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NYC Repertory: Anthology's Valentine's Day Massacre and John Boorman

This holiday weekend offers nasty anti-romances and the films of an unpredictable auteur.

Valentine’s Day Massacre\
Fri., Feb. 13 through Mon., Feb. 16
Anthology Film Archives

The broken-hearted could spend Valentine’s alone, watching sappy movies while contemplating the abyss. Or they could do it with other sadsacks while stewing in the miseries offered by dark films about nasty break-ups. For its third year, Anthology Film Archives unleashes its “Valentine’s Day Massacre” — a collection of inappropriately chilly anti-romances. As ever, that includes Albert Brooks’ toxically neurotic “Modern Romance” — the one in which he dumps his girlfriend in the first scene, worms his way back to her then immediately suspect her of infidelity.

Also returning is Maurice Pialat’s bad relationship downer “We Won’t Grow Old Together” — best movie title ever, of course — and “Possession,” a ghastly whatzit in which Sam Neill discovers his newly gone wife (Isabelle Adjani) has shacked up with…something. (The director was going through a nasty divorce, and boy does it show.) The newbie is comparatively optimistic: John Cassavetes severely underrated “Minnie and Moskowitz,” in which damaged souls Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel sort of find each other. At least Cassel gives her cinema’s most romantic line: “I think about you so much I forget to go to the bathroom!”

Technically part of a separate program but also relevant, Andy Warhol’s “Blow Job” — which really only shows the face of someone allegedly receiving some downstairs work — will also spin on Anthology screens this weekend.

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Boorman
Wed., Feb. 11 through Tues., Feb. 17
Film Forum

One of the most difficult to classify of the great filmmakers, John Boorman’s career spans seemingly opposable genres, often from one film to the next. He went from the subtly cynical Dave Clark Five vehicle “Catch Us If You Can” right to the Resnais-ian neo-noir “Point Blank,” with Lee Marvin roaming like a ghost through a dreamy fit of revenge. His biggest hit, “Deliverance,” was chased with the hard-to-penetrate sci-fi looniness of “Zardoz,” in which Sean Connery rocking a loincloth and a ’70s ’stache while a floating stone vomits up guns are two of the least insane elements. Knife through its on-screen absurdities, though, and you’ll find some solid harder-than-usual sci-fi.

Even Boorman’s disasters (“Exorcist II: The Heretic”) are interesting and, more important, gorgeous. He’ll do visual overload movies, like “The Emerald Forest,” then make the deceptively plain, delightfully mordant and quietly touching WWII memory piece “Hope and Glory” — a subject to which he’s returned in the new sequel “Queen and Country,” which concerns the Korean War. You can catch much (though not all, including no “Catch Us If You Can”) of Boorman’s work in Film Forum’s reliably meaty retro, which also includes his eccentric, gory Arthurian epic “Excalibur,” the allegedly underrated “Leo the Last,” with Marcello Mastroianni, and the Patricia Arquette-starring “Beyond Rangoon,” which is probably worth another peek — all of it winding into the debut run of “Queen and Country.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge
 
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