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.
CURATORS’ CHOICE 2018 at the Museum of the Moving Image (Dec. 28-Jan. 6). Aiming to highlight the variety and innovation of the movies released over the past 12 months, this annual series opens on Friday with “Minding the Gap,” one of the four documentaries chosen by A. O. Scott in a tie for the best film of 2018. (Two of the others, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” and “Bisbee ’17,” will screen on Jan. 6.) Among the most original titles is Valeska Grisebach’s “Western” (on Sunday), a fiction feature about German interlopers working in a far-flung section of Bulgaria, an area they are ostensibly helping to modernize. The movie flirts with the conventions of the western genre to reflect on the economic and cultural rifts of contemporary Europe.
LAUREL AND HARDY IN ‘WAY OUT WEST’ at Film Forum (Dec. 29-30, 11 a.m.). On the heels of the release of “Stan & Ollie,” a new biopic that depicts Laurel and Hardy on a 1953 tour, Film Forum Jr., the theater’s weekend matinee series for children and families, closes out the year with this 1937 staple from the comic team. Sent to deliver the deed to a gold mine to a young woman who has inherited it from her father, Stan and Ollie are duped into handing over the document to the wrong person. Their pratfalls in recovering it — an attempted break-in finds Stan trying to raise Ollie to the second story of a building using a rope and a mule — are the source of much characteristic humor.
MODERN MATINEES: SIR SIDNEY POITIER at the Museum of Modern Art (Jan. 2-Feb. 28). The latest round of MoMA’s weekday afternoon series opens with Poitier’s Oscar-winning role in the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field” (on Wednesday). When his car overheats, Homer Smith (Poitier) stops by a desert farm and winds up staying with the German-speaking nuns who live there, helping them learn English and build a chapel. Later movies in the series include “No Way Out” (on Jan. 10), from 1950, in which Poitier, in a breakout performance, plays a doctor locked in a conflict with a racist (Richard Widmark).
JACQUES TOURNEUR, FEARMAKER at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (through Jan. 3). The week ahead represents the last call for the Film Society’s gargantuan Tourneur retrospective and an opportunity to sample less-heralded films from the director, best known for the Robert Mitchum noir “Out of the Past” (on Monday) and his shadowy, low-budget collaborations with the producer Val Lewton. An infrequently screened, unsettling highlight is “Great Day in the Morning” (on Friday and Tuesday), a 1956 western strikingly shot in color and in Superscope, a short-lived knockoff of the wide-screen process CinemaScope that had a slightly narrower image width. Robert Stack stars as a black-hatted Southerner who arrives in Denver with gold on his mind. With the Civil War on the horizon, his only loyalty is to himself. Through what follows — consolidation of power and profit, romantic involvement with two women, surrogate fatherhood — Tourneur keeps this an uncommonly thorny and intractable example of the genre.