Archive for the ‘OFG Screenings’ Category


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.


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!


“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:

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:

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.


“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


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 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 and


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.