Sad Ponies and Death Cults Top Your Movie Picks This Week

Popcorn & Candy was DCist’s selective and subjective guide to some of the most interesting movies playing around town in the coming week.

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(Sony Pictures Classics)

THE RIDER

In this heartbreaking, impressionistic drama, Brady Jandreau stars as a young rodeo star struggling to recover from an injury that has left him unable to ride. We watch Brady tend to his horses, argue with his father, and visit his friend Lane, a once-promising rider who’s now a paraplegic. Set on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the second feature from director Chloé Zhao’s feels so intimate and real that you begin to wonder what the story is behind these broken people; for the most part, what you see is indeed a fictionalized account of real lives.  Zhao takes an almost Bressonian approach with her non-professional cast, examining this self-destructive, iconic slice of American life with  great compassion for these vulnerable men — and great poetry.

Watch the trailer.
Opens today at Landmark E Street Cinema, :Landmark Bethesda Row, and Angelika Mosaic.

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(Well Go USA)

THE ENDLESS

Two brothers (co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead) revisit the UFO death cult they escaped 10 years ago and find themselves trapped in something much bigger than Kool-aid. With its barren, remote locations, this indie horror film establishes its distinct world and rhythm early on and never lets go, so even if the brothers’ curiosity seems like the behavior of standard-issue stupid-horror-movie-people, their journey is mesmerizing and creepy.

Watch the trailer.
Opens today at the Angelika Pop-up at Union Market.

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(MY Little Shaw Brothers’ Movie World)

KING DRUMMER

My Critics Pick in this week’s Washington City Paper, where I wrote, “In this colorful 1967 musical, prolific Taiwanese actor Yun Ling plays a drummer who grew up playing rhythms on rusty oil barrels. His career gets a boost when he’s picked to replace the hot-shot percussionist in a popular band, but those sequined tuxedos he wears can’t protect him from a rival who would just as soon beat him like a tom-tom. King Drummer is director Umetsugu Inoue’s remake of his own 1957 film, The Stormy Man, reportedly adapting his Japanese style to suit the dynamic pop aesthetic of Hong Kong’s legendary Shaw Brothers. As part of the Freer Gallery of Art’s homage to Inoue, ‘Japan’s Music Man,’ it screens this violent melodrama set in a world of swinging ’60s nightclubs where drum solos can make or break a band.”

Sunday, April 22 at 2 pm at the Freer Gallery of Art. Free.

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(10k Bullets)

EVILS OF THE NIGHT

Mohammed Rustam (James Dean: Race with Destiny) directed this 1985 horror movie about a group of sun-worshiping teens that gets kidnapped by blood-hungry hillbillies. The Washington Psychotronic Film Society writes, “Between the sex, lasers, synth-pop, feathered hair, bikinis, and axe-wounds, this one’s got something for everyone.” And with a cast that includes  John Carradine, Aldo Ray, Julie Newmar, and Tina Louise, how can it miss?

Watch the trailer.
Monday, April 23 at 8 pm at Smoke and Barrel 

Also opening this week: the highway patrol comedy Super Troopers 2; read my Washington Post review here; and the found footage horror movie Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum; read my Spectrum Culture review here.

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