Thinking Outside the Multiplex

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

Two films from India and one from Europe (a double Academy Award nominee, no less) make their way to Indiana theaters on Friday – while at least fourteen other films open out of state, and a number of interesting films and festivals will be showing throughout Indiana this week as well. For all of the details – plus this week’s complete listing of films opening in limited release around the country – read on below….

LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

Karthik Calling Karthik – According to manoranjaninc’s site, this (English-subtitled) Hindi-language film from India is a romantic thriller; the IMDb says that it’s a comedy thriller. But that minor disagreement is nothing compared to the “debate” going on at this film’s own website. If you click on the trailer for Karthik Calling Karthik on the site, you will see that it claims that Karthik is a young man with the “perfect girl,” the “perfect job,” and a perfect life – until he gets a phone call that changes everything. On the other hand, the synopsis on the official site says that Karthik is a shy nebbish who works at a low-paying job he can’t stand, and pines after a woman who ignores him – until he gets a phone call from someone who claims to be him, and starts to offer him advice on how to change his life for the better. Hmmmmmm – could both trailer and synopsis be true, somehow – or is one of ’em lying to us? You can find out for yourself at the Georgetown 14, starting on Friday, February 26. Karthik Calling Karthik also starts Friday on at least 25 other screens, according to the IMDb’s “Showtimes & Tickets” map. I didn’t have the time to look up all of them, but I do know that the film will be at three screens in Texas, two each in New York and New Jersey, and one each in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio.

Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa (a.k.a. Will You Cross the Skies for Me?) – This Tamil-language romantic drama from India will have three showings – at 6 and 9:15 PM on Friday, February 26, and 5:30 PM on Saturday, February 27 – at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis, according to manoranjaninc’s site; the G14’s schedule page on the movietickets.com site says that there will also be a 2 PM show on Saturday. Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa tells the story of Karthik, a would-be filmmaker who falls head over heels for Jessie; he proposes marriage, but Jessie is not so certain about the relationship – even if Karthik is willing to give up on his professional dreams for love. As a footnote, Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa was made more or less at the same time as Ye Maya Chesave, a Telegu-language film with the same story, and some of the same people behind the camera – including the director (Gautham Menon), composer (Slumdog Millionaire‘s A. R. Rahman), cinematographer, and editor. Ye Maaya Chesave also starts this week, but outside of Indiana (see “This Week and Beyond” below); Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa starts Thursday, February 25 at some theaters (such as the Indian Movie Center 6 and the Norwalk 8 in California, and theaters in Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, and Massachusetts), and opens week-long (or nearly so) runs at seven other theaters (four in Texas, two in New Jersey, and one in North Carolina) on Friday, February 26 – while one theater in Minnesota will start running the film on Saturday, February 27. I have seen several sites claiming that Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa does not have English-language subtitles; if I find out that it does, I will add a comment to let you know.

The White Ribbon – Michael Haneke (Cache; The Piano Teacher; both versions of Funny Games) wrote and directed this film, which is set in a German village in the months leading up to World War 1. After a long period of relative peace and tranquility, strange events begin to plague the area. At first, most of these events (like a death that occurs when someone falls through rotting wood in the floor) could be written off as accidents – but then it becomes obvious that these malicious acts are very deliberate in nature. As the villagers become increasingly worried, the local authority figures try to reassert their strict control of the area – and the village teacher begins to suspect that one or more his young students may be responsible for many of these crimes. The White Ribbon – which was shot in glorious black and white – doesn’t seem to be as confrontational/provocative as many of Haneke’s past films, based on the reviews I’ve skimmed; also, it has received a number of awards (the Golden Palm and two other prizes at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival; Best Film, Best Director, and Best Writer at the 2009 European Film Awards), and two Academy Award nominations (for Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film). The White Ribbon starts Friday, February 26, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis; it will also be shown at 6:30 and 9:30 PM from Thursday, March 4, through Saturday, March 6, at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema.

THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

An Academy Award Afternoon – Snacks, quizzes, and prizes – along with prize-winning writers Wes Gehring, Rita Rose, and Mary Anne Barothy – will be part of this event, which takes place at Bookmamas bookstore in the Irvington area of Indianapolis on Sunday, February 28, at 1:30 PM. (I’d give more details, but that’s all there is on the Bookmamas site as of Thursday afternoon.)

Celine: Through the Eyes of the World – Celine Dion’s 2008-2009 world tour is the focus of this concert documentary, which also features behind-the-scenes footage of Dion with her family, other musicians, and fans. Celine: Through the Eyes of the World will be shown at 2 PM on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28 at seven theaters around Indiana: the Castleton Square 14 and the Kerasotes ShowPlace 16 & IMAX in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield, the Showplace Cinema East in Evansville, the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne, and the Kerasotes ShowPlace 12 in Schererville.

Cinema Is Wasted on Cinema – Director Peter Greenaway will present “an illustrated lecture on the excitements of new cinematic languages,” and how they can break down “barriers that inherently make cinema a passive art form” – that’s according to the site for the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema, which will be the location of the lecture. It takes place at 6:30 PM on Friday, February 26.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover – The University of Notre Dame’s series “The Films of Peter Greenaway” continues with a screening of the director’s 1989 film, which will be shown at 9:30 PM on Friday, February 26, at the University’s Browning Cinema; Peter Greenaway is scheduled to be present.

Don Quixote – A ballet version of Cervantes’ novel – as performed by the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia – will be shown at 1 PM on Sunday, February 28, at the Rave Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne.

The Draughtsman’s Contract – Peter Greenaway’s 1982 film will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Saturday, February 27, at 6:30 PM; Peter Greenaway is scheduled to be present for the screening.

An Education – Carey Mulligan received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Lone Scherfig’s drama, which holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema – with one show per day, at 9:30 PM.

Envision Film Festival – Taylor University in Upland is the host for this festival, which takes place on February 26 and 27. According to its official site, the festival “honors aspiring filmmakers” (from students at Taylor and various high schools) “whose visual storytelling explores the range of human experience with hopeful vision, artistry, truthfulness and integrity.” Talks/seminars/classes are also part of the festival; see the event’s official site for the schedule and more information.

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial – Steven Spielberg’s 1982 mega-hit will be shown at Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre on Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, at 2 and 7:30 PM.

The Eyes of Me – This documentary – which follows four blind teenagers in Austin, TX, over the course of a year – will be shown at 4 PM on Sunday, February 28, at the K.I. EcoCenter, 129 West 28th Street, Indianapolis; admission is free.

Greenaway’s Inferno – Peter Greenaway will discuss A TV Dante, his adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, at 4 PM on Friday, February 26, at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema. (It doesn’t sound like A TV Dante will be shown, but I could be wrong about that.)

Half the Sky – The world premiere of the short film Wolneshet (from Marisa Tomei and Lisa Leone) is part of this one-night event, along with what the official site for Half the Sky describes as “musical performances” and “celebrity commentary.” India.Arie, Maria Bello and Sarah, Duchess of York are among those who appear in Half the Sky, which is (again, according to the official site) “inspired by stories from the New York Times bestseller Half the Sky” and is intended to “[c]elebrate International Women’s Day” and inspire audiences “to help women and girls everywhere turn oppression into opportunity.” Half the Sky will be shown at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 4, at the Galaxy 14, Castleton Square 14, and ShowPlace 16 and IMAX in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, and eleven other theaters across the state.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Terry Gilliam’s latest film – and Heath Ledger’s last one – continues this week at the ShowPlace 11 East in Bloomington;
it will also show through Monday, March 1, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

The Last Station – Helen Mirren – who received an Academy Award nomination for her work in this film – stars as the Countess Sofya, the loving wife of Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer – also nominated for an Oscar), in this drama from director Michael Hoffman (Soapdish, Restoration, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). When Leo makes some drastic changes in his life – after the pair has been married for nearly five decades – Sofya suspects that this is all a result of maneuvering by Leo’s disciple Chertkov (Paul Giamatti). When a new assistant (James McAvoy) arrives on the scene, he finds himself being used by both Sofya and Chertkov in a struggle to control Tolstoy’s legacy (and fortune). The Last Station continues this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis; it will also be at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne this week, with the exception of Wednesday, March 3.

Lewis and Clark: The Great Journey West – This 2002 film will be showing this week at the IMAX Theater in downtown Indianapolis’ Indiana State Museum.

The Maid – Raquel, the longtime maid to an upper-class Chilean family, has worked for them for such a long time that she almost seems like part of the family – but not quite. Although devoted to her work, she is increasingly plagued by headaches and other health issues – not to mention a gloomy, downcast state of mind. The family tries to help out Raquel by hiring a series secondary maid to assist her – but Raquel has other ideas, and tries to drive them away… until the family hires Lucy, who may help Raquel turn her life around. The Maid will be shown on Saturday and Sunday in Bloomington, by way of The Ryder Magazine and Film Series.

Marina of the Zabbaleen – This American documentary is about a seven-year-old girl struggling to survive on the fringes of Cairo; she lives in a “village” located in a landfill, where the residents (including Marina) must recycle the garbage of others in order to make a living. Marina copes with her dreary existence by daydreaming about flying elephants and other magical creatures – including a witch. Marina of the Zabbaleen will show on in Bloomington this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, thanks to the Ryder Magazine and Film Series.

The Messenger – Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton and Jena Malone star in this drama about an army officer who is assigned to the Casualty Notification Service after his tour of duty in Iraq. After he informs one young woman of her husband’s death, he finds himself increasingly drawn to her – all while coping with his own memories of the war. The Messenger – which received two Academy Award nominations (for Best Original Screenplay, and for Woody Harrelson’s performance) – continues this week at Fort Wayne’s Cinema Center (although there will be no shows on Wednesday, March 3), and starts Friday at the Yes Cinemas in Columbus.

Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs – Christopher Lee – who played a mummy himself back in the day – narrates this 2007 documentary, which will be showing this week at the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis.

My Bloody Wedding – Doug is a nerdy fellow with a lovely bride-to-be, Callista. Doug is worried about Callista, since she has started to sneak out at night, and has been lying to him about what she’s been doing. What Doug doesn’t know is that Callista has been possessed – and has been eating his family and friends. When he finally realizes what’s been happening, Doug bands together with a crazed gardener, a robot, and a masked wrestler to stop Callista and her (also possessed – and also hungry) bridesmaids. The IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis will show this made-in-Indy comedy at 7:30 PM on Saturday, February 27.

My Name Is Khan – Bollywood’s reigning superstar Shah Rukh Khan is Rizvan Khan, a Muslim man from India who moves to San Francisco and falls in love with Mandira. The couple marries and launches a small business, but the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 lead to turmoil in their relationship. When Mandira leaves him, Rizvan (who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome) is heartbroken – and he leaves San Francisco on a difficult voyage across America to win back Mandira. My Name is Khan holds over for another week at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis.

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2010: Animated – Holds over for another week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, with one daily showing, at 4:45 PM.

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2010: Live Action – Holds over for another week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, with daily showings at 2:30 and 7:20 PM.

Petals: Journey Into Self Discovery – The Cinema Center in Fort Wayne will have two free screenings of this 48 minute documentary on Wednesday, March 3, at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. According to its official site, Petals: Journey Into Self Discovery is about the making of photographer Nick Karras‘ book Petals, which features “48 black and white images of the female genitalia” – and treats the subject “with the utmost respect, sensitivity and insight to help women appreciate the beauty and power of their uniqueness,” Several women who participated in the Petals project are interviewed in the film, along with art critics, sex educators, and “wo(men) in the street.”

The Pillow Book – Vivian Wu and Ewan McGregor star in Peter Greenaway’s 1996 film, which will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Saturday, February 27, at 9:30 PM.

Preacher’s Kid – Angie (the preacher’s kid of the title) wants to escape her father’s strict control – but once she does, she eventually starts to wonder whether being on the road with a theatrical troupe is what she really wants out of life. Preacher’s Kid holds over for another week at the Eagle Highlands 10 in Indianapolis, and starts Friday at the Georgetown 14 in Indy. (So the only two theaters in the state now showing this film are about two miles apart – interesting….)

The Road – Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron face the end of the world this week at the Cinemark Movies 8, Washington Market, on East Washington Street in Indianapolis, which will have two daily screenings – at 7:35 and 10 PM

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – The seventies cult perennial screens again at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis this Saturday night at 10 PM.

Safety Last and One Week – Harold Lloyd stars in the 1923 comedy Safety Last (which runs in the 70 to 80 minute range, according to various sources I checked), and Buster Keaton is the star of the 1920 short comedy One Week. Both silent films will be shown with live musical accompaniment provided by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on Friday, February 26, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theatre; the program starts at 7:30 PM.

A Single Man – Colin Firth stars with Julianne Moore in this drama, which starts Friday at the Shiloh Crossing 18 in Avon, the ShowPlace 7 in Muncie, the Stadium 16 in Evansville, and the Coldwater Crossing in Fort Wayne; it will also show through Monday, March 1, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

Super Why: Attack of the Eraser – The Kidtoons film-of-the-month for February, Super Why is about several superheroes (including Super Why himself) who go on two adventures in reading. (So in other words, this is apparently two short cartoons joined together to make one shortish feature for kiddie matinees.) In “Comic Book: Attack of the Eraser,” the characters are inside a comic book, and must stop the bad guy “Eraser” from rubbing out the words; in “The Big Game,” the hero-kids learn why practice is so important. The Showplace East in Evansville will have Super Why daily at 11 AM this week, while the Rave Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne will show it at 12:20 PM on Saturday and Sunday only. The Studio 10 in Shelbyville will also show the film on Saturday and Sunday only, but at 1 and 3:30 PM, while the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis will have Saturday/Sunday screenings at 1 and 2:35 PM; the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart and the Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne will also have Saturday and Sunday showings of Super Why, at 12 noon and 12:30 PM, respectively.

Sweetgrass – Bloomington’s Ryder Magazine and Film Series will have screenings of this documentary this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; check the Ryder’s site for times. Sweetgrass – which opened last month in New York City – follows a group of modern shepherds as they lead their flocks of sheep on the frequently dangerous trek into Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for the summer.

The Tango Player – In this German film from 1991, the lead character, Dr. Dallow, is getting out of prison after nearly two years; he had been convicted of playing the piano to accompany a song with politically charged lyrics. Dallow has a chance to return to his old job at a university, but with one stipulation: the East German secret police demand that he become an informer. Dr. Dallow rejects this deal, and lives a life of poverty. By 1968, the cabaret program for which Dallow performed the song has been approved – but then the Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia, and the political atmosphere in East Germany returns to its repressive norm. Dr. Dallow is offered the same job-for-information deal once again; will he take it this time? The Tango Player will be shown at 7 PM on Sunday, February 28, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington. The screening is part of the IU DEFA Project/WENDE FLICKS film series, featuring movies from the last days of East Germany’s DEFA Studios; admission to the film is free, and the screening will be followed by a question and answer session.

To Save a Life – This drama about a teen who is a popular, successful student at his high school – but finds that he must reevaluate his life after a tragic incident involving one of his childhood friends – holds over for another week at the Great Escape 7 in Bedford, and starts Friday at the Coldwater Crossing in Fort Wayne.

2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Saturday, February 27, at 3 PM.

Under the Sea 3D – You can go deep – both water-wise and dimensionally – with this 2009 IMAX 3D documentary, which will be showing again this week at the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum.

We Live in Public – The Bloomington-based Ryder Magazine and Film series will present this documentary (which won a Grand Jury Prize for US docs at Sundance) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. We Live in Public follows the life of artist and Internet millionaire Josh Harris for over a decade – with a special emphasis on Harris’ project “Quiet: We Live in Public,” in which one hundred people lived in a bunker under New York City for thirty days – with multiple cameras showing everything that they did during that period.

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks – Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is not the sort of place you expect to see a movie – but at 8 PM on Friday, February 26, the Fieldhouse will be the location for a screening of this documentary about Reggie Miller’s triumphs over the Knicks (especially in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals), and his interactions with Knicks fan Spike Lee. The film – which was directed by Peabody Award winner Dan Klores – was made for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series of sports documentaries, and will be shown on the channel in March.

The Young Victoria – Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany and Thomas Kretschmann are in the cast of this period drama, which starts Friday at the Yes Cinemas in Columbus.

OPENING ELSEWHERE

Well, if only one film in this section has an Indiana opening date, it might as well be Academy Award nominee A Prophet, right? Still, it’s sort of surprising that one other title from this group (Teen Patti) isn’t starting in Indy this week, considering the cast – and I’d be surprised if The Yellow Handkerchief doesn’t eventually play somewhere in Indiana, considering one currently-hot member of its cast. Not at all surprisingly, Nothing, Nothing But Juan has no Indiana theaters listed at all, for this week or otherwise – but that one has the coolest cast of the week, as far as I’m concerned- and Zombie Girl, The Art of the Steal, Space Tourists and Prodigal Sons all sound like great docs…. Praise be DVD, I guess – even though I’d much rather see all of the above in a theater.

The Art of the Steal – The fight over the highly-valued art collection of the late Albert C. Barnes is the focus of this documentary, which (as the title implies) clearly takes a stand as to which party to the struggle is supposedly in the right, and which party supposedly is not. I won’t presume to step into this particular controversy – but I can tell you that The Art of the Steal starts Friday, February 26, at three theaters (the IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York City, and the Ritz 5 in Philadelphia). (As a side note, some of you with sharp minds – and/or search engines – may have noticed that this is the second time that this title has appeared in “Opening Elsewhere.” Back in early December, I noted that The Art of the Steal was supposedly opening in the US at that time – but I could find no proof. Since that time, I found one site that claimed that it played Los Angeles late last year – but nothing more concrete than that. In the absence of any other evidence to the contrary, it seems that this Friday does indeed mark the film’s US theatrical debut.)

Defendor – Woody Harrelson stars as Arthur Poppington, a (mostly) average guy – except for the fact that at night, Arthur assumes the guise of costumed superhero Defendor, and seeks the evil drug dealer and arms merchant Captain Industry. Arthur/Defendor eventually befriends a prostitute, Kat (Kat Dennings) – and beats up the cop (Elias Koteas) who was abusing her. Not surprisingly, the local police don’t think very highly of this, and Arthur must convince a court-appointed shrink (Sandra Oh) that he is sane before he can return to his quest for justice…. Defendor – a Canadian film which started last week on several screens in that country – kicks off its US release on Friday, February 26, at The Landmark in Los Angeles.

Formosa Betrayed – After a Taiwanese professor working in the US is murdered in the early eighties, FBI agent Jake Kelly (James Van Der Beek) is assigned to follow the killers to Taiwan. Kelly discovers that all is not as it seems, and that there are a number of troubling secrets behind what appeared to be a simple murder…. Formosa Betrayed starts Friday at fifteen theaters (five in the San Francisco area, six in or near Los Angeles, two in New York City, and one each in Boston and New Brunswick, NJ). The official site for the film says that it will expand to fifteen other cities/metropolitan regions across the US over the next several months – but Indianapolis is not one of them.

InkoSari – The official site for this Telugu-language film from India says that it is “fully loaded with FUN & friendship.” The friends are a group who knew each other in college, but haven’t seen much of each other in the seven years since graduation. One of the friends decides to organize a reunion which only the ex-students themselves can attend – with no post-college family or other outsiders allowed. The organizer is hoping for a second chance – but all of the friends soon decide that they also want a second chance at accomplishing a goal that eluded them in college…. InkoSari starts Friday, February 26, at the Fun Asia Irving in Irving, TX. (By the way: this is yet another title with an official site that apparently lacks a trailer – but youtube does have one, and you can see it here.)

Nobody, Nobody but Juan – Veteran Philippine actors Eddie Garcia (a frequent presence on US drive-in screens back in the seventies), Dolphy, and Gloria Romero star in this comedy, which involves the popular Filipino TV show Wowowee. According to the film’s official site, Wowowee is a big hit in the Philippines, and is also must-see viewing by Filipino expatriates around the world. Dolphy stars as Juan, a former comedian and dancer from the days of Filipino vaudeville. Juan is living in the US now – and he thinks he can finally make good on a long-ago promise to a former colleague, thanks to Wowowee. Nobody, Nobody but Juan starts Friday, February 26, at eleven AMC theaters across the US (one in Chicago, four in Florida, and two each in Texas, New Jersey, and California).

Pathogen – The debut effort from young filmmaker Emily Hagans, Pathogen is a zombie movie with fourteen-year-old Dannie as its main character. Dannie has been having a series of strange dreams; at the same time, an infection that turns people into zombies is reaching epidemic levels. Apparently, the infection was caused by bacteria in the water supply – but Dannie thinks that the real cause has something to do with her dreams. As Dannie and some of her fellow students try to save their community, she meets a woman who may prove her theory correct. Pathogen will have two screenings at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles this weekend; for more on Emily Hagans and her film, see Zombie Girl: The Movie below.

Prodigal Sons – Filmmaker Kimberly Reed made this prize-winning documentary about her own family. When she went back to Montana in order to go to a high school reunion, Reed was eager to reconcile with Marc, her adopted brother. This led to several surprising discoveries about her family – such as Marc’s relationship to Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles – and herself. Prodigal Sons starts Friday, February 26, at the Cinema Village in New York City.

A Prophet (Un Prophete) – Writer/director Jacques Audiard follows his impressive The Beat That My Heart Skipped with this drama, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Tahar Rahim stars as Malik, an illiterate young man of North African background who is sentenced to a French prison for alleged violent acts against the authorities. When Luciani – the convict who controls the prison’s most powerful gang – orders Malik to kill fellow prisoner Reyeb, Malik complies. He becomes Luciani’s underling in the gang – and is so helpful that Luciani sets up furloughs for Malik so that he can carry out Luciani’s orders in the outside world. Malik also starts to set up his own criminal enterprise, however. As the danger around him grows ever greater, Malik thinks he is being guided from beyond by the late Reyeb – and when he lives through an unusual car accident, some people start to think that Malik may be some sort of a prophet…. A Prophet starts Friday, February 26, at seven US theaters (five in the Los Angeles area, and two in New York City). The film’s official US site says that it will open at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on April 2 – and since Sony Pictures Classics is A Prophet‘s US distributor, it WILL open at the Keystone Art Cinema sooner or later (even if it misses that April 2 date). Also, A Prophet will be at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on April 16, according to the film’s official site.

Space Tourists – Several weeks after making its North American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Christain Frei’s documentary opens (on Friday, February 26) at Laemmle’s Claremont 5 in Claremont, CA. American billionaire Anousheh Ansari’s journey to the International Space Station (by way of a Russian Soyuz rocket) is the focus of the film, which features footage shot by both Ansari herself and the two cosmonauts who accompanied her. At the same time, Space Tourists also covers another interesting (and little known) aspect of modern-day space travel – the way that residents of Kazakhstan try to find the sections of the Soyuz rockets that fall back to earth, hoping to hit it big by selling their enormous discoveries on the scrap metal market.

Sukhmani: Hope for Life – This Punjabi-language drama from India tells the story of Major Kuldeep Singh, an honored officer whose wife and daughter, Sukhmani, are killed by terrorists. Singh tries to battle his resulting depression by going after the terrorists with even greater determination – but is traumatized when he can’t save the life of another innocent girl. Later, when helping to repatriate a group of civilians, Major Singh meets Reshma, a young woman who has been stigmatized by society. Singh decides that he must protect Rashma from both society at large and his fellow soldiers – even if it costs him his own reputation. Sukhmani: Hope for Life opens Friday, February 26, in at least three theaters – the Phoenix/Big Cinemas Norwalk 8 and Fremont 7 in California, and the same chain’s Movie City 8 in New Jersey. (By the way – the film’s official site doesn’t have an actual trailer, apparently – but youtube does have one, if you’d like to take a look.)

Teen Patti – As far as I can tell, there is no one named “Patti” in this new thriller, which co-stars Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Ben Kingsley. The title refers to a card game that got its start in India and is something like poker, according to Wikipedia. Teen Patti tells the story of how brilliant mathematician Venkat (Bachchan) came up with a groundbreaking theory on chance versus fate – and how a colleague, Shantanu, tempted him to try make money with his idea by applying it to the game of Teen Patti. To say the least, this “experiment” does not end well for either Venkat or Shantanu. Later, Venkat meets fellow math genius Perci Trachtenberg (Kingsley) in a London casino – and Perci becomes convinced that Venkat’s theory is so brilliant that it could change mathematics forever… and possibly redeem Venkat’s life in the process. Teen Patti starts Friday, February 26 in at least eighteen locations, according to the IMDb’s “Tickets & Showtimes” map for the film. I didn’t have the time to go through the cumbersome process of identifying where all of those theaters are, but I did find (by other means) ten screens where it will be playing – two each in Texas, New Jersey, and New York, and one each in Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia.

Toe to Toe – According to its official site, Toe to Toe was inspired “by the disturbing fact that interracial friendships end at age 14 for 87 percent of American teenagers.” The story involves Tosha, an African-American student, and Jesse, her rich-but-unhappy white teammate on the lacrosse team at a prep school in the Washington, D.C. area. The two become close friends – but their friendship might not be strong enough to overcome their many differences. Toe to Toe starts Friday, February 26, at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

The Yellow Handkerchief – After Brett Hanson (William Hurt) finishes his six-year prison sentence for manslaughter, he is uncertain about what to do with his life. When he meets Martine (Kristen Stewart) and her new friend Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), the three decide to take a road trip together – during which Brett must make up his mind about whether he wants to go back to his pre-prison life, including his sometime-girlfriend May (Maria Bello). The Yellow Handkerchief – which was (loosely) based on a short story by Pete Hamill, and directed by Udayan Prasad (My Son the Fanatic) – starts Friday, February 26, at seven theaters – four in the Los Angeles area, and three in New York City.

Ye Maaya Chesave (I’ve also seen the title as Yem Maaya Chemsavo, Yemaaya Chesave and Ye Maya Chesave, for whatever it’s worth) – As noted in the entry for Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa in the first section of this week’s column, these two films have the same story (not to mention some of the same people behind the camera) – so I won’t bother with a plot summary here. Ye Maaya Chesave started Thursday, February 25, at five theaters (two in New Jersey, and one each in Delaware, California, and Virginia); it opens in at least seven other theaters (two in Texas, and one each in Michigan, California, Georgia, Illinois, and Minnesota) on Friday, February 26. I couldn’t find a website for Ye Maaya Chesave, by the way – but if you want to see a trailer for this Telugu-language film from India, then click here.

Zombie Girl: The Movie – Emily Hagans is determined to put her own spin on the zombie movie – even though she isn’t yet old enough to drive a car. As you might suspect, Emily is the “zombie girl” of the title, and this documentary tells the story of her two year quest to write and direct a film – while her mother acts as her crew member, agent, driver, and cheerleader. Zombie Girl: The Movie starts Friday, February 26, at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles; see also the entry for Pathogen above – if you haven’t done so already, for more about Emily Hagans’ film.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND

As of my deadline, the Keystone Art Cinema’s home page had only one change for upcoming art/limited release films since last week – Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer now has a March 19 opening date.

Manoranjaninc’s site had no news about upcoming Indian films at the Georgetown 14 as of Thursday evening.

Oscar Parties – Several Academy Awards-related parties are scheduled for next weekend. The Indianapolis International Film Festival will have a viewing part at Forty Five Degrees in Indianapolis on Sunday, March 7, and the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne will have an Oscar Party starting at 6:30 on Saturday, March 6. If I hear of any upcoming parties, I’ll add them to the list next week.

**********

Commentary Track reviews of movies featured in this week’s edition of Thinking Outside the Multiplex:
An Education
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Messenger
A Single Man
The Young Victoria

4 responses to “Thinking Outside the Multiplex

  1. The Georgetown is having an Oscar party, or as they put it, an “extravaganza charity benefit.” Actually it sounds like a really fun event from the description in the theater’s weekly e-newsletter, and it’s for a good cause (wounded veterans aid).

    From feast to famine in the local listings; “feast” defined as more movies I want to see than I can possibly see in a week. This is the problem with going on vacation – I always fall behind on my moviegoing! What would you estimate the odds are that My Name is Khan and The White Ribbon will be held over for another week? I need to prioritize…

  2. I would guess that TWR will hold over, as it is a nominee for BFLF- but with the audiences at Landmark these days, you never know. They usually know what they’re keeping and what they’re losing by Tuesday afternoon.

    As for MNIK, I don’t know- but if it is playing throughout the week, for its second week (as it is), then I suspect he will most likely schedule at least a few showings next weekend.

  3. The White Ribbon will indeed hold over at the Keystone Art Cinema, for two shows a day- at 1:30 and 4:45.

    And My Name Is Khan will have three shows each day next week at the Georgetown 14, according to the G14’s page on movietickets.com.

  4. UPDATE-

    The Earth House Collective in Indianapolis will show Where the Wild Things Are on Thursday, March 4, at 7 PM. The cost is $5, although it’s only $2 for Earth House members.

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