The Best Films Playing in New York and Los Angeles Repertory Theaters During June 2024 SuperNayr

In the wake of a slow return to production post WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, industry contraction, and an extended M&A deal for a major studio that has kept the whole town on pins and needles, Hollywood really needs a break. Creatives and executives alike were hoping for a boost in the form of a strong summer box office, but after almost every blockbuster released in the last month failed to meet expectations, a panic that’s been in place for a while now refuses to relent. As the traditional process of producing and distributing film and television hurdles towards oblivion, the best thing one can do is take a step back and gain some perspective. Ironically enough, I believe the best place to do this is actually… at a movie theater. Just not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

Will Smith
Run Lola Run

While first-run mega-chains like AMC and Regal struggle through the slim offerings of this summer by filling out their schedules with old movies, repertory cinemas in major cities around the country thrive based on community desire for quality curation. At the Egyptian in Los Angeles this weekend, two of the three showings for “Charlie Kaufman: An American Cinematheque Retrospective” are sold out. Later this month, sound engineer and re-recording mixer Tom Fleishman is curating screenings of films he’s worked on as well as some that inspired his work at Metrograph in Manhattan. These include masterpieces such as Robert Altman’s “Nashville” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” (already sold out two weeks in advance). These are films that are almost 50 years old and people are still hungry for them. This is a message industry fear-mongers should take to heart.

Films are capable of survival past their opening weekend. How? The simple answer is you have to keep showing them. For studio execs and first run theaters, this means keeping films in theaters longer and giving people a new reason to see them if the first reason doesn’t pan out. Case in point, “The Fall Guy” may have fallen flat as an ode to stunts and behind-the-scenes players, but if people knew how well it works as an high-octane rom-com, they might be a lot more interested in spending a date night at the movies. Repertory cinemas — as well as first-run theaters that feature revival programming — have survived largely based on the care that goes into their curation. To honor the great work these theaters do, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite screenings for this upcoming month in New York and Los Angeles, most of which will be shown on film in 35mm or 70mm.

NEW YORK

Metrograph

FOUR LITTLE GIRLS, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Robertson, 1997
‘Four Little Girls,’ 1997©Hanna-Barbera/Courtesy Everett Collection

A fairly newer revival house, Metrograph opened in 2016 and managed to survive the COVID-19 shutdowns by building and maintaing an online platform with live screenings and on-demand selections, but its in-theater programming is some of the best in the city. Series this month include “Ethics of Care” featuring films about caretakers like Bong Joon-Ho’s “Mother” and Pedro Almodovar’s “All About My Mother,” as well as “Nobuhiko Obayashi x3” which highlights his films “Beijing Watermelon,” “House,” and “Labyrinth of Cinema.” IndieWire’s pick for the month though is the American Cinema Editors’ presentation of Spike Lee’s harrowing documentary “4 Little Girls.” 

Incorporating interviews conducted in the ‘90s, Lee examines the history of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 that killed four young Black girls and injured many others, the horrifying stain it left on the community, and the present-day terror Black Americans still live with throughout the country, but especially in the South. A chilling documentary and a remarkable historical record, “4 Little Girls” is required viewing for anyone who wants to understand the human cost of racial and political terrorism and how violence manages to persist despite great social shifts. The film’s editor and frequent Spike Lee collaborator Sam Pollard will be in attendance for a Q&A as well. 

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“House” (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)

Sat, June 8 @ 12pm, Sun, June 9 @ 10pm, Mon, June 10 @ 6:10pm

ACE Presents: “4 Little Girls” (dir. Spike Lee, 1997)

Sat, June 29 @ 6:20 pm

Nitehawk Williamsburg

ALL OVER ME, Alison Forland, Tara Subkoff, 1997, (c)Fine Line Features/courtesy Everett Collection
‘All Over Me,’ Alison Forland, Tara Subkoff, 1997©Fine Line Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

Taking a page out of Alamo Drafthouse’s book, the Nitehawk brand brought food and drinks to the movies, opening up in Brooklyn in 2011 as a first-run, then shifting focus to incorporate older films, as well as art house and cult cinema. This month, the original Williamsburg location will be hosting many special events, including a 40th anniversary screening of “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” and a 35th anniversary screening of Gus Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy,” but our pick for June is the 1997 LGBTQ+ teen drama, “All Over Me.”

A slightly softer take on the rough-and-tumble New York City childhood depicted in harsher films like Larry Clark’s “Kids,” The Sichel Sisters’ “All Over Me” tracks the devolving friendship of a closeted queer girl and her self-destructive bestie, all set against a sweltering Hell’s Kitchen summer. Triggering warning for viewers, the film involves heavy elements of violence against the LGBTQ+ community as a way of showing that, for many generations of queer individuals, their sexual awakening also came with the threat of harm. It’s a theme that, unfortunately, still feels potent today. The film’s star, Alison Foland, will be in attendance after the screening for a Q&A.

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“All Over Me” (dir. Alex Sichel , 1997)

Wed, June 12 @ 7:15pm w/Q&A from actor Alison Folland

“Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (dir. Russ Meyer, 1965)

Mon, June 17 @ 9:30pm w/ intro from historian Elizabeth Purchell

“Drugstore Cowboy” (dir. Gus Van Sant, 1989)

Tue, June 18 @ 9:30pm

“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” (dir. W.D. Richter, 1984)

Sat, June 22 @ 11:30am

Nitehawk Prospect Park

HELLRAISER, Doug Bradley, 1987
‘Hellraiser,’ Doug Bradley, 1987©New World Releasing/Courtesy Everett Collection

Originally built on the site of the Marathon Theater — open from 1908-1927 before being torn down — then operating as the Sanders Theater from 1928 to 1978 and the Pavillion Theater from 1996 to 2016, Nitehawk Prospect Park is hallowed ground for moviegoers. Running programs in conjunction with the Williamsburg location, Nitehawk spreads the cinema love throughout the Brooklyn borough with series like “Be Gay, Do Crime Part II: The Villain Edit.” The program at Prospect Park includes films like David Cronenberg’s “Crash,” David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” and IndieWire’s pick for this month, Clive Barker’s deviant, supernatural horror treasure “Hellraiser.”

Spawning nine sequels and a franchise reboot in 2022, the original “Hellraiser” remains the best in the series, giving birth to a modern movie monster in the form of fan-named Pinhead. Explorers on a carnal, sexual adventure across dimensions, the Cenobites, led by Pinhead, no longer know the difference between pain and pleasure. When a hedonist Earthling manages to escape their realm, he wreaks havoc on his family until the Cenobites are once again able to stop him. To match the sexual terror on display in the film, Nitehawk will be hosting a BDSM pre-show from Daemonum X & Sara Elise. Probably best to hire a babysitter for this one.

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.” (dir. Leslie Harris, 1992)

Wed, June 12 @ 7:15pm w/intro from filmmaker Radha Blank

“Crash” (dir. David Cronenberg, 1996)

Thurs, June 13 @ 9:15pm

“Hellraiser” (dir. Clive Barker, 1987)

Thurs, June 20 @ 8:30pm

Film Forum

THE SMALL BACK ROOM, David Farrar, 1949
‘The Small Back Room,’ David Farrar, 1949Courtesy Everett Collection

Founded as a space for screening independent films in 1970, the cinema that exists at Film Forum today was built in 1990, but renovated in 2018. It showcases independent films to this day, as well as foreign art films and repertory offerings, and also hosts Film Forum Jr., which screens classics for all ages, including this month, “The Neverending Story.” However, IndieWire’s pick — the only one on this list not to be shown on film — is the 4K restoration of Powell and Pressburger’s “The Small Back Room.”

A character study, political drama, war thriller, and romance all wrapped into one, “The Small Back Room” can be compared to two relatively recent Best Picture Oscar winners, “The Hurt Locker” and “Oppenheimer,” as all three films deal with the negative after-effects of combining war and science, as well as the personal repercussions of putting one’s life at great risk for destructive causes. Scratches and cracks removed, but not overly digitized, this new print is a stunning improvement on the digital edition currently available on the Criterion Channel and elsewhere. In honor of the new restoration, the film will be screening a whole week from June 28th to July 4th.

LOS ANGELES

Egyptian Theatre

THE SOUND OF MUSIC, from left: Charmain Carr, Kym Karath, Heather Menzies, Angela Cartwright, Julie Andrews, Nicholas Hammond, Debbie Turner, Duane Chase, 1965. TM & Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection
‘The Sound of Music’©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

One of the original Hollywood movie palaces, outside its gates, the streets may bustle with tourists and hoi-polloi of all varieties, but inside is a temple to the theatrical experience. Opening in 1922, it hosted the first ever Hollywood premiere for Douglas Fairbanks’ Robin Hood and continues that tradition, serving as a venue for premieres and festivals throughout the year. Purchased by Netflix in 2020, renovation on the theater took three years, but it finally reopened this past fall and is better than ever. While some of its schedule is given to showings of Netflix films (not bad in the case of this month’s “Hit Man”), a good deal of its programming is revival cinema. And June features some of its best offerings since reopening. 

For Father’s Day, it’ll be screening “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” back-to-back, on 35mm. If you haven’t seen both on the big screen, what are you waiting for? IndieWire’s top choice for the month is a 70mm showing of “The Sound of Music.” The film will be screened off a rare archival print and for those who’ve never experienced a film shown on this scale, the sweep and effect is unlike anything you can find in the home viewing experience. With one of the best Dolby Atmos sound systems in the world, the music will no doubt be brought to new heights of whimsy and sorrow. 

“The Godfather” Part 1 and 2 (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1972/1974)

Sun, June 16 @ 3pm and 7pm (Father’s Day)

“Sound of Music” (dir. Robert Wise, 1965)

Sat, June 22 @ 12pm

Rosselini’s War Trilogy (“Rome, Open City,” “Paisan,” “Germany Year Zero,” 1945/1946)

Sat, June 29 @ 1:00pm and Sun, June 30 @ 5pm

Vidiots Foundation

DO THE RIGHT THING, Spike Lee, 1989.
‘Do the Right Thing,’ Spike Lee, 1989©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Vidiots is a true Hollywood underdog story. Starting in 1985 as an independent video rental store, it maintained itself throughout the ‘90s and 2000s by offering nicher titles and also playing host to screenings and small festivals, differentiating itself from chains like Blockbuster. After becoming a non-profit in 2012, the store was finally beaten down by the streaming platforms in 2017. The Vidiots Foundation still intact, the organization programmed for other venues in Los Angeles for years until a funding project started in 2020 finally reached its goal in 2022. Purchasing the Eagle Theater in Eagle Rock, Vidiots reopened as a screening venue, but still offering rental videos at the front. IndieWire has a special place in our hearts for Vidiots, as they’ve recently hosted our “Pass the Remote” FYC screening series.

IndieWire’s viewing choice of the month at Vidiots is Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece, “Do The Right Thing,” screening in 35mm. Released years prior to the brutal Rodney King police beating and LA riots that followed the exoneration of the officers involved, the film had its finger on the pulse of a racial tension in America that’s persisted since the country’s inception and continues to this day. Lee and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson perfectly capture how the combination of heat, anxiety, and generational anger can lead to destructive ends and experiencing the film on 35mm really brings it to life. Comedian and actor Ify Nwadiwe will also be in attendance for this special Juneteenth screening.

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“Fantasia” (1940)

Sat, June 15 @ 12pm

“Do the Right Thing” (dir. Spike Lee, 1989)

Wed, June 19 @ 7:30pm

Aero Theatre

QUIZ SHOW, John Turturro (front with eyeglasses), 1994, © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection
‘Quiz Show,’ John Turturro, 1994©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Initially opened in 1940 and built as a 24 hour theater for workers at the Douglas Aircraft Company, by the ‘80s the Aero transformed into one of Los Angeles’ only repertory theaters. Struggling to maintain itself, the theater closed in 2003 before reopening in 2005 as part of the American Cinematheque, a collective that programs for The Egyptian Theatre and The Los Feliz Theatre. This month sees the Aero play host to a special screening of “Local Hero” in honor of veteran Hollywood reporter, Sam Rubin, which would’ve been IndieWire’s pick if it not for the fact that it’s also screening Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show” to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary.

Starring Ralph Fiennes in a different type of villainous role, “Quiz Show” explores the personal and political fallout of the 1950s quiz show scandals. For those unfamiliar, after the rise of radio quiz shows in the ‘30s and ‘40s and with television picking up the baton in the ‘50s, producers for the shows, conspiring with network executives on behalf of the companies they advertised for, began feeding answers to contestants as a way of controlling the drama week-to-week. The film is an ensemble piece, but also a character study of winners, losers, and those charged with keeping people honest. Actor Rob Morrow will be in attendance for a Q&A.

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“Local Hero” (dir. Bill Forsyth, 1983)

Sun, June 9 @ 2pm

“Quiz Show” (dir. Robert Redford, 1994)

Fri, June 14 @ 7:30pm

“Ocean’s” Trilogy (dir. Steven Soderbergh)

Sat, June 15 @ 5pm

New Beverly Cinema

AMARCORD, 1973
‘Amarcord,’ 1973Courtesy Everett Collection

Known lovingly by Angelinos as The New Bev, this historic theater has played host to all, at one point serving variety acts like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, foreign films, and even pornography. Eventually, to match the changing neighborhood values, the theater started screening double features all programmed by one man named Sherman Torgan and his son, Michael. Torgan died in 2007, which is when Quentin Tarantino bought the theater, allowing Michael to continue programming until 2014 when Tarantino took over the entire operation. Now renovated and offering a wide variety of double features, kids screenings, midnight movies, and more, The New Bev also has some of the cheapest prices in Los Angeles, making it an easy choice for a night out that won’t break the bank.

Though we highly recommend the Marx Brothers double feature of “A Night at the Opera” and “Duck Soup” screening all this weekend, IndieWire’s pick for the month has to be Federico Fellini’s 1973 ode to his adolescence in the coastal village of Rimini, Italy, “Amarcord.” A narrative mélange of interwoven characters, 4th-wall breaking asides, fantastical dreams come to life, and tragic realities that change one forever, “Amarcord” is an artist’s remembrance of youth, produced at a point in their life when that’s all they have left of it. It’s funny, sad, sexy, utterly human, and perhaps Fellini’s most accessible film.

Other Highlights + Dates & Times –

“A Night At The Opera”/”Duck Soup” (dir. Sam Wood, 1935/dir. Leo McCarey, 1933)

Fri, June 7 and Sat, June 8 @ 7pm and 9pm and Sun, June 9 @ 6:30pm and 8:30pm

“Ali: Fear Eats the Soul”/”The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant” (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974/1972)

Wed, June 12 and Thurs, June 13 @ 7:30pm and 9:35pm

“Amarcord” (dir. Federico Fellini, 1973)

Thurs, June 20 and Fri, June 21 @ 7:30pm

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