Friday, February 6, 2015

Indywood celebrates Mardi Gras with week of Carnival-themed films

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 8:51 AM


The Indywood Theater, 628 Elysian Fields Ave, brings Carnival to the big screen with a trio of timely films showing over the next seven days. Starting tonight, Friday, Feb 6, it's We Won't Bow Down, a 2014 documentary tracing the history and culture of Mardi Gras Indians, several of whom will be in attendance at tonight's screenings. Starting Saturday, Feb. 7 will be Dance For a Chicken, Cajun filmmaker Pat Mires' 1993 examination of Cajun Mardi Gras. Les Blank's classic documentary Always For Pleasure rounds out the week's offerings. The complete schedule is available here.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WWOZ and Indywood Theater present music documentary series

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 1:45 PM


and the Indywood Movie Theater have joined forces to show a series of music documentaries. The series kicks off Sunday, Feb. 8 with two screenings of iconic 1978 Les Blank documentary Always For Pleasure, which chronicles a New Orleans cultural traditions including jazz funerals, second line parades and crawfish boils. Two WWOZ short films also will be shown.

The screenings will be followed by discussions with WWOZ Video Director Charlie Steiner and Indywood co-founder Will Sampson. Tickets are available in advance online here or for $7 at the door. 
Last year, the Criterion Collection digitized Blank's 16mm collection.  "Always For Pleasure" also is available on

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Spellbound closes Hitchcock series at the Prytania

Posted By on Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 9:48 AM

The dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali for Spellbound
  • The dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali for Spellbound

Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck starred in Spellbound, a film that's unique in the Hitchcock canon. It may be the first (and Hitchcock's only) "psychoanalytical thriller," with a plot that hinges on psychoanalysis as it was understood and practiced in 1945. It features pioneering use of the theremin in Miklos Rozsa's spooky (and Oscar-winning) score. It's And there's nothing quite like the film's dream sequence, which was designed by Salvador Dali. Spellbound will be the last entry in the Prytania Theatre's current Hitchcock series, with screenings at noon on Sunday, Feb.1 and Wednesday, Feb. 4. Tickets are $5.75.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: A Most Violent Year

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year
  • Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year

There are good reasons why so many of today’s films are set in the 1970s and early ’80s. Many filmmakers who grew up in that era have reached their prime and find themselves ready to explore personal and cultural roots. Recent American film school graduates likely cut their teeth on the “new Hollywood” directors from that era — a roster including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Altman — and continue to find inspiration in their free-spirited work.

Now on his third award-winning feature after a 15-year career in commercials, writer/director J.C Chandor (born 1973) mines that rich era once more with A Most Violent Year. Despite its title, and the fact that it’s set in New York City in 1981 — statistically a peak year for violent crime in New York — this is no gangster movie in the traditional sense. It tells the story of Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a Latin American immigrant struggling to expand a successful heating-oil business without taking part in the corruption and violence of his competitors. While A Most Violent Year does a remarkable job of conjuring a particular time and place, it finds its calling in portraying a nascent version of the moral and legal grey areas in which so many businesses operate. It’s not much of a leap to the Wall Street and corporate America of today.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Casa de España hosting free monthly screenings of Spanish-language films

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 9:13 AM


Casa de España is hosting a spanish-language meet-up and free screening of a Spanish-language film on the first Monday of each month at Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Avenue. Each screening is followed by a discussion intended to encourage practice at speaking Spanish. The screenings are free and open to the public and all films include English subtitles.

Spanish director Julio Vedem's 1992 film Vacas (Cows) will screen next Monday, Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m. This award-winning expressionist drama tells the stories of two families across three generations in the rural Basque region of Spain. More info here.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: Force Majeure

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 12:57 PM



The French phrase “force majeure” translates to a superior or irresistible power. In contract law, that meaning is expanded to describe an event (an “act of God”) that excuses a party from living up to a contractual obligation, and that concept haunts innovative Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure. Successful businessman Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) reacts instinctively to what may be a life-threatening situation by abandoning his wife and children to save himself. Ostlund’s film depicts a family in crisis, and it’s one part black comedy to two parts existential drama. Force Majeure might have delivered a character study but instead becomes a study in character — or a meditation on society’s unspoken but strongly held perceptions of gender-appropriate behavior.

Winner of a Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and the recent recipient of 10 nominations at Sweden’s equivalent to the Oscars, Force Majeure takes place over the five days of a model Swedish family’s vacation at a beautiful ski resort in the French Alps. Tomas’ crew includes his wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and two small children who are not too young to understand what their father has done. The kids are unable to express their anger and disappointment verbally, but their mother has no such trouble.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prospect.3 bows out with screenings of two films about Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Ogden

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 2:03 PM


The Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Film Society will commemorate the closing of the Prospect.3 biennial and the Ogden's Basquiat on the Bayou exhibition with screenings of a pair of films about celebrated artist Jean-Michel Basquiat on Saturday, January 24. Director Tamra Davis' documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child screens at noon, and Julien Schnabel's biopic Basquiat — which features David Bowie as Andy Warhol — screens at 4 p.m., both at the Ogden. Admission is free for Film Society and Ogden members. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors & students, $5 for children age 5-17, free for children under 5. More info here and here.

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Oscar-nominated Ida returns this weekend at Indywood Theater

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 8:15 AM


We were pleased that Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's stunning Ida — probably our favorite film of 2014 — was nominated for an Oscar last week in the Foreign Language Film category. Even better, Ida broke free of the "foreign film" domain to earn another well-deserved Oscar nomination for Cinematography, a category typically dominated by big-budget Hollywood films.

Those who missed Ida's September screenings presented by Chalmette Movies and Shotgun Cinema will get more chances to see the film starting this Saturday, January 24, at the Indywood Theater, 628 Elysian Fields Avenue. Ida will screen from the 24th through the 28th each night at 9:00 p.m., and on the 29th at 7:00 p.m. More info here.

Read our review of the film here.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Review: Foxcatcher

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 5:03 PM

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in <em>Foxcatcher</em>.
  • Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.

In 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald published a short story called The Rich Boy in which he famously wrote, “Let me tell you about the rich. They are different from you and me.” It was 10 years later that Fitzgerald’s literary peer and onetime friend Ernest Hemingway answered the point sardonically in his own writing with, “Yes, they have more money.” While he was at it, Hemingway also wrote that the rich were “dull and repetitious.” Each writer’s point of view has stood the test of time if director Bennett Miller’s scathing Foxcatcher is any indication of truth as regards the moneyed classes.

Foxcatcher is the “based on true events” story of du Pont family heir and diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont, who bought his way into Olympic sports in the 1980s by building a private training facility and inviting 1984 Olympic gold medalists and brothers Mark and Dave Schultz to join Team Foxcatcher, du Pont’s privately funded wrestling organization. Named after the du Pont family’s lavish 800-acre Foxcatcher Farm estate in Eastern Pennsylvania, the team would train the country’s best for competition at the 1987 World Wrestling Championships and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

John du Pont also hoped Team Foxcatcher would legitimize him as a patriot, leader and mentor to heroic athletes who in reality only needed his financial support. But reality was not du Pont’s strong suit, and the resulting disconnect ran deep. Foxcatcher imagines the complex and deteriorating relationships among du Pont, Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz as real-life events spiral out of control, leading to murder and incarceration. An artful but austere character study, the film is elevated by an astounding dramatic performance from comic actor and The Daily Show with John Stewart alumnus Steve Carell as du Pont.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead 2015 Oscar nominations with nine each

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 8:38 AM

Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The 2015 Oscar nominations were announced this morning and leading the pack were Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Alejandro Inarritu's Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) with nine nominations each, including Best Picture. Six more films rounded out the list of Best Picture nominees: Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, Whiplash, American Sniper and The Theory of Everything.

The 2015 Oscars ceremony will take place on Feb. 22. See the complete list of nominees here.

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