people will be excited to see after taking a couple months off from the series,” says organizer Peter Vullo. “So Killer Klowns just made sense. It's a cult classic and an oft-requested title. Part of the fun of Terrors is experiencing a movie like Killer Klowns with an audience; it's all about having a good time with friends.”


The rest of the season features more of what Vullo calls “fan favorites,” including 1991’s Popcorn (Sept. 27) and 1985’s Return of the Living Dead (Oct. 25). Also scheduled is 1987’s Blood Rage on Nov. 15 and 1988's The Blob on Dec. 13. Vullo says lesser-known movies, like the latter, “usually make for the most fun Terrors screenings—many people haven't already seen them, so all the kills and jokes are fresh and new. There's an element of surprise and discovery.” (For more on the latest season of Thursday Night Terrors, see an updated version of this piece on


7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;



More noteworthy screenings



The Riviera tradition celebrating the Three Stooges returns for its twenty-seventh year.

7:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda;


Regal Summer Movie Express:

It’s the final month of the year for Regal’s double-bill featuring two kids movies for just $1. Schedule:

Aug. 1: The Lego Batman Movie and Trolls

Aug. 7-8: Minions and The Boss Baby

Aug. 14-15: Paddington 2 and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Aug. 21-22: Despicable Me 3 and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Aug. 28-29: The Lorax and Kung Fu Panda 3

10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Aug. at Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Flix Free Family Film Series

The popular free summer series at Flix is back, and each week features raffle prizes.

Aug. 4: Trolls

Aug. 11: The Boss Baby

Aug. 18: Ferdinand

Aug. 25: Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie

10 a.m. Saturdays through September 2 at Flix Stadium 10, 4901 Transit Rd., Lancaster;


Summer Family Film Series at the Aurora Theatre

The gorgeous and historic Aurora Theatre presents free family films on Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 25.

Aug. 1, 4: Paddington 2

Aug. 8, 11: Ferdinand

Aug. 15, 18: Peter Rabbit

Aug. 22, 25: The Lego Batman Movie

11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Aug. at the Aurora Theatre, 673 Main St., East Aurora;


Cultivate Cinema Circle—Brimstone & Glory

CCC presents Viktor Jakovleski’s 2017 documentary, an installment in PBS’s award-winning nonfiction series, POV. The film explores the National Pyrotechnic Festival, held yearly in Tultepec, Mexico.

7 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.;


TCM Big Screen Classics—The Big Lebowski and South Pacific

Turner Classic Movies features two wildly different favorites this month. First is the Coen brothers’s Big Lebowski; it’s been twenty years since the release of the story of the Dude, his rug, and his bowling buddies. It’s been sixty years since the second TCM film of August, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, arrived in theaters.

Aug. 5, 8: The Big Lebowski

Aug. 26, 29: South Pacific

2 and 7 p.m. at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Studio Ghibli Fest—Grave of the Fireflies

One of the most somber and heartbreaking films in the Studio Ghibli catalog is Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies. This animated masterpiece is certainly not for children, but older teens and adults will be moved by the story of a brother and sister struggling to survive in WWII Japan.

Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 7 p.m. on Aug. 15; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on Aug. 13; at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Fathom Events—8th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies

Dead Heads, unite! Fathom Events presents a one-night event on Aug. 1 featuring this Grateful Dead concert film, which was shot at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia in July 1989.

7 p.m. on Aug. 1 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Buffalo Film Seminars
That’s right, the Buffalo Film Seminars actually begins in August. First up in the Bruce Jackson-Diane Christian-hosted series is King Vidor’s The Big Parade.

Aug. 28: The Big Parade7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;


M&T Bank Throwback Thursday Film Series

This month, the Riviera Theatre’s classic film series features a musical, a sci-fi favorite, some Hitchcock, and Bogart.

Aug. 2: The Sound of Music

Aug. 9: King Kong

Aug. 16: North by Northwest

Aug. 30: Casablanca

7 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda;

Fathom Events—An Interview With God

A journalist finds his world and faith challenged when he's granted an interview with someone claiming to be God in this feature starring Brenton Thwaites and David Straithairn.

7 p.m. on Aug. 20-22 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Across the Universe

I saw Julie Taymor’s Beatles-inspired movie musical, Across the Universe, at my first Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. It has developed a small but devoted following in the years since, and is a rather unique choice for a Fathom Events screening.

2 and 7 p.m. on July 29, 31, and Aug. 1 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Elvis ’68 Comeback Special

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s December 1968 return to live performance at this special event screening.

7:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 and 20 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Roycroft Film Society—Singin’ in the Rain

While beloved musical Singin’ in the Rain is a standard screening choice, it’s also a wonderful one.

4 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora;


Free Family Films courtesy of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library—Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

One of winter 2017’s biggest hits, this Jumanji reboot starring Dwayne Johnson is a nice choice for the BECPL’s ongoing free family film series.

1 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the Lancaster Library, 5466 Broadway, Lancaster;


Mamma Mia! Party at the Aurora Theatre

Abba fines, unite, as the Aurora Theatre offers a chance to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and enjoy dancing, singing, drinks and prizes.

Doors at 6 p.m. movie at 8 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Aurora Theatre, 673 Main St., East Aurora;


Summer Noir Series at the Screening Room

Amherst’s Screening Room is offering a summer of noir classics, and while dates and times for August are TBA, the lineup is set to include D.O.A., The Man With the Golden Arm, and Laura. Those are some heavy hitters. Keep an eye on for more Screening Room selections.


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