Coming Attractions

Cusack, TIFF and a WNY film expo make September a good month for movie buffs

John Cusack

Photo by George Pimentel: WireImage TIFF17


North America’s largest film festival is back, John Cusack visits, and an expo made for cinephiles make this an exciting month for movie fans.


The Must-attends


It’s time for TIFF18
Sept. 6-16;


Yes, the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival is here, and film folk in Western New York have many reasons to be excited. First, it is not too late to buy tickets. Individual tickets go on sale on Sept. 1, and while they are not cheap—prices range from $18 to (gulp) $82 per screening—there are various options. My recommendation? Spend some time on, identify a few days and times, and try your best on Sept. 1. Now, hotel accommodations are another story … Check in with the biggies (I’ll be at the Chelsea, which is about a thirty-minute walk from the TIFF Bell Lightbox but very close to many of the nighttime venues), and consider Airbnb.


Keep an eye on for updates, as I’ll be covering TIFF18 there before, during, and after the festival, as well as in the November issue of Buffalo Spree. It’s too early to say what will be this year’s Shape of Water, Lady Bird, La La Land, or Moonlight. But one thing is certain: 2018’s best films will undoubtedly be screening in Toronto this September.


Say Anything with John Cusack at UB

Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything is one of those romantic comedies that is almost impossible to dislike. And there’s no question that much of its appeal is due to the engaging performance by John Cusask as love-struck teen Lloyd Dobler. In a very special treat for fans of the 1989 film, Cusack will visit UB’s Center for the Arts for a screening on September 14. He will discuss the film and his career, and VIP meet-and-greet tickets are also available.


Cusack has long been an underrated actor, and as his Twitter account indicates, he’s also a fascinating individual. Say Anything is one of his best.


7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at UB’s Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst;


Year three of the Western New York Movie Expo

Returning for its third year starting on Aug. 31 is the Western New York Movie Expo, a four-day event that features film screenings, memorabilia, and more. Highlights in 2018 include a “Rod Serling Rarities Festival” hosted by Serling biographer Michael Pipher, a celebration of the golden age of radio, and silent films with musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis.


In addition, dealers from across the country will sell posters, books, DVDs, autographs, and other collectibles. The Expo is a unique mix of screenings and sales; if you love Turner Classic Movies, you need to be there. 


Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and Event Center, 120 Church St.;


More noteworthy screenings


Classics at the Riviera Theatre

North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre is featuring a number of beloved classic this month, starting with the epic (long!) Gone With the Wind. The musical Singin’ in the Rain is up next, followed by Charlton Heston in the original Planet of the Apes.

Gone With the Wind: 7 p.m. on Sept. 6; Singin’ in the Rain: 7 p.m. on Sept. 13; Planet of the Apes: 7 p.m. on Sept. 20; at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda;


Buffalo Film Seminars

The arrival of the Buffalo Film Seminars means summer is pretty much finished. However, BFS is something worth looking forward to. Make sure to check for updates, but at press time the September scheduled featured Howard Hawks and Robert Rossen’s Scarface, Dorothy Azner’s Christopher Strong, Otto Preminger’s Laura, and Giuseppe De Santis’s Bitter Rice. This is a fascinating foursome, especially 1933’s Christopher Strong, a pre-Production Code drama starring Katharine Hepburn. Note that the BFS season officially began on Aug. 28, with King Vidor’s The Big Parade.

Sept. 4: Scarface

Sept. 11: Christopher Strong

Sept. 18: Laura

Sept. 25: Bitter Rice

7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;


Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

The annual BNFF generally features a varied mix of films and guests. One of 2017’s noteworthy attendees was actor Robert Davi, who brought his Frank Sinatra-inspired documentary, Davi’s Way. Watch for updates on films, dates, and venues. (In 2017, screenings were held at the Four Seasons Cinema in Niagara Falls.)

Sept. 26-29; the


Roycroft Film Society—Howard’s End

One of Merchant-Ivory’s finest and most sumptuous productions, this E.M. Forster adaptation stars Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anthony Hopkins.

4 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora;


Noir Essentials—Miller’s Crossing

Years before crime classics Fargo and No Country for Old Men came Joel and Ethan Coen’s stylish, moving gangster film Miller’s Crossing. The years have been to this stunning, noir-infused period story of rival gangs. Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro, Marcia Gay Harden, and Albert Finney star. This is a fantastic Noir Essentials selection.

7:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Thursday Night Terrors—Popcorn

The second screening in the latest season of Terrors is Mark Herrier’s 1991 slasher film. A box office disappointment upon release, Popcorn is now viewed as a noteworthy postmodern horror effort. It tells the story of a group of teenagers who organize a horror film festival but start to be killed one by one.

7:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;


Cultivate Cinema Circle— Appropriate Behavior

The September entry in CCC’s “Women Direct” series is the emotionally complex and very funny first film from Desiree Akhavan (who also stars). Peach Mag visual arts curator Caitlin Coder will introduce this story of a bisexual, Iranian-American woman in Brooklyn who works to rebuild her life after a break-up.

7 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.;


TCM Big Screen Classics—The Sound of Music and Rebel Without a Cause

Turner Classic Movies features classics from the 1950s and 1960s this month. First is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, a Best Picture Oscar-winner starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The second entry is Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause, featuring James Dean at his most iconic.

Sept. 9, 12: The Sound of Music

Sept. 23, 26: Rebel Without a Cause

2 and 7 p.m. at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center,


Studio Ghibli Fest—My Neighbor Totoro

It is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, and that makes the film a perfect choice for the ongoing Studio Ghibli Fest. The large spirit known as Totoro is one of animation’s most delightful characters.

Dubbed version: 12:55 p.m. on Sept. 30 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 3; subtitled version: 7 p.m. on Oct. 1; at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


An American in Paris from London’s West End: The Dipson Amherst Theatre presents a screening of London’s stage adaptation of the MGM musical.

7 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;


2001: A Space Odyssey Digital Restoration

A restored version of the movie that changed sci-fi and cinema itself forever? That’s a must-see. Catch Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece in August and September at the North Park Theatre and the Dipson Amherst Theatre.

12:30, 3:45, 7, and 10 p.m. at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.;

12:30, 3:30, 6:30, and 9:30 p.m. from Aug. 31-Sept. 6 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;


Squeaky Wheel’s 15th Animation Fest

The last of three animated-film showcases presented by Squeaky Wheel will be held at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. This is a free, family-friendly event designed to feature various types of animation.

7:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.;


Fathom Events—Rudy

It has been twenty-five years since the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger was brought to the big screen. Sean Astin memorably played Rudy, a walk-on football player at Notre Dame. 

2 and 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


NT Live—King Lear

Ian McKellen stars as the titular King in this Shakespeare retelling, filmed live in London’s West End.

7 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Fathom Events—Jurassic Park

One of Steven Spielberg’s most entertaining films, Jurassic Park, turns twenty-five this year. A new generation can experience this tale of dinosaurs once again roaming the earth as Jurassic returns to cinemas for three days only. 

2 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;


Double Indemnity at the Screening Room

Double Indemnity is the final entry in the Screening Room’s Summer Noir Series, and Billy Wilder’s thriller starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray is a perfect choice. Watch for more September news.

7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 at Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst;


Fredonia Opera House Cinema Series

Each month, the Fredonia Opera House presents screenings of recent studio and independent releases. In September, the list includes Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on Sept. 8 and 11, Puzzle on Sept. 15 and 18, Far From the Tree on Sept. 22 and 25, and Christopher Robin on Sept. 29 and Oct. 2.

Various dates and times at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia;


Christopher Schobert is a film critic whose work has appeared in the Buffalo News and other outlets. Check out his Toronto International Film Festival coverage at and follow him at


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