Good news: Your weekend moviegoing needs have been simplified. Every Thursday morning, our What To See guide will highlight the new releases opening in New York City and NYC repertory screenings that are most worth your time.
Here's your guide for the weekend of September 4 – September 6.
Because some things never change…
Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)
Director: Stanley Nelson
1966 and 2015, one and the same?
Forty-nine years ago, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale launched the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a militant response to an outbreak of police brutality against minorities in Oakland, California. The group organized intense rallies, formed a unified front with all-black attire and a no-joke disposition, bombed the system and, as a result, opened up people’s eyes to the police department's injustices. In the wake of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and the countless other unarmed black men who’ve died at the hands of police officers, America doesn’t seem much different right now than it did in '66.
That’s just one of the many sentiments viewers will have while watching The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution, the new documentary from acclaimed non-fiction filmmaker Stanley Nelson. that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Impressively comprehensive, The Black Panthers details the group’s rise, prominence and lasting impact, including interviews with surviving Panthers and former cops, lawyers and journalists who crossed paths with them.
Where to see it: Film Forum, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:40 p.m.
Nothing says "holiday weekend" like some womanly bonding and a homicidal yuppie…
Gas Food Lodging (1992) and American Psycho (2000)
Directors: Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging), Mary Harron (American Psycho)
With such a scarcity of films directed by women out there, it's easy to overlook the truly great ones. Sometimes, the films themselves are wrongly slept-on; other times, people forget that women made them in the first place. This weekend, Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema will screen one example of each of those scenarios.
Deserving of the same recognition of other '90s indie classics, like sex, lies, and videotape and Clerks, Allison Anders' Gas Food Lodging is a poignant and beautifully acted slice of feminine life. Led by strong performances from Brooke Adams, Ione Skye and Fairuza Balk, and co-starring a then-unknown Amy Adams, it's a look at the strained relationship between a mother and daughter after the father’s death. It's Lynn Shelton cinema made long before "mumblecore" existed.
Though women directors are making great strides in horror lately, they were once as hard to find in the genre as a movie without jump-scares. Everything about American Psycho feels like, at least from a narrow-minded standpoint, like a male’s point-of-view, from serial killer Patrick Bateman's (Christian Bale) macho narcissism to how most of his targets are half-naked women he's just had sex with. Which is why folks always seem to forget that it was directed by Mary Harron, and that it was horror's strongest woman-directed movie until The Babadook came around. American Psycho is the rare film that approaches the male gaze from that of a female.
Where to see it: Gas Food Lodging, Nitehawk Cinema, Saturday and Sunday at 11:20 a.m.
American Psycho, Nitehawk Cinema, Friday and Saturday at 12:15 a.m.
Don't miss one of the most enjoyable triple features imaginable, complete with food and beer (!)…
The Indiana Jones Trilogy: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Star: Harrison Ford
Barbeques and pool parties are so overrated, aren't they? Okay, not quite. But they're definitely nowhere near as cool as spending nearly four hours with Harrison Ford, his brown fedora and that legendary bullwhip. And since the 390-minute Indiana Jones party is being hosted by the cinema saints at the Alamo Drafthouse, there will be food, booze and snacks. It's basically everything one could want from a BBQ, but with more bullwhip.
This Saturday, the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers will screen Indy's first three movies as part of the theater chain's massive "Septemberg" series, through which all of the Drafthouse venues across the country are showing Steven Spielberg's classics this month. It’s the perfect reason to either get reacquainted with Ford's adventure-prone and cool-as-a-rule archaeologist or experience his trilogy of excellence for the first time.
P.S. Kudos to the Drafthouse programmers who vetoed including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from the bill. Pretty sure that even Spielberg himself doesn’t want to see Shia LaBeouf swinging from fake-looking vines alongside monkeys that look like Atari game rejects ever again.
Where to see it: Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers, Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
For those poor souls who think the Taken movies are Peak Neeson: Action Hero…
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake
When people today think about Liam Neeson's action star appeal, they picture him talking surly into a phone, rebuking some foreign villain’s threats with a calmly delivered riff on the sentiment of, "I will kill your ass with my particular set of skills." And in some cases, like the first Taken movie and last year’s A Walk Among the Tombstones, it's badass; other cases, namely the embarrassing Taken sequels, represent Neeson's it's-all-about-the-Benjamins nadir. And it's because those forgettable duds are still fresh in people’s minds that the underrated 1990 superhero flick Darkman is such a must-see this weekend.
Directed by Sam Raimi, it's a violent and demented hybrid of save-the-world action and gooey creepshow—think Evil Dead-era Raimi, not Spider-Man Sam. Neeson plays a doctor whose experiments with burnt-skin restoration come in handy after he's blown up in a conspiratorial building explosion; to get his revenge on the creeps who tried to kill him, Neeson uses the synthetic skin he created to gain superhuman strength, assume the physical identities of others and bring a bit of David-Cronenberg-like body horror to the brand of storytelling usually reserved for studly heroes like Superman, Batman and Captain America.
Where to see it: IFC Center, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:05 a.m.