Chris Kelly’s Modern Cinema Festival

Modern Cinema
  • October 11, 2019 - 5:00pm
  • October 11, 2019 - 7:30pm
  • October 12, 2019 - 2:00pm
  • October 12, 2019 - 5:00pm
  • October 13, 2019 - 11:30am
  • October 13, 2019 - 2:00pm
  • October 13, 2019 - 4:30pm
Modern Cinema returns, hosted by Christopher Kelly in partnership with Fortress Presents.
October 11–13
This year’s event will once again present some of the best films of the year before they are available in theaters. Each screening will be introduced by Kelly, the former film and culture critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and currently Managing Producer for Entertainment for New Jersey Advance Media. Kelly also frequently covers film-related topics for Texas Monthly and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, and the Boston Globe

October 11, 5 pm


Legendary director Pedro Almodovar (ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, VOLVER) re-teams with longtime collaborators Antonio Banderas (winner of Best Actor at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival) and Penelope Cruz for this elegant and deeply affecting drama about a middle-aged film director taking stock of his life and career. There are echoes here of such autobiographical masterpieces as Fellini’s AMARCORD and Bergman’s WILD STRAWBERRIES, but the style and sensibility—lush, darkly comic, and rich with flashbacks and unexpected turns—is pure Almodovar.

Spanish with English subtitles; 114 minutes; R


October 11, 7:30 pm


Single mom Shelia, gifted with sometimes-prophetic dreams, moonlights as a paranormal investigator while working at a car-rental service counter and raising her teenage son, Owen. After her appearance on a local radio program, she’s contacted about Richard, a recent widower who thinks his wife may be haunting his East Tennessee farmhouse. LIGHT FROM LIGHT is a balm of a film, bathed in the atmosphere of the misty mountains surrounding the farmhouse and the nighttime soundtrack of the ever-present crickets’ song. Writer/director Paul Harrill’s empathetic work quietly captures the rhythms of his characters’ daily lives, while imbuing them (and their spiritual investigation) with an appreciation of what we gain and risk by being open to possibilities. 

82 minutes; NR


October 12, 2 pm


For 25 years from her perch at The New Yorker, the legendary Pauline Kael extolled masterpieces, excoriated turkeys and started countless arguments. Rob Garver’s sweetly nostalgic documentary portrait of Kael—with appearances by Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Camille Paglia and many others—recalls an era when movies were at the center of American culture, and when a diminutive, erudite woman who grew up on a chicken farm could become a literary celebrity.

95 minutes; NR


October 12, 5 pm


The race is on as Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) compete to light up the Chicago World’s Fair with that newfangled invention called electricity. Originally completed in 2017 but shelved after its studio went bankrupt, THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT can finally be seen as a smart, delightfully acted and indeed electric history lesson. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (ME EARL AND THE DYING GIRL). 

101 minutes; PG-13


October 13, 11:30 am


In 2009, the Senate Intelligence Committee opened an investigation into the CIA’s practices in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. What followed was a political battle of wills, both to uncover the truth and to make the findings public. This little-known chapter of recent American history is brought to crackling life by writer-director Scott Z. Burns (CONTAGION, THE INFORMANT) and an ace cast that includes Adam Driver as the lead investigator, Jon Hamm as White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and a brilliant, nearly unrecognizable Annette Bening as Senator Dianne Feinstein.

120 minutes; R


October 13, 2 pm


What happened between Pope Benedict XI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) in the days before Benedict’s decision in 2013 to relinquish the papacy? Like THE QUEEN, THE TWO POPES—briskly directed by Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD), and ingeniously scripted by Andrew McCarten (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) weds public record and creative speculation to create a gripping, heartfelt, and surprisingly funny consideration of recent world history.

126 minutes; PG-13


October 13, 4:30 pm


You've never seen a zombie movie like this. Shuffling between 1962 Haiti, where an undead man is forced into slavery in the sugar cane fields, and contemporary France, where the slave's descendant is the newest student at an all-girls boarding school, this one-of-a-kind movie from director Bertrand Bonello (NOCTURAMA, SAINT LAURENT) builds an atmosphere of mystery and unease—all the while offering up a blistering critique of French colonialist history. In French with English subtitles.

103 minutes; French with English subtitles; NR