Friday, February 26, 2010

Twin Cities Film 2/26 - 3/4

Special Screenings:

Band of Outsiders (1963) directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, 7:00 and 8:55pm
Godard's 60s at the Trylon
The last Godard film in the series and one of his best.
"Godard at his most off-the-cuff takes a 'Série Noire' thriller (Fool's Gold by Dolores Hitchens) and spins a fast and loose tale that continues his love affairs with Hollywood and with actress Anna Karina. Karina at her most naive is taken up by two self-conscious toughs ('The little suburban couins of Belmondo in A Bout de Souffle', is how Godard described them), and they try to learn English, do extravagant mimes of the death of Billy the Kid, execute some neat dance steps, run around the Louvre at high speed, and rob Karina's aunt with disastrous consequences. One of Godard's most open and enjoyable films." - Time Out

Gold Film Festival 2010: Oscar Nominated Documentaries
Various Times
Woodbury 10 Theaters
All five of this year's Academy Award-nominated, feature-length documentary films will be shown over three days. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers tells the story of a former Pentagon employee who released classified material to the media to try to end the Vietnam War. Food, Inc. exposes the unsavory and highly industrialized process of bringing food to your table. Burma VJ uses footage surreptitiously filmed by protesters who put their lives at risk to document a 2007 uprising led by Buddhist monks against an oppressive regime in Burma. Which Way Home follows the harrowing stories of children trying to migrate through Mexico to reach their parents who have illegally entered the U.S. In The Cove, the former animal trainer who trained dolphins for the TV show Flipper journeys to a remote cove in Japan to document an annual slaughter of dolphins." - City Pages

The Neverending Story (1984) directed by Wolfgang Petersesn
Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, midnight Willow Creek 12
Check out that awesome poster. Almost makes me want to go to Willow Creek, where ever that is.
A fairytale of the very best kind, with luscious effects which include a flying dragon, a rock monster, a fairy princess (mercifully grave and untwee), and a threat in whose vanquishing lies hope. Made at Munich's Bavaria Studios, the film concerns a withdrawn schoolboy, ignored by his businessman father and bullied at school, who steals a book and finds himself in thrall to the point where he is called upon to enter its world and save the magic land of Fantasia. Adapted from the novel by Michael Ende, the film is a mix of German Romanticism (complete with Wagnerian sets and a score in part by Giorgio Moroder) and Syberberg by way of Disney, or perhaps vice versa. There are even moments of moralising which give the twin heroes' quest someting of the steely tone of a Pilgrim's Progress." - Time Out

Hapax Legomena (1971-72) directed by Hollis Fampton
Part I: Saturday, February 27, 7:30pm Part II: Sunday, February 28, 2pm Expanding the Frame at the Walker
Gorgeously restored by the Museum of Modern Art and Anthology Film Archives, the seven-part Hapax Legomena investigates the potential of film and its relationship between artist and audience. Frampton’s towering achievement poses complex philosophical questions about the nature of the moving image in a manner that can be challenging, revealing, and at times amusing. Introduced by former Walker film/video curator Bruce Jenkins, who was a close friend of Frampton’s and is a leading scholar of his work and editor of On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton. Frampton’s (nostalgia), one of the sections of Hapax Legomena, is featured in the Walker’s new exhibition Abstract Resistance."

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) directed by Robert Hamer
Monday, March 1, 7:30pm Brit Noir at the Heights
"A resolutely downbeat - remarkably so for Ealing Studios - account of a day in the life of Bethnal Green when an escaped convict (McCallum) seeks shelter at the home of a former girlfriend (Withers), now respectably married but bored and waspishly discontented. No attempt is made to elicit easy sympathy for either of the protagonists as they pursue their selfish ends, and the sense of drab squalor, with pursuit ending in the railway yards, is a minor key echo of the poetic realism (also carefully studio-built) of prewar Carné and Renoir. Only slightly compromised by a certain pawkiness in some of the minor Cockney characterisations."

The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights (2010) directed by Emmett Malloy
Wednesday, March 3, 6:00, 7:45 (Sold Out!) and 9:45pm
Sound Unseen at the Trylon
Tickets are going fast. All three shows will sell out.
In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music video director Emmett Malloy followed the band and managed to capture both the special tour, extraordinary concert versions of the band's minimalist, raw, blues-inspired rock songs and the special relationship between the extroverted Jack White and the introspective Meg White - a formerly married couple who for a long time claimed to be siblings. The film makes striking use of the band's concert colors: red, white and black"

Portrait of Jennie (1948) directed by William Dieterle
Thursday, March 4, 7:30pm Jennifer Jones Tribute at the Heights
A companion piece to the Dieterle/Selznick Love Letters, also starring Jones and Cotten; but where the earlier film remained rooted in superior romantic hokum, this one takes wing into genuine romantic fantasy through its tale of a love that transcends space and time as Cotten's struggling artist meets, falls in love with, and is inspired by a strangely ethereal girl (Jones) whom he eventually realises is the spirit of a woman long dead. Direction and performances are superb throughout, but the real star is Joseph August's camera, which conjures pure magic out of the couple's tender odyssey, from the gravely quizzical charm of their first encounter in snowy Central Park (when she is still a little girl, strangely dressed in clothes of bygone days) through to the awesome storm at sea that supernaturally heralds their final parting. Buñuel saw it and of course approved: 'It opened up a big window for me'." - Time Out

Blood Into Wine (2010) directed by Rayan Page and Christopher Pomeremke
Thursday, March 4, 7pm Riverview Theater
"Blood Into Wine is the widely anticipated documentary that shares the story of Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan and his mentor Eric Glomski as they pioneer winemaking in the hostile deserts of Arizona. Maynard’s various musical entities have sold over 30 million records worldwide. His band's have headlined the world’s most prominent music festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Roskilde while the man himself has reveled in revealing little of his personal life. On stage Maynard dresses in costume and stands in the shadows as an affront to typical rock star theatrics. He even bolted from Los Angeles just as his band began to pay off, leaving behind a potentially lavish lifestyle for the craggy rocks of Northern Arizona, settling into an area of 300 residents and a rumored ghost town. Blood Into Wine gives unprecedented insight into Maynard’s world and his motivations for taking on the arduous task of bringing winemaking to the region’s unforgiving landscape and how winemaking fits into his creative trajectory."

Clandestinos (1987) directed by Fernando Perez
Thursday, March 4, 7:30pm Cuban Movie Festival at St Anthony Main
"Satisfying as both a political thriller and a love story, this feature film by Fernando Pérez is so naturally realized that it avoids being didactic even as it commemorates events of the Cuban Revolution. Anti-Batista activists move from one safe house to another, trying to elude a relentless police commissioner. Their leader (Luis Alberto García), hardened by prison and torture, is suspicious of nearly everyone but gradually falls for his newest recruit, a headstrong idealist (Isabel Santos of El Benny). The climactic rooftop chase is well choreographed and edited, and Edesio Alejandros surging score recalls early Isaac Hayes."


The Sun (2005) directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
MFA at St Anthony Main
One more chance to pimp my review: read it here.
The events surrounding Japanese emperor Hirohito's August 1945 call for a complete cease fire among his troops serves as the subject of Alexander Sokurov's thought-provoking historical drama. In the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito (Issey Ogata) announces to the world that Japan will surrender unconditionally. His declaration was broadcast over the radio on August 15, 1945, and stunned the Japanese people. In this film, Sokurov details not only the events surrounding the emperor's declaration of surrender, but his renunciation of divine status as well."

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) directed by Werner Herzog
MFA at St Anthony Main
"Based on a harrowing true story centered around policeman Hank (Willem Dafoe), who is called to a bungalow in a respectable San Diego neighborhood where a man named Brad (Michael Shannon) has barricaded himself in his house and taken two hostages. Across the street, Brad's mother (Grace Zabriskie) lies dead, found sprawled in a pool of blood, the victim of a sword wound. The son is suspected of the murder. As Hank uneasily prowls the sunlit street outside the bungalow, a string of Brad's friends arrive on the scene, among them his girlfriend and a director pal. Slowly the bizarre pieces of the story are placed in front of the cop, who tries to make sense of it all. Not only has the suspected murderer never been the same since he returned from a kayaking trip to Peru, but he also seems to be suffering from a strange mother complex. To deepen the psychosis even further, Brad has been rehearsing one of Sophocles' plays that has a lot to do with mothers!"

44 Inch Chest (2009) directed by Malcolm Venville
Lagoon Theater
From the writers of Sexy Beast comes a powerful drama of a wronged husband trying to regain his self respect, in this spectacularly foul-mouthed acting tour de force. Colin (Ray Winstone) lies sobbing in a wrecked room, his wife of 21 years, Liz (played with Mirren-like sensuality by Joanne Whalley) has left him. He calls his mate, Archie (Tom Wilkinson), who’s just settling in on the sofa with his aged mum, to gather up the rest of the sometime-gang: Old Man Peanut (John Hurt), Meredith (Ian McShane), and Mal (Stephen Dillane). The motley crew of old friends rallies to his aid, though their plot to kidnap the lover and push Colin into taking revenge is misguided in conception and inept in execution. Hurt is hilarious as the old con telling the story of Samson and Delilah, complete with clips from the Victor Mature film. A provocative and darkly funny study of masculinity at its most troubling, it gives the actors full rein to explore the male ego pushed to its limits, and this wonderful ensemble certainly rises to the task."

The Crazies (2010) directed by Breck Eisner
Area Theaters
As a toxin begins to turn the residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa into violent psychopaths, sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) tries to make sense of the situation while he, his wife (Mitchell), and two other unaffected townspeople band together in a fight for survival."

Cop Out (2010) directed by Kevin Smith
Area Theaters
A comedy about a veteran NYPD cop whose rare baseball card is stolen. Since it's his only hope to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, he recruits his partner to track down the thief, a memorabilia-obsessed gangster."

100 Best of the Decade: 1-19

Cream of the crop and why I continue to seek out films.

1. In the Mood for Love (2000) Wong Kar Wai [Hong Kong]
It was November of 2000 and I had just finished five weeks in SE Asia, landing in Hong Kong for some good R&R before heading to the Mainland to visit friends. Surprisingly, Wong Kar Wai's new film (released in HK in September, but yet to be released in the US) was hanging on in one theater. I caught the first show I could make it to with a Brit who I had met in the hostel where I was staying. I was completely intoxicated by the images and the music and the actors and all of its collective beauty and longing. And there was Mo-wan, played by Tony Leung, leaving secrets in the place I had just visited not two weeks before. The physicality and the loneliness of my travels made me completely susceptible to the emotional gravity of the film. This was cinema at its most seductive, using all of its sensual allure to pull me in. When the film ended, I lied to my new friend and said I had some errands to run. I headed off to get something to eat and then headed right back to the same theater to see In the Mood for Love again.
Screened: Hong Kong and eventually at the Uptown Theater

2. Pistol Opera (2001) Seijun Suzuki [Japan]
After 34 years of living in the legacy of the Japanese New Wave, Seijun Suzuki unfurls a chaos-ridden sequel to his seminal 1967 Branded to Kill. Irrepressible style and fleeting substance, Pistol Opera returns to the unbridled creativity that won Suzuki fame, but also blacklisted him from the studio system. At 78-years-old, Suzuki’s uninhibited return was long overdue, bursting back on the scene with primary color panache. The titular plot—the competitive hierarchy in the world of assassins—is no more relevant now than it was then, and its two hours of blissful self-referential pastiche is a free-association rollercoaster ride. The rough edges of his discordant 60s techniques have been filtered though 21st century gloss into a hallucinatory jazz explosion. After influencing an entire generation of ‘shock cinema’ filmmakers, Seijun Suzuki stands up and shows the kids what audacious is all about.
Screened: DVD

3. Eureka (2000) Shinji Aoyama [Japan]
When Eureka started popping up on 'best of 2001' lists, I did not hesitate to order the expensive DVD from Japan. Recently armed with a region free Cyberhome, the world was my oyster. And while spending 40 bucks on a three-and-a-half hour movie, sight unseen, might seem foolhardy, this was exactly why I had gotten a region free player. A hidden gem that is still unavailable in the US today, Eureka is one of the most powerful yet understated films ever made about emotional trauma.
Screened: DVD (This film screened at the Walker, but I was under the thumb of a second-shift job and hate the fact that I missed this on the big screen.)

4. Tropical Malady (2004) Apichatpong Weerasethakul [Thailand]
The mysteries of love are as powerful as the mysteries of cinema. In Tropical Malady, these two wonders walk hand in hand, and there is nothing else quite like it. After directing three divergent films—exquisite corpse documentary Mysterious Object at Noon, abstract melodrama Blissfully Yours, and transvestite action The Adventures of Iron Pussy—Apichatpong Weerasethakul finds his stride as he delves deep into his visual subconscious to pull out a singular love story. Full of heartaching sincerity, even in its darkest moments, the film bravely follows intuition down a narrative path and asks us to follow. Told in two distinct parts, Tropical Malady channels covert archetypes of relationships: a lyrical portrayal of a heart-thumping courtship influenced by Eros, and a more abstract account of the mysteries of carnal desire through the cynical eyes of Frued. Joining the two acts is a poetic interlude where the two lovers, Keng and Tong, share an intimate moment on a dark road and Tong walks off into the dark. Keng is left standing, alone and motionless. Is this the end? Or is this the beginning? Heartbreak? Or adoring consummation? The question only lingers for a moment until the scene cuts to a pop song that is no less rapturous that the smile on Keng’s face as he rides his motorcycle down the darkened road. This is the joy of falling in love, which, like the rest of the film, is selflessly shared with the audience. The sequence, tempered by Keng’s eventual plunge into the dark jungle, will stick with me forever.
Screened: MCAD (Walker Without Walls)

5. Japón (2002) Carlos Reygadas [Mexico]
Carlos Reygadas' first feature film is something of an esoteric masterpiece that fits his unusual circumstances. A lawyer by trade, Reygadas left his profession to pursue filmmaking because of the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. It is with this kind of unflappable seriousness that Reygadas approaches his first film. Shooting in 16mm cinemascope, Japón is a rigorous formal achievement that is full of salt of the earth heart and soul.
Screened: MSPIFF

6. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) Béla Tarr [Hungary]
Screened: DVD but eventually saw it projected at the Walker during a Tarr retrospective.

7. Millennium Mambo (2001) Hou Hsiao Hsien [Taiwan]
Screened: Metro State (Asian Media Access)

8. La Ciénaga (2001) Lucrecia Martel [Argentina]
Screened: MSPIFF

9. Still Life (2006) Jia Zhang Ke [China]
Screened: MSPIFF

10. INLAND EMPIRE (2006) David Lynch [USA]
Right around the time David Lynch released INLAND EMPIRE, he also published a book entitled Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. Part memoir and part memento, the book is a thoughtful testament to Lynch’s commitment to expanding his consciousness as an artist. Within the ocean of pure consciousness, Lynch is not interested in the small fish on the surface, but instead is willing to patiently dive for the larger ones dwelling far below the surface. In his own words: “Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re more beautiful.” If that isn’t a summation of INLAND EMPIRE, I don’t know what is. Like the mysterious photos of life at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, INLAND EMPIRE is a strange creature that engenders equal parts fear and fascination. But Lynch is also implicit in its demand that the audience dive a little deeper with him and allow the images and scenarios to work beyond what is analytical. It moves nonlinearly and each successive scene opens a new door, unlocks a new mystery. The first two times I saw the film, when I got to the end, I couldn’t remember, specifically, how the film began. Like visual hypnosis, the film put me in a continuous hallucinatory state of amnesia: each sequence propelled me in a different direction, sporadically catching narrative threads when they appear. Bunnies, Poles and Hollywood is only the tip of the everything-is-connected iceberg. INLAND EMPIRE started as a fourteen-page monologue that Lynch gave to Laura Dern that they subsequently shot in a 27-minute take as an “experiment for the Internet.” Built upon Lynch’s creative intuition and anchored by Dern’s unbelievable acting, INLAND EMPIRE is teeming with dark ambiguities and beautiful mysteries. Starting from the same platform as every other director, David Lynch transforms baseline entertainment into a sublime adventure that is hard enough to wrap you head around, let alone words.
Screened: Oak Street Cinema (three times)

11. What Time is it There? (2001) Tsai Ming Liang [Taiwan]
Screened: Oak Street Cinema

12. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) Park Chan-wook [South Korea]
Screened: DVD

13. The Saddest Music in the World (2003) Guy Maddin [Canada]
Screened: Uptown Theater

14. Syndromes and a Century (2006) Apichatpong Weerasethakul [Thailand]
Screened: DVD

15. Graveyard of Honor (2002) Takashi Miike [Japan]
An unbelievable turn for Japan's man of shock and silliness, Graveyard of Honor is a somber, hard-hearted action drama that just leaves you stunned.
Screened: DVD (I have dreams of movies like this playing in theaters...)

16. Kairo (2001) Kiyoshi Kurosawa [Japan]
(I'm sticking with the Japanese name for fear someone confuse this with the crappy US remake, Pulse.) Leave it to a straight-to-video genre filmmaker with a sociology degree in his hip pocket to create one of the most potent horror films of the decade. Barely nine years have past, and the moment that Kairo proposes—a fateful teetering between technophobia and technophilia—has come and gone, making the metaphors all the more vivid. Praying on our existential fears, Kiyoshi Kurosawa throws us into a voluntary apocalypse where the population is slowly absorbed into the space occupied by white noise. Cause-and-effect rationality take a back seat to lingering ambiguity that is only perpetuated by the protagonists’ general apathy for their fateful doom. Transforming Tokyo into an otherworldly planet, subtle atmospheric effects permeate the film. The air, dark and foreboding, is filled with the particles of past human existence and unsuccessful souls trapped in purgatory. Whether it is the shocking one-shot suicide jump or the eerie confrontational dancing apparition, Kurosawa peppers his film with understated menaces and sublime mediocrity for a one-of-a-kind psychological masterpiece.
Screened: DVD

17. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) Cristi Puiu [Romania]
Screened: The Parkway (Before the Parkway was cleaned up! Mold spores and all.)

18. Old Joy (2006) Kelly Reichardt [USA]
Screened: Oak Street Cinema (Sound Unseen)

19. Cache (2005) Michael Haneke [France]
Screened: Edina Cinema

Thursday, February 25, 2010

100 Best of the Decade: 20-39

Time to nip this in the bud and just post these buggers. I would love to write about all this films, but it ain't gonna happen today or tomorrow.

20. Colossal Youth (2006) Pedro Costa [Portugal]
Screened: Walker Art Center

21. 2046 (2004) Wong Kar Wai [Hong Kong]
Screened: Uptown Theater (It was race to see if I could get my hands on a DVD of 2046 before it hit theaters locally, and, sure enough, I have an absurdly package Mainland DVD that arrived first. But that didn't stop me from seeing it twice in the theater.)

22. Lilya 4-ever (2002) Lukas Moodysson [Sweden]
Screened: Edina Theater

23. Gozu (2003) Takashi Miike [Japan]
Screened: Oak Street Cinema

24. Woman on the Beach (2006) Hong Sang-soo [South Korea]
Screned: MSPIFF

25. Funky Forest (2005) Katsuhito Ishii [Japan]
Screened: DVD

26. The World (2004) Jia Zhang Ke [China]
Screned: MSPIFF

27. I’m Not There (2007) Todd Haynes [USA]
The most shocking thing about Todd Haynes biopic on Bob Dylan is that he pulled it off by being elusive but not ambivalent, smart but not pretentious, and incredibly entertaining but not the least bit conventional. Although the riches of the film are there to be mined by Dylan fans, “I’m Not There” is open book to anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of the myth and the man. Haynes’ stubborn persistence to clear rights and rigorous research simply laid the groundwork for a celebration of the erudite possibilities of film rarely explored. Challenging our preconceived notions of narrative, the film swims through Dylan’s ‘lives’ like a surreal fantasy.
Screened: Lagoon Theater

28. Inglourious Basterds (2009) Quentin Tarantino [USA]
Screened: Multiplex

29. Gomorrah (2008) Matteo Garrone [Italy]
Screened: Uptown Theater

30. Three Times (2005) Hou Hsiao Hsien [Taiwan]
Screened: Walker Art Center

31. La commune (Paris, 1871) (2000) Peter Watkins [France]
Screened: DVD

32. Electric Dragon 80000v (2001) Sogo Ishii [Japan]
You can have your Batmans and Spidermans; I'll take Electric Dragon and Thunderbolt Buddha.
Screened: DVD

33. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003) Tsai Ming Liang [Taiwan]
Screened: MSPIFF

34. West of the Tracks (2003) Wang Bing [China]
There is epic and there is epic. This documentary, divided into three parts, runs 9 1/2 mesmerizing hours. Shot in the city of Shenyang, West of the Tracks is a portrait of the disintegration of Communism's industrialized empire.
Screened: Bell Auditorium

35. The White Ribbon (2009) Michael Haneke [Austria]
Screened: Uptown Theater

36. Songs From the Second Floor (2000) Roy Andersson [Sweden]
Screened: DVD

37. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) Cristian Mungiu [Romania]
Screened: Edina Cinema

38. Turning Gate (2002) Hong Sang-soo [South Korea]
Screened: DVD

39. Irreversible (2002) Gasper Noé [France]
Screened: Lagoon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

100 Best of the Decade: 40-59

40. The Sun (2005) Aleksandr Sokurov [Russia]
Read my review here. This film was a long time in getting a theatrical release in the US, but it finally happened last year in NYC and is now making the rounds.
Screened: DVD (MFA will be playing this soon at St Anthony Main.)

41. Ping Pong (2002) Fumihiko Sori [Japan]
I impulsively claimed at one point that this is the best sports movie ever made, and I have yet to be persuaded otherwise. This film has a huge heart but also has some heart pounding action sequences that couldn't be further from the table tennis you used to play in your cousin's garage. More people need to see this film.
Screened: DVD

42. The Time of the Wolf (2003) Michael Haneke [France]
Haneke's dark, disorienting apocalyptic diatribe is subdued slow burn of doom. This was one of the last fictional films MFA screened at the Bell. I remember it well, because it was freezing in there! I felt like I was right there with the transients.
Screened: Bell Auditorium

43. Distance (2001) Hirokazu Koreeda [Japan]
Is there a reason why this quiet, thoughtful, poetic film hasn't been released in the US?
Screened: DVD

44. Moolaadé (2004) Ousmane Sembene [Senegal]
Screened: MSPIFF

45. Dogville (2003) Lars von Trier [Denmark/USA]
Screened: Uptown Theater

46. Bright Future (2003) Kiyoshi Kurosawa [Japan]
Screened: DVD

47. Mulholland Drive (2001) David Lynch [USA]
Screened: Multiplex

48. 35 Shots of Rum (2008) Claire Denis [France]
Screened: Film Forum

49. Wendy and Lucy (2008) Kelly Reichardt [USA]
Screened: Lagoon

50. Mind Game (2004) Masaaki Yuasa [Japan]
Some of the most pulsing, mind blowing animation ever put to celluloid. I would die to see this on the big screen. I will gladly load my R2 DVD to anyone interested.
Screened: DVD

51. Morvern Callar (2002) Lynne Ramsay [UK]
Near the beginning of Morvern Callar, she answers a pay phone and talks to a stranger. "Morvern Callar. This is Morvern Callar." The person on the other end of the line was no doubt asking the same question as the audience: Who is this? The next hour and a half provides Morvern's own inconclusive answer to that question in an unpredictable road trip of discovery and loss with a brilliant soundtrack.
Screened: DVD (This bugger played for one week in the theater and I was out of town. I'm still bitter.)

52. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) Park Chan-wook [South Korea]
Screened: Broadway Cinematheque in Hong Kong (twice)

53. Fig Trees (2009) John Greyson [USA]
Screened: Walker Art Center

54. Tears of the Black Tiger (2000) Wisit Sasanatieng [Thailand]
Screened: DVD (Arrived in theaters waaaay after the fact.)

55. Southland Tales (2006) Richard Kelly [USA]
A grand allegory for our celebrity loving society and our corporatized political wasteland that couldn't hit the nail more firmly on the head.
Screened: Multiplex

56. Battle Royale (2000) Kinji Fukasaku [Japan]
Screened: DVD

57. Dancer in the Dark (2000) Lars von Trier [Denmark]
I remember exactly where I saw this film and who I was with simply because I fell for the heartbreaking finale...hard. Trying to keep my emotions under control was impossible, and I had to apologize to my three companions. I hated von Trier for doing that to me, but returning to the film on DVD a few years later I realized I had forgotten about the beautiful musical numbers and amazing performance by Bjork.
Screened: Uptown Theater

58. Workingman’s Death (2005) Michael Glawogger [Austria]
Screened: Bell Auditorium

59. Gerry (2002) Gus Van Sant [USA]
Stripping dramatic film structure to its visual essence, “Gerry” is an amalgamation of 20th century modernist sensibilities that only starts as a so-called homage to Béla Tarr. With reverberations from Samuel Beckett to Michelangelo Antonioni to John Cage, the narrative—two friends hiking in a surrealist desert—is so slight, it dissolves right before your very eyes. Gus Van Sant’s postminimalist masterpiece uses ‘getting lost’ as an emblematic means to a more philosophical than conclusive end. The walking Gerrys, better known as Matt Damon and Casey Affleck, are modern versions of the waiting Vladimir and Estragon. But where Beckett’s characters are entrenched in an absurdist human comedy, Van Sant’s characters are drowning in an absurdist tragedy. Their trip may be metaphorical, but their doom is very real. Their nemesis is the never-ending barren landscape that exudes unearthly power and elegant grandeur. The terrain is an apathetic shape shifter, altering between rocky and mountainous to flat and sandy, challenging the men’s mental and physical delirium. Even language fails them. The sparse script, if you were to string it all together, would resemble spoken work free verse at a poetry slam. The film’s final confrontation is a tender acceptance of the helplessness of man (and in this case, I do mean “man.”) Languid, spare and beautiful, “Gerry” transcends formalism with artful bravado.
Screened: Lagoon

100 Best of the Decade: 60 - 79

60. Taste of Tea (2004) Katsuhiro Ishii [Japan]
Screened: MSPIFF (Okay, so I saw it on DVD before MSPIFF, but whatever.)

61. No Country for Old Men (2007) Joel Coen/Ethan Coen [USA]
No Country for Old Men is an elegant powerhouse that cultivates a trio of iconic southwestern male personas through quintessential storytelling. The three—a cowboy, a psycho, and a sheriff—lead each other, in that order, on a classic film noir chase where the personalities ricochet as much as the flying bullets. Llewelyn Moss is a sharp-tongued but honest everyman living on the fringes. Anton Chigurh is the incarnate of the grim reaper in a pageboy haircut and polyester pants. Our moral center, Ed Tom Bell, is a world-weary lawman whose disappointment in human nature fills a hole that was once probably filled with youthful optimism. Joel and Ethan Coen create a fountain of character through tightly controlled scripting and visual ingenuity from the simplest of tropes. Although No Country is tinged with the sardonic humor that is classic Coens, the snarky superficial caricatures that usually pepper their films are cast aside for more understated nuances. The Coen’s literary prowess balloons under the auspices of Cormac McCarthy, as the directors are able to nurture subtlety and craft from the pages of a stripped-down novel like few others. The result is a taught thriller conscious of a world filled with brutality and misery. In the end, Llewelyn and Chigurh were merely coin tosses in the life of Tommy Lee Jones’ Ed. The escapade has reaffirmed his powerlessness despite his best intentions. His only hope for personal absolution is a compromise, poetically summed up by his brother: “All the time you spend tryin’ to get back what’s been took from ya’, mores goin’ out the door. After while, you just have to try and get a tourniquet on it.” Ed’s tourniquet is retirement. No Country for Old Men ends with Ed caught between vulnerability and death—the purgatory of an examined life near its end—a moving soliloquy to a nihilistic ride.
Screened: Mulitplex...twice

62. Die Bad (2000) Ryu Seung-wan [South Korea]
Admittedly, I need to give Die Bad another watch, but when I saw it nine years ago at the Walker I was blown away by its gritty, unrelenting, testosterone driven finesse and brutality. Action films love to boast 'high octane' but the fights in Die Bad are the real deal. Highly athletic and incredibly choreographed, the mano y mano will knock the wind out of you.
Screened: Walker Art Center (Unfortunately, Die Bad is a little hard to come by these days. Not available in the US and the Korean DVD is out of print.)

63. Cremaster 3 (2002) Matthew Barney [USA]
I would actually like to put the entire Cremaster cycle in this list, but most of them were made in the previous decade except for this one: the centerpiece of the five, but the last to be made. Cryptic, ellusive and unbelievable beautiful, Cremaster 3 is caged in a surreal interpretation of the creation of the Chrysler Building in New York City. Forget goat men and the Guggenheim, the heart and soul of this amazing film is not on the truncated why-even-bother DVD. Let's just be glad that most films don't fall under the category of high art, or they would be impossible to see. The Walker hosted the entire cycle in 2005 and it was pretty incredible. All I have to say is: please show them again!
Screened: Walker Art Center

64. Marie Antoinette (2006) Sofia Coppola [USA]
Screened: Multiplex

65. Waltz With Bashir (2008) Ari Folman [Israel]
Screened: Lagoon Theater

66. Mad Detective (2007) Johnny To [Hong Kong]
Screened: DVD

67. 24 City (2008) Jia Zhang Ke [China]
Screened: Walker Art Center

68. 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006) Corneliu Porumboiu [Romania]
Screened: MSPIFF

69. Hunger (2008) Steve McQueen [UK]
Screened: Walker Art Center

70. The Triplets of Belleville (2003) Sylvain Chomet [France]
This decade was one that brought animation out of the 'cartoon' ghetto. With the familiarity of such directors as Hayao Miyazaki on the rise and entries like Triplets and Waltz With Bashir after it, animation is finally earning some serious respect.
Screened: Lagoon

71. Oldboy (2003) Park Chan-wook [South Korea]
Screened: DVD

72. Spirited Away (2001) Hayao Miyazaki [Japan]
Screened: Wow. I really can't remember if I saw this first on DVD or in the theater or even which theater...

73. Man on Wire (2008) James Marsh [UK]
Screened: Uptown Theater

74. Blissfully Yours (2002) Apichatpong Weerasethakul [Thailand]
Screened: MCAD (Walker Without Walls)

75. The Five Obstructions (2003) Jorgen Leth/Lars Von Trier [Denmark]
Screened: MSPIFF

76. Mister Lonely (2007) Harmony Korine [USA]
Screened: DVD

77. Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) Hubert Sauper [Austria]
Screened: Walker Art Center

78. Shaolin Soccer (2001) Stephen Chow [Hong Kong]
I love this film with all my heart.
Screened: DVD (over and over and over again)

79. Bug (2006) William Friedkin [USA]
Screened: Multiplex

Sunday, February 21, 2010

100 Best of the Decade: 80-100

Coming up with my top 100 films of the decade was an assignment I agreed to for an all staff tally on In Review Online (of which was posted last week.) The task was daunting and exciting, and way too much fun not to share it. I dole them out in groups of 20, not because I think there is any suspense, but 20 is much more manageable for me, the poster, and hopefully you, the reader. It's not just a list, but random thoughts or tidy capsules that I probably wrote for the InRO project. I'll post the remaining parts as time allows.

Just a couple bookkeeping notes: I'm using the date of theatrical premiere that usually coincides with the release in their home country, and to keep myself honest, I've included where I saw the film. I import quite a few DVDs but I also catch many in the communal spaces with my fellow film fans, and I think the list reflects this. If there is anything that looks interesting, ask me; I probably own it. Enjoy!

80. Exiled (2006) Johnny To [Hong Kong]
Johnny To's prolific work habits, making two to three films a year since the mid-80s, have earned him undeniable fame at home and a cult following around the world. But recently, with his panache for craft and his flair for artistry, he has become the Hong Kong darling of the festival circuit. With his hat firmly tipped towards a style that earn him Cannes invitations, To returns to spirit of his popular anti-action action film, The Mission (1999), for a reboot. Using much of the same cast, Exiled is as much a fan's guilty pleasure as it is an engaging thriller built on the strength of character.
Screened: DVD

81. Beaufort (2007) Joseph Cedar [Israel]
Telling the story of the Israeli Army's retreat from Lebanon, Beaufort plays out more like a horror film than a war film. Claustrophobic spaces are made even more haunting by the ambivalent politics that hover over the heads of the weary soldiers.
Screened: MSPIFF

82. The Beaches of Agnes (2008) Agnes Varda [France]
Read my review here.
Screened: Walker Art Center

83. Chop Shop (2007) Ramin Bahrani [USA]
Below the lights of Shea Stadium and beyond the din of LaGuardia is a pocket of scrap yards where American neo-neorealism comes to life in Ramin Bahrani’s second feature. Pinned to the pains of sustenance living but animated by the irrepressible energy and hope of a 12-year-old boy, Chop Shop rolls out the devastating components of the mythical American Dream with a subdued efficiency and honed craft that domestic features rarely display. The film, much like its tenacious young hero, refuses to play the melodramatic card to solicit pity and it’s all the more moving because of it. Alejandro’s joy and anger feel as real as the unfettered images and the unadorned soundtrack. The acts put to screen by Bahrani are no less pure than his Italian Neorealist forefathers, allowing the audience to revel in, as André Bazin put it, “the sudden dazzling revelations of their meaning.”
Screened: At the Parkway Theater in an empty house.

84. Unknown Pleasures (2002) Jia Zhang Ke [China]
Screened: DVD

85. Memories of Murder (2003) Bong Joon-ho [South Korea]
South Korea's has slowed from the take-no-prisoners ingenuity that it seemed to exhibit 10 years ago (which may or may not have to do with the change in the quota policy) but there are still many small miracles and monumental masterpieces. Memories of Murder would be one of the later. Wound tighter than a drum, it's a murder mystery that has no intention on satisfying the audience with a solution (a fact that homeland audiences knew walking through the door, given the film was based on very well known real events.) The spiral of events and human emotion will leave you spinning long after the lights come up.
Screened: DVD

86. The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004) Chris Marker [France]
Officially, this is not really a feature film, but who cares. This is my list. It was made for TV in France but then release as a feature documentary here in the US. Chris Marker never fails to make the keenest of observations in the most poetic ways. How are images of a grinning cat and contemporary politics connected? Chris Marker will tell you.
Screened: DVD

87. Blood and Bones (2004) Yoichi Sai [Japan]
Beat Takashi's role in this period drama is undeniably one of the most brutal and one of his best. Blood and Bones is a gut wrenching ride that I haven't had been brave enough to bare more than once.
Screened: DVD

88. Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) Hou Hsiao-hsien [France]
Screened: Lagoon Theater

89. Kings and Queen (2004) Arnaud Desplechin [France]
Screened: DVD

90. The Intruder (2004) Claire Denis [France]
Screened: DVD

91. Springtime in a Small Town (2002) Tian Zhuangzhuang [China]
Screened: DVD

92. Fat Girl (2001) Catherine Breillat [France]
Screened: Uptown Theater
Simply calling Catherine Breillat a provocateur cuts too clean a swath in which to navigate her films. It is much easier to process a film like Fat Girl as an affront than to admit recognition in what we see on the screen. But the pain of adolescence—and, to be more specific, female adolescence—is too transparent to brush off as a mere device. Although the English title deceptively refers to a single protagonist, the central figure, best described in the French title, is the complex relationship between two sisters: plump Anaïs, 13, and attractive Elena, 15. Between the two of them, nature and nurture have created a maelstrom of burgeoning emotions and intellect wielded with both innocence and guile. In their shared coming of age, Elena exploits her ability to explore the sins of the flesh and Anaïs retreats to gluttony. The paired down aesthetic adds an unsympathetic reality to their clumsy navigation of the sexual world, uncomfortably emphasized in Elena’s deflowering. Their mother, an abstract portion of the family feminine triangle, only takes note of her daughters with curt ambivalence. Striped of judgment and sentimentality, Fat Girl is nonetheless loaded with gender politics and social tropes that beg for resolution, but are instead only left wagging in the face of a brutal tabloid worthy ending.

93. Michael Clayton (2007) Tony Gilroy [USA]
Screened: Multiplex

94. Tokyo Sonata (2008) Kiyoshi Kurosawa [Japan]
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a director known for offering skewed takes on genre, squares up and throws a fierce dramatic punch. Masquerading as a middling family melodrama, Tokyo Sonata is an unconventional, and often times bizarre, social examination of the disintegration of the family unit. Topically Japanese yet internationally relevant, Kurosawa turns a surreal lens on the economic instability and emotional depravity of an unsympathetic patriarch and his oppressed, yet no less deceptive, subjects. The performances of the entire cast are a study in understated power, especially from the lead trio: Teruyuki Kagawa as the father, Kyoko Koizumi as the mother and Kai Inowaki as the music obsessed young son. Chaos reigns domestically in the closing movement as Kurosawa churns out a signature allegro that unleashes the demons of self-induced isolation. Tokyo Sonata’s final and lasting statement of hope, however, comes in the form of a poetic suite delivered by a young boy irreverently embracing his right-brain ethos.
Screened: MSPIFF

95. Distant (2002) Nuri Bilge Ceylan [Turkey]
Screened: MSPIFF

96. Café Lumière (2003) Hou Hsiao Hsien [Taiwan]
An homage to Ozu, this was Hou Hsiao Hsien's first film shot outside of Japan.
Sceened: DVD

97. Encounters at the End of the World (2007) Werner Herzog [USA]
Herzog's documentary about the 'professional dreamers' who live near the end of the world at the South Pole. His deadpan narration is full of lively descriptions such as the one that he had for McMurdo Station which he couldn't wait to leave because it was full of "abominations such as an aerobics studio and yoga classes."
Screened: MSPIFF

98. Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000) Hong Sang-soo [South Korea]
Screened: DVD

99. Durian Durian (2000) Fruit Chan [Hong Kong]
Screened: Walker Art Center

100. Synecdoche, New York (2008) Charlie Kaufman [USA]
I've seen this movie three times and it gets better everytime I watch it.
Screened: Uptown Theater

Friday, February 19, 2010

Twin Cities Film 2/19 - 2/25

Kind of a lot of crap going on. I'm happy.

Special Screenings:

Contempt (1963) directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20, 7:00 and 9:05pm
Godard's 60s at the Trylon
One of my favorite Godard films.
"If Godard could be reduced to a single genius idea—essential to his filmmaking if obviously not the whole story—it might go something like this: To love cinema is to love life. He is the original movie geek, swaddling his films in adoring reference, and embracing, pushing, reveling in the plasticity of pop. Even his politics work best when set against cool haircuts and jump cuts. Contempt is the only one of Godard’s films in which his sequences have enough room to become spells, boosted on the achingly sad strains of Georges Delerue’s seesawing orchestral score. Piccoli’s screenwriter is Godard’s most honest indictment of his treasured fake world, a hired gun too blind to see his own ruination. And by film’s end—“Silencio!”—Godard has finally dared to get serious, achieving not mock pathos but a perfect tragedy." Time Out

I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) directed by Mary Harron with Berlin (2007) directed by Julian Schnabel
Friday, February 19, 7:30pm
Filmmakers in Conversation: Ellen Kuras at the Walker
"This riveting portrait of radical Warhol groupie Valerie Solanas’ descent into madness is highlighted by Lili Taylor’s bravura performance. Kuras’ cinematography intercuts the tinfoil sheen backstage at Warhol’s Factory with grainy black-and white scenes of Solonas’ blistering quasi-feminist diatribes, and handheld camera shots reveal her jumbled state of mind. 'Kuras’ lensing luminously combines the broad strokes of the Pop Art era with the immediacy of reportage.'"
"Lou Reed recorded the album
Berlin in 1973, but didn’t perform it live until 33 years later at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. For this concert film, Kuras collaborated with artist/director Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Basquiat) to capture his moodily majestic set design and bring to life the album’s devastating story of Caroline (Emmanuelle Seigner) and her lovers. Reed hailed Kuras’ gritty, intimate cinematography as “incredible.” Featured at the Venice and Toronto film festivals Berlin has rarely been screened in the United States."

An Evening with Ellen Kuras
Saturday, February 20, 7:30pm
Filmmakers in Conversation: Ellen Kuras at the Walker
"The Walker hosts an evening of conversation with cinematographer/filmmaker Ellen Kuras and screens some of her most groundbreaking work. Called by Filmmaker magazine ”one of the most talented directors of photography working today,” Kuras’ impressive body of work ranges from documentaries to features, straddles the commercial and independent film worlds, and is shot on formats from mini-DV video to 35mm film. She has been the ongoing director of photography for many celebrated directors, including Martin Scorsese, Michel Gondry, and Spike Lee."

The Room (2003) directed by Tommy Wiseau
Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20, midnight
Midnight Movies at the Uptown
It's good that the Uptown keeps screening this, so eventually I will go and see it.
"The Room is an electrifying American black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies, starring writer/director Tommy Wiseau as a successful banker with a great respect for—and dedication to—the people in his life, especially his future wife Lisa (Juliette Danielle). As the film depicts friendships and relationships in the lives of its five major characters, it raises life's real and most-asked question: "Can you really trust anyone?" A midnight cult sensation, this quirky black comedy has been running for over 6 years in Los Angeles and is ready to take the rest of the country by storm. You'll want to be there for the devastation it will leave in its wake!"

Brighton Rock (1947) directed by John Boulting
Monday, February 22, 7:30pm
Brit Noir at The Heights
"Wracked with religious guilt and anxieties of inadequacy (both sexual and political) on a Napoleonic level, Attenborough makes a perfect Noir protagonist. He combines the boyish good looks of Farley Granger and the psychopathic placidity of Richard Widmark. In true Noir fashion, there are no heroes — only those who have been tainted by the darkness. Harry Waxman's expert black-and-white cinematography imbues even the sunniest outdoor locations with claustrophobic paranoia." —L Magazine

Trash Film Debauchery at the Trylon
Wednesday, February 24, 7:30pm.
I've learned my lesson about spilling the beans on what TFD is screening, so just show up and have some fun. More details here.

The Red Tail (2009) directed by Melissa Koch and Dawn Mikkelson
Wednesday, February 24, 7:00pm Riverview Theater
Locally made documentary about Northwest Airlines.
"While 4,400 aircraft mechanics wage a seemingly endless strike to keep their jobs from being outsourced – Mechanic Roy Koch and his daughter Melissa (Director of The Red Tail in collaboration with Dawn Mikkelson) follow the trail of outsourcing to China. The Koch’s journey is a search for dignity amidst the helplessness experienced by global workers; a quest to reclaim their power. While in China, the Koch family not only meets Roy’s replacement and top management, but they also become enmeshed in the bigger picture. The Red Tail offers fascinating insight and access into the inner workings the global airline industry, providing a new perspective on globalization and the lives that hang in the balance."

An Evening with Daniel Barrow
Wednesday, February 24, 7:30pm Expanding the Frame at the Walker
"Wildly imaginative, heartbreaking, and intimate, Barrow’s “manual animation” tells the story of a sanitation worker who creates personal histories of the people along his route by sifting through their trash. The innovative performance combines animation executed on an overhead projector with video, music, and live narration. Winner of the 2008 Images Prize at its world premiere, Barrow’s work is like a graphic novel come to life."


Waiting for Armageddon (2009) directed by
MFA at St Anthony Main
"America's 50-million strong Evangelical community is convinced that the world's future is foretold in Biblical prophecy - from the Rapture to the Battle of Armageddon. This astonishing documentary explores their world - in their homes, at conferences, and on a wide-ranging tour of Israel. By interweaving Christian, Zionist, Jewish and critical perspectives along with telling archival materials, the filmmakers probe the politically powerful - and potentially explosive - alliance between Evangelical Christians and alliance that may set the stage for what one prominent Evangelical leader calls 'World War III'."

Collapse (2009) directed by Chris Smith
MFA at St Anthony Main
I missed the Q & A with Michael Ruppert, but I am not going to miss this documentary.
A look at the life of Michael Ruppert, a former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter. Michael predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, "From the Wilderness", at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but Michael applies his own unique interpretation."

Shutter Island (2010) directed by Martin Scorsese
Area Theaters
"In 1954, U.S. marshals Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are summoned to the hospital for the criminally insane on remote and barren Shutter Island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the disappearance of a female murderer. Marshall Daniels is especially keen on cracking the case, for he has personal matters at stake. He suspects rampant unsavory (and illegal) treatment practices at the institution, but then clashes with Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), who refuses him access to hospital records. As a fierce storm cuts off both communication with and escape to the mainland, and dangerous criminals break loose on the island, Daniels’s grasp of the clues, his memory, his trust in his partner, and his wits begin to unravel. From Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese. Also starring Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams and Max von Sydow."

District 13: Ultimatum (2009) directed by Patrick Alessandrin
Lagoon Theater
Say what you will, but I am excited about this movie.
"Two years have passed since elite police officer Damien Tomasso (Cyril Raffaelli) teamed up with reformed vigilante Leito (parkour originator David Belle) to save the notorious District 13, a racially charged ghetto populated by violent drug dealing gangs and vicious killers. Despite government promises to maintain order, the state of the district has deteriorated, and a group of corrupt cops and elected officials are conspiring to cause civil unrest in D13, looking for an excuse to raze the area and cash in on its redevelopment. Now Damien and Leito must join forces again, and use their mastery of martial arts and their unique physical skills to bring peace to the neighborhood by any means necessary... before a proposed nuclear air strike wipes it off the map. With bone-crunching fights and death-defying leaps, this adrenaline-charged sequel takes the groundbreaking parkour action from District B13 to thrilling new heights."

North Face (2008) directed by Philipp Stölzl
Uptown Theater
This thrilling, intense mountain climbing cliffhanger tells of an attempt to climb the unconquered sheer north face of the Eiger (known as “the Murder Wall”), the hardest challenge of the Alps. It’s 1936, and Nazi propaganda trumpets the need for a mountaineering triumph prior to the Berlin Olympics. Ace Bavarian climbers Toni (Benno Fürmann) and Andi (Florian Lukas) are reluctantly drawn to the challenge, despite their lack of enthusiasm for the publicity. Their childhood friend Luise (Johanna Wokalek, The Baader Meinhof Complex), a rookie photographer who hopes their climb might make her name, is dispatched to cover the story with her Hitler-loving boss. With breathtaking irony, the life and death struggle of the climbers takes place within easy view of a luxury hotel, where tourists watch the drama while sipping champagne. Once the climbers are on the mountain, everything possible goes wrong and the weather worsens, escalating the tension to a nerve-wracking climax. Spectacularly filmed on location, North Face is one of the most exciting mountain movies ever made."

Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action
Lagoon Theater
I'm always disappointed after going to see these, but if you are involved in some sort of massive Oscar pool, it is pretty easy to peg the winner.
"Don't miss this rare opportunity to see all five Academy Award nominees in the category of Best Live Action Short! Program includes: The Door (Ireland), about a father who attempts to come to terms with the devastating affects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster; Instead of AbracadabraKavi (India/USA), in which a boy in India who wants to play cricket and go to school is instead forced to work in a brick kiln as a modern-day slave. Unsatisfied with his fate, Kavi must either accept what he's always been told, or fight for a different life even if he's unsure of the ultimate outcome; Miracle Fish (Australia), in which 8-year-old Joe has a birthday he will never forget. After friends tease him, he sneaks off to the sick bay, wishing everyone in the world would go away. He wakes up to find his dream may have become a reality; and The New Tenants (Denmark/USA), in which a prying neighbour, a glassy-eyed drug dealer, and a husband brandishing both a weapon and a vendetta make up the welcome wagon. Amidst the as-yet-unopened boxes and the hopes for a fresh start for the two men, it might just be the worst moving day ever. Their new apartment reveals its terrifying history in a film that is by turns funny, frightening and unexpectedly romantic. Vincent D'Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan star." (Sweden), about a man named Tomas who is a bit too old to still be living at home with his parents, but his failure to become a magician leaves him with no other choice. At his father's 60th birthday party Tomas gives him, and all his guests, a quite bizarre show;

Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated
Lagoon Theater
"Don't miss this rare opportunity to see all five Academy Award nominees in the category of Best Animated Short and more! Program includes: French Roast (France), in which an uptight businessman in a fancy Parisian café who is about to pay his check finds out that he has lost his wallet; Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (Ireland), in which a grandmother loses the plot as she tells her version of "Sleeping Beauty" to her terrified granddaughter; The Lady and the Reaper (Spain), in which a sweet old lady who is waiting for death so she can see her beloved husband once again is invited to enter death's domain—if someone doesn't ruin it for her; Logorama (Argentina), featuring spectacular car chases, an intense hostage crisis, and wild animals rampaging through the city; and A Matter of Loaf and Death (UK), the latest adventure from Nick Park, in which Wallace & Gromit start a new bread baking business. Although business is booming, Gromit is concerned by the news that a dozen local bakers have 'disappeared' this year, so he turns sleuth to protect his master and solve the escalating murder mystery. Program also features three bonus shorts: Pixar's Partly Cloudy (USA), Poland's The Kinematograph and Canada's Runaway."

Bollywood Films at Brookdale 8

3 Idiots (2009) directed by Rajkumar Hirani
3 IDIOTS [based on a novel 'Five Point Someone' by Chetan Bhagat] doesn't tilt, it stands tall. Here's yet another illusion: 3 IDIOTS belongs to Aamir Khan. Yes, it does, but also to R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Kareena Kapoor and Omi, the entrant in Hindi movies, who delivers an equally sterling performance. The film would be incomplete without any of these characters. To cut a long story short, all you'd like to say about the film is, All izz very, very, very, very, very well. Watch this film to know what it means! On the whole, 3 IDIOTS easily ranks amongst Aamir, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's finest films. Do yourself and your family a favour: Watch 3 IDIOTS. It's emotional, it's entertaining, it's enlightening. The film has tremendous youth appeal and feel-good factor to work in a big way."

Ishqiya (2010) directed by Abhishek Chaubey
Vishal Bhardwaj's Ishqiya is a story of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion, and deceit. Two thieves, Khalujan and Babban, are on the run from their boss, Mushtaq. They seek refuge with an old friend, and instead meet his widow, Krishna. As they plan their escape, their time spent together draws the duo to her, Khalu with his tinted vision of old-fashioned love, and Babban with his lustful eye. The threat of imminent death forces them on a path of violence and betrayal. Set in a rural landscape, Ishqiya explores basic human emotions as influenced by desire, greed and revenge."

Did I miss anything? Probably. Let me know