The History of GROUNDHOG DAY (the day, not the movie)

Groundhog-Day-4GROUNDHOG DAY (Harold Ramis, 1993) | Buy Tickets

Everyone knows about Punxsutawney Phil and his ability to let us know, by going back in his hole or not, whether we’ll have more winter or spring soon. But did you know the long, international history behind Groundhog Day? (Note: it doesn’t have anything to do with Bill Murray). We’ve listed our favorite factoid below but be sure to visit for all the interesting details!

Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.

The Germans recited:
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.


Post by Caryn Coleman @caryn_coleman

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One Sentence Review: THAT AWKWARD MOMENT (2014)


Laugh if you will, but despite its unfortunate title That Awkward Moment is surprisingly enjoyable (with a great cast) as it’s simply a better version of About Last Night that focuses on male friendships as much as it does growing up in relationships.

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Friday Links (Jan 23)


There’s more to this year’s crop of Science and Sci-Fi than mutant dinosaurs and expensive looking lightsabers, World Science Festival sums up the docket. (Via World Science Festival)

A gander at the first nine films for March’s New Directors/New Films festival  (Via New Directors)

We collaborated with i-D Magazine for this piece on Antonioni’s Blow Up, and why it remains the ultimate fashion film. (Via i-D Magazine)

Richard Brody on famed New York cineaste and New York Film Festival founder Amos Vogel (Via New Yorker)

Visual art at the Oscars, Mr. Turner, Finding Vivian Maier and more. (Via Hyperallergic)

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Best Of: Full Frontal Men


We’re screening Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson as part of our I’ll Kick Your Ass midnite series, and, as you may well know, it features one of the best male nude scenes in history. Hello! Thomas Hardy really puts it all out there so we thought we’d do the same by mentioning some of our favorite full frontals in feature films…

easternpromises_logoViggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises (2007)
Russian. Tattooed. Naked. Knife fight. The end.

trainspotting_logoEwan McGregor – Trainspotting (1996)
Dude gets naked a lot but Renton’s leaping post-coital lizards is a favorite.

wildthings_logoKevin Bacon – Wild Things (1998)
There’s a joke to be made about the six degrees of Kevin’s bacon in this shower scene but we won’t touch it with a six foot pole.

bad lieu_logoHarvey Keitel – Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Love Keitel being all naked and crying, talk about vulnerable.

gigalo_logoRichard Gere – American Gigolo (1980)
Three cheers to Gere for being authentic to his prostitute character on the, ahem, big screen.

shame_logoMichael Fassbender – Shame (2011)
This movie is anything but sexy however Fassbender’s inhibition is quite admirable.


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The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears is an exquisitely constructed hallucinatory journey through sexual deviancy, desire, obsession and murder that is truly the worthy predecessor if not love child of David Lynch, David Cronenberg and the whole Giallo cannon. 

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Friday Links (Jan 16)


Afternoon, everybody. We pass around a lot of links behind the scenes at Nitehawk because we’re nerds and that’s what nerds do. So for this first round-up we have badass rides in Japan, the cult of Clue and John Waters perverting the youth.

#GoodIdeas Friend of Nitehawk, Fred Schoenfeld, who owns the beautiful dine-in theater The Commodore in Portsmouth, Va, is trying to drum up support for his next theater renovation project: reviving the dilapidated Afton Theater located in an overlooked and poor section of Portsmouth called Cradock. Deserves some good vibrations, because the local press isn’t giving any. (Via The Virginian Pilot)

Whodunnit? Clue’s journey from box office poison to beloved cult comedy. Features interviews with John Landis, director Jonathan Lynn and most of the cast. (Via Buzzfeed)

AHHHH! Universal Studios Japan creates 4D themed rides for four badass nerd epics Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Resident Evil & Monster Hunter. What’s it like to get bitten in half by giant? Find out in Japan. (Via Japan Today)

NSFW! Larry Clark’s sex crazed kids return to our screens (The Smell of Us trailer) (Via i-D Magazine)

GENIUS! Kids reading Pink Flamingos with John Waters (Via T Magazine/New York Times)


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CLUE: Whodunnit? Who Cares?

clue-1985On a stormy evening in 1954, at the height of the McCarthy era, six strangers meet at the kind of baroque mansion that only exists in movies. Greeting them at the door is Wadsworth (Tim Curry), a stiff English butler who reveals that they are all victims of a blackmail scheme masterminded by the mysterious Mr. Boddy (played by FEAR singer and sometimes actor Lee Ving). Before long, Mr. Boddy expires under mysterious circumstances and as the bodies start piling up the multi-colored cast of characters start scrambling around trying to figure out who did in who with what and where.

When Paramount released Clue in 1985, it was the first board game to motion picture adaptation ever made, and had the added novelty of featuring three different endings that changed depending on what theatre you attended. For some, it was Miss Scarlet with the rope in the billiard room, for others Mrs. Peacock with the candlestick in the hall, and then there’s the final ending of everyone with everything in every room.

The odd thing about Clue is how inessential the plot is to the rest of the movie. Most murder mysteries build a twisting narrative to drop clues, flesh out the cast and to lead characters and viewers astray, and while Clue’s narrative is as convoluted as any dime store detective novel, with its sudden power outages and mysterious phone calls from J. Edgar Hoover, the story comes out feeling thin and inconsequential. Worse yet, unlike the Agatha Christie drawing room mysteries it mimics, there’s no way of guessing the identity of the killer before the big reveal(s). The film is also filled with chunky bits dialogue like: “This all has nothing to do with my disappearing nuclear physicist husband or Colonel Mustard’s work with the new top-secret fusion bomb,” a line that both Madeline Kahn and Christopher Lloyd barely manage to spit out. It does, however, set up one of the most often quoted lines in the movie: “Communism was just a red herring.”

Of course, Clue’s many faults didn’t go over very well with the critics of the day. Roger Ebert dismissed it as being generally unfunny, while New York Times critic Janet Maslin mostly just balked at the film being rated PG and containing so many jokes involving dog poop or the maid’s breasts (portrayed in the film by the breasts of Colleen Camp). (more…)

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One Sentence Review: BLUES BROTHERS (1980)


There’s so much to say about Blue Brothers like how much John Landis used to make incredible films or comment on the brilliant subtly of John Belushi or how there’s hardly any narrative backstory but what’s really important to say is that if you can’t watch it without getting Ray Charles’ rendition of Shake a Tail Feather, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

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Say Hello to Our Winter 2015 Menu!

The air’s grown crisp, it gets dark at 3:30 and, oh God, it’s going to start snowing soon. All of this means that it’s time to cycle out all those Autumn goodies in favor of earthy, comforting winter fair: peppery radishes, sweet butternut squash, and, to hell with it, let’s put candy canes in the popcorn. Tis the season! Sneak peek below.


Seasonal Popcorn
candy cane, white chocolate
We flavor butter with peppermint extract and toss that with out popcorn and then top it with white chocolate chips. Near the end the candy cane bits and chocolate collect at the bottom with the remnants of the butter, and it’s very tempting to eat it with a spoon.

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Nitehawk Trailers: I’ll Kick Your Ass! (January Midnite)

Fight Club (Buy Tickets) | Raging Bull (Buy Tickets) | Bronson (Buy Tickets) | Dirty Harry (Buy Tickets)

YOU! INSIDE! RIGHT NOW! Put down your dukes and grab a drink because the people up on screen have got the violence scattered, smothered, and covered. Step up your knuckle game and lace up your boots for some punch drunk cinema because we’re fighting fair ones starting at midnight all month long!

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“Christmas Vacation” Film Feast: Scenes that inspired the menu

XmasVacay FF SliderTis the season to be merry. No shit, you say? Well, we have a Film Feast for you, because for this Holiday season we’ve put together a four course meal inspired by the best Christmas movie of the last 25 years: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Below, Nitehawk chef Michael Franey takes us through the scenes from the film that inspired his yuletide menu.

01 Tree

Griswold Family Christmas Tree Cookie
savory rosemary pine nut shortbread, olive oil foam
“A twist on a cheese cracker and a shortbread all in one. We mix parmesan cheese with rosemary and black pepper and then fold this mixture into a flour and butter to make a flaky, rich, cookie with a ton of cheesiness and bright herb flavor. This is topped with toasted pine nuts and an olive oil foam for a little wow factor.” (more…)

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Q&A: Nitehawk Shorts Fest Runner-Up Joe Petrilla

At our second annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival, we played over 30 shorts from around the world. The first runner-up for the 2014 Festival was Joe Petrilla for his short “reConception,” about a group of boys who find an abandoned trailer in the woods and bash at it to find out what’s inside.

What starts as a kids-at-play short develops into something more nuanced, touching on our attitudes about life and death and the possibility of rebirth. We spoke with Petrilla about his short, working with kids and the real life events that inspired the short.

unnamed (3)

1. How did your film come about?
“reConception” came from a tangled mass of thoughts, feelings and beliefs I had that I wanted to express as a film. This is my second short narrative and I think of it as somewhat of a companion piece to the first, which is called “The Line.” Together I think they tell two sides of the same story—”reConception” being, by far, the lighter side. I also wanted to demonstrate some improvement as a filmmaker and to practice some of the lessons I learned making the first film. (more…)

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Q&A: Shorts Fest 2014

Nitehawk Shorts Fest 2014 ran from November 19 to November 23, and screened over 30 shorts from young filmmakers, local talent, and international big shots. After every screening, we invited participating filmmakers to the front to talk about their films and what inspired them. In the video, we’ve combined all of the Q&As, starting with Opening Night which is followed by Days 1 (21:30) and 2 (31:31).

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Q&A: Nitehawk Shorts Fest Winner Christopher Hawthorne

shorts-fest-slider NEW

At our second annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival, we played over 30 shorts from around the world. We had first-timers and all-time greats contributing to the festival, but of all the films we showed only one could walk with the first place prize (a whole bunch of post-production work from Nice Shoes and Heard City), and this year’s big winner was Christopher Hawthorne for his short time travel comedy “Bender.”

Sharing DNA with the likes of Looper, Primer and Back to the Future, “Bender” follows a man who wakes up ten years in the future after going on a depression-fueled all night rager. We spoke with Hawthorne about Bender, and movie time travel, drunk anti-heroes and just how much booze it takes to break the space-time continuum.

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1. How did your film come about?
“Bender” actually began as a much more dramatic piece – and went through many drafts as a heavy-handed treatise on gentrification. That all pivoted pretty quickly: I remember sitting on a subway and thinking that returning to your neighborhood after ten years must feel like a kind of bizarre time travel. That – coupled with my love of the genre – made me re-think my original, serious concept entirely.

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