Screen Gems: Upcoming Movie (and TV) Talks in NYC

By Troy Segal

If there’s anything a cinema buff likes more than watching films, it’s hearing the behind-the-scenes stories about them. And what TV-show devotee doesn’t crave endless, detailed discussions of this or that episode? Tune in to these screenings with benefits: appearances by, and chats with, those involved.

mister turner

J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851): You love his paintings of sunsets and ships, but what do you know about the man? His work and his character are explored in this bio-pic, starring that superb character actor Timothy Spall (best-known as Wormtail in the Harry Potter movies) and directed by Mike Leigh, who appears to discuss Mr. Turner, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Nov. 30.

David James -- Universal Pictures

David James — Universal Pictures

Since 1957, studios have been interested in filming the real-life story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who became a Japanese POW during World War II. Actress Angelina Jolie has finally pulled it off. She’s on hand to talk up the movie Unbroken, her third directorial effort, after a viewing at the Museum of Modern Art, Dec. 2.

Follow the trail of a 300-year-old Stradivarius in the documentary The Return of the Violin; afterwards, there’s a talk by none other than its current owner, Joshua Bell, at the 92nd Street Y, Dec. 3.

1950sUnlimited -- Flickr

1950sUnlimited — Flickr

Two major beauty queens and rivals, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, are profiled in the punningly named The Powder and the Glory, followed by a Q-&-A with the documentary’s directors, Dec. 4 at The Jewish Museum.

Next year, the BET network starts airing its epic miniseries The Book of Negroes, about black slaves during the American Revolution. The Paley Center for Media is showing clips and an entire episode, then hosts a panel discussion with the program’s creative team—including star Cuba Gooding Jr., Dec. 16.


You know Christmas is a-coming when someone shows the Frank Capra classic weepie, It’s A Wonderful Life. Ah, but this screening has opening remarks by the daughter of Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart’s devoted wife in the flick. At the New-York Historical Society, Dec. 19.

Bonus feature: Two proponents of the small screen—David Bianculli, TV critic for Fresh Air, and Bob Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture—explain how the medium has grown more sophisticated in the last decade, to the extent that we now should be “Taking TV Seriously.” At apexart, Dec. 10.