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5 Film Series to Catch in N.Y.C. This Weekend

Our guide to film series and special screenings happening this weekend and in the week ahead. All our movie reviews are at nytimes.com/reviews/movies.

‘THE COCOANUTS’ at Symphony Space (Aug. 18, 2 p.m.). This first Marx Brothers feature brought their hit Broadway show to the screen; it was also notable for how it contended with early sound technology. Of Groucho, Mordaunt Hall wrote in his review for The New York Times in 1929, “He and the microphone get along well.” He added that “Chico and Zeppo also succeed in their utterance, and, so far as the fourth Marx” — Harpo — “is concerned, it matters little to him whether pictures talk or not.” Symphony Space is showing the movie as part of a Marx Brothers series. “Horse Feathers” (1932) follows on Aug. 25.
212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org

EARLY FILMS BY PHIL SOLOMON at Light Industry (Aug. 17, 7 p.m.). In later years, Solomon, who died in April, made movies that repurposed imagery from the video game Grand Theft Auto, using it as the raw material to create a sort of found-film noir. But this tribute program salutes the experimental filmmaker’s early celluloid work, in which he manipulated the physical medium to explore the possibilities of abstraction. The five-film program, spanning the 1980s and early ’90s, begins with “Nocturne,” which takes its rhythms from electrical storms and World War II bombings in order to, in Solomon’s words, construct the war at home. All titles will screen on 16 millimeter.

[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]

MARTY AND JAY’S DOUBLE FEATURES at Film Forum (Aug. 16-Sept. 5). Watching movies back-to-back at Film Forum is one of the fastest ways to become cinematically literate. But that experience gains something extra at this year’s edition of the theater’s annual late-summer series: It has been programmed by Martin Scorsese and his friend and frequent screenwriter Jay Cocks, who have sought to emulate the spirit of the double bills they grew up watching. “Sometimes the pairings made sense, sometimes you’d wonder why they were being shown together,” the theater quotes Scorsese as saying. To that end, you can ponder very different takes on guilt and innocence in Robert Bresson’s “Pickpocket” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” (on Friday) or puzzle over how Laurence Olivier’s “Richard III” complements Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptation “The Tomb of Ligeia” (on Saturday), starring Vincent Price. Even the most voracious cinephiles will have trouble finding a program in which they’ve already seen both titles.
212-727-8110, filmforum.org

MINNELLI WIDESCREEN at the Metrograph (Aug. 16-22). Vincente Minnelli’s career was largely split between melodramas and musicals, but maybe the more salient divide is between his early features, shot in the squarish Academy ratio (“Meet Me in St. Louis,” “The Bad and the Beautiful”), and his later CinemaScope efforts. The expanded, proscenium-filling frame allowed the director to heighten the jagged emotions and dramatic angles of “Some Came Running” (on Friday), with Frank Sinatra as a returning soldier whose baggage weighs down his outwardly wholesome Indiana hometown, and of the masterly “The Cobweb” (on Monday and Tuesday), with Richard Widmark as a caring psychiatrist who presides over an institution filled with the suicidal, the agoraphobic and the lonely. Seeing the series’s 12 wide-screen-era Minnelli features in a theater is the only way to do them justice.
212-660-0312, metrograph.com

‘WOODSTOCK’ at Nitehawk Cinema Prospect Park (Aug. 17-18, 10 a.m.). Seeing this film at Nitehawk is just like being on Max Yasgur’s farm in August 1969 — except instead of four days in the sun and rain with music and dope, you’ll be at a dine-in theater at brunchtime. Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar-winning documentary is screening this weekend to mark the music festival’s 50th anniversary.
929-282-4300, nitehawkcinema.com

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