Sunday, May 10, 2009

The nine lives of the Oak Street Cinema

Let's just forget the Phoenix metaphor; nothing rises from the ashes this many times. I'm going to peg the Oak Street as a gentle, but aloof, stray cat that is working through its nine lives. Open again for business, the Oak, once again, has a pretty exciting slate of films coming up. You could call it Best of the Fest Plus, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say that the Twin Cities really really needs an alternative theater playing films like this.

At a screening last week, Al Milgrom said that the Oak would be open for business until the beginning of July, when they would assess the situation. Part of 'the situation' will no doubt be regarding the developer who was interested in the real estate (not the theater), but I'm sure another part of it will be whether or not business is good enough to sustain operations. Can we have some sort of rally cry for the Oak again? In the end, will it matter? I'm willing to commit to seeing every film the Oak screens and to bringing a friend to at least half of those screenings. And maybe, just maybe, I won't see a single summer blockbuster. (So far, I'm doing pretty good.)

Here's the schedule so far, and I don't see a clunker in there:

Tuesday, May 12 - Thursday, May 14 @ 7pm & 9pm
Harvard Beats Yale 29 - 29 (2008) directed by Kevin Rafferty

Forget that it is about football, this is a documentary about one of the most unbelievable games in the history of sports. I'm no football fan, by a long shot, but just reading the facts about this 1968 game is fascinating. With just the title, I needed some convincing too.
Check out the trailer here.
Manohla Dargis' review in the New York Times.
Kenneth Turan's review in the Los Angeles Times.
J.R. Jones' review in the Chicago Reader.

Friday, May 15 - Monday, May 18 @ 7pm & 9pm (Sat, Sun early show @ 4:30pm)
Lola Montès (1955) directed by Max Ophüls

Is this something I should have seen by now? I don't know. After you go to Art-a-Whirl in beautiful NE Minneapolis, you can also enjoy some rep theater just a couple miles away. I'm excited to see this, even if it is not my cup of tea.
Check out the trailer here.
Robert Ebert's review in the Chicago Sun Times.
Chris Wisniewski's review at Reverse Shot.
Fernando F. Croce's review at Slant Magazine.
Ryland Walker Knight's essay at the Auteurs.

Friday, May 22 - Sunday, May 24 @ 7:15pm (Sat, Sun early show at 5pm)
Three Monkeys (2008) directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

More people need the chance to see this film, so I'm glad they brought it back from the Fest to play for a few more days. A moody, plot driven film that is a little unusual for Ceylan, but stylistically all Ceylan. Admittedly not his best reviewed film, but who cares. Great framing and interesting editing gives Three Monkeys a unique space. Don't miss it on the big screen.
Check out the great trailer here.
Official website.
A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times.
Jonathan Romney's review in The Independent.

Friday, May 22 - Sunday, May 24 @ 9:30
The Chaser (2008) directed by Na Hong-jin

If I stick by my word, it will be my third viewing of The Chaser. But unlike other films, I expect to enjoy it and will probably see things I didn't see in the first or second viewing. I've been ruminating on a review of this film that I will have up in the next week or so. Awesome double feature with Three Monkeys.
Check out the trailer here. (Hate the movie man narration in that.)
Here's the UK official website for the movie.
Kyu Hyun Kim's review at

Friday, May 29 - Monday, June 1 @ 7:15pm & 9:30pm (Sat, Sun early show @ 5pm)
Il Divo (2008) directed by Paolo Sorrentino

A film that I sadly missed at the Film Fest and I'm glad I'm getting another chance. I've heard enough about this film to know I better know the background of this infamous Italian politician. Everyone refers to the speed in which information gets thrown at you during the film, to the point that you can't keep up. A little wiki research will certainly not spoil this movie.
Check out the trailer here.
Official website.
Stephen Holden's review in the New York Times.
Bill Weber's review on Slant Magazine.
Peter Bradshaw's review in the Guardian.
Dave Calhoun's review at Time Out London.

Friday, June 5 - Sunday, June 7 @ 7:15pm
Silent Light (2007) directed by Carlos Reygadas

This had a one night screening at the Walker over a year ago. This is an amazing film set in a Mexican Mennonite community. Slow, thoughtful and beautiful, Silent Light focuses on one family and the patriarch's illicit affair with another woman. The images of the film still linger in my mind a year later, and I will gladly refresh them. If you haven't seen Japón or Battle in Heaven, check those out too.
Check out the trailer here.
Official website.
Manohla Dargis' review in the New York Times.
Roger Ebert's review in the Cicago Sun Times.
J.R. Jones' review in the Chicago Reader.

Whoa. That's a lot of linkin'. Keep your eye on the Oak's calendar for changes and/or additions.

1 comment:

Sandy Nawrot said...

You mean you aren't going to see Harry Potter? Kathie! I may have to fly up and take you against your will.