April 20, 2018
The Shape Of WaterApril 20, 2018
Drama / 2017 / 123 minutes
Winner of the 2017 Oscar for best picture and best director for Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water is a – forgive the pun – a high watermark for the celebrated Mexican auteur. Fusing his love of cinematic monsters with his natural gift for sweeping romantic sentiment, The Shape of Water tells the fairy-tale inspired story of a mute female custodian (Sally Hawkins) living in Cold War era Baltimore who falls in love with an amphibious humanoid that is being held prisoner at a top-secret scientific research facility. Hawkins is wonderful, as is gill man Doug Jones (both fully committing to wordless performances), but the real standouts are Michael Shannon as the vengeful military man who captured the creature and Richard Jenkins as our heroine’s closeted, toupee-wearing neighbor. An impeccably designed steam-punk love letter not only to the classic monster movies of yore, but to the golden age of Hollywood romances. With Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Oh Lucy!April 20, 2018
Comedy / 2018 / 95 minutes
Japanese writer/director Atsuko Hirayanagi brings her wonderfully oddball sensibility stateside with the 2018 charmer Oh Lucy! Shinobu Terajima plays a lonely middle-aged Tokyo office worker who, after enrolling in an unconventional English language class and adopting a wig-wearing alternate identity, becomes infatuated with her handsome, emotionally open American instructor (Josh Hartnett, in a career-redeeming performance), ultimately following him to suburban California when he leaves suddenly with her niece. A soulful dramedy of identity, longing and miscommunication, Oh Lucy! is the sort of idiosyncratic, open-ended rumination that feels refreshing next to formulaic Hollywood fare and heralds the emergence of a strong cinematic voice. With Kaho Minami, Shiori Kutsuna and Megan Mullallay.
Batman Returns (35mm)April 20, 2018
Action / 1992 / 126 minutes
A far more madcap and visionary outing than its box office shattering predecessor, Tim Burton’s 2nd go at the caped crusader, Batman Returns, is clearly the work of his strange, singular mind. Michael Keaton – all arched eyebrow stoicism – is back as the Dark Knight, this time joined by a strong, sexy, stitch-suited Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman and a gleefully disgusting Danny DeVito as the Penguin. Add Christopher Walken and some weaponized penguins into the mix and you have one of the most madcap comic book phantasmagorias to ever grace the screen. The toy companies didn’t appreciate its kid un-friendly psychosexual themes and gross-out gags, but any fan of Burton’s German Expressionism by way of Bugs Bunny aesthetic will find this a refreshingly off-kilter blockbuster and a strong entry in the Batman canon. With one of Danny Elfman’s most gloriously careening carnival funhouse scores.
Dazed And ConfusedApril 20, 2018
Comedy / 1993 / 102 minutes
Marijuana is omnipresent in Richard Linklater’s seminal 90s high school comedy Dazed and Confused, and while it is used to keep the good times rolling, it’s not the focus. A hazy, lazy memoir of Linklater’s daze as a high schooler in 70s Texas, the characters are the real engine, many of whom have become iconic staples of modern pop culture. What there is of a story chronicles several groups of teens through the last day of school in small town Texas circa 1976; the freshman kids are ritualistically bullied by next year’s seniors, friends gather to hang out and get stoned, and preparations are made for an end-of-the-year kegger to be held that night. Expanding on the aesthetic established in his 1991 indie breakthrough Slacker, Linklater allow conversation to drive the nostalgia-soaked scenes, and that coupled with the unbeatable soundtrack full of mid-70’s album rock classics creates a viewing experience that feels like hitching a free ride. Featuring unforgettable early appearances by Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Adam Greenberg, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Rory Cochrane, Jason London, Wiley Wiggins and Matthew McConaughey in his breakout role as the laconically lecherous hanger-on Wooderson.