The iconic Astor Calendar™ can be imposing. With over a hundred movies packed onto a single poster –including the cult, classic and flat out bizarre– a cinema-lover can be quickly overwhelmed. With this year-ending calendar featuring everything from cannibals to robot cowboys, we’re taking a look at a few of the films that beg to be seen on the legendary Astor screen.
At the Astor we love drawing attention to influential directors. Prior calendars have screened selections from Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and other spectacled dudes from the 70’s. This time round we have Astor regular Stanley Kubrick playing every Friday from the 18th of November to 9th of December, including one of our favorite 35mm prints–2001: A Space Odyssey.
From the 21st to the 23rd of December we’re celebrating visionary Indian Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray. This includes a screening of Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited, a film deeply indebted to Ray’s humanist themes that includes a selection of his beautiful scores. Akira Kurosawa once said that “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.” You’ve been warned.
DON’T MISS: Our Jaques Tati double. A successor of Chaplin and Keaton, Tati was not only a gifted physical performer but a visual stylist on par with the aforementioned Kubrick. We’ll be playing Mon Oncle and Playtime, the latter of which (in one blogger’s opinion) is a near-perfect movie, equal parts scathing satire and gentle humanity.
SPOTLIGHT ON GENRE
One of the great joys of the Astor calendar is seeing prestige films like The Last Tycoon rubbing elbows with genre gems like Battlestar Galactica. We have a great love for genre movies at the Astor, which a quick look down all the Monday sessions on any calendar will prove. Towards the end of December we’ll be screening a selection of classic film noirs that include The Third Man, Chinatown and The Petrified Forest.
DON’T MISS: Our second annual Spooktacular, featuring 13+ hours of horror films for a measly $30. Celebrate this halloween with an onslaught of ghosts, zombies, robots, killer dolls and… whatever the hell ghoulies are. Cinematic surprises are certain and exhaustion-induced hallucinations are likely.
Big Screen Experiences
The next few selections, in David Lynch’s words, you could “Never in a trillion years experience,” on the small screen. “If you have a chance to enter another world,” he told The New Review, “then you need a big picture in a dark room with great sound”. We know just the place.
For sheer spectacle, it’s hard to go past the king of monsters, Godzilla. Shin Godzilla (playing the Astor on the 16th of November) is the 29th Toho Godzilla movie (we shan’t speak of the American remakes) and the third reboot of the world’s favorite kaiju. Long story short, it’s a skyscraper-sized lizard wreaking havoc on Tokyo whose monstrosity deserves the full Astor treatment.
White Dog, on the other end of the ambiguously evil animal spectrum, is a film smaller in scale but not ambition. The controversial movie was buried when it was released in 1982, but a Criterion Collection release has brought this socially conscious melodrama back into the cultural conversation. Concerning a dog trained to attack black men and the African American man attempting to rehabilitate him, the film pulls no punches in its searing look at race-relations in America. With an Ennio Morricone score and a gut-punch of an ending, it’s the kind of lost gem that deserves to be seen the way director Sam Fuller originally intended.
DON’T MISS: The Neon Demon. Director Nicholas Winding-Refn has nothing left to prove as a visual stylist, with movies like Valhalla Rising, Drive and Only God Forgives under his belt. But this Jodorowsky-esque nightmare might be him most beautiful and disquieting film yet. Described by The Telegraph as a “glittering, etherized nightmare…with a dark, coiled panther energy”, the movie stars Elle Fanning as… well, we’re not going to bother with words when Refn’s images are available.
Grab yourself a poster, book a ticket and we’ll see you in the dark.
Feature Image courtesy of: The Iris