1985. USA. Dir: Joel & Ethan Coen. With Frances McDormand. 99 min.
The Coens’ magnetic debut feature begins in Texas, where a single thought sparks a flood of violence. When a loutish bar owner hires an unsavory private eye to murder his wife and her lover, double-crosses and death cause matters to spiral. Set in a haunting, lurid world lit by neon signs and jukeboxes, this heart-pounding thriller defines neo-noir.
1999. USA/Germany. Dir: David Fincher. With Brad Pitt, Edward Norton. 139 min.
One man spends his days splicing single frames of porn into the movies and making soap from human fat. Another watches his life waste away in his job evaluating car crashes and obsessing over flat-pack furniture. When their lives cross in a calculated explosion, Fight Club emerges and mayhem ensues.
1992. USA. Dir: Spike Lee. With Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett. 202 min.
The epic adaptation of the activist’s autobiography spans decades, from his birth in Klan-terrorized Omaha to his adopted home of Harlem. Lee masterfully ushers viewers into the most turbulent times of the American twentieth century, celebrating a great leader’s legacy while placing his imperfect humanity in the forefront. Co-programmed with Invisible Men.
1992. USA. Dir: Ernest R. Dickerson. With Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur. 95 min.
Dickerson’s Harlem-set crime drama may be almost a quarter century old, but its focus on the issue of police brutality in inner cities remains as relevant as ever. An East Coast response to Boyz N The Hood, the film boasts an all-star cast of black musicians and actors, including Tupac, Queen Latifah, and Samuel L. Jackson. Co-programmed with Invisible Men.
2016. USA. Dir: Travis Knight. With Charlize Theron. Animated. 102 min.
A young storyteller who can animate origami with a strum of his samishen leaves home when witches come to steal his eyeball for the Moon King. He embarks on a journey infused with folklore, fantasy, and surprisingly affecting musings on art and death – courtesy of singular stop-motion studio Laika (Coraline).
1951. USA. Dir: George Stevens. With Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor. 122 min. 35mm print.
An ambitious pauper with remote ties to wealth stretches his identity to the breaking point when his juggled personas ignite multiple romances. Clift is as poignantly fragile as Taylor is incandescent and electrifying in this meticulous, quintessential American tragedy.
2016. USA. Dir: Barry Jenkins. With Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp. 110 min.
““Moonlight” is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces.” – A. O. Scott
“Dramatic film has long been fascinated with issues of identity, but they’ve rarely been explored with the degree of eloquence and heartbreaking beauty as in Barry Jenkins’ masterful “Moonlight,” one of the essential American films of 2016.” – Brian Tallerico
“…a beautifully intimate character study that argues in no uncertain terms that the African-American identity is far too complex to be reduced to the flimsy stereotypes so often presented on-screen.” – Peter Debruge
2016. USA. Dir: Alex Horwitz. Documentary. 84 min.
You’ve watched Lin-Manuel Miranda on SNL, sung along to the cast album a little too loudly at parties, and (if you’re lucky) seen the Broadway smash hit Hamilton itself. The alumnus-directed PBS Great Performances doc provides an unprecedented look into the behind-the-scenes creation of a pop culture phenomenon.
1982. USA. Dir: John Carpenter. With Kurt Russell, Keith David. 109 min.
A grizzled whiskey-guzzling Russell and a team of Antarctic researchers fight for survival against one of the most disturbing monstrosities to creep across the screen: a deceptive alien that takes on the form of its victims. The brain behind Halloween combines nerve-shredding tension with unmatched creature effects and an Ennio Morricone score.
1942. USA. Dir: Jacques Tourneur. With Simone Simon, Kent Smith. 73 min.
In this twisted fable about the caging of female sexuality, a woman with a fascination for large felines meets a well-to-do fella, falls in love, and gets married. Yet as the two find trouble consummating their nuptials, hubby’s eyes wander and the new bride shows signs that she might actually be a mystical cat-human hybrid…on the prowl for blood.