The Wackness, AMC Village VII, 7 p.m.
This funny and sweet coming-of-age film was a crowd-pleaser when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and should no doubt do quite well for itself when it opens up this July. Jonathan Levine directed and wrote the clever script that follows Luke Shaprio, a smart alecky New York City kid waiting out his last summer before college, dealing pot in Washington Square Park, and listening to Notorious B.I.G. A few things to know about this movie: Sir Ben Kingsley is hilarious (though we kept wondering how Dustin Hoffman didn’t get cast in this role), and—disturbingly—has an onscreen makeout with an Olsen twin. Method Man shows up briefly, and Olivia Thirlby (best known as Juno’s bestie) takes on lead female love interest. Oh, dear. First Squeezebox and now this. (And keep reading for a Beastie Boy cameo!) The 1990’s are not too recent for nostalgia. (Watch the trailer above.)
Hotel Gramercy Park, AMC Village VII, 4:45 p.m.
The wacky New York City-centric documentary Hotel Gramercy Park had a big splashy premiere over the weekend, but this afternoon has a more low-key screening. Directed by Douglas Keeve (who did the classic Isaac Mizrahi fashion doc Unzipped in 1995), this film chronicles the once shabby-yet-glamorous and now just glamorous Gramercy Park Hotel. Back in the day, the Weissberg family ran the hotel for over 50 years; under their reign Humphrey Bogart got married there, the Kennedys rented a floor, and just about every dirty rock ‘n’ roller flopped there after CBGB shows. Mr. Keeve got great access to the surviving members of the Weissberg family (dogged by tragedy) and gets behind the scenes of the shiny Ian Schrager renovation. You’ll never think of the wankified Rose Bar quite the same way again.
Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot, BMCC Tribeca Pac, 6 p.m.
(Aw, Mom you’re just jealous, it’s a Beastie Boy! )
Tonight’s the premiere of Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot, from Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (MCA). The film recounts the fall of 2006, when 24 of the top basketball prospects from all over the country came together at Rucker Park at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. Rucker Park—a nondescript slab of concrete—has been home to players like Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We’re coming up on the NBA draft soon enough; start learning about future players now (and cross your fingers that maybe someone will end up on the poor, decimated, Knicks team).
This is Not a Robbery, AMC Village, 4:30 p.m.
The nicest thing about documentaries (and there’s a lot of nice things) is that no matter how bananas the story is, you can always say, and it’s true! This is Not a Robbery is about J. L. “Red” Rountree, your basic upstanding never-in-trouble-before citizen, who at 87 years of age walked into a bank for an interesting kind of hold-up. After being arrested multiple times, he became Florida’s oldest inmate, and in this film, directed by Lucas Jansen and Adam Kurland, Mr. Rountree tells his own story. (Hint: It wasn’t money he was after that day at the bank.)
Under Our Skin, Village East Cinema, 5 p.m.
Gah! Disclaimer: This movie gave us the willies: Under Our Skin is about the overlooked and—according to director Andy Abrahams Wilson—practically epidemic Lyme disease and the controversies (!) over its diagnosis. If you grew up in the tristate area, you will be freaked out till the next horizon.
War, Inc., BMCC Tribeca PAC, 9:30 p.m.
We love ourselves some John Cusack (natch), and yet we still can’t bring ourselves to watch this dark comedy directed by Joshua Seftel, if only because every trailer we’ve ever seen shows a vampy Hillary Duff dropping a scorpion down her pants. Seriously! This week The Observer‘s own Matt Haber will be writing about it. …
The Auteur, AMC Village VII, 10 p.m.
You gotta love a movie that has a protagonist that is described as the onetime “Kubrick of Porno” (like My Left Nut, or Full Metal Jerkoff). In The Auteur, written and directed by James Westby (a former video store clerk from Portland, Ore.), Arturo Domingo is in a mid-career slump and can’t stop thinking about the one true love of his life that got away. Will anyone, can anyone ,be surprised that Ron Jeremy makes a cameo appearance?
Mike Figgis Talks, Directors Guild Theater, 6:30 p.m.
Dying to know whether Nic Cage drank his way through Leaving Las Vegas, or whether the director of Timecode feels like 24 might owe him a solid? Director Mike Figgis, known for helping to bring digital filmmaking to where it is today (he also apparently created a stabilizer known as a “Fig Rig”), will be here in the flesh to dish on the future of filmmaking to the craft’s most ardent nerds.