May Coming Attractions: ‘Carol’ is worth a drive to Toronto (from Buffalo Spree)

(L-R) KYLE CHANDLER and CATE BLANCHETT star in CAROL

(L-R) KYLE CHANDLER and CATE BLANCHETT star in CAROL

It’s a busy May in Buffalo. Check out my latest Buffalo Spree Coming Attractions column.

It’s nearly outdoor screening season, but until then, let’s stay indoors for some May treats. A number of our favorite series come to an end this month, but don’t fret—they’ll all be back soon. 

Cultivate Cinema Circle—Welcome to F.L. and Contemporary Color: CCC continually brings under-the-radar films to the area that deserve to be seen and pondered. One of these is Contemporary Color, a document of an extraordinarily unique event from 2015 curated and conceived by David Byrne. The former Talking Heads frontman and iconic solo artist brought together high school color guards and established musical performers like St. Vincent and Nelly Furtado. The documentary screens at the North Park on May 3. Also on the CCC lineup is Welcome to F.L., an acclaimed documentary about students at a Quebec high school. It’s screening at Burning Books on May 24. (Welcome to F.L.: 7 p.m. on May 24 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.; Contemporary Color: 7 p.m. on May 2 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

Buffalo Film Seminars: One of the most diverse Buffalo Film Seminars’ sessions in series history comes to an end this month with a rather random final two. David Ayer’s Brad Pitt-in-a-tank drama Fury screens on May 2, and it’s an odd if interesting entry from the director of Suicide Squad. (Eek!) A far stronger film closes things out on May 9: Mike Leigh’s Topsy Turvy. This biography of Gilbert and Sullivan features delightful performances from Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, and Timothy Spall. It ranks as one of the Secrets and Lies and Vera Drakedirector’s most ambitious efforts, and will leave you humming the songs of The Mikado(7 p.m. on May 2 and 7 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)

Old Chestnut Film Society—Titanic: The classic film series closes its Barbara Stanwyck/Clifton Webb season with 1953’s Titanic, starring both actors. No Celine Dion songs in this version of the tale, thankfully. (7:30 p.m. on May 12 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)

Thursday Night Terrors—Re-Animator: Perhaps the only surprise regarding Terrors’ screening of Re-Animator is that the film wasn’t part of the series’ first lineup last fall. That tells you how strong the series is, doesn’t it? In any event, it’s a fitting conclusion for the second installment of Thursday Night Terrors. Stuart Gordon’s 1985 film is a gruesome horror classic, and one with real laughs. (7:30 p.m. on May 25 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)

Hot Docs: North America’s largest documentary festival runs through May 7, and the full lineup should now be ready to peruse at hotdocs.ca. Subjects include the late Whitney Houston, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, and the Grateful Dead. (April 27-May 7; for schedule and locations, visit hotdocs.ca)

TCM Big Screen Classics—Smokey and the BanditOne could argue with the classification of Smokey and the Bandit as a “classic,” but there’s no debating the film’s fun factor. It’s the fortieth anniversary of the Burt Reynolds-Sally Field blockbuster, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to see Reynolds’ epic ’stache on the big screen. (2 and 7 p.m. on May 21 and 24 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Roycroft Film Society—Cache: If you’ve pondered taking in a Roycroft Film Society screening but haven’t made it yet, a can’t-miss arrives on May 7. Michael Haneke’s Cache is perhaps the most conversation-ready (and ambiguous) picture to date from the director of Amour and The White Ribbon, and it has earned placement on the list of the finest films of the 2000s. Starring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil, Cache (which means “hidden”) is the story of a French couple who are confronted with a series of anonymous videotapes on their doorstep. What’s depicted on those tapes, and how they connect with the childhood of Auteuil’s character, make the 2005 release one of the most haunting films ever made. (4 p.m. on May 7 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

Der RosenkavalierThe latest hi-res satellite broadcast from the Met sees opera icon Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles. During intermission—run time is four hours-plus—audiences can enjoy interviews with the cast, crew, and production teams. (12:30 p.m. on May 13 at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia;fredopera.org; 12:30 p.m. on May 13 and 6:30 p.m. on May 17 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Two Toronto festivals: There are two festivals worth the drive to Toronto this month: the Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs from May 4 to 14 (tjff.com) while the Toronto LGBT Film Festival is May 25 to June 4 (insideout.ca/initiatives/Toronto). (Check websites for schedules and locations)

Family-Friendly Film Series: The second Saturday of each month features a free family film at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Crane Branch; call 883-6651 with questions or for more information about the movie selections. (11 a.m. on May 13 at Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Crane Branch, 633 Elmwood Ave.; buffalolib.org)

The Nitrate Picture Show: The George Eastman Museum’s festival of film conservation is back for year three, and the fest once again features vintage nitrate prints from the Eastman’s world-renowned collection. The three days also feature lectures and workshops. (May 1 to 7 at the at the George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave., Rochester; eastman.org/nps)

Phyllis Nagy on CarolTIFF’s Books on Film series features Nagy, the renowned playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, and a screening of Carol, the film she adapted for director Todd Haynes. She will discuss the process of bringing Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt to the screen. (7 p.m. on May 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., Toronto; tiff.net)

Twin Peaks and more at the North Park: David Lynch returns to the world of Twin Peaks this month with the debut of a series continuation on Showtime. But before it airs, revisit the savagely reviewed (at the time) masterpiece that is Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Time has been very kind to Lynch’s prequel about the last days of Laura Palmer, and Fire is now rightfully considered one of his finest, boldest films. It screens at the North Park on May 1. In other NP news, acclaimed horror film The Void is set for screenings on May 1, 2, and 3. And a series of Deconstructing the Beatles documentaries screen at various times  on May 1 through 4. Check northparktheatre.org for times and details. (Twin Peaks: 7 p.m. on May 1; The Void: May 1, 2, and 3;Deconstructing the Beatles: May 1, 2, 3, and 4; all at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

Thursday Night Terrors—House of Wax: The horror screening series goes back to 1953 for this Vincent Price chiller, which is being presented in 3D. How cool is that? (7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on May 11 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)

The Screening Room: The John Coltrane documentary Chasing Trane is the most noteworthy film on May’s Screening Room schedule, but the month also includes a “night at the grindhouse” on May 12 and a special movie trivia night on May 18. Plus, the Marilyn Monroe-starring, Niagara Falls-highlighting Niagara is set for May 26 and 27. (Dates follow in June, as well.) Chasing Trane: May 5-7, 9, and 11; Niagara: May 26-27; see screeningroom.net for times and additional info; all events at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)

In the Steps of Trisha Brown at Hallwalls: Marie-Hélène Rebois’s documentary focuses on the life revolutionary choreographer Brown, using archival production footage as well as rehearsal footage of Brown herself. (7 p.m. on May 9 and 10 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave.; hallwalls.org)

May at Squeaky Wheel: Villa Maria College will hold a film and animation screening on May 13, while Kathleen Collins’s landmark 1982 independent film Losing Ground is May 17. (Villa Maria: 1 p.m. on May 13; Losing Ground: 7 p.m. on May 17; at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, 617 Main St.; squeaky.org)

90th Anniversary Celebration and silent movie at the Riviera Theatre: Norma Shearer’s silent classic Upstage was the opening night film at the Riviera ninety years ago. It returns to the Riv on May 5, with Clark Wilson accompanying on the Mighty WurliTzer. Another silent film (TBA) and Mighty WurliTzer concert takes place on May 5, while Pixar’s Inside Out screens on May 7. (Silent film and concert: 7:30 p.m. on May 5; Celebration and Upstage: reception at 6:30 p.m., film at 8 p.m., on May 5; Inside Out: 3 p.m. on May 7; all at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org)

From the latest Buffalo Spree: My April ‘Coming Attractions’ column

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My April “Coming Attractions” column features some real treats, including Tampopo and In the Mood for Love.

Summer’s here! Well, not quite, but the summer movie season now kicks off in April. This year, that means a new Fast and the Furious movie. Let’s all skip that, and head to some of the screenings on this list, OK?

Weekend Matinees at the North Park: The popular matinee series at the North Park Theatre starts the month with three wildly diverse selections. Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer lead the cast of Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke, a strangely fascinating fantasy epic from 1985, on April 1 and 2. The Japanese foodie favorite Tampopo is a must-see on April 8; this is a newly restored version of the 1985 film universally considered a classic. And Hayao Miyazaki’s wondrous 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro screens on April 9. Miyazaki’s work always draws a crowd to the North Park, and Totoro, especially, serves as a fine introduction to the master’s work. (North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

Sword Art Online—Ordinal ScaleAnime favorite Sword Art Online moves to the big screen and hits the North Park for five showings. (2 and 4 p.m. on April 29, 2, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. on April 30 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

Buffalo Film Seminars: The April Buffalo Film Seminars might be the most thrilling in series history. David Bowie’s finest big-screen role came courtesy of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and the stunning story of a gaunt extraterrestrial in New Mexico screens on April 4. On April 11 comes Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, and I expect this will be the long version of the notoriously butchered gangster epic starring Robert De Niro. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Double Life of Veronique, a mesmerizing drama from the director of the Three Colours trilogy, screens on April 18. The month ends with Wong Kar-wai’s heartbreaking and sensual In the Mood for Love on April 25. (7 p.m. on March 7, 21, and 28 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)

Old Chestnut Film Society—Clash by Night: This 1952 drama from Fritz Lang stars Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan. (7:30 p.m. on April 7 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)

Thursday Night Terrors—Pieces: Part of what makes the Thursday Night Terrors screening series so fun is that selections are not at all obvious. Take, for example, Pieces, which screens on April 27. Juan Piquer Simón’s horror film about a college-campus murderer using body parts to create a human jigsaw puzzle is a cult classic that most film freaks (including me) are unaware of. If it’s good enough for Thursday Night Terrors, you know it’s going to be bloody awesome. (7:30 p.m. on April 27 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.;facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)

Hot Docs: North America’s largest documentary festival returns to Toronto at the end of April and into early May. It’s well worth the drive for anyone interested in nonfiction film, or those seeking the type of insight only a documentary can provide. The lineup of over 200 films was not set at press time, so visit hotdocs.ca for a rundown and schedules. (April 27-May 7; for schedule and locations, visit hotdocs.ca)

TCM Big Screen Classics—North by Northwest and The GraduateThe ongoing Turner Classic Movies screening series offers up two heavyweights this month. First is Hitchcock’s endlessly witty, truly thrilling North by Northwest on April 2 and 5. The Cary Grant-starrer is made for a large screen. The same could be said of The Graduate, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with screenings on April 23 and 26. While Mike Nichols’ tale of Benjamin Braddock and Mrs. Robinson is just as funny at home, a cinema screen allows audiences to really appreciate the extraordinary visuals. (Think of Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin floating in the family pool, or the iconic shot of Anne Bancroft’s leg.) (North by Northwest: 2 and 7 p.m. on April 2 and 5; The Graduate: 2 and 7 p.m. on April 23 and 26; both at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Cultivate Cinema Circle—Ghosts and Class Divide: The spring CCC season might be its boldest yet: a four-film retrospective of the early films from Barbara and Phoenix director Christian Petzold. Titled “Lonely Ghosts: The Early Cinematic Work of Christian Petzold,” the screenings are presented in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Boston and Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center. Set for April 5 is Petzold’s Ghosts, from 2005, is an enigmatic story memory and identity. Like the other films in the retrospective, it has rarely been seeing in the U.S. Also screening this month is Class Divide, director Marc Levin’s documentary, which looks at the widening gap between the haves and have nots. Levin is best-known for the acclaimed documentary Slam.  (Ghosts: 7 p.m. on April 5 at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, 617 Main St.; Class Divide: 7 p.m. on April 26 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

Roycroft Film Society—Cave of Forgotten Dreams: One of Werner Herzog’s most widely seen films was Dreams, a documentary exploring extraordinary caves in the south of France. (4 p.m. on April 9 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

Rigoletto Live at the Dipson Amherst: This month’s simulcast is Verdi’s opera based on a Victor Hugo play. (2 p.m. on April 10 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)

Spotlight Visions of an Island—Sky Hopinka in Person: The Milwaukee artist presents three of his award-winning films(7 p.m. on April 15 at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, 617 Main St.; squeaky.org)

Mary Shelley—A Living History and Frankenstein at the Fredonia Opera House: Susan Marie Frontczak stars as Frankenstein author Mary Shelley in the unique performance A Living History on April 20 at the Fredonia Opera House, followed by an audience Q-and-A. The next night, the Opera House screens the National Theatre’s acclaimed adaptation of Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire). This is one of several interesting high definition screenings at the Fredonia Opera House this month. Also scheduled is A Contemporary Evening (of Dance) featuring Bolshoi Ballet on April 1; a Donmar Warehouse production of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, starring Gemma Arterton, on April 8; and a Metropolitan Opera production of Eugene Onegin on April 22. (Mary Shelley—A Living History: 7:30 p.m. on April 20; Frankenstein: 7:30 p.m. on April 21; at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)

The Screening Room: April at the Screening Room opens with an oddity, the mermaid horror flick The Lure. It screens from April 6 to April 12. Opening April 7 and running through April 14 is Office Space, Mike Judge’s modern classic about the nightmares of cubicle life. The April 13 screening is a trivia night edition hosted by Dave Schwartz. Lastly, starting April 21 and running through April 29 is Hitchcock’s still-startling Vertigo. Best movie ever? Hard to say, but the Jimmy Stewart-Kim Novak starrer about sexual obsession and identity is certainly one of the most fascinating. (Check screeningroom.net for times; all events at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst)

Mighty Wurlitzer Concert and Silent Film at the Riviera: Organist Clark Wilson will accompany a screening of Harold Lloyd’s silent classic The Freshman at this unique event. (7:30 p.m. on April 5 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org)

Images Festival: For eight days, Toronto’s Images Festival features screenings, events, performances, and exhibitions from international artists. The 2017 festival includes forty-eight films, twelve exhibitions, and four live image projects. (April 20 to 27 at Innis Town Hall, Theatre University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto; opening night feature premieres at the Royal Theatre, 608 College St., Toronto; imagesfestival.com

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

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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 squeaky.org. 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; squeaky.org)

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;canalsidebuffalo.com)

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; amherstyouthandrec.org)

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.; bacchusbuffalo.com.)

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;parksidebuffalo.org)

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;greenacresicecream.com)

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; coreymcgowan.com)

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; fathomevents.com)

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;theauroratheatre.com)

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 sa.buffalo.edu for specific locations for each date. (8:45 p.m.; check sa.buffalo.edu 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.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)

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 transitdrivein.com for start times. (6655 S. Transit Rd., Lockport; transitdrivein.com)

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.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

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; dipsontheatres.com)

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;rivieratheatre.org)

 

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; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

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; artpark.net)

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; chestnutridgeconservancy.org)

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.; buffalolib.org)

July Coming Attractions: The dog days of summer are perfect for screenings

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July is not over! Only half over. I neglected to post my June Buffalo Spree Coming Attractions column, but July is updated the web and ready for your enjoyment.

The summer film series lineup is now in full swing, and there’s no better place for us to start our look at what’s on tap this month than Canalside.

Tuesday Night Flix at Canalside

It’s hard to think of a lovelier spot to watch a film than at Canalside, so the return of the Catholic Health-sponsored free outdoor film series is cause for celebration. The series started on June 14 and continues into September, and July’s lineup is relatively varied, and generally family friendly: The animated mouse immigration saga (!) An American Tail on July 5, the first Pirates of the Caribbean entry on July 12, Pixar’sFinding Nemo on July 19, and last summer’s dino sequel Jurassic World on July 26. The fine folks from Young Audiences Western New York (YAWNY) will offer up a special craft for the kids on select nights. In July, these are set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. (pre-movie) on July 5, 19, and 26. Note that Adirondack chairs are available for the first hundred guests. So, yeah. It pays to arrive early. (8:30 p.m. on July 5, 12, 19, and 26 on Pierce Lawn at Canalside; canalsidebuffalo.com)

A Twist of Lemmon, starring Chris Lemmon

The Fredonia Opera House offers an intimate opportunity to learn about the late Jack Lemmon on July 15. TheSome Like It Hot star’s son Chris presents a live performance called A Twist of Lemmon that features stories about his father’s work, his relationships with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Walter Matthau, and songs from Hollywood’s golden age. It’s a unique presentation that also includes a Q-and-A. (7:30 p.m. on July 15 at the Fredonia Opera House, 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)

Free Outdoor Movie at Chestnut Ridge Park

Chestnut Ridge played an important role in my young life, as a place to sled, run around, and play. I love that the Park continues to find new ways to draw in families, year-round. The latest example is a July 24 screening of Pixar’s The Incredibles. The witty superhero romp is as strong now as it was in 2004, and best of all? The screening is free. (9:15-11:30 p.m. on July 24 at Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park; chestnutridgeconservancy.org)

Films at the Library

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system offers up two unique series this summer. The first, appropriately titled “The Dog Days of Summer,” will feature only films about canines. I’m down with that, especially if this list does not include Jim Belushi’s K-9. (The lineup has not yet been announced.) Meanwhile, the Town of Collins Public Library has mounted a Shakespeare Film Fest, and has scheduled three diverse picks for July. First is Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren, on July 12. The Twelfth Night-inspired teen romp She’s the Man, starring the now-MIA Amanda Bynes, screens on July 19. And Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society remains a fine film about the impact of the Bard’s work, as well as a showcase for the dramatic talents of the late Robin Williams. It screens on July 26. (“Dog Days of Summer”: 5 p.m. on July 7, 14, 21, and 28 at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.; Shakespeare Film Fest: 6 p.m. on July 12, 19, and 26 at Town of Collins Public Library, 2341 Main St., Collins; buffalolib.org)

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

Every Tuesday from July 5 to August 23, Depew’s Green Acres Ice Cream features a free family film. The schedule includes some of the biggest animated hits of the last year-plus: Minions on July 5, The Peanuts Movie on July 12, Zootopia on July 19, and The Good Dinosaur on July 26. (Movies start at dusk at 4357 Broadway, Depew; greenacresicecream.com)

Grand Island Movies in the Park

How does a free outdoor film series stand out in the busy WNY marketplace? The Grand Island Movies in the Park series pulls it off by pairing one for the kids and one for the teens. Pixar’s classic Finding Nemo screens at 9 p.m. on July 30, followed by Independence Day at 11 p.m. This is a clever double-bill, since sequels to both films were released on June 17 and June 24, respectively. (The series started on June 25 with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Marvel blockbuster Captain America: Winter Soldier.) (coreymcgowan.com)

TCM Big Screen Classics—Planet of the Apes

There have been seven—seven!—Planet of the Apes films since the iconic 1968 original, and the quality is spotty at best. But there is no denying the pleasures of that first film starring Charlton Heston. The ongoing Turner Classic Movies Big Screen Classics series presents the film this month, and twenty bucks says it’s as entertaining as any new film released in the month of July. (2 and 7 p.m. on July 24 and 27 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Silo City Blockbuster—Rocky III and Creed

queaky Wheel brings two films in the ongoing Rocky Balboa saga to Silo City for a very special (and free) double bill on the weekend preceding the Fourth of July. While the quality of Rocky III is debatable, the third chapter in the battle between Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa and Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed is certainly fun. (Mr. T!) Last year’s Creed, however, is undoubtedly great. The film about Creed’s son Adonis (the great Michael B. Jordan) and an aged Balboa is heartfelt and utterly crowd-pleasing. (Rocky III at 9 p.m., Creed at 11 p.m., at Silo City, 87 Childs St.; squeaky.org)

Roycroft Film Society—Phoenix

The Roycroft has scheduled one of the finest foreign films of recent years for its July screening. Director Christian Petzold’s post-World War II drama is the story of a concentration camp survivor’s attempt to reconnect with the (non-Jewish) husband who believes she is dead, and to learn whether he betrayed her to the Nazis. The performances from stars Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld are stunners, and the final scene will leave you breathless. (4 p.m. on July 10 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora;roycroftcampuscorp.com)

Bacchus Summer Film Series

The truly unique summer film series held on the back patio at downtown favorite Bacchus offers a typically varied July lineup—some Dude, some Amy Schumer, some Kung-Fu, some Pixar: The Jerk (July 6),Trainwreck (July 7), The Big Lebowski (July 13), Ghost (July 14), The Incredibles (July 17), Dazed and Confused (July 20), The Princess Bride (July 21), Drunken Master (July 22), The Breakfast Club (July 27), andKnocked Up (July 28). (Dusk at 56 W. Chippewa St.; bacchusbuffalo.com.)

Cultivate Cinema Circle

CCC’s summer season runs into September, and July features two fascinating documentaries. First, however, is one of the greatest and most important films of the 1960s: Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders. Featuring Godard’s then-wife Anna Karina, this French New Wave highlight is almost as influential as the filmmaker’s 1960 classic Breathless. Next is Doug Block’s The Kids Grow Up (July 21), an intimate portrait of his daughter featuring footage filmed throughout her adolescence. The month concludes with Do Not Resist, a sobering look at American police culture. (Outsiders: 7 p.m. July 7 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; Kids: 7 p.m. on July 21 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; Resist: 8 p.m. on July 27 at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

Amherst Youth and Recreation Department 2016 Summer Movie Series

Little yellow things, feelings, glass slippers, and a very likable sheep make up the July Amherst Youth and Recreation list. The outdoor series features Minions on July 8, Inside Out on July 15, Cinderella on July 22, and Shaun the Sheep on July 29. (9 p.m. on July 8, 15, 22, and 29 at Clearfield Community Center, 730 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville; amherstyouthandrec.org)

The Screening Room

As usual, Amherst’s Screening Room is full of more treats than I can mention, so visit screeningroom.net for the full listing. Highlights include the Marilyn Monroe-starring, Niagara Falls-filmed (and set) thriller Niagara and the acclaimed Anthony Weiner-centered documentary Weiner on July 1 and 2. (Both films began their Screening Room runs in June.) Being AP, a documentary about horse-racing legend AP McCoy, screens on July 7. And July also features the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy Silver Streak, Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and a film noir double bill. The latter includes Edgar G. Ulmer’s deliciously nasty 1945 Tom Neal-starrer,Detour. It was notoriously shot in six days, and has more imagination than most blockbusters. (3131 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)

 

Also screening this month …

Fathom Events has a number of screenings on tap at the at the Regal Elmwood Center and the Regal Transit Center. In addition to the aforementioned ApesThe Met: Live in HD presents La Bohème on July 13 and Così fan tutte on July 20, both at 7 p.m. And audiences can explore history, spirituality, architecture and art in St. Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome at 7 p.m. on July 14. Visit fathomevents.com for details.

The Dipson Amherst Theatre presents Rigoletto from the Opera de Paris at 11 a.m. on July 24 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.; dipsontheatres.com).

Artist/filmmaker Marshall Arisman presents his documentary A Postcard from Lily Dale at 7:30 p.m. on July 29 at the Fredonia Opera House (fredopera.org).

The Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls offers five free outdoor screenings on Fridays in July: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on July 1, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on July 8, The Breakfast Club on July 15,Grease on July 22, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show on July 29. All films are shown in Seneca Square. (senecaniagaracasino.com)

From the May Spree: ‘One of WNY’s longest-running film fests returns, along with a twelve-hour (!) epic’

Out 1; courtesy of TIFF

Out 1; courtesy of TIFF

My Coming Attractions column in the May issue of Buffalo Spree promoted a Toronto showing of Jacques Rivette’s Out 1, but if you did not make it to TO, the 12-hour epic is now streaming on Netflix. On to the column …

If April was the prologue to the summer movie season, May is most certainly chapter one. While a number of winter and spring series are finishing up their runs, there are plenty of treats locally and north of the border. 

Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival: For more than three decades, the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival has brought unique, conversation-worthy cinema to Western New York. There are always gems to be found in the lineup of films, and 2016 is no exception. Opening film A La Vie tells the fascinating story of three women, all survivors of Auschwitz, reuniting fifteen years later, while the Montreal-set Felix and Meira earned director Maxime Giroux the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Times vary, so check bijff.com for the full schedule. (May 6-12 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; bijff.com)

Buffalo Film Seminars/Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road at the Dipson Amherst Theatre: The final selection for the spring 2016 installment of the Buffalo Film Seminars, The Fisher King features one of Robin Williams’s finest performances, and is certainly one of director Terry Gilliam’s most audience-friendly efforts. It also stars a pre-Lebowski Jeff Bridges and, you may recall, earned actress Mercedes Ruehl an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. And as I mentioned last month, Dipson’s recent Wim Wenders retrospective concludes with the five-hour director’s cut of 1991’s Until the End of the World. That, friends, is the month’s must-see. (The Fisher King: 7 p.m. on May 3; Until the End of the World: 12:30 p.m. on May 1; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)

The History of Terrorism—No Country for Old Men: The Burchfield Penney Art Center’s “History of Terrorism” series has been a real treat, and it ends with one of the more satisfying Best Picture Oscar winners of the last decade: Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men. The brothers’ Cormac McCarthy adaptation is the brutal and uncompromising story of a drug deal gone awry in 1980s Texas. There have been few movie villains as legitimately fear-inducing as Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, but watching No Country again will remind you that the entire cast was strong, especially Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones. (6:30 p.m. on May 5; 1300 Elmwood Ave.; burchfieldpenney.org)

Cultivate Cinema Circle: CCC offers up two unique treats this month. The Royal Road, a 2015 Sundance Film festival selection, is a documentary intriguingly described as a “cinematic essay in defense of remembering [that] offers up a primer on Junipero Serra’s Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, the pursuit of unavailable women, butch identity, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo—all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes, and featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner.” Wow. Director Jenni Olson’s film sounds utterly fascinating, and ideal for the fab Cultivate Cinema Circle screening series. It’s set for May 26. Plus, Dziga Vertov’s experimental silent essential Man With a Movie Camera screens earlier in the month, on May 21. (Camera: 1 p.m. on May 21 at the Mason O. Damon Auditorium at Buffalo Central Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.; Road: 7 p.m. on May 26 at Dreamland Studio & Gallery, 387 Franklin St.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)

TCM Big Screen Classics—Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Is John Hughes’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off truly a classic? Hard to say; it’s undoubtedly a cult classic, and celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. It’s certainly a fun pick for TCM’s ongoing series, and will feature specially produced commentary from Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. (2 and 7 p.m. on May 15 and 17 at Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)

Old Chestnut Film Society—The Rainmaker: Running strong since 1983, the Old Chestnut Film Society continues to program some of the greats of the twentieth century. Its current series featuring films starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn comes to a close on May 13 with The Rainmaker. Hepburn received an Oscar nomination for the 1956 drama costarring Burt Lancaster. (7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)

The Nitrate Picture Show: While year two of the George Eastman House’s festival of film conservation actually starts in April—April 29, to be exact—I think we can get away with including it here. What makes the fest so noteworthy is that it features vintage nitrate prints from the Eastman’s world-renowned collection. The three days also feature lectures and workshops. (April 29-May 1 at the at the George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave., Rochester; eastman.org/nps)

May at the TIFF Bell Lightbox: The month features the usual roster of classics (Fargo on May 12, Double Indemnity on May 15), unique events (the Next Wave Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase on May 9), and special appearances (author Cheryl Strayed reflects on the 2012 adaptation of her memoir, Wild, on May 9). But the highlight of May is, without question, two nights of the late Jacques Rivette’s 1971 epic Out 1. Now, this is going to take some stamina, since the full runtime is more than … twelve hours long. But spread out over May 21 and 22—episodes one through four the first night, five through eight the second—makes things seem a bit more manageable. Originally planned as a television miniseries, Out 1 was unavailable for much of the last forty years. But the unwieldy, multi-character, Balzac-inspired film underwent a digital restoration in 2015, and now ranks among cinema’s most fascinating rediscovered works. (All films at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., Toronto; tiff.net)

Fredonia Opera House: The Opera House’s ongoing cinema series takes a lighter turn this month. First up isEddie the Eagle, the uplifting (if sappy) story of British Olympic sensation Michael “Eddie” Edwards. The Taron Egerton-Hugh Jackman starrer screens on May 14 and 17. On May 21 and 24, catch the long-awaited My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. I’ve not seen it yet, but if you liked the first one … etc. Note that the latter film will also screen at Lockport’s Historic Palace Theatre on May 1 and 2. Check lockportpalacetheatre.org for showtimes.(7:30 p.m. at 9 Church St., Fredonia; fredopera.org)

North Park Theatre: One of the greatest films of all time screens at the North Park on May 8: Yasujiro Ozu’sLate Spring. Note that this is a restored version of the Japanese director’s 1949 stunner. Also scheduled this month is the recent anime film Harmony. It screens on May 17 and 18. As always, check northparktheatre.org for an updated schedule. (Spring: 11:30 a.m. on May 8; Harmony: 9:30 p.m. on May 17-18; 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)

The Screening Room: It’s nearly impossible to succinctly run down the May schedule at Amherst’s Screening Room, so visit screeningroom.net for the full listing. Highlights? The low-budget horror film Darling belongs at the top. This black-and-white homage to Polanski’s Repulsion first screened on April 29 and 30, and remains at the Screening Room for showings on May 3, 5, and 7. Ridley Scott’s iconic classic Alien is set for 7:30 p.m. on May 6, 7, 10, and 14. Local film The Butcher screens at 7 p.m. on May 15, while The Light Beneath Their Feet, starring Taryn Manning, makes its Buffalo premiere on May 20. It continues on May 21, 24, and 26. (Visit website for times for Darling and The Light.) (3131 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)

Roycroft Film Society: One of last year’s most surprising Oscar nominations came in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category. The Swedish hit The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared deserved the nom, but seeing the obscure film in the Oscar mix was still unexpected. The East Aurora-based Roycroft Film Society has chosen this adaptation of  Jonas Jonasson’s bestseller as its May presentation. (4 p.m. on March 13 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)

Also screening this month …

The Dipson Amherst Theatre presents the Paris Opera’s production of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust on the big screen. (11 a.m. on May 22; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)

Also screening at the Amherst Theatre is the National Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It(noon on May 15; at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)

Note that Toronto’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, continues through May 8. The popular festival started on April 28. One of the highlights is Off the Rails, a documentary directed by Adam Irving. The film introduces us to Darius McCollum, “a man with Asperger’s syndrome whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail some thirty times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes.” That’s a fascinating description. Rails makes its international premiere at Hot Docs on May 4. Learn more about the film at  offtherailsmovie.com(schedule TBA; hotdocs.ca)

The twenty-sixth annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival is an eleven-day fest featuring more than 200 films and videos. That’s an impressive number. (May 26-June 5; details TBA; insideout.ca/initiatives/Toronto)

After the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival comes to an end, hit the QEW for the final days of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. (May 5-15; tjff.com)

Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea came and went without much enthusiasm last December, and while it’s nothing special, this tale of the 1820 sinking that inspired Moby Dick is worth a viewing. The Town of Collins Public Library will show the film at 1 p.m. on May 6. (2341 Main St., Collins; buffalolib.org)