i could say i fell into some sort of black hole this winter and woke up and now winter is almost over- but that would be a lie. first off- we know winter is never going to end. i haven't written on this blog in a bit- mostly because ive been traveling and not going to theaters as much. which is the main point of this column- the cinema-goer experience in portland maine. that is a fairly small framework for a column being that their are very few options at any given time, but i have indeed missed highlighting some great screening on large and small scales. that said- now feels like a great time to pick it up again.
the movie that everyone is talking about that is truly as good as everyone is saying is the directorial debut from sketch comedy actor Jordan Peele. its a tense social-commentary sci-fi horror that can be appreciated on so many levels it almost requires multiple viewings. something thats great about this film that is true of many horror films is that it confirms the suspicion protagonist while raising the bar on the evil extremeness of what we expect as a viewer. it goes further. its a movie that i'm finally ready to discuss after telling people not to talk about it until i see it, but now i feel sort of alone. can we get a coffee and talk about it? the film confidently walks the line of bitter social commentary as it portrays a black man entering the world of a white family in a sort of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner sort of way through an extended weekend at his white girlfriend's parents house. the comically neo-liberal family shows signs of subtle and overt racism from the start and it all sort of devolves into deep mind-control, exploitation, and sci-fi jim-crow-ism. the movie is shocking, odd and best of all it rings true. despite all of the absurd escalations, one of the tensest moments comes near the end when the cop car lights are flashing. without giving too much away- this is a really special movie that is expertly crafted, carries weight, and manages to be darkly funny and truly frightening pretty much the whole time. well done.
one film that doesn't need my highlighting its screenings is the film I Am Not Your Negro, which is showing at the PMA the weekend of April 7th and has already sold out all shows. and this is the second weekend its shown there! like so many, i am deeply in love with the words of James Baldwin and its heartening to see that this film has sold out so many shows. a third weekend of screenings is on the horizon but so far unannounced. i still haven't seen the film but it is based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript for a book entitled Remember this House, which recounts the lives and assassinations of Baldwin's friends Medgar Evans, Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. The film uses archival footage and narrative voice overs to contextualize, telling the story of the time the work was being created, placing Baldwin within the narrative, and bringing us to contemporary times.
screening one night only over at the Nick and being presented by Space Gallery is the joyously odd 15th anniversary screening of Donnie Darko. the film vibes pretty hard on the 80s, and mixes in time travel, horror, and high school in a way that should be required viewing for any fan of Stranger Things. to this day its still one of jake gyllenhaal's strongest performances for whatever that may be worth. i remember seeing it on opening weekend in nyc while i was in college with two fellow film students. we were the only 3 in the theater. its interesting to see how a film like this can become a cult classic and find its audience over the years after its slow start- being essentially dumped in theaters by a mishandled initial release. the power of the movie in all its uniqueness lives on and grows stronger. its a "whats-it"- my favorite imaginary genre. like Get Out, its hard to pin down. Donnie Darko screens at the nick on Thurs April 6 at 7pm.
the film nerd in me is geeking out on getting the chance this weekend to see two movies i missed seeing last year- Toni Erdmann and The Red Turtle. the plan is to go up to the Strand- one of the best screens in the state- and do a double feature on Saturday. trailers and showtimes for both films are below:
toni erdmann screens at The Strand in Rockland 4/1/17 - Saturday8:00 pm4/2/17 - Sunday5:30 pm4/3/17 - Monday7:00 pm4/4/17 - Tuesday7:30 pm4/5/17 - Wednesday7:00 pm
red turtle screens at the Strand in Rockland :4/1/17 - Saturday3:00 pm, 5:30 pm4/2/17 - Sunday3:00 pm
thats all for now. im glad to be writing these again. there's a lot to look forward to that i havent mentioned that will be coming up pretty soon too. hope everyones doing ok!