Welcome to a season in which every new film is the best thing since sliced bread—or so we hear, over and over, in ads stoking the Oscar machine. Some of the hype will be merited and some will be just that, hype. But it's a comfort to know that annually, at precisely this moment, the smart folks at MoMA assemble their series "The Contenders" (now in progress and running through the end of the month). Intelligently curated, the program sheds light on films that need a push. Maybe they come from earlier in the year or haven't yet been released; maybe they lack the marketing muscle. All of the below are worth your time—and seeing a movie in MoMA's Titus 1 is its own special pleasure. Expect A-list guests.
Noah Darren Aronofsky's Biblical latest was met by a hot, controversial reaction in March. Outside of that moment, the film's thoughtful engagement with issues of faith and ego will be easier to appreciate. Here's our exclusive chat with the director. Tue 18 at 7:30pm
The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch is already getting raves for his intense turn as Alan Turing, the British mathematician who cracked WWII's Enigma code. As a whole, the film is brainy and absorbing, with a finely tragic emphasis on personal sacrifice. Read our review. Wed 19 at 7:30pm
Nymphomaniac MoMA will present the extended five-and-a-half-hour director's cut that Lars von Trier originally intended for us to see. If you're a fan, you either just squealed with delight or did something far dirtier. Our review of Volume 1 is here; Volume 2 is here. Sun 23 at 2:30pm
Obvious Child Set in a vividly observed Brooklyn, Gillian Robespierre's sincere, audacious abortion comedy featured a breakthrough performance by Jenny Slate. The director will participate in a sure-to-be-explosive Q&A afterward. Read our review. Mon 24 at 8pm
Boyhood Seriously? Are you the only one who still hasn't seen Richard Linklater's astounding 12-years-in-the-making domestic epic? Change that. To many eyes, this is the film of the year. This screening will be followed by a chat with Linklater and costar Ethan Hawke. Read our review. Sun 30 at 2pm
Snowpiercer There needs to be room in a well-balanced cinema diet for deliriously fun postapocalyptic action films. Bong Joon-ho's train thriller is one of the most creative dares of the year—and you Tilda Swinton fans (i.e., everyone) will want to catch her Q&A afterward. Read our review. Sun 30 at 6:30pm
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