The polka dotted cherry on top of this month in Houston film has to be the new flick about Yayoi Kusama. But there's plenty more decadent goodness to be had, beginning with a just-added Isle of Dogs screening that benefits the ASPCA and serves up Trash Island Shakes, a throwback screening of The Sound of Music, and cerebral films that look at anarchy, nonviolent protest and the death penalty. Don't miss our bonus extra: it seems the Lone Star State served as a post-apocalyptic backdrop for season four of Fear the Walking Dead, so follow us on the Texas Film Trail to visit those zombie filled shooting locations. View more images in our slide show.
Susan Sarandon's character Sister Helen Prejean straddled the fine line between empathy for convicted killer Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) and the families of his victims in the Tim Robbins directed drama, Dead Man Walking. Screening on September 4 as part of 14 Pews' continuing monthly film series, Death and Dying in the United States — with film selections curated by Anthony B. Pinn, director of Religious Studies at Rice University
and the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities — the series looks at the meaning of death from a majority of viewpoints.
For more information, call 281-888-9677 or visit 14pews.org.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is celebrating National Dog Day on August 26 with a just-added event. They're bringing back Fox Searchlight's Isle of Dogs and screening an exclusive interview between writer/director Wes Anderson and film co-star Bob Balaban; ten percent of ticket sales benefit the ASPCA.
But thaaaat's not all folks. This month's movie parties include murder mystery props with Clue on September 4, a wear-your-own-toga screening of Animal House on September 7 and a bubbly showing of Willy Wonka on September 10 with grown-up Mike TeeVee and Veruca Salt.
Horror fans won't want to miss Graveyard Shift screenings of Return of the Living Dead (trilogy) on September 7, Mandy on September 14, Pumpkinhead on September 21 and Ju-on on September 28. Old schoolers can catch 1925s Phantom of the Opera on September 28.
For more information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston/theater/lacenterra.
AMC's Fear the Walking Dead
We love it when Hollywood spends its money in Texas, and Season Four of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead utilizes plenty of locations from the Lone Star State that worked for its post-apocalyptic plot. There's the Cottonwood Inn in La Grange (episode 6), Round Rock's Dell Diamond (episode 7), downtown Bartlett (episode 2), Lytton Springs General Store in Dale (episode 5), Austin's Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex (episode 6) and Leander's Volente Beach Resort & Waterpark (episode 4), though the park doesn't usually look like this. Download the Texas Film Trails mobile app, then tune in September 8 at 8 p.m. when the "walkers" return to AMC.
For more information, visit gov.texas.gov/film/trail/fear-the-walking-dead-trail.
Asia Society Texas Center
With trigger-happy world leaders posturing around the globe, perhaps it's time to remember there's another way to settle disputes. Asia Society and the Mahatma Gandhi Library-Houston are screening excerpts from the 1999 documentary, A Force More Powerful, on September 30. We're not sure which words of wisdom will be featured for this event, but the Ben Kingsley narrated, Emmy-nominated two-parter has a powerful line-up including Salvador Allende, Nelson Mandela, Augusto Pinochet, Desmond Tutu and Lech Walesa, creatively demonstrating how non-violent struggles have helped to shape history. A panel discussion and reception will follow.
For more information, call 713-496-9901 or visit asiasociety.org/texas/events.
Aurora Picture Show
Cellular Cinema is an evolving and ongoing screening series, based out of Minneapolis, that explores experimentation in film, video and performance. Aurora Picture Show will be screening their North Land Experiments on September 6 in a celebration of the strange beauty, landscapes and "people of the North." Come back on September 22 to view a curated showcase of local dance organizations in Frame X Frame Dance Film Festival, presented by Frame Dance, Houston Ballet and Aurora Picture Show.
For more information, call 713-868-2101 or visit aurorapictureshow.org.
Czech Center Museum Houston
Divided We Fall (Musíme si pomáhat) is a 2000 wartime drama/comedy that tells the story of a husband and wife who risk their lives to hide a Jewish friend during WWII when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. The film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001, explores how desperate times call for unorthodox choices, and how the true characters of people are revealed under duress. It's part of the museum's Free Movie Night and screens September 14.
For more information, call 713-528-2060 or visit czechcenter.org.
The stars were lined up to voice characters in 2008's WALL-E, about a waste-collecting robot in the distant future: John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver, plus Fred Willard as Shelby Forthright. Bank of America Screen on the Green at Discovery Green presented by Taqueria Arandas will show this animated family adventure on September 22. Bring a blanket and lawn chairs and come early to participate in a contest and activities. Closed captioning in Spanish is available.
For more information, call 713-400-7336 or visit discoverygreen.com.
Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston
The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists (A voz livre do trabalho) takes a look at sweatshop workers who became part of the Jewish anarchist movement as they fought for individual freedom before WWI, as well as freedom from the Church, from the State, and from economic exploitation. The hour-long documentary, set to screen on August 29, includes interviews with participants in the Jewish anarchist movement, stills, newsreel footage and old movies, all set to a soundtrack that includes Yiddish songs of work and struggle.
For more information, call 713-595-8163 or visit erjcchouston.org.
The hills will become alive again when Fathom Events screens Rodgers & Hammerstein's® cinematic treasure and winner of five Academy Awards®, The Sound of Music, at a theater near you on September 9 and 12. Fathom Events is also showing Rebel Without A Cause (September 23 and 26), a Sight & Sound Theatres® presentation of Moses (September 13 and 15) and — captured live from London's West End — NT Live's filming of Chichester Festival Theatre's Production of King Lear starring Ian McKellen (September 27).
For more information, call 855-473-4612 or visit fathomevents.com/events.
Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer
What's it like for LGBTQ young people in society when they want to follow God's call? Bigotry can sometimes be found within organized religion, as well as from faith leaders, and the September 15 screening of Out of Order is a groundbreaking documentary that explores the joys and struggles of young adults. A town hall panel discussion will follow the screening.
For more information, call 713-590-3302 or visit hinescenter.org.
Historic Market Square Park
Down and out musician Dewey Finn (Jack Black) takes a job as a substitute teacher and slowly emerges from depression to have a shot at winning the battle of the bands, but only if his 10-year-old guitar prodigy comes through. Bring a blanket, get some yummies from Niko Nikos, and enjoy Movies at Market Square Park's screening of School of Rock.
For more information, call 713-650-3022 or visit marketsquarepark.com.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The good news is that there are still plenty of screenings remaining in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's monthlong celebration of Ingmar Bergman films. The comedic Smiles of a Summer Night is September 1, the uplifting Wild Strawberries is September 2, the experimental Persona screens on September 14 and the festival comes to an end with the chess-playing Death in The Seventh Seal on September 23.
MFAH is bringing several new releases to the big screen, too. We get a look at disillusioned French painter Paul Gauguin when he traveled to Tahiti for inspiration in this biopic starring Vincent Cassel (September 7-9). Filmmaker Steve Mims will be in attendance when Run Like the Devil makes its stop in Houston; this new documentary delivers a nonpartisan look at the ongoing race for the Senate between Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Beto O'Rourke.
But we're really excited about the September 27-30 screenings of Kusama — Infinity. She's the Japanese artist who broke free from convention, partied with the bold-faced set in New York, found a permanent home inside a mental facility, and who continues going strong with her polka dotted world that brings the crowds to world-class museums. Directed by Heather Lenz, the 2018 film includes interviews, archival footage and glimpses at Kusama's amazing and colorful art.
MFAH's month in film closes out with the popular Manhattan Short Film Festival, September 27-29, an annual event enjoyed by more than 100,000 film lovers around the world.
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For more information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films.
Sugar Land Town Square
While many didn't take to psychopath Kylo Ren's character, there are even more who thought The Last Jedi was one of the most entertaining Star Wars movies in quite a while. Sugar Land Town Square will be showing this action-packed sci fi thriller on September 8 as part of its Movies Under The Moon series, sponsored by First Colony Church of Christ.
For more information, visit sugarlandtownsquare.com/event/movie-under-the-moon-sponsored-by-first-colony-church-of-christ5.