There really is nothing better than watching a horror movie with friends, fighting each other not to look away and laughing as that one girl shrieks too early. But recently we’ve been experiencing a dearth of good horror movies that don’t involve creepy children or ghosts. What we need is a good, old fashioned, sci-fi horror movie. All the fun of horror in cool atmosphere with some adventure and effects, what more could you want? So go back to the future and see Aliens, playing at the IFC Center on Friday and Saturday nights at midnight. 57 years after the events of Alien, a terraforming colony falls out of contact on that same, dangerous planet (you think that they’d learn.) So in comes a crew of marines, alsong with Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, to do battle with an army of facehuggers. Aliens’ deftly executed scares demonstrate why Hollywood keeps coming back to this series, resulting last year in the disappointing Prometheus.
Oppressive tyrants ruining your country? Or maybe just an unusually severe UWriting teacher? Then Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, playing at MOMA on Sunday at 5:30pm, may be the movie for you. This 2011 movie examines the 1983 documentary When the Mountains Tremble and how it became a valuable piece of evidence to bring the perpetrators of the Guatemalan genocide to justice. It’s a much more thrilling version of the typical behind the scenes show, because these scenes aren’t exactly in the most cozy of sets. You may learn something about moviemaking, you may learn something about Guatemala, and you may just learn how justice is brought to even the most dangerous of conflicts.
“Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt,” proclaimed the movie posters announcing that Shaft, playing at the Landmark Sunshine Friday and Saturday at midnight, had arrived. It was 1971 and this no-nonsense detective, secret agent type fit right in. “Shaft’s his name, shaft’s his game!” This suavely dressed detective gives the middle finger to cabs to the tune of disco music and spits out funky one-liners at a blinding pace. If you want to understand what cool was in the 1970s, see this movie. The plot is something about a woman getting kidnaped and Shaft getting caught in the middle of two drug syndicates, but all you’ll be able to focus on is that sweet mustache and fro. They just don’t make movies with this much style any more.