Thursday, February 23

Middletown at Spectacle Theater

What’s Showing Today? Thursday, February 23
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Featured Screening: Middletown introduced by Peter Davis at Spectacle Theater

Tonight acclaimed journalist and documentary filmmaker Peter Davis (Hearts and Minds, The Selling of the Pentagon, The Nation magazine’s U.S.-Iraq war coverage) heads to Spectacle Theater to screen and discuss the first two films of Middletown, a six-part series of potentially-standalone films offering up slices of American life in Muncie, Indiana.

Formed in 1976, the Middletown Film Project was conceived by Davis and three Ball State University professors to revisit Robert and Helen Lynd‘s Depression-era homespun anthropological studies in the Midwest. Davis has described it as “an attempt to search for continuity and change in American life, as embodied in the people, institutions and core values of a single community.” A team of directors was assembled to tackle six films on different aspects of life in Muncie that could illuminate the American character as a whole. Tonight’s films, The Campaign and The Big Game, get into the thick of a mayoral race and a heated basketball rivalry. Community of Praise, directed by Richard Leacock & Marisa Silver, portrays religious fundamentalism in a troubled family; Family Business, regarded as one of the best in the series, looks at a fun-loving local businessman’s personal and financial struggles to save his ailing pizza restaurant—both of those screen Thursday, March 1. March 8 is Davis’s own directorial entry, divorce chronicle Second Time Around, followed by the series’ most heralded and notorious entry, Seventeen. Still regarded as scandalous, the portrayal of Muncie’s teens was yanked from PBS broadcast and resurfaced on the festival circuit to garner shock and acclaim. Working in collaboration with the teenage subjects, the director’s receive startling intimacy for their fully-rendered, multi-faceted portrayal of young American life. Recently SF360 remarked, “One thing is for sure: Seventeen is without a doubt one of the greatest movies, perhaps the greatest, about teenage life (not to mention American life) ever made.”

Middletown screens two films-per-Thursday through March 8, and a $15 series passes are available. Otherwise, seats are $5 as always. Check out descriptions and trailers here.

Also Recommended

Anthology Film Archives‘s tribute to screenwriter John Sayles begins today with The Candidate and The Howling, two savage visions alternately of the congressional political machine and bestial transmutation. Robert Redford stars in the former, a 1972 satire capturing the spirit of the ’68 campaign trail with fearless, documentary-style detail that remains startling (and occasionally obfuscating) to this day. (It’s unclear to me exactly what Sayles’s involvement was or why this is included in the series, but it’s pretty rad nonetheless. Note also the previously announced 35mm presentation will now be on video.) The Howling is an intensely gritty, satirical werewolf picture regarded as one of the genre’s best. The outstanding special effects are provided by Rob Bottin (The Thing).

Kings County Cinema Society continues to explore race on film with a Blaxploitation Triple Header at LaunchPad. Joanna White-Oldham of the Center for Active Learning will be on hand to present The Mack, Claude and Cleopatra Jones. All are FREE, BYOB with popcorn provided.

Bette Davis, in full-on psycho-biddy mode, stars in Hammer Studios’s 1965 production of The Nanny. That’s at Chelsea Clearview tonight at 7:00 and 9:30 pm. Tickets for the weekly Thursday evening Clearview Classics series are just $7.50, and the early show is introduced by drag queen Hedda Lettuce.


From the Pen of: John Sayles at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • The Howling (Joe Dante). Details. 1981. 91 min. 35mm. 7:00 pm.
  • The Candidate (Michael Ritchie). Details. Video. 1972. 110 min. 9:00 pm.

The Wooster Group Film and Video at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Three Places in Rhode Island & Future Real Moments 1Details. 7:00 pm.
  • The Road to ImmortalityDetails. 9:00 pm.

William Wellman at Film Forum
Series Details • 2-for-1

  • Reaching for the SunDetails. 35mm. 1941. 1:00, 4:45 and 8:30 pm.
  • Men with WingsDetails. 35mm. 1938. 2:45, 6:30 and 10:15 pm.

Film Comment Selects 2012 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder). Details. 1978. Digital. 121 min. 1:30 pm.
  • Silent House (Laura Lau & Chris Kentis). Details. Q&A. 2011. 86 min. 4:00 pm.
  • Headhunters (Morten Tyldum). Details. Digital. 2011. 101 min. 6:30 pm.
  • Rebellion (Mathieu Kassovitz). Details. Digital. 136 min. 8:45 pm.

Documentary Fortnight 2012 at MoMA
Series Details

  • Ukrainian Time Machine: Video Diary 2-1-2006 to the Present and Ukrainian Time Machine: Kalendar (Naomi Uman). Details. 2011/2008. 94 min. 1:30 pm.
  • Wildness (Wu Tsang). Details. Q&A. 2012. 75 min. 4:00 pm.
  • Argentinian Lesson (Wojciech Staron) and Dust (Angela Reginato). Details. 2011. 84 min. 4:30 pm.
  • Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis (Roddy Bogawa). Details. 2011. 95 min. 8:00 pm.

Middletown at Spectacle Theater
Series Details

  • The Campaign (Tim Cohen). Introduced by Peter Davis. Details. 1982. 7:30 pm.
  • The Big Game (E.J. Vaughn). Introduced by Peter Davis. Details. 1982. 9:30 pm.

Everybody Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (Chris Metzler & Lev Anderson) at 92YTribecaDetails. Metzler in attendance. HDCam. 2010. 107 min. 7:30 pm.
Attack the Block (Joe Cornish) at BAMcinématekDetails. 35mm. 2011. 88 min. 4:30, 6:50 and 9:15 pm.
Story of Lover’s Rock (Menelik Shabazz) at The Brooklyn Museum. Details. 2011. 100 min. 7:00 pm.
The Nanny (Seth Holt) at Chelsea ClearviewDetails. Early show introduced by drag queen Hedda Lettuce. 1965. 93 min. 7:00 and 9:30 pm.
Blaxploitation Triple-Header: The Mack (Michael Campus) Claudine (John Berry) and Cleopatra Jones (Jack Starett) at LaunchPad. Details. BYOB/popcorn provided. 110, 92 and 89 min. at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 pm respectively. FREE.


Michael (Markus Schleinzer) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 96 min. 1:15, 3:15, 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 pm.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 123 min. 1:15, 4:00, 6:45 and 9:10 pm.



Below listed North-South