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Coming Attractions / Cinema Highlights in WNY

Celebrating noir, Godard and Julia Roberts' visit in Rochester



Julia Roberts will visit Rochester to receive an award and appear at the screening of FULL FRONTAL

Photo courtesy of George Eastman Museum

 

This May, Buffalo cinemagoers can see Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, catch up with some noir essentials, or take a quick drive to Rochester to see a little-known actress named Julia Roberts in person.

 

Julia Roberts receives an award and appears at Full Frontal in Rochester

Rochester’s George Eastman house has presented its George Eastman Award to such Hollywood legends as Charlie Chaplin, Gregory Peck, and Meryl Streep. On May 2, one of our most iconic actors — Julia Roberts — will accept the honor for her distinguished contribution to the art of cinema. The night before the ceremony and black-tie gala, Roberts will appear at a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal. That’s all good news. The bad news? Both events sold out within hours of going on sale.

 

Even so, Roberts’s visit to Rochester is worth celebrating. Here’s why.

 

• The timing is perfect. Roberts is fresh off of one of her best performances, in 2018’s Ben Is Back. She also made a high-profile television series, Homecoming, for Amazon. While 2018 Toronto International Film Festival premiere Ben was a flawed film, her work in it — as the mother of a drug-addicted son — was a stunner. It deserved awards attention.

 

Full Frontal is a fascinating mess. And sometimes fascinating messes make for great viewing. In the case of 2002’s Frontal, Roberts was part of a strong ensemble that also included David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, and Blair Underwood. No one would call this story of various folks in Hollywood peak Soderbergh or Roberts — watch Erin Brockovich for that — but it’s wildly fun to see Roberts cut loose in this type of project.

 

• Roberts’s filmography is stronger and more diverse than you may have realized. From rom-coms like Pretty Woman and My Best Friend’s Wedding to more offbeat gems like Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War, Roberts is remarkably consistent. She more than deserves the prestigious George Eastman Award.

 

Full Frontal screening: 7:30 p.m. on May 1, George Eastman Award presentation and gala: 8 p.m. on May 2 

At the George Eastman Museum Dryden Theatre

(900 East Ave., Rochester)

eastman.org

 

Talking Noir Essentials: “Departures” with Alex Weinstein

In a very short period of time, Noir Essential at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema has become one of the area’s most noteworthy screening series. “Departures” is the theme of the latest season, which kicked off in March with Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and then featured Michael Curtiz’s The Breaking Point in April. Next, on May 15, is Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out, followed by Orson Welles’s The Lady From Shanghai on June 15 and Frank Borzage’s Moonrise on July 10.

 

Here, Noir Essentials host and programmer Alex Weinstein discusses five reasons why this particular season is so fascinating, and so noteworthy for fans of film noir.

 

Odd Man Out is a lesser-known film from Carol Reed.
Weinstein: When most people think Carol Reed, they think Harry Lime in 1949’s The Third Man or the singing and dancing orphans of 1968’s Oliver! While Odd Man Out tends to get lost in the shuffle, it is, to my eyes, as good as anything the director ever made. In Odd Man Out, we’re thrust into the murky unrest of Northern Ireland. The political struggle in Ireland was an ongoing issue, and the lives of regular citizens were still being compromised daily. The movie recognizes this, so it’s a very passionate work.

 

The “Departures” theme makes for some unforgettable cinema.
When putting together these screenings, I like to have some sort of theme. This time around it’s a light focus on characters who travel — on trains, on boats, through alleys, and through swamps. As a set, it’s more adventurous, but with a melancholy streak unlike what we’ve done before.

 

The Lady from Shanghai demands a big screen.

No matter how much it is said, this is true of all movies — but especially those by Orson Welles. Like the director himself, his works have an unmistakable presence. And even when the movies are flawed, they are bold in their flaws. The Lady from Shanghai may very well be the greatest embodiment of this. Here we have a film severely compromised — chopped up, recut, and reshot by the studio — but strangely all the better for it. I love this 1947 drama for the accidental surrealist masterpiece that it is.

 

You won’t find another film like Moonrise screening this July.
And you won’t find too many other noir entries like it, either! Like Odd Man Out, it’s a very psychological film, but how it deals with violence and redemption is pretty rare for the genre. It’s a wonderful small-town character piece, and a fitting pick to close with.

 

These films all capture the mood of our divided nation.
One thing I love about movies is that they can change with you and with the times and be re-evaluated. A great classic’s effect in 2019 can be both different and same to decades prior. So when it comes to noir pictures, I think some things remain true. The past is complicated, the present is worse, and the future is uncertain — so you may as well face it with style.

 

Odd Man Out: 7:30 p.m. on May 15 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville; dipsontheatres.com

 

Jean-Luc Godard won a special award in Cannes last year for The Image Book.

Godard is courtesy of Kino Lorber

 

Godard latest hits Hallwalls

Breathless director Jean Luc-Godard is 88 years old and—without question—still staggeringly brilliant. Look no further than his recent run of deliriously complex, ambitious, challenging films (especially Film Socialism and Goodbye to Language). He won a special award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for his latest, The Image Book, and now Hallwalls is bringing the film to Buffalo for one night only. An essay featuring film clips, paintings, music, and narration, The Image Book is another bold creation from one of the most important filmmakers in the history of cinema.

7 p.m. on May 8 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; hallwalls.org

 

More noteworthy screenings:

 

May 2

National Lampoon’s Animal House

The Riviera screens the cult classic starring John Belushi.

7 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org

 

May 3, 4, 7, 10, 11

Labyrinth

One of the strangest family films of the 1980s features an unforgettable performance from David Bowie and puppets by Jim Henson. The May 10 screening features a live trivia event.

7:30 p.m. at the Screening Room

(880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)

screeningroom.net

 

May 3, 4, 5

The Nitrate Picture Show

Dubbed “the world’s first festival of film conservation,” this three-day George Eastman Museum event returns for its fifth year.

At the George Eastman Museum

(900 East Ave., Rochester)

eastman.org/nps

 

May 5

Caramel

The Roycroft Film Society presents a 2007 romantic comedy set in a beauty salon in Beirut.

4 p.m. at Parkdale Elementary School

(141 Girard Ave., East Aurora)

roycroftcampuscorp.com

 

May 5, 8

True Grit

The TCM Big Screen Series showcases John Wayne’s lone Oscar-winning performance to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary.

4 p.m. on May 5 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

dipsontheatres.com

1 p.m. on May 5, noon and 7 p.m. on May 8, at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.) and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)

fathomevents.com


May 7

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Long before he won Oscars for directing Gravity and Roma, Alfonso Cuarón helmed this, the third Harry Potter film. It’s a fine pick to end the latest Buffalo Film Seminars series.

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html

 

May 10

Fail Safe

The Old Chestnut Film Series continues its Henry Fonda series with Sidney Lumet’s COld War drama.

7:30 p.m. at the Museum of disABILITY History

(3826 Main St.)

oldchestnut.com

 

May 16

The Battle of Algiers

Cultivate Cinema Circle continues its year-long “Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence” series with one of the strongest socio-political films ever made, from director Gillo Pontecorvo.

7 p.m. at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

(341 Delaware Ave.)

cultivatecinemacircle.com

 

May 16

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Steven Spielberg’s 1977 masterpiece about the witness to a UFO stars Richard Dreyfuss.

 Riviera screens the cult classic starring John Belushi.

7 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org

 

May 16

Thursday Night Terrors—Child’s Play

Thursday Night Terrors and Nickel City Con present the horror classic, featuring a special guest appearance from co-star Alex Vincent. A live Q&A will follow.

7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors

 

May 17

Thursday Night Terrors—Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Thursday Night Terrors and Nickel City Con present this screening featuring a guest appearance from Jason Voorhees himself, star C.J. Graham. A live Q&A will follow.

7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors

 

May 18

Thursday Night Terrors—An American Werewolf in London

Thursday Night Terrors and Nickel City Con present John Landis’s horror classic, featuring a special guest appearance from star David Naughton. A live Q&A will follow.

7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors

 

May 19, 21, 22

Steel Magnolias

A stellar cast — Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts — leads another TCM Big Screen Series screening.

4 p.m. on May 19, 7 p.m. on May 21-22, at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.) and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)

fathomevents.com

 

May 20, 21

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s exhilarating epic about brave Princess Nausicaä turns thirty-five this year.

Dubbed version: 7 p.m. on May 20; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on May 21, at the Regal Elmwood Center (2001 Elmwood Ave.) and Regal Transit Center (6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville)

fathomevents.com

 

May 23

13th

The AKAG’s Reel Talk film series screens Ava DuVernay’s stunning documentary exploring the criminalization of African Americans and the prison boom.
7:15 p.m. at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

(1285 Elmwood Ave.)

albrightknox.org

 

May 17, 21, 25

Alien

Celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi classic screenings on May 17 and 21, and another, featuring a live performance by Rabbit Jaw, on May 25.

Live show at 7 p.m., film at 8:30 p.m. at the Screening Room

(880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)

screeningroom.net

 

May 30

Thursday Night Terrors—Chopping Mall

Thursday Night Terrors goes shopping with the 1986 cult classic Chopping Mall.

7:30 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre

(3500 Main St.)

facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors

 

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