The Spring thaw always brings better films, and as much as I am always trying to get in touch with my inner neanderthal, I'm not talking about 10,000 B.C. All of the sudden there are films playing in the Twin Cities that deserves more attention than they are getting. Be warned, if you blink you will miss them:
Taxi to the Dark Side @ the Parkway
Probably one of the most repulsive things about our current administration is its blatant and cavalier use of torture. It is one thing that makes me embarrassed to be an American; the fact that we cannot stand up for basic human rights makes me feel like we have lost any sense of compassion. The horrific story of Dilawar, an innocent taxi driver who was tortured to death in 2002 at Guantanamo Bay, is at the center of this documentary. Surrounding it is awful truth about what is gong on behind closed doors. The Lagoon had a very short and quiet one week run of Taxi to the Dark Side a few weeks ago; a week later it defied odds and won Best Feature Length Documentary at the Academy Awards. (The Parkway is also reprising Marion Cotillard's award winning performance in La Vie En Rose if you missed it or want to see it again.)
The Ten Commandments (1956) @ the Heights
I like to supplement my lack of religious learning with the Hollywood versions of the Bible, and this is the granddaddy of them all. In preparation for the Easter bunny, it is the perfect film. Cecil B. DeMille's last film was an amazing undertaking. Tom Letness at the Heights promises that they are getting "the absolute BEST 35mm print that Paramount Pictures has on this film." Yes, it is over three hours, but when you bring together movies and religion, martyrdom is inevitable.
George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead @ Block E and Brooklyn Center
I will admit that the main reason to see this film is the first part of the title, but it is a pretty big reason. George A. Romero, who just turned 68, cranks out yet another zombie movie for his curriculum vitae. While people were predicting that this would be his last, Romero was already busy announcing a sequel. In a vacuum, Diary of the Dead might not mean much, but the cumulative significance represented in Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and Diary is undeniable. Considering the lack of marketing for this film, it looks like the target audience is the teenager who is dropped off at the mall. Looks like I'll be joining them.
Women With Vision @ the Walker
The Walker's annual Women With Vision film festival starts this weekend and will provide one of the most eclectic mixes of films from the homogametic gender. If you made it into the packed house on Friday night's screening of Older Than America, directed by Georgina Lightning and filmed locally, consider yourself lucky. The screening was a sneak-peak before it hits the festival circuit starting with South By Southwest next week. Saturday will be packed with screenings celebrating International Women's Day: at 2pm the first of two Short Film Programs, this one featuring five shorts, including one by local filmmaker Jila Nikpay; at 4pm is the Women in Film and TV International Short Film Showcase celebrating women filmmakers and looking back at decades of struggle for women’s equality, peace, and justice; and finally the local premiere of Maria Speth's Berlin Film Festival hit Madonnas (pictured left). Lastly for the weekend, the Walker presents in conjunction with the Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival the documentary Making Trouble. There is plenty more to come! Women With Vision runs through March.
Teeth @ the Uptown midnight Saturday
I would be remiss if I did not mention this screening. If you haven't heard of this film, here is the synopsis: "High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home.A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth." How can you pass that up? Teeth was scheduled to have a "limited release" and I guess that means a midnight screening at the Uptown for us.
If that is not enough for you, Academy Award winning Best Foreign Film The Counterfeiters opens this weekend at the Edina and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days continues at the Edina.