Preview: The Oasis documentary, ‘Supersonic,’ screens on Oct. 26


The Oasis documentary Supersonic was a late addition to my October Coming Attractions column for Buffalo Spree. My write-up is below, and watch this space for my Film Stage review of the film.

Oasis—Supersonic: A documentary about Noel and Liam Gallagher’s Oasis, the battling Britpop supernovas behind “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” from the producers of Oscar-winning Amy Winehouse doc Amy? Yes, please. A24 is releasing Supersonic in America, and the distributor has scheduled one-night-only screenings for October 26 nationwide. Whether you love the Gallaghers or not, watch the trailer at and tell me you’re not intrigued. This could turn out to be one of the most entertaining documentaries of 2016. (7 p.m. on October 26 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;

October Coming Attractions: Celebrate ten years of the Buffalo International Film Festival, and prepare for Halloween with The Shining


Check out my ‘Coming Attractions’ column from the October 2016 Buffalo Spree.

October features some cinematic kingpins—Fellini, Kubrick, the Marx Brothers—but it’s highlighted by the tenth installment of one of Western New York’s strongest film festivals. 

Buffalo International Film Festival: Last year was a thrilling one for the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF), highlighted by a screening of Emelie, Michael Thelin’s well-reviewed thriller. The 2016 fest is set for October 7 through 10, and for the first time in the festival’s ten-year history, every entry will be screened in a venue located in the City of Buffalo. The opening night centerpiece at the North Park will be Tyler Hubby’s new feature documentary Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present. That’s huge, especially for the late artist and UB professor’s legions of local fans. The lineup includes numerous interesting films, so peruse the entire lineup and find times and locations at 7 to 11;

Buffalo Film Seminars: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian open October with three heavy hitters: Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, October 4), Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, October 11), and Orson Welles (Chimes at Midnight, October 18). Still, the most intriguing pick of the month might be Sarah Elder and Leonard Kamerling’s 1977 documentary Drums of Winter, which screens on October 25. The hugely acclaimed, award-winning film about the Yup’ik people of central Alaska is listed in the Film Preservation Registry by the Library of Congress. And there’s a wonderful local link here, since Elder is a media study professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. (7 p.m. at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;

Oasis—Supersonic: A documentary about Noel and Liam Gallagher’s Oasis, the battling Britpop supernovas behind “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” from the producers of Oscar-winning Amy Winehouse doc Amy? Yes, please. A24 is releasing Supersonic in America, and the distributor has scheduled one-night-only screenings for October 26 nationwide. Whether you love the Gallaghers or not, watch the trailer at and tell me you’re not intrigued. This could turn out to be one of the most entertaining documentaries of 2016. (7 p.m. on October 26 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St. ;

TCM Big Screen Classics—The ShiningHave you watched the documentary Room 237? If not, get on that. (I’ll wait.) The exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its many (probably incorrect) interpretations is utterly mind-melting. It also reminds us that Kubrick’s film is far more than a scary Stephen King adaptation with an unhinged Jack Nicholson screaming, “Here’s Johnny!” Instead, The Shining is one of the most complex, influential movies ever made. But it is scary, as well, so kudos to the TCM Big Screen series for making the film its October selection, just in time for Halloween. (2 and 7 p.m. on October 23 and 26 at the Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;

Fredonia Opera House: Arthur Miller and the Marx Brothers have genius in common, and two of their finest works grace the Fredonia Opera House screen in October. First is a simulcast of Miller’s View From the Bridgeat 1 p.m. on October 1. This 2016 Tony winner for Best Revival of a Play stars the always stellar Mark Strong. Meanwhile, on October 7, the Opera House screens the classic Marx Brothers’ comedy Duck Soup at 7:30 p.m. The screening is part of Fredonia State College’s annual “Freedonia Marxonia Festival.” And in a nice touch, admission is “Free.” (Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia;

Roycroft Film Society—About Elly: Anyone who’s seen Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation and The Past will likely agree that the Iranian filmmaker ranks near the top of international cinema’s best. His latest effort, The Salesman, earned him Best Screenplay honors after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May. That one will be released soon, but this month the Roycroft Film Society offers a chance to catch 2009’s About Elly. The story of the mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher is considered one of Farhadi’s greatest works, and that’s saying something. (4 p.m. on October 9 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora;

Nichols High School Movie Night at the North Park: The students at Nichols have darn good taste in cinema, as evidenced by this stellar series. The lineup features Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman and Charlie Chaplin’s The Bank on October 2; Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby on October 17; Hitchcock’s bold, experimental Rope on October 24; and King Kong on October 31. (The Cameraman/The Bank: 11:30 a.m. on October 2, all others at 7 p.m. on October 17, 24, and 31, at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.;

North Park Theatre: In addition to the aforementioned Nichols’ screenings the North Park’s October lineup includes the George Hamilton-starring indie Silver Skies at 7 p.m. on October 4 and a tenth anniversary presentation of Mike Judge’s prescient satire Idiocracy at 9:45 p.m. the same night. (Both will feature live satellite Q-and-As.) The silent horror classic Nosferatu is scheduled for 7 p.m. on October 12, and will feature a live score by the Invincible Czars. (North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.;

riverrun Global Film Series: Iran is the “Country in Focus” for this free three-day presentation of films and lectures. The series will include a short film from late Taste of Cherry director Abbas Kiarostami, as well as Bahram Beyzaie’s recently restored 1972 drama Downpour. Also scheduled is Notes on Blindness, a project with both a documentary and a virtual reality component. (Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.;

Burchfield Penney Art Center: In addition to the riverrun Global Film Series mentioned above, BPAC has October screenings of the documentary All the Difference, a film exploring issues related to African-American manhood, and Korey Green’s Buffalo-set (and shot) gangster film The Romans(Difference: 7 p.m. on October 13; Romans: 7 p.m. on Oct. 20; 1300 Elmwood Ave.;

Thursday Night Terrors—Fright Night: This great new horror film series continues in October with 1985’sFright Night, Tom Holland’s thrilling and funny vampire tale. Ignore the so-so Colin Farrell-starring 2011 remake, and instead head to the Dipson Amherst. (7:30 p.m. on October 27 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;

Cultivate Cinema Circle: The fall CCC season includes a focus on Robert Altman, and for October, that means a screening of his underrated ensemble piece A Wedding. Also planned is Audrie & Daisy, a documentary about sexual assault that garnered high praise at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. (A Wedding: 7 p.m. on October 6 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; Audrie & Daisy: 7 p.m. on October 12 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.;

Rocky Horror Picture Party: It wouldn’t be Halloween month without a screening of cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This event is an annual Rivera Theatre favorite. (9:30 p.m. on October 28 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda;

Call Her Applebroog: Artist Ida Applebroog’s daughter, filmmaker Beth B., directed this personal portrait of the provocative painter. (7 p.m. on October 12 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.;

Old Chestnut Film Society—The Lady EveThe films of Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb are the focus for the latest installment of the long-running Old Chestnut Film Society series. December’s selection is a goodie, as The Lady Eve is one of Preston Sturgess’s finest comedies. (7:30 p.m. on December 9 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore;

The Screening Room: Amherst’s Screening Room has so much happening this month that I barely know where to begin; remember to visit for the full listing. Halloween-centric highlights include the John Landis horror favorite An American Werewolf in London on October 7, 8, 11, 14, and 15; Mel Brooks’sYoung Frankenstein, starring the late Gene Wilder, on October 22, 25, and 28; Mario Bava’s cult classicHatchet for the Honeymoon on October 22; John Carpenter’s original Halloween on October 27, 29, and 31; local filmmaker Greg Lamberson’s Killer Rack on October 28 and 29; a double bill of Vincent Price-starrer The House on Haunted Hill and Ed Wood’s needs-no-introduction Plan 9 From Outer Space on October 30; and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead on October 31. (Check website for times; 3131 Sheridan Dr., Amherst;

Also screening this month …

  • The Dipson Amherst Theatre has two opera simulcasts scheduled this month: Samson et Dalila on October 13 and Macbeth on October 20. (Samson: 8 p.m. on October 13; Macbeth: 8 p.m. on October 20; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;
  • Sherlock Holmes joins Sherlock Holmes, in a way, when Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Elementary’s Jonny Lee Miller appear in a screening of the National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein on October 25. Trainspotting and Steve Jobs director Danny Boyle helmed the acclaimed production. (7 p.m. on October 25 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;
  • Outside of Buffalo, there are two unique October film festivals worth a drive. ImageOut, Rochester’s LGBT film festival, is set for October 6 to 16 ( And the Toronto After Dark Film Festival offers nine days of horror and sci-fi from October 13 to 21 (

A TIFF16 round-up (for


I wrote this round-up of my time at TIFF16 for Note that my suspicions about La La Land taking the People’s Choice Award were indeed correct.

For me, the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival is over. But TIFF16 actually runs through Sunday, the day we’ll discover which film has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. (My money is on La La Land.)

There is plenty more to come from me on the festival, including a feature in the November Spree. But in the meantime, here’s a brief ranking of the 26 TIFF entries I saw during or before the festival. You’re going to hear a lot more about Jackie, Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals, Moonlight, American Honey, Toni Erdmann, Elle, and Arrival in the months to come. Without further ado, my TIFF16 ranking:

  1. Jackie
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Nocturnal Animals
  4. Moonlight
  5. American Honey
  6. Personal Shopper
  7. Toni Erdmann
  8. Una
  9. Elle
  10. Arrival
  11. Lady Macbeth
  12. Werewolf
  13. The Birth of a Nation
  14. We Are Never Alone
  15. Clair Obscur
  16. City of Tiny Lights
  17. Dog Eat Dog
  18. Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
  19. A Monster Calls
  20. Trespass Against Us
  21. Marija
  22. Past Life
  23. Little Wing
  24. Le Ciel Flamand
  25. Pyromaniac
  26. In the Blood

One film to call attention to is Lady Macbeth. Part of TIFF’s Platform series, the film is a shockingly dark period piece about a young woman in a passionless marriage. What follows involves sex, murder, and some stunning set pieces, all centered on a killer performance from star Florence Pugh. Happily, the film was bought by distributor Roadside Attractions during the festival and will be released in 2017.

A quieter film than many of the festival biggies, Lady Macbeth is the perfect festival find. Keep it on your radar.

Notes from the queue: My TIFF16 diary


A significant part of the Toronto International Film Festival experience is waiting in line for screenings to begin. This year, I spent much of that time writing reviews or putting together some brief Facebook posts about my time at the festival. Here are four days of notes, all written the morning after.

Day 1: September 8, 2016

Day one of #TIFF16 is in the books, and it was a solid start. We did not arrive in time to catch any of the early morning biggies (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, LOVING, PATERSON, DANIEL BLAKE), but we did manage to eat pizza at 10 a.m. (win) before I caught Olivier Assayas’s confounding, brilliant PERSONAL SHOPPER. It’s no shock this slow-burn ghost story has proven to be divisive, but it worked wonderfully for me, and it’s another peak for Kristen Stewart. (A woman behind me just described the film as “an incoherent mess.”)
Next was the Cannes hit TONI ERDMANN, a long, long, long but truly lovable comedy about a father and daughter. Madden Ade’s film meanders quite a bit, but it has moments as uproarious and moving as any in recent memory.
Following TONI was Paul Schrader’s unpleasant but admittedly entertaining DOG EAT DOG. It’s a Cleveland-set crime romp starring Nicolas Cage and Willem DaFoe, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Norway’s PYROMANIAC could’ve used some of Schrader’s lurid passion — it’s a repetitive and dull account of a serial arsonist.
Now on to day two, starting with Tom Ford’s NOCTURNAL ANIMALS … One thing is certain: Everyone on screen will be better dressed than me.


Day 2: September 9, 2016

Brief rundown of #TIFF16 day two — brief because I’m now exhausted: Tom Ford’s NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is my favorite of the fest so far, a razor-sharp, (predictably) stylish, uniquely funny film that feels like De Palma plus Hitchcock divided by, well, Tom Ford. The performances are uniformly excellent, with Amy Adams and Michael Shannon at the top of the list.
My Amy Adams marathon continued with ARRIVAL, a strong, cerebral sci-fi drama with surprising emotional impact. There’s always one film at TIFF that makes me really miss my kids, and this year, it’s ARRIVAL.
The somber kids’ film A MONSTER CALLS was ambitious but way too familiar, and left me cold. Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE, on the other hand, was a wildly entertaining, utterly provocative gem. Isabelle Huppert gives the most memorably complex performance I’ve seen this year.
The day ended with so-so crime thriller/family drama hybrid TRESPASS AGAINST US, a film I’ll be reviewing soon for The Film Stage.
I’m now seated for a British entry called LADY MACBETH, and the day will also include THE BIRTH OF A NATION, VOYAGE OF TIME, and at least one more TBD … On with it!


Day 3: September 10, 2016

It’s my fourth and final day at #TIFF16, and it follows an interesting Saturday, to say the least.
I started with LADY MACBETH, a very dark period piece not based on Shakespeare, but featuring a heroine who would make Lady M. proud. It’s unsettling and fascinating to watch where this film goes.
I followed with Nate Parker’s controversial THE BIRTH OF A NATION, a film with moments of great power but occasionally clumsy execution. I’d call it good but not great, and that’s without even considering the moral issues Parker’s past.
Terrence Malick’s VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY is more of the same — more breathy voiceover (this time from Cate Blanchett), more stunning imagery, more Malick in every way. It’s not a satisfying experience, although perhaps the shorter IMAX version will be.
TIFF added a late-night press screening of the acclaimed MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, so I skipped Park Chan-wook’s THE HANDMAIDEN to attend. (I already skipped the latest from Wim Wenders due to fatigue, hunger, and disinterest.) Kenneth Lonergan’s MANCHESTER was worth the schedule change — it’s an emotionally devastating winner in every way. There’s lots of weeping, and yes, it made me weepy. Casey Affleck highlights a uniformly strong cast.
Today includes Rooney Mara in UNA (watch for my review for The Film Stage), buzzed coming-of-age drama MOONLIGHT, Cannes’ favorite AMERICAN HONEY, and, finally, Natalie Portman in JACKIE. With any luck, I’ll also catch some football while writing today …


Day 4: September 11, 2016

My final day at #TIFF16 saw fun times in the order-less line pictured here, but it was worth it: JACKIE, starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, was the finest film I saw at the festival. And that’s saying something, because I saw several masterpieces. In addition to JACKIE, I loved three other films yesterday: Rooney Mara-starrer UNA, stunning coming-of-age drama MOONLIGHT, and the wondrously electric AMERICAN HONEY.
More to come on these and others, but right now it’s time to mow the lawn. (That’s a sure sign I’m home from the fest.)

#TIFF16 starts tomorrow … and I’ll be there


My friend Jared Mobarak and I head north tomorrow morning, so make sure to keep up with the fun on Twitter. I’ll also be posting at, writing a feature for the November Spree, reviewing a couple TIFF selections for The Film Stage (if all goes according to plan, Una and Trespass Against Us), and one for The Playlist (Werewolf).

It’s all on … in less than 24 hours.

A TIFF16 ‘how-to’ and ten under-the-radar picks

Things to Come, courtesy of TIFF

Things to Come, courtesy of TIFF

It’s now a little more than one week until the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and two previews by yours truly were published this week. The first, for, is a “how-to” guide for Buffalonians interested in attending, while the second, for, looks at 10 under-the-radar selections.

Lots more on the horizon, starting next Thursday, September 8 …

From Dipson Amherst screens ‘Thursday Night Terrors’


I wrote about a cool new horror film series for

Peter Vullo loves horror movies. And that fandom has led the Buffalo native to create a new film series, “Thursday Night Terrors,” that horror junkies should find unmissable. All of the films in the monthly series, which opens with Peter Jackson’s zombie gem “Dead Alive” on Aug. 25, start at 7:30 p.m. in the Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.). Admission is $7 (box office,

Here’s the full schedule:

  • Aug. 25: “Dead Alive” (Peter Jackson, 1992);
  • Sept. 29: “Demons” (Lamberto Bava, 1985);
  • Oct. 27: “Fright Night” (Tom Holland, 1985);
  • Nov. 17: “Phantasm II” (Don Coscarelli, 1988);
  • Dec. 15: “The Thing” (John Carpenter, 1982).

“‘Dead Alive’ is the perfect introduction,” Vullo said of the five-film series. “It’s gory, gross, ridiculous and just plain fun to watch. It’s a completely unhinged splatterfest. The lawnmower scene in particular is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

That infamous sequence is emblematic of what makes the “Thursday Night Terrors” selections so memorable. Vullo said he chose the five features because they all include the types of unforgettable moments – such as the spider-legged head from “The Thing” – that make the horror film experience so thrilling.

An assistant manager at the Dipson Amherst, Vullo hopes those attending the screenings “will feel like watching your favorite movies with friends. Some of my fondest memories are getting together with my friends and watching some ridiculous movie as a group. It’s a shared experience.”

Spree’s August ‘Coming Attractions’: Pixar, Sharon Stone (!), and Goodfellas


Check out my August Buffalo Spree column.

August is generally a strange month in moviehouses, and 2016 is no exception: a mix of some biggies (DC’s Suicide Squad), some question marks (a remake of Ben-Hur that no one asked for), and some WTFs (the adults-only animated flickSausage Party).

Perhaps Western New York’s summer film series are the safest bet. The latest are listed here, along with a few other goodies.

Squeaky Wheel’s Thirteenth Animation Fest

Squeaky’s animation festival is a perennial summer favorite, a family friendly even that features a wildly diverse range of artists and mediums. Info was still to come as Spree went to press, so make sure to check However, there is one big change this year, as the fest will be held in a number of different locations on various nights. It all kicks off on August 6. (First screening scheduled for Aug. 6;

Tuesday Night Flix at Canalside

The Catholic Health-sponsored free outdoor film series goes all-in on family fare this month: Marvel’s The Avengers on August 2; the Robin Williams favorite Jumanji on August 9; some Pixar fun with Monsters, Inc. on August 16; Steven Spielberg’s unfairly maligned Hook on August 23; and Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on August 30. Young Audiences Western New York (YAWNY) has crafts planned pre-movie on August 2, 16, and 30. Note that there is just one more Canalside screening post-August, with Mean Girls—a.k.a., Lindsay Lohan’s finest hour—on September 6.  (8:30 p.m. on August 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 on Pierce Lawn at Canalside;

Amherst Youth and Recreation Department 2016 Summer Movie Series

There are some recurring films in this summer’s kid-friendly outdoor film series, and that’s just fine. (As any parent knows, repeat viewing is nearly as common as tooth-brushing.) Following a screening of recent smash Zootopia at Bedford Park on August 5, the series moves back to its home base, the Clearfield Community Center, for screenings of Norm of the North (August 12), The Good Dinosaur (August 19), and The Avengers(August 26). (8:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Bedford Park, Amherst; 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 12, 19, and 26 at Clearfield Community Center, 730 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville;

Bacchus Summer Film Series

One of the most eagerly awaited summer series each year takes place on the back patio at downtown restaurant Bacchus. And really, you have to love a series that starts (in June) with Purple Rain and ends (in September) with Steel Magnolias. That’s range! August’s lineup includes—take a deep breath—Ghostbusters(August 3), Bridget Jones’ Diary (August 4), Goodfellas (August 10), The Wedding Singer (August 11), Frozen(August 14), Back to the Future (August 17), Beaches (August 18), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (August 24), Charlie’s Angels (August 25), Enter the Dragon (August 26), and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (August 31). Just make sure not to mix up your days and bring the kiddos to Goodfellas rather than Frozen. Oops! (Dusk at 56 W. Chippewa St.;

Movies in the Meadow

The Parkside Community Association’s annual series is held every Friday in August. This year’s lineup is Zootopia on August 5; the early Tom Hanks gem The Money Pit on August 12; the Mogwai shenanigans of Gremlins on August 19; and lastly, the Burt Reynolds-Goldie Hawn comedy Best Friends on August 26. The latter famously includes scenes shot in Buffalo. (The series ends the following week with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on September 2.)  (9 p.m. on Aug. 5, 12, 19, and 26 at Parkside Lodge in Delaware Park;

Free Outdoor Family Movie Night and Kids Pajama Party at Green Acres Ice Cream

The Depew ice cream shop known as Green Acres offers some of the usual suspects this month—Inside Out on August 2, Kung-Fu Panda 3 on August 16, Norm of the North on August 23. But the highlight in my household is Hotel Transylvania 2 on August 16, since my daughter is obsessed with the Jell-O-like Blobby. Ice cream plus Blobby equals good times. (Movies start at dusk at 4357 Broadway, Depew;

Grand Island Movies in the Park

Perhaps you’re sick of hearing about Ghostbusters following the much-hyped July release of a new entry with a new cast. If not, then you’ll be excited to know the original film starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd screens at 11 p.m. on August 27 as part of the Grand Island Movies in the Park series. Ice Age: Meltdown starts off the night, at 9 p.m. (Town Commons, 2255 Baseline Rd., Grand Island;

TCM Big Screen Classics

Turner Classic Movies brings John Belushi back to the screen with a special presentation of National Lampoon’s Animal House on August 14 and 17. It starts with a specially produced intro from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, but the real draw is the film itself, an iconic classic that feels as funny today as it did upon release. Missing out on this one earns you a 0.0. Meanwhile, a very different bit of beloved cinema, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, returns on August 28 and 31 in honor of its sixtieth anniversary. (Animal House: 2 and 7 p.m. on Aug. 14 and 17; The King and I: 2 and 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 and 31; both at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville;

Aurora Theatre Summer Family Film Series

The gorgeous and historic Aurora Theatre once again offers a summer of free family films. July featured the likes of Shrek and Paddington, while this month kids can watch The Lorax on August 3 and 6, and Night at the Museum on August 10 and 13.

11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays through August 13 at the Aurora Theatre, 673 Main St., East Aurora;

UB Undergraduate Student Association Summer Film Series

The University at Buffalo’s popular summer series started in June and has seen a nice selection of recent cinema, including Oscar winner The Revenant and the chilling sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane. The August lineup includes the acclaimed buddy comedy The Nice Guys (Aug. 1, 3 and 5); Captain America: Civil War (Aug. 8, 10, 12, and 28); X-Men: Apocalypse (Aug. 15, 17 and 19); Alice Through the Looking Glass (Aug. 22);Independence Day: Resurgence (Aug. 24 and 26); and Central Intelligence (Aug. 28). Locations for the free screenings are the Special Events Field adjacent to the Student Union and Greiner Hall on the North Campus, and the Hayes Hall lawn on the South Campus; check for specific locations for each date. (8:45 p.m.; check for locations, which vary between UB’s South and North campuses)

Buffalo Film Seminars

The latest season of Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian’s long-running film series starts with Ernst Lubitsch’s comedy Trouble in Paradise on August 30, and the rest of the fall semester features treats from the likes of Fellini, Welles, Ashby, De Palma, and Tarkovsky. (7 p.m. on August 30 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.;

Transit Drive-In Retro Movie Tuesday

The Transit Drive-In’s retro lineup is the only one in WNY to feature Basic Instinct, so it’s earned my respect. August features Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (August 2); Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer (August 9); The Princess Bride and A Knight’s Tale (August 16); and the aforementioned Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction (August 30). The films for August 23 are TBA. Check for start times. (6655 S. Transit Rd., Lockport;

Cultivate Cinema Circle

CCC’s summer season ends with King Hu’s newly restored wuxia favorite A Touch of Zen on August 4 andGasland director Josh Fox’s documentary In How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change on August 24. (Zen: 7 p.m. on August 4 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; Climate: 8 p.m. on August 24 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.;

Flix Free Family Film Series

The popular free summer series at Flix is back again, and August features Rio 2 (August 6), Hotel Transylvania 2 (August 13), Curious George (August 20), and Minions (August 27). (10 a.m. Saturdays through August 27 at Flix Stadium 10, 4901 Transit Rd., Lancaster;

Robin Williams Films at the Riviera

The Riviera Theatre often has novel concepts for its film series, and this summer is especially interesting: a remembrance of the late Robin Williams. While his filmography is certainly checkered, there are numerous gems. July’s screenings included Hook and Dead Poets Society, while this month’s diverse list features Aladdin (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on August 11); Good Morning Vietnam (7 p.m. on August 11); Jumanji (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on August 18); and Good Will Hunting (7 p.m. on August 18). (67 Webster St., N.Tonawanda;


Also screening this month …

The Roycroft Film Society is in the mood for Mel, with Mel Brooks’s inspired 1976 comedy Silent Movie set to screen on August 13. It’s a unique choice from the filmmaker’s 1970s filmography, as it’s certainly less well known than the filmmaker’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein(8:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora;

Free Family Movie Nights at Artpark features two of Pixar’s finest: Inside Out on August 15 and The Incredibles on August 22. (7:30 p.m. on August 15 and 22 at Artpark, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston;

Speaking of Pixar, this month’s free outdoor movie at Chestnut Ridge Park is Cars(8:15-10:30 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park;

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s Thursday Film Series has a “summer camp” theme this month. The titles are TBA. (5-7:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, 11, 18, and 25 at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.;

Here’s why you should be watching ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix

Stranger Things

I was thrilled to write about the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” for the Buffalo News “You Should Be Watching” column.

“Stranger Things” saved summer. Seriously. Big-screen blockbusters are sputtering, “Game of Thrones” is done for the year, and real life is real scary. Thank goodness, then, for the fictional scares of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” an enthralling story of four friends, one monster, a mother on a quest to save her son, and a little girl named Eleven with special powers.

Title: “Stranger Things”

Year it began: 2016

Where it can be seen: Netflix

Who’s in it: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Matthew Modine

Typical episode length: 55 minutes or less

Number of episodes to date: 8

Brief plot description: A young boy disappears in a small Indiana town in 1983, and his three best friends, mother, older brother and the local police chief are determined to find him. But the appearance of a mysterious girl with extraordinary abilities means the quest will be more complex than anyone could have imagined.

Why it’s worth watching: From its title font – in the style of Stephen King paperbacks like “Needful Things” – to its Spielberg-esque focus on the friendship of “Dungeons and Dragons”-obsessed adolescent boys, there has rarely been a show as upfront about its influences as “Stranger Things.” But the series is more than just a 1980s pastiche thanks to its believable characters and the actors who inhabit those roles. Writer-directors Matt and Ross Duffer have assembled a cast of stellar veterans – a never-better Winona Ryder, Matthew Modine in bad-guy mode – and likable kids and teenagers. (The standout is young Millie Bobby Brown, whose performance as the powerful, wounded Eleven is heartbreaking.) The story of missing 12-year-old Will Byers culminates in a satisfying but nicely open-ended conclusion in Episode Eight. The ending, of course, has already led to prognosticating on the second season. Yes, the show is already overanalyzed … and it just premiered on July 15. But that, too, is part of the fun. Not since “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files” has there been a sci-fi (ish) series that truly warrants this level of theorizing and analysis. (If there’s an “Eleven” … Is there a “One,” “Two,” etc.? Can Matthew Modine’s hair get any whiter?) “Stranger Things” is an addictive joy, and I dare you to stop after one episode.