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Coming Attractions / Cinema Highlights in WNY

Horror for Valentine's Day, TIFF for kids, and a hypnotic historical drama

Cultivate Cinema is presenting Lucrecia Martel’s universally praised drama, ZAMA

Courtesy of Strand Releasing


The local screening schedule is just starting to gear up after a bit of a January lull. Plus, there is an exciting road trip option in Toronto. 


The must-attends


A Thursday Night Terrors Valentine’s Day

The Terror is back, baby, as host and organizer Peter Vullo’s Thursday Night Terrors season returns for season No. 6. Here, Vullo talks about the first two selections, and why Feb. 14 will be a Valentine’s Day like no other.


On opening the season with John Carpenter’s Christine (Jan. 24), followed on Feb. 14 by My Bloody Valentine
“I chose Christine because I love John Carpenter and his work. Plus, it’s an adaptation of a Stephen King novel. It’s two of the greatest names in horror on one marquee in my mind. Christine also marks the third Carpenter film we’ve played in January, so it seemed like a good idea to keep that tradition going. I chose 1981’s My Bloody Valentine because it’s a great’ 80s slasher film. Valentine’s Day also falls on a Thursday this year, so it seemed like a perfect fit. Any opportunity I get to play a holiday-themed horror movie on the actual holiday, I do my best to make it happen.”


On making Valentine’s Day Bloody
“I think it’s nice for people to have some different options for Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the flowers and candle-lit dinners can be a little boring and not everyone is into that, so why not throw some ’80s slasher fun into the mix and liven things up a bit?”


On special surprises planned for Feb. 14: 
“My girlfriend, Nicole June Wurstner, and I like to go all out for Terrors whenever possible. We’re hoping to decorate the theater for Valentine’s Day and the screening. I’d also like to have some Terrors Valentine’s Day cards made as a cherry on top. There will very likely be more to it, but I’ll keep that hush-hush for now.”


7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors


TIFF’s Next Wave film festival is curated by actual young people and celebrates youth storytelling.

courtesy of TIFF


For youth, by youth: TIFF Next Wave Film Festival

There is much more to TIFF than September’s Toronto International Film Festival. Case in point: TIFF Next Wave Festival. This unique film fest that’s for youth, by youth, is happening from Feb. 15 to 17. Here, TIFF Manager of Youth & Community Initiatives Brigid Tierney discusses why Next Wave is so special.


There are so many film festivals, especially in Toronto. What makes Next Wave unique? 
Next Wave is unique because it is bold and vibrant. It showcases younger voices in cinema experimenting both with underrepresented voices and different ways of storytelling. Next Wave celebrates youth in so many interesting way through a mix of mediums
music, shorts, independent features, studio features, installations, and more. The festival is curated by actual young people who boast a wide diversity of taste and interests, so it really is one that tries to have something for everyone and center youth voices authentically.


How does it fit with TIFF's other programming? 
A main goal of Next Wave is to really center the festival around youth voices and experiences while letting them take over the building and cinemas for the weekend. Increasingly, however, we are seeing the bold and dynamic flavors of Next Wave across more aspects of programming
Public talks, new releases, the ways in which we engage audiences, and the diversity of voices we have at Next Wave is being felt throughout the building, and this feels so exciting. It’s also being picked up by the ways studios and indies are taking bigger risks with the stories they are telling and who is telling them.


Feb. 15-17 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario; tiff.net


A still from Lucrecia Martel’s historical drama,  Zama

Courtesy of Strand Releasing


More noteworthy screenings


Buffalo Film Seminars

There is but one chance left to enjoy the spring 2019 Buffalo Film Seminars series began on Jan. 29 with a unique choice, Paul Fejös’s silent stunner Lonesome. In February, the Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian-hosted BFS pulls out some big guns, with a Hemingway adaptation, a Carole Lombard-starring gem, and classics from John Huston and jean-Luc Godard.

Feb. 5: A Farewell to Arms

Feb. 12: My Man Godfrey

Feb. 19: The African Queen

Feb. 26: Breathless

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html


Cultivate Cinema Circle—Zama

CCC’s year-long series titled “Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence” begins this month with Lucrecia Martel’s universally praised Zama. The stunning historical drama about a Spanish officer in South America is hypnotic, unsettling, and profoundly unforgettable. It is a another gem from Martel, the director of 2008’s The Headless Woman.

7 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; cultivatecinemacircle.com


Old Chestnut Film Series—The Magnificent Dope

The Old Chestnut’s Henry Fonda retrospective features this 1942 romantic comedy also starring Don Ameche.

7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main St.; oldchestnut.com


Fathom Events presents Carmen and I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

The winner for best title of the month is clearly the Japanese animated drama I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. The film, based on a popular coming-of-age novel, looks like a winner; watch the trailer and read about the characters at iwanttoeatyourpancreas.com. Plus, the Fathom lineup also includes a Met production of Bizet’s Carmen.

Feb. 2, 6, 9: The Met presents Carmen

Feb. 7, 10: I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (subtitled on Feb. 7, dubbed on Feb. 10)

Carmen: 12:55 p.m. on Feb. 2 and 9, 1 and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6; Pancreas: 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 (subtitled), 12:55 p.m. on Feb. 10 (dubbed); at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; for times, dates, and additional details, visit fathomevents.com


Young Picasso and more at the Fredonia Opera House

In addition to its regular lineup of opera and theater simulcasts, in February the Fredonia Opera House will screen the documentary Young Picasso. The film explores the early years of Pablo Picasso, with particular attention paid to the artist’s the Blue Period and Rose Period.

Feb. 2: Carmen (live via satellite from NYC's Metropolitan Opera)

Feb. 7: Young Picasso

Feb. 21: Allelujah! (live via satellite from London's Bridge Theatre)

Carmen: 1 p.m. on Feb. 2; Young Picasso: 7 p.m. on Feb. 7; Allelujah!: 7 p.m. on Feb. 21; at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org


Reel Talk at the Albright-Knox: A River Changes Course

The Albright-Knox recently kicked off a new film series exploring the themes of the exhibition We the People: New Art from the Collection. February’s screening is A River Changes Course, a Sundance Film Festival award-winner telling the story of three families in contemporary Cambodia.

Tours at 6:30 p.m., film at 7:15 p.m., on Feb. 28 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.; albrightknox.org


“A Night With Oscar” and more at the Screening Room

Interested in an Academy Awards viewing party but uninterested in hosting? Each year, Amherst’s Screening Room hosts “A Night With Oscar,” a free event that has become a local tradition. Reservations are taken for groups of five or more. In addition, February also features Buffalo premieres of new indie films (Great Great Great and Wake Up), as well as classics like The Princess BrideHis Girl Friday, and Casablanca (for Valentine’s Day). Visit screeningroom.net for the full lineup.

“A Night With Oscar”: doors open at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net


Toronto Black Film Festival

For local fans of cinema, it is always fun to discover new film festivals within driving distance. The Toronto Black Film Festival is not new—in fact, 2019 is year seven. However, it is not one I had heard mentioned before, and it certainly should be on the WNY radar. The 2018 festival featured more than sixty films from twenty countries, and, as its opening night screening, the critically acclaimed documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor. Check out torontoblackfilm.com for the full schedule.

Feb. 13-18; torontoblackfilm.com


L’Chaim: Celebrating Jewish Life at the Dryden Theatre

Since November, the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum has presented a series of films celebrating Jewish life. This month features two interesting selections, Barry Levinson’s 1990 drama Avalon and 1938’s Mamele.

Feb. 3: Avalon

Feb. 17: Mamele

7 p.m. at the George Eastman Museum Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave., Rochester; eastman.org


Secret Movie Club and Reel Talk at TIFF

TIFF features travel-worthy events throughout the year, including the aforementioned Next Wave Film Festival. One more is Secret Movie Club, a screening hosted by critic Norm Wilner that features a surprise film yet-to-be-released; the next is scheduled for Feb. 3. Another is Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema, which highlights a new global film release.

Secret Movie Club: 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 3; Reel Talk: 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 24; at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West, Toronto, Ontario; tiff.net



Christopher Schobert is a film critic whose work has appeared in the Buffalo News and other outlets.


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