Words: Rob DeStefano

Summer blockbuster season is over, but it’s still too warm for Oscar releases, so what the hell is worth seeing in theaters right now? Here’s our weekend guide to prevent you from aimlessly scrolling through Netflix – it is about time they expand their selection.

IFC Theater
323 Avenue of the Americas, New York 10014

Pick: Starred Up


Don’t let the director David Mackenzie’s previous filmography turn you off (I’m looking at you Spread, starring Ashton Kutcher). Starred Up is an entirely captivating prison thriller, tracking the incarceration of 19-year-old Eric Love (Jack O’Connell) by means of his acquaintanceship with a ruthless officer, a peace-pushing therapist Oliver (Rupert Friend), and his estranged, fellow inmate father Neville Love (Ben Mendelsohn). O’Connell delivers an explosively aggressive and troubled performance – he’s absolutely perfect in the role. The film knows exactly how to add just the right amount of stylish flare without ever bogging down its core.

Why the big screen treatment? An intense ride that is best experienced in a theater’s setting. Watch its trailer.

Showtimes: Saturday & Sunday September 6/7: 12:35pm, 3:30, 9:55

Landmark Sunshine Cinema
143 E Houston St, New York 10002

Pick: Frank


It’s one of those high concept ideas: there’s this lead singer of an avant garde group who wears a paper mache head, and never takes it off. Frank is loosely based on the story of maniac musician Christopher Sievey aka Frank Sidebottom, here portrayed through pantomime by the always exciting Michael Fassbender. The film retains a vivacious spirit while following Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a new edition to Frank’s experimental band, as he attempts to learn the secret ingredient behind great art. The answer, however, deflects this movie toward heavy and complex truths.

Why the big screen treatment? Fassbender sings… Watch its trailer.

Showtimes: Saturday & Sunday September 6/7: 12:30pm, 2:45, 5:00, 7:20, 9:35

City Cinemas Village East
181-189 Second Ave, New York 10003

Pick: Snowpiercer


Looking for bonkers, unapologetic action? Chris Evans loses the red, white, and blue and stars in Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s first English language film. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that has entered a perpetual ice age, the sole survivors circle around the earth on an all but magical train. Crazy – yes. Those in the back of Noah’s Arc-On-Wheels are oppressed by their wealthy counterparts, who reside in the bow, so naturally, a rebellion begins for social mobility. As the characters move from car to car, Bong Joon-ho reveals elaborate new sets and more reasons for us to root and care for his subjects.

Why the big screen treatment? Because carefully realized aesthetics have never been enhanced by a TV. Watch its trailer.

Showtimes: Saturday & Sunday September 6/7: 8:00pm and 10:45

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Pick: Boyhood


If you haven’t caught up with Richard Linklater’s masterwork about growing up and growing old, then there’s no better theater to sit back, scribble out a food and drink order, and absorb this nearly three hour feat. This is the notorious film shot over the course of twelve years, following yearly segments of Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane) life, from age five to eighteen, though the story is as much his family members’ as it is his. The result is a life affirming experience – one that is unlike anything to hit theaters in recent memory.

Why the big screen treatment? Face it, you’re not going to sit still for three hours in your own home. This movie deserves the undivided attention. Watch its trailer.

Showtimes: Saturday & Sunday September 6/7: 11:05am, 2:15pm, 5:35, 9:00

Cinema Village 12th Street
22 E 12 St, New York 10003

Pick: Ida


The latest by Pawel Pawlikowski has been receiving whispered praise for months now. Days before she is scheduled to take her vows, Ida is reunited with her distant Aunt, who she shares nothing in common with, except for a past of unanswered questions. The film is set in a Wintry 1960s Poland, and the photography is a gorgeously stark black and white. Ida leans toward a brief runtime (82 minutes), but its emotional quandary resonates long after.

Why the big screen treatment? The modern cinematography is reminiscent of The White Ribbon i.e. go big screen. Watch its trailer.

Showtimes: Saturday & Sunday September 6/7: 1:15pm, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15

Angelika Film Center
18 W Houston St, New York 10012

Pick: The One I Love

the one i love

It’s a two character film about a last ditch effort to save a marriage. Cue the science-fiction and give this indie drama a little spin. Check out our full thoughts on The One I Love here.

Why the big screen treatment? Because you’ve watched Peggy Olsen on your own TV for seven years now. Watch its trailer.

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