CREEM: AMERICA’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MAGAZINE

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Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores CREEM Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later. Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.

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THE FIGHT

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THE FIGHT is an inspiring, emotional insider look at how these important battles are fought and the legal gladiators on the front lines fighting them. Directors Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres capture the rollercoaster ride of the thrill and defeat in these deeply human battles. When a mother is separated from her child, a soldier is threatened to lose his career, a young woman’s right to choose is imperiled at the pleasure of a government official, and the ability to exercise our basic right to vote is threatened, the consequences can be devastating to us and to future generations. THE FIGHT celebrates the unsung heroes who fiercely work to protect our freedoms.

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BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS

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In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, it’s last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world the regulars are escaping from. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future, and singing as their ship goes down. Filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross (Western, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke.

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HELMUT NEWTON: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

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One of the great masters of photography, Helmut Newton made a name for himself exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004. Newton worked around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to Paris to Los Angeles, but Weimar Germany was the visual hallmark of his work. Newton’s unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects? Through candid interviews with Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer, Marianne Faithfull, Hanna Schygulla, Nadja Auermann, and Newton’s wife June (a.k.a. photographer Alice Springs), this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life’s work – creating provocative and subversive images of women. The film also features Newton’s own home movies, archival footage (including a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag) and, of course, scores of iconic Newton photographs. The result: a wildly entertaining portrait of a controversial genius.

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AMULET

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Amulet, written and directed by Romola Garai, explores the story of Tomaz, an ex-soldier from an unnamed foreign conflict, living in strained circumstances in London. Haunted by his past, he is offered a place to stay in a decaying, claustrophobic house, inhabited by an enigmatic young woman and her dying mother. As he starts to fall for his new companion, Tomaz cannot ignore his suspicion that something insidious might also be living alongside them.

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JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE + Oprah Q&A

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JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Dawn Porter (TRAPPED, GIDEON’S ARMY), chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles John Robert Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.

Immediately following the feature, there will be a pre-recorded discussion between Representative Lewis and Oprah Winfrey, filmed last month and being made available exclusively for virtual cinema and in-theater engagements of the film. This is a wide-ranging, informal, 16-minute conversation that’s a perfect follow-up to the documentary, and could not be more relevant.

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WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES

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When four young orphans—Hikari, Ikuko, Ishi, and Takemura—first meet, their parents’ bodies are being turned into dust, like fine Parmesan atop a plate of spaghetti Bolognese, and yet none of them can shed a tear. They are like zombies; devoid of all emotion. With no family, no future, no dreams, and no way to move forward, the young teens decide that the first level of this new existence involves salvaging a gaming console, an old electric bass, and a charred wok from their former homes—just enough to start a band…and then conquer the world. Tragedy, comedy, music and teenage angst are all subsumed in this eccentric cinematic tsunami.

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BEATS

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A universal story of friendship, rebellion, and the irresistible power of music set against the backdrop of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, which banned unlicensed raves across the UK, BEATS follows best friends and polar opposites Johnno and Spanner who, realizing they are destined for different futures, sneak out to an illegal party in pursuit of one last crazy night together.

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