Guest Curator Series Begins: “Bone Tomahawk”

26 January 2016
23bonetom-master675photo: Scott Everett White/RLJ Entertainment

We’re starting the new year with a new series, Guest Curator. The first guest to choose a film to screen is our friend Adam Sweeney. His choice (which screens Sunday, January 31 at 1:30 pm in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room) is Bone Tomahawk. Here’s Jeannette Catsoulis’ review in The New York Times:

In “Bone Tomahawk,” an old-timer, an invalid and a gunslinger set out across the blistering desert to rescue three innocents from a band of savage cannibals. Their mission seems beyond futile, but don’t count them out too soon: Their leader is Kurt Russell.

Yet Mr. Russell is far from the only reason to see this unexpected low-budget treat, a witty fusion of western, horror and comedy that gallops to its own beat. That rhythm is dictated entirely by the writer and director, S. Craig Zahler, a novelist and musician who flips genre conventions upside-down and cares more about character than body count. As a result, he has given us a horror movie whose monsters are withheld until the tail end of its 132 minutes, and an action movie whose longest section involves mostly walking and talking.

But what talking! Listening to the wonderfully weird and off-kilter dialogue, you can see why actors with the heft of Patrick Wilson and Richard Jenkins were moved to join Mr. Russell in his trek. (“It’s like a tree fell on you,” a bartender remarks to a less-than-coherent patron. “A redwood.”) Even Matthew Fox, whom I have always found underwhelming, is terrific as the worldly gunslinger with a creamy wardrobe and an itchy trigger finger. Rising to the bait of the movie’s meandering asides and pithy one-liners, the actors never oversell, instead using their bodies to convey the weight of responsibility (Mr. Russell’s sheriff), the vanity of the professional killer (Mr. Fox) and the bone weariness of a deputy who’s too old for this posse nonsense (Mr. Jenkins).

For sheer physical endurance, though, Mr. Wilson bests them all as O’Dwyer, a cowboy whose wife has been kidnapped by the deviants and whose broken leg threatens to stall the rescue mission. The kidnappers — helpfully described as inbred cave dwellers, or “troglodytes,” lest we think that Native Americans are being depicted as people eaters — lurk a three-day ride from the little town of Bright Hope, where the abductions occurred. For some, this interlude will be a richly rewarding highlight as veteran performers gnaw on their roles and Benji Bakshi’s arid photography adds gravity and grandeur; for others, it will be a longueur to be endured before the splatter commences.

When it does, Mr. Zahler doesn’t disappoint with scenes that are swift, sure and shockingly brutal. Right to the end, the movie’s idiosyncratic sensibility doesn’t flag, with villains who sew animal bones into their throats to facilitate their bloodcurdling battle cries, and a victim who meets his end in the manner of a wishbone at Thanksgiving dinner. Even the song that plays over the end credits — a frontier-ditty parody by Mr. Zahler and Jeff Herriott — is worth staying seated for. Grisly and offbeat, “Bone Tomahawk” may boast abysmal racial politics, but they’re also true to the terrors of the time. Of all the things we can expect from an Old West picture, cultural enlightenment isn’t one of them.

“Bone Tomahawk” is not rated. Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes.

A version of this review appears in print on October 23, 2015, on page C11 of the New York edition with the headline: A Scary Western That’s Funny, Too.

A discussion follows the free screening.


The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929

6 December 2013
Clara Bow in "Ladies of the Mob" (1928). None of the four features Bow made in '28 are known to have survived.

Clara Bow in “Ladies of the Mob” (1928). None of the four features Bow made in ’28 are known to have survived.

The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929

Report from the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Library of Congress, September 2013.


“A Story of Floating Weeds” Screens Accompanied by New Score Nov. 9

1 November 2013


Grammy-nominated steel-string guitarist Alex de Grassi was commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival to compose a score for Ozu’s classic silent film, A Story of Floating Weeds. The 1934 film (which Ozu remade in the ’50s as Floating Weeds) has a “elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunites with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all.” (Criterion) On Saturday, November 9, de Grassi will perform his score on stage as the film screens. It all takes place in Waterman Theatre, Tyler Hall at SUNY Oswego. Tickets are $18; $5 for students. tickets.oswego.edu


OFG Presents “The Devil’s Backbone” Oct 29

25 October 2013

devilsbackboneThe film group presents its Halloween feature, The Devil’s Backbone on Tuesday, October 29 at 6:45 pm in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room (120 East 2nd Street).

One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones. (Criterion)

Check out the essay “The Devil’s Backbone: The Past Is Never Dead…” by Mark Kermode at the Criterion site:


We hope you’ll join us!


2013 ImageOut Film Festival Runs Oct 11-20

7 October 2013

ImageOut, the Rochester (NY) LGBT Film & Video Festival runs October 11 – 20. Check out the program at the link (below and under our permanent links for Film Venues: CNY).



Update on Available NCLS DVDs

20 September 2013

Keeping you up-to-date on notable additions to the North Country Library System DVD collection…here are some 2013 releases now available: Ginger and Rosa  / Mud / To the Wonder / What Maisie Knew / White Elephant

From 2012:

Arbitrage / Amour / Beasts of the Southern Wild / Bernie / The Central Park Five / Certified Copy / Chico & Rita / 5 Broken Cameras / How to Survive a Plague / Hysteria / Jeff, Who Lives at Home / A Late Quartet / Margaret / The Master / Monsieur Lazhar / Moonrise Kingdom / Neighbouring Sounds / Never Stand Still / Not Fade Away / On the Ice / The Place Beyond the Pines / The Queen of Versailles / Rampart / A Royal Affair / Ruby Sparks / Safety Not Guaranteed / Salmon Fishing in the Yemen / Searching for Sugar Man  / The Secret World of Arrietty / A Separation / Sleepwalk With Me / Take This Waltz / We Need to Talk About Kevin / Your Sister’s Sister



“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Screens Wed, March 6

15 February 2013

beasts-of-the-southern-wild02It seems scores of folks (from the First Lady on) have been talking up this drama mixed with fantasy. Beasts of the Southern Wild has been nominated for four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and–the youngest nominee so far for–Best Actress). Set in a remote corner of the Louisiana bayou, this is the story of

Hushpuppy, played with feral eloquence by 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. When not warming up cat food for dinner—lighting the stove with a blowtorch!—the dandelion-haired heroine ministers to her pig, chickens and rough-but-loving father, Wink (Dwight Henry—a New Orleans baker by trade), who’s grievously ill.

Alone in her tumbledown trailer, Hushpuppy ponders the nature of time and her place in the cosmos. “The whole universe depends on everything fittin’ together just right,” she says. Her fervent imagination fills the screen with magic, from the motes glowing in the air to visions of aurochs, fearsome prehistoric behemoths that will reclaim the earth as ice caps melt. She’s convinced that animals and her absent mother—who she’s told “swam away” years earlier—talk to her, sometimes in code.

Zeitlin auditioned several thousand Gulf Coast girls for the role of Hushpuppy, initially conceived as age 9 to 12. “Of the 20 callbacks, half were white,” he recalls. Wallis, who’s black, showed up “looking like a warrior. She wasn’t exactly how we had imagined the character, but her spirit was the spirit of the movie.”

Though Wallis had never acted before, she handled direction and her director like an old pro. After one take, Zeitlin sidled up to her and said, “That was good. I just need a little more subtlety.” Wallis put him in his place. “I said, ‘I’m 6 years old!’” she recalls. “‘Do you really think I know what subtlety means? Come on! Gimme a kid word!’”

(“How Behn Zeitlin Made Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Franz Lidz, Smithsonian Magazine) Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/How-Benh-Zeitlin-Made-Beasts-of-the-Southern-Wild-179986201.html#ixzz2KzJU9lUl

This film screens on Wednesday, March 6 at 6:45 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East 2nd Street). The event is free and open to all and, as always, we’ll follow the film with a discussion. For more information on the film, please visit its website: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/beastsofthesouthernwild/

Holiday Movie 2012: “Remember the Night”

3 December 2012

Okay, so we’re taking a break from the offbeat holiday fare for a look back at an little-seen gem from director Mitchell Leisen and writer Preston Sturges: Remember the Night. The 1940 romantic comedy/drama paired Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray (so memorably seen starring together in Double Indemnity). Stanwyck is a “hardboiled shoplifter faced with staying in jail over Christmas, but given bail by prosecuting attorney MacMurray and taken to visit his family for the holiday. Playing superbly on the personae of his leads, Leisen creates a movie of warmth and immense style” (Time Out Film Guide). The free screening is Wednesday, December 12 at 6:30 pm in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East 2nd Street). The black & white film runs 94 minutes and a discussion will follow the screening.

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star in "Remember the Night"

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star in “Remember the Night”


On Screen/In Person Film Series Continues 10/9/12: “Runaway”

8 October 2012

The series that brings new independent films to communities across the mid-Atlantic, On Screen/In Person, continues Tuesday, October 9 at 7 PM with Amit Ashraf’s Runaway. The film tells the story of Babu, who has made it his life’s mission to find the men who seek to disappear in the crowds of Dhaka and return them to their families and villages. But Akbar is a man with powerful connections; Babu races to return him home before Akbar’s pursuer catches up. Director Amit Ashraf will be on hand to lead a question and answer session after the screening at the Oswego Cinema 7 (138 West 2nd Street, Oswego) Tickets are $7 (adults), $5 (seniors) and $3.50 (students). The series is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program and is brought to Oswego through the SUNY Oswego Cinema & Screen Studies Department and ARTSwego (with support from Zurich Cinema as well as the Oswego Film Club and OFG).


(Yet Again) Update of Library DVDs (Fall 2012)

25 September 2012

DVDs you can order through the North Country Library System:*

From 2012: Friends With Kids; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Margaret; Never Stand Still (doc); Rampart; Salmon Fishing in Yemen; The Secret World of Arrietty; We Need to Talk About Kevin

From 2011: The Artist; Being Elmo (doc); A Better Life; Carnage; Coriolanus; A Dangerous Method; The Elephant in the Room (doc); Everything Must Go; Hell and Back Again (doc); If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (doc); Into the Abyss (doc); The Last Mountain (doc); Martha Marcy May Marlene; Melancholia; My Week With Marilyn; Project Nim (doc); Rejoice and Shout (doc); The Skin I Live In; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Trollhunter; The Way; Young Adult

*Includes the Oswego Public Library


On Screen/In Person 2012-13 Series Begins 9/25/12

25 September 2012

The On Screen/In Person film series is returning to Oswego for a new season. The first event is the screening of Gen Silent on Tuesday, September 25, featuring a discussion with director Stu Maddux after the film. The documentary asks six seniors in the LGBT community about the discrimination they face as they navigate the health/senior care system. How do they face the fear, isolation and bullying they face? Bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell said, “Every single person should see this film…. It deserves an Oscar.” Please visit the film’s website: stumaddux.com/GEN_SILENT

The screening is at 7 p.m. at the Oswego Cinema (138 West 2nd Street). Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3.50 for students. Tickets for the entire series of six films are also available: $30 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $15 for students. Tickets are available at the Oswego Cinema box office of online at tickets.oswego.edu.


OFG and OPL Present 6/25 Event: “Senna” + “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

9 June 2012

Formula One legend Ayrton Senna is the subject of the documentary that screens Monday 6/25

OFG is teaming up with the Oswego Public Library (OPL) for a new endeavor; Intersections: Screen + Page.

At the suggestion of librarian Edward Elsner, we’ll explore the life of the Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna (in the award-winning documentary Senna)–the hero of one of the main characters (a race car driver himself) in the bestselling novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Everyone is invited to read the book in anticipation of the event Monday, June 25 in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 E 2nd St).

At 6:30 PM, we’ll screen Senna. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the documentary won the World Cinema Audience Award for Documentary Film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Rated PG-13, the film runs 1 hour, 44 minutes.

After the screening, we’ll discuss both the film and the novel, exploring their common themes. The event is free and open to the public.


On Screen/In Person Continues: “Milking the Rhino” 4/17/12

10 April 2012

On Tuesday, April 17 at 7 pm, the On Screen/In Person documentary wraps up for this season with Milking the Rhino. Director David E. Simpson will be in attendance and lead a question and answer session after the screening at the Oswego Cinema 7 (138 West 2nd Street).

The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia’s Himba, two of the oldest cattle cultures, are in the midst of upheaval. Emerging from a century of ‘white man conservation’ that turned their land  into game reserves and fueled resentment towards wildlife, they are now vying for a piece of the wildlife-tourism pie. Charting the collision of ancient ways and Western expectations, the film tells intimate, hopeful, and heartbreaking stories of people facing deep cultural change.

Tickets are $7 (adults), $5 (seniors), and $3.50 (students)–available online at tickets.oswego.edu or at the theatre box office.


On Screen/In Person: “Proceed and Be Bold!” 3/27/12

27 March 2012

The On Screen/In Person documentary series continues with Proceed and Be Bold! at 7 pm Tuesday, March 27 at the Oswego Cinema (138 West 2nd Street). Director Laura Zinger will be on hand and will lead a talk-back after the screening. The film’s subject is Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Once a middle class computer programmer, Kennedy is now known for his controversial posters and book art. The film follows Kennedy as his promotes his work in art galleries and meets the people who ‘understand him even better than he can,’ as he puts it, in an effort to learn about what causes him to create his charged works of art, and how people react to them. Tickets are $7, $5 for seniors, and $3.50 for students. Available at tickets.oswego.edu or at the theatre.


Night Out at the Movies: “The Artist”

2 March 2012

After sweeping the Oscar categories, The Artist comes to Oswego! Join us for a Night Out at the Movies for the 7:20 PM show Sunday, March 4 at the Oswego Cinema 7 and join us for a discussion (in the upper level lobby) after the screening.


Again With the DVDs at the Library…

28 February 2012

Yes, here with more updates on what’s available at the Oswego Public Library and at its sister facilities in the North Country Library System (NCLS)! We screened Margin Call earlier this month; it’s available on DVD on the shelves at the Oswego Public Library as  is one of last year’s Night Out features, Moneyball.

Here’s a rundown of some notable films from 2011 that are available in the NCLS system. (Italics indicates an OFG/Night Out screened film):

Beginners / A Better Life / Bobby Fischer Against the World (doc) / Buck (doc) / Contagion / The Debt / Drive / 50/50 / Hot Coffee (doc) / The Ides of March / Ingredients (doc) / Jane Eyre / Magic Trip (doc) / Margin Call / Midnight in Paris / Moneyball / Page One: Inside the New York Times (doc) / Saint Misbehavin’ (doc) / Sarah’s Key / Tree of Life / Win Win

From 2010:

The American / Animal Kingdom / Babies (doc) / Beautiful Boy / Bhutto (doc) / Bill Cunningham New York (doc) / Biútiful / Black Swan / Blue Valentine / Cave of Forgotten Dreams (doc) / Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (doc) / The Company Men / The Conspirator / Cyrus / Exit Through the Gift Shop (doc) / Fair Game / The Fighter / Gasland (doc) / The Ghost Writer / Greenberg / Green Zone / Inside Job (doc) / Jack Goes Boating / Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story (doc) / The Kids Are All Right / Kings of Pastry (doc) / The King’s Speech / Let Me In / Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City (doc) / Never Let Me Go / Night Catches Us / Of Gods and Men / 127 Hours / Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (doc) / Please Give / Rabbit Hole / Restrepo (doc) / The Runaways / Scott Pilgrim vs the World / The Social Network / Temple Grandin / The Tillman Story (doc) / The Town / True Grit / Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives / Waiting for Superman (doc) / Waste Land (doc) / Winter’s Bone / You Don’t Know Jack

From 2009:

Amreeka / Antichrist / The Art of the Steal (doc) / Away We Go / Brief Interviews with Hideous Men / Bright Star / Brothers / Brothers at War (doc) / Capitalism: A Love Story (doc) / City Island / Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky / Cold Souls / Crazy Heart / An Education / Fantastic Mr. Fox / (500) Days of Summer / Five Minutes of Heaven / Get Low / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest / The Girl Who Played With Fire / The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo / I Am Love / The Informant! / In the Loop / It Might Get Loud (doc) / The Last Station / Last Train Home / The Limits of Control / Looking for Eric / Mary and Max / The Men Who Stare at Goats / The Messenger / Moon / The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (doc) / Mother and Child / No Greater Love (doc) / No One Knows About Persian Cats / Paper Heart / Precious / Reel Injun (doc) / The Road / The Secret of Kells / A Serious Man / A Single Man / Soundtrack for a Revolution (doc) / South of the Border (doc) / Speaking in Code (doc) / State of Play / Tetro / Thirst / A Town Called Panic / Up in the Air / Vanishing of the Bees (doc) / Waking Sleeping Beauty (doc) / When You’re Strange: A Film About the Doors (doc) / Where the Wild Things Are / The White Ribbon / World’s Greatest Dad / The Young Victoria / Youth in Revolt


On Screen/In Person: “Concrete, Steel & Paint” 2/14/12

8 February 2012

The On Screen/In Person series continues with the screening of Concrete, Steel & Paint on Tuesday, February 14 at 7PM at the Oswego Cinema 7 (138 West 2nd Street). The film’s co-director, Cindy Burstein, will be at the event and take questions from the audience after the screening.

When men in a Pennsylvania state prison join with victims of crime to create a mural about healing, their views on punishment, remorse, and forgiveness collide. Finding consensus is not easy, but as participants move through the creative process, mistrust gives way to surprising moments of human contact and common purpose. This complex story raises important questions about crime, justice, and reconciliation–and dramatically illustrates how art can facilitate dialogue about difficult issues.

On Screen/In Person brings independent American films and their filmmakers to communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic; the series is presented here by ARTSwego, SUNY Oswego’s Cinema and Screen Studies Program with support from SUNY Oswego’s Film Club, Zurich Cinema, and OFG.

Tickets are $7 adults, $5 seniors, and $3.50 students.


“Margin Call” Screen 2/20/12

8 February 2012

OFG, along with the Economics Department of SUNY Oswego, will be screening the 2011 Wall Street drama Margin Call on Monday, February 20 at 7 PM in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center. After the screening, we’ll be discussing the film, the investment industry it depicts, and the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The first feature-length film of writer/director J.C. Chandor, the film’s impressive cast includes: Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, and Demi Moore.

As the movie opens, people at the firm are being summoned to a glass-walled conference room and politely told to clear out. Among the victims is an uncomplaining risk-management executive, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), who, leaving with nineteen years of his life in a cardboard box, passes a flash drive to Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto), one of the young analysts. “Be careful,” he says. Staying late on the trading floor, and plugging Dale’s numbers into standard volatility models, Sullivan quickly understands: if the mortgage-backed securities currently on the company’s books, which are heavily leveraged, decline in value by an additional twenty-five per cent, the company’s losses will be greater than its total market capitalization.

“Margin Call” is one of the strongest American films of the year and easily the best Wall Street movie ever made. It’s about corporate manners—the protocols of hierarchy, the rituals of power, and, most of all, the difficulty of confronting flagrant habits of speculation with truth. (David Denby, The New Yorker)
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2011/10/31/111031crci_cinema_denby#ixzz1losQy6AM


Special Event w/Filmmaker Ayesha Khan

2 February 2012

OFG, with ARTSwego, will host a free community event with Pakistani filmmaker Ayesha Khan on Wednesday, February 15 at 6 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East 2nd Street). We will screen the documentary Ms Khan produced, Made in Pakistan. The film focuses on the lives of four young professionals in Pakistan during the state of emergency under President Musharraf in 2007. The hour-long film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the New York South Asian International Film Festival.

During the evening, guests will be able to sample some typical South Asian food as they view the film and discuss it informally. The event is free but guests are asked to register in advance by contacting artswego@oswego.edu or calling 315-312-4581.

Producer, director, and actress Ayesha Khan visits Oswego as part of Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet, connecting US audiences with artists from the Muslim world. ARTSwego is only of only five US arts groups chosen to host the 2011-12 Caravanserai season. The program is an initiative of Arts Midwest, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, South Arts, and the NEA. More information on Caravanserai and on Made in Pakistan is found at http://www.caravanserai-arts.org and http://www.oswego.edu/arts


OFG Screens “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” 12/14/11

9 December 2011

Oh, of course we love the holiday movie classics…but sometimes you just need something a bit bracing to counter all the sweet that envelops us this time of year. With that in mind, we present the film Roger Ebert called a “rather brilliant lump of coal for your stocking hung by the fireside with care. How else to explain an R-rated Santa Claus origin story crossed with ‘The Thing’?”…Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.

The unjolly Santa is this tale was inspired by from the Finnish version: a “pagan figure, named Joulupukki known for wearing goatskins and horns. But instead of giving presents, he demanded them in return for not causing trouble!” (BBC)

The film, from Finnish director Jalmari Helander, is a prequel of sorts to his celebrated Rare Export shorts. The film is in Finnish with subtitles and runs 84 minutes–and remember: it’s rated R. We’ll screen it and then discuss it starting at 7 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library. It’s free and all are welcome.


“Forks Over Knives” Screens 11/2/11

21 October 2011

The next OFG event (sponsored with SUNY Oswego’s Civic Engagement coalition and Science Café ad hoc group) will be the documentary Forks Over Knives.

The 2011 documentary traces the separate journeys of two men, nutritional scientist T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Cornell University, and surgeon Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic. Their work leads both men to focus on a plant-based diet as key to health, warding off—and dealing more effectively with—many of the diseases that afflict us. In an interview in The New York Times, Campbell noted, “We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods. The effect it produces is broad for treatment and prevention of a wide variety of ailments, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes.”  In addition to giving the perspective of medical and health professionals, the film tells the stories of patients who are using whole food diets to help treat their chronic conditions. The film, written and directed by Lee Fulkerson, is rated PG and runs 90 minutes. The movie’s website is www.forksoverknives.com.

The free screening (open to the public) will be Wednesday, November 2 at 7 PM in the Community Room at the Oswego Public Libary (120 East Second Street). A discussion will follow the film.


OFG Films/Night Out at the Movies Films Available at the Library

19 October 2011

More than half of the films that OFG has shown (or gone to see at the Oswego Cinema as our Nights Out at the Movies) are available on DVD from the North Country Library System. A total of 15 can be found at the Oswego Public Library; more than 40 are at one or more of the other libraries in the North Country system (which includes Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St Lawrence counties)–including the film we screened last week, Of Gods and Men! (Some of these DVDs may be Blu-Ray only). To check on the availability of any of these (or to browse), please go to the online catalog you’ll find on the Oswego Public Library site (http://www.oswegopubliclibrary.org/) or the North County site (http://www.northcountrylibraries.org/

At the Oswego Public Library:

Akeelah and the Bee, American Blackout, Bride & Prejudice, The Cove, Crazy Heart, Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room, The Forest for the Trees, He Died With a Felafel in His Hand, An Inconvenient Truth, Inside Job, Munich, Syriana, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Who’s Camus Anyway?, Winter’s Bone

At other libraries in the North Country Library System:

Aurora Borealis, Becoming Jane, Black Swan, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Class, The Constant Gardener, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Doubt, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Familia, Fast Food Nation, The Fighter, Food, Inc., Frozen River, Gran Torino, Hotel Rwanda, I’m Not There, The Informant!, The King’s Speech, The Kite Runner, The Last King of Scotland, León, the Professional, Letters from Iwo Jima, Let the Right One In, Man on Wire, Monster Thursday, The Narrow Margin, Of Gods and Men, Persepolis, A Prairie Home Companion, The Producers (2006), Proof, The Reader, Running With Scissors, The Savages, Shopgirl, Slumdog Millionaire, Sugar, Super Troopers, Thank You for Smoking, Top Hat, Transamerica, The Upside of Anger, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, The World’s Fastest Indian   


OFG Presents “Of Gods and Men” 10/12/11

4 October 2011

\”Of Gods and Men\” trailer

OFG continues its Best of the Festivals series with the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize winner for Best Film, Of Gods and Men. The film will be shown at 6:45 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East Second Street) Wednesday, October 12. A question and answer session and discussion will follow the screening (which is free and open to the public).

The film was inspired by real events in the 1990s.

Lambert Wilson plays Christian, the head of a Cistercian monastery in Algeria: a spartan order devoted to contemplation and prayer. Their community has developed a happy relationship with the local Muslim villagers, based partly on the free outpatient clinic they provide. They have a quiet, supportive respect for each other’s traditions. But dark forces are gathering: intolerant jihadist forces have already murdered Croatian construction workers, and are rumoured to have the Catholic monks in their sights as the ultimate prize…. The monks must now decide: should they stay or should they go? Is going cowardice? Is staying arrogance? Is martyrdom their destiny? (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, December 2, 2010)

The film was directed by Xavier Beauvois. Of Gods and Men, in French and Arabic, runs 120 minutes and is rated PG-13. The film’s website is http://www.sonyclassics.com/ofgodsandmen/.


Night Out the Movies: “Moneyball” on Sun 9/25

22 September 2011

Join us for a Night Out at the Movies on Sunday evening at the Oswego Cinema 7. We’ll attend the 7:10 PM showing of Moneyball. The film, based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, stars Brad Pitt as

Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game. — (C) Sony Pictures

Moneyball movie website

After the screening, we’ll gather in the upstairs lobby of the theater and discuss the film. We’ll be joined by SUNY Oswego professor Ranjit Dighe. Currently teaching a course on the economics of baseball at the college, Ranjit will bring his perspective on the business and art of baseball to our discussion.

All are welcome! Please join us.


On Screen/In Person Film Series Begins 9/20/11, Oswego Cinema 7

20 September 2011

ON SCREEN/IN PERSON is a series of six films followed by a Q&A with the film director(s) or producer that has been organized by the SUNY Oswego’s Cinema and Screen Studies Program with support from ARTSwego and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.
All On Screen/In Person screenings take place at the Oswego Cinema, 138 West 2nd Street, on Tuesday evenings at 7 PM. Tickets are available from any SUNY Oswego campus box office, online at tickets.oswego.edu, or from the Oswego Cinema.  Adults $7 / Seniors $5 / Students $3.50
These three series films are scheduled for Fall 2011:

Tuesday, September 20 @ 7 PM
What’s ‘Organic’ About Organic w/ Director Shelley Rogers
This film dives into the challenges that arise when a grassroots agricultural movement evolves into a booming international market. Though the stories of farmers who steward land from Harlem to the foothills of the Rockies, from upstate New York to Florida, the film offers audiences a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in creating a more sustainable food system.

What\’s Organic website

Tuesday, October 25 @ 7 PM
Beatboxing-The Fifth Element of Hip Hop w/ Producer Angela Viscido
In the late 70’s, a youth culture evolved in the poorer parts of New York that combined several disciplines under the name of hip hop. Apart from the four classic elements of graffiti, DJing, breakdancing, and rapping, the musical side of this culture was enhanced by a fifth element called ‘beatboxing’. From the hardship of poverty and the lack of instruments, a pioneer was inspired to imitate drum rhythms with his mouth – his brilliance creating the term ‘human beatbox’. Beatboxing features artists from New York, California, Florida, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Austria and Germany, who demonstrate their amazing techniques.

Beatboxing documentary website

Tuesday, November 15 @ 7 PM
Out in the Silence w/ Directors Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson
When a popular 16-year-old jock is brutally attacked for coming out at his small town high school, his mother reaches out for help to the only person she feels she can trust, an openly gay man who lives 300 miles away–native son and filmmaker Joe Wilson. Returning home with camera in hand, Wilson documents the harrowing but ultimately successful battle waged by the teen and his mom against recalcitrant school authorities, the efforts of a lesbian couple to restore an historic theater in the face of vitriolic anti-gay attacks, and his own unexpected friendship with an Evangelical preacher. As walls are torn down and bridges built, Out in the Silence offers a fascinating and moving commentary on America’s culture war.

Out in the Silence website

OFG is pleased to be a partner with the groups bringing this series to Oswego.


Upcoming Films in Oswego: Week of 9/4/11

2 September 2011

On Tuesday, September 6th at 9 PM the first film in the SUNY Oswego Reading Initiative (ORI) film series will run in the Campus Center Auditorium (132): Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death. Peter Bate directed this 2003 BBC documentary (released in the US in 2005); the film is unrated and runs 1 hour, 24 minutes. There’s no charge for the show.

The true story of what King Leopold did in the Congo, which was forgotten by the world for over 50 years. Leopold turned the Congo into his own private colony from 1885 to 1908. Under his control, the Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold assumed the role of protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave traders, but, in reality, he exploited them as he amassed a personal fortune in this country rich in rubber. If the men failed to produce enough wild rubber, their families were held hostage and starved to death. Children’s hands were chopped off for late deliveries. It is agreed today, that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo. (Rotten Tomatoes website)

On Thursday, September 8 at 7 PM, there will be a free screening for the community of the documentary Race to Nowhere in the Ralph M. Faust Auditorium, Oswego High School.

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired. (from the film’s website: http://www.racetonowhere.com)

Presented by SUNY Oswego, ARTSwego, and the Oswego City School District, the film will be followed by a panel discussion and a reception at 9 PM in the auditorium lobby.


Coming to Rochester June 8 & 9…Jeff Krulik!

7 July 2011

Weren’t we just posting about Heavy Metal Parking Lot? What do you know: it’ll screen Friday, June 8 at Rochester’s Dryden Theater with one of the film’s makers, Jeff Krulik, presenting it along with Heavy Metal Picnic.


The next night at the Dryden, Jeff will be back to host a special evening, The Wonderful World of Jeff Krulik and Friends.





Celebrating HMPL

29 June 2011

The legendary short film Heavy Metal Parking Lot was on an OFG double bill with Anvil! The Story of Anvil in 2009. Here’s a nice piece on NPR’s music blog with background by one of the filmmakers, our friend Jeff Krulik,

John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, the guys who made "Heavy Metal Parking Lot"

and links to the film and some where-are-they-now material. Enjoy.

NPR Music Blog — Heavy Metal Parking Lot: Waste 16 Minutes…

And speaking of where-are-they-now material, here’s a look at one HMPL character’s trip from heavy metal to Hasidim.

TBD Arts: From \’Heavy Metal Parking Lot\’ to Hasidism


Slate’s Hollywood Career-O-Matic

8 June 2011

Interesting Slate article on Rotten Tomatoes–they looked at the trends through the years in the RT ratings of movies, actors, and directors–starting with the spectacular nosedive of M. Night Shyamalan’s directorial career. They’ve also provided a section when you can type in a name and see the output ratings graphed for careers from ’85 to today (that’s the Hollywood Career-O-Matic). Check it out. (Thanks, Barefoot Jim!)

Slate\’s Hollywood Career-O-Matic


Existential War (Variety: Star)

9 May 2011

Thanks to our trusted portal The Daily Dish.


SUNY Oswego’s 6th Annual Hart Hall International Film Festival: 4/16-17

12 April 2011

Running from Saturday, April 16 · 1 PM until Sunday, April 17 · 11 PM in the Hart Hall basement. This year’s schedule:

Saturday, 4/16

1:00 France: Romance Love Me If You Dare
Hong Kong: Action IP Man
Hungary: Comedy Black Cat White Cat
India: Action Jodhaa Ackbar

Sunday, 4/17

1:00 Japan: Animated Totoro
England: Action The Escapist
Sweden: Horror Let the Right One In
India: Romance 3 Idiots



Free On-Line Streaming of (Some of) Tribeca Film Festival

30 March 2011

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival running from April 20 to May 1 in Manhattan, is taking a newly adventurous approach to online distribution. Six features and 18 shorts will be streamed on the festival’s Web site during the event; the streams will be free, but in a throwback to the days of assigned seats in movie theaters, viewers will need to make reservations to watch the films online during designated 24-hour periods.

Among the features being shown online are David Dusa’s “Flowers of Evil,” a story of love and politics set in Paris and Tehran, in its American premiere, and Scott Rettberg’s “New York Says Thank You,” a post-9/11 documentary about New Yorkers helping other communities struck by disasters. Reservations can be made at tribecaonline.com beginning April 18 (April 12 for holders of American Express cards).

from the “Watchlist” column, Mike Hall, The New York Times, 3/27/11


Oscar Winner ‘Inside Job’ Screens 3/31/10

7 March 2011

OFG and SUNY Oswego’s Ecomomics Department present this year’s Academy Award winner for Documentary Feature, Inside Job. The film will screen at 7 PM in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center Auditorium. The show is free and open to the public; there should be a lot to discuss after the screening!

Check out the film’s website:  http://www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob/ and the film’s blog: http://www.insidejob.com/


A Handout for ‘Ahead of Time’

3 March 2011

Flier for Ahead of Time 3/10/11

Here’s a black and white flier/handout for Ahead of Time’s upcoming reception, screening, and discussion at SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Hall on Thursday, March 10. Please feel free to print out and distribute!


‘Ahead of Time’ on SUNY Oswego Campus 3/10/11

21 February 2011

SUNY Oswego presents Ahead of Time, the documentary on Ruth Gruber; the film will be screened Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 7 PM, at Tyler Hall in Waterman Theater on the SUNY Oswego campus. Following the screening, Ahead of Time Executive Producer Doris Schechter will discuss the film and a video chat with Ruth Gruber is planned. This event is free and open to the public.

Ruth Gruber

Ahead of Time tells the remarkable journey of 99 year-old Ruth Gruber. She defied tradition when, in 1931 at age 20, Ms. Gruber became the youngest person to earn a PhD. She continued to make history: becoming the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, escorting Holocaust refugees from Italy to Fort Ontario’s Safe Haven* in a secret mission in 1944, covering the Nuremberg trials in 1946, and documenting the ordeal of the refugees aboard the ship Exodus 1947. The film is the directorial debut of noted cinematographer Bob Richman (The September Issue, An Inconvenient Truth, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster).

Doris Schechter opened the New York bakery My Most Favorite Dessert Company in 1982; she’s the author of the establishment’s 2001 cookbook as well as At Oma’s Table: More than 100 Recipes and Remembrances from a Jewish Family’s Kitchen (2007) which is, in part, a memoir of her family’s journey from Austria to Italy to the US (including a stay as refugees in Oswego). Ms. Schechter is one of the executive producers of Ahead of Time.

For more information on the film, please visit aheadoftimethemovie.com

*Oswego’s Safe Haven Museum and Education Center is dedicated to keeping alive the stories of the 982 refugees from World War II–allowed into the US as “guests” of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, they were housed at Fort Ontario from 1944 to 1946. For more information, please visit www.oswegohaven.org or contact the center: P.O. Box 846, Oswego NY 13126; phone 315.342.3003; e-mail safehaven@cnymail.org


NPR’s ‘Talk of the Nation’ Continues Its Documentary Series

18 February 2011

National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation is running a series on this year’ Academy Award nominees for Documentary Feature. (They’ve featured Restrepo and Inside Job so far.) Look for OFG’s  Monday evening presentation, Exit Through the Gift Shop, coming up.



OFG Screens ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ 2/21/11

11 February 2011

We’ve been focused of late on some of the Academy Award nominated films. We screened Winter’s Bone and caught a few more of the Best Picture contenders at the Oswego Cinema with our Nights Out at the Movies. A few of the Documentary Feature Oscar nominees screened in and around Oswego last year–Restrepo and Gasland. We’ll show another of the docmentary contenders on Monday, February 21 at 6:30 PM in the Campus Center Auditorium, SUNY Oswego: Exit Through the Gift Shop.  The screening is free and open to the public; a discussion will follow the film. Look for a screening of another nominated documentary, Inside Job,  in March.

From the film’s website (www.banksyfilm.com), here’s the synopsis:

This is the inside story of Street Art – a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shop-keeper turned amateur film-maker as he attempts to capture many of the world’s most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner
with wildly unexpected results.

One of the most provocative films about art ever made, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating study of low-level criminality, comradeship and incompetence. By turns shocking, hilarious and absurd, this is an
enthralling modern-day fairytale… with bolt cutters.

Trailer for \’Exit Through the Gift Shop\’

Exit Through the Gift Shop has provoked much discussion just by its classification as nonfiction. Is the film’s story–and are its protagonists–for real? Calling itself “the world’s first Street Art disaster movie,” Exit Through the Gift Shop is a film by the British artist known as Banksy—the mysterious figure whose work has ranged from graffiti on the streets of Bristol to high-profile pieces shown in galleries. (A large audience saw a Banksy piece during an episode of The Simpsons last October: that dark opening sequence featuring scenes from a sweatshop.)


Link Added to ‘At the Movies’ from “The New Republic”

2 February 2011

We’ve added a link to The New Republic‘s online film offerings, At the Movies. The site offers the criticism of Stanley Kauffmann (who has written about film for the magazine for the past 53 years), plus David Thomson’s reviews. The site also offers reviews (“TNR Film Classics”) from its archives.


Night Out at the Movies: ‘The King’s Speech’ 1/31/11

28 January 2011

All are welcome to join us at the 7:10 PM screening of The King’s Speech Monday, January 31 at the Oswego Cinema 7. Immediately after the film, we’ll assemble in the theater’s upstairs lobby and discuss the film (leading in the Oscar race with 12 nominations), the other Academy Award contenders, and recap 2010 in film.


Movies & Music: German Language Films at SUNY Oswego

26 January 2011

The German Program of SUNY Oswego’s Modern Languages & Literature Department announced their slate of films for the semester.

'Vitus' (directed by Fredi M. Murer)

Wed 2/9   Vitus (Switzerland, 2006) Director: Fredi M. Murer / 123 min / Campus Center 132 (Auditorium)

Wed 2/23  Jenseits der Stille (Beyond Silence) (Germany, 1996) Director: Caroline Link / 109 min / Lanigan 107

Wed 3/9  Amadeus (US, 1984) Director: Milos Forman / 158 min / Lanigan 107

Wed 3/30  The Third Man (Great Britain, 1949) Director: Carol Reed / 104 min / Campus Center 132 (Auditorium)

Wed 4/13  Sissi – die junge Kaiserin (The Young Empress) (Austria, 1956) Director: Ernst Marischka / 107 min / Lanigan 107

Wed 4/27  Mahler (Great Britain, 1974) Director: Ken Russell / 111 min / Campus Center 132 (Auditorium)

All screenings are at 7:30 PM. All films are free and open to the public.


Oscar Nominations

25 January 2011

Here’s the complete rundown for the 83rd Academy Awards– from Best Picture to Makeup:



From the National Film Registry Entrants for 2010: ‘Tarantella’

22 January 2011

The Library of Congress added another 25 films to its National Film Registry in December. Besides such popular works as Airplane! and All the President’s Men, several experimental and silent films were chosen. Here’s an experimental film by Mary Ellen Bute (with the Library staff  notes):

Tarantella (1940)

Tarantella (1940)
“Tarantella” is a five-minute color, avant-garde short film created by Mary Ellen Bute, a pioneer of visual music and electronic art in experimental cinema. With piano accompaniment by Edwin Gershefsky, “Tarantella” features rich reds and blues that Bute uses to signify a lighter mood, while her syncopated spirals, shards, lines and squiggles dance exuberantly to Gershefsky’s modern beat. Bute produced more than a dozen short films between the 1930s and the 1950s and once described herself as a “designer of kinetic abstractions” who sought to “bring to the eyes a combination of visual forms unfolding with the … rhythmic cadences of music.” Bute’s work influenced many other filmmakers working with abstract animation during the ‘30s and ‘40s, and with experimental electronic imagery in the ‘50s.

For the complete list, see the National Film Registry Board website:

National Film Registry (National Film Preservation Board)


Time for a Break…’Fight Club’ x ‘Calvin & Hobbes’

21 January 2011

(Thanks, Daily Dish)


Night Out at the Movies: “Black Swan” 1/18/11

14 January 2011

Fresh on the heels of Tuesday’s Night Out at the Movies, let’s do it again next Tuesday (11/18). We’ll see the 7:20 PM screening at the Oswego Cinema 7 of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. Immediately after the show, we’ll meet in the theater’s upstairs lobby and start our discussion on the film. (The theater’s usual admission charges apply; all are welcome to join us at the show and for our talk-back.)

See foxsearchlight.com for more now on the film.


Earnings in five figures!

9 January 2011

That’s right–we’ve made it past the 10,000 views/hits mark! (And I know a big thanks must go to those folks who keep looking for SuperFly–our most consistent hit!)


Night Out at the Movies: “The Fighter” 1/11/11

8 January 2011

It’s awards season and some of this winter’s high profile films are coming to town. The Fighter has opened at the Oswego Cinema 7 and we’ll be attending the 7:40 PM screening on Tuesday evening, January 11. Immediately afterwards, we’ll gather in the theater’s upstairs lobby to discuss the film. All are welcome to join us!


Poster for 12/20/10 Event: “MST3K/Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

20 December 2010



Filmography 2010

16 December 2010

From 270 of this year’s movies, in about 6 minutes:

(Thanks to The Daily Dish)


OFG Screens “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” 12/20

13 December 2010

We’re on vacation…from quality films!

Come join us for a Patrick Swayze Christmas Monday, December 20 for a 7 PM free screening in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Libraryof the 1964 travesty Santa Claus Conquers the Martians as seen by Joel and the ‘bots.

If you’re not already familiar with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) series, check out their website:



OFG Presents Its Halloween Feature: “The Wicker Man” 10/27/14

20 October 2014

The film group returns (finally!) with its Halloween offering, the British cult film The Wicker Man. The 1973 feature has weathered rocky distribution, the release of versions of varied lengths, and an misbegotten 2006 remake to have established itself as a eccentric classic. The Wicker Man has inspired documentaries, novels, websites, fanzines, a music festival in Scotland, a Burning Man-type event in Pennsylvania, and the occasional sing-along. Dubbed the “Citizen Kane of horror” (Cinefantastique), The Wicker Man was ranked by The Guardian as the fourth best horror movie of all time.

Directed by Robin Hardy, the movie’s screenplay was by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Frenzy). Edward Woodward stars as a straight-arrow police officer who travels to a remote Scottish island to search for a missing girl. There, he’s disturbed to find a community still tied to ancient pagan ways. Also starring Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, and…Christopher Lee.

This is the short (88 minute) version. Rated R.

The film screens at 6 pm, Monday, October 27 in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room (120 East 2nd Street). As always, free and open to all. A discussion follows the screening.