Thinking Outside the Multiplex

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

Ever since I started writing this column almost a year ago, I have written about limited release films opening in Indiana in a given week. Each and every week since then, as far as I can recall, there has been at least one new limited release film opening in Indianapolis- at the Keystone Art Cinema and/or the Georgetown 14 and/or some other theater. This week is different- the only new theatrical movie opening in limited release in Indiana is coming to another town. Sure, the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture is re-opening at a number of theaters around the state this week, including a pair in Indy- but the only new limited release movie is…. Well, to see what it is, and where it will be playing – along with all of the movies holding over in the state, and movies opening elsewhere across the US- read on below….

LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

Creation– Real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly play an onscreen Mr. and Mrs. in this drama about Charles Darwin’s efforts to write On the Origin of Species, and Darwin’s great love for his wife Emma– who holds firm to her religious beliefs. Creation was directed by Jon Amiel, and has a screenplay by John Collee, adapted from a book written by a great-great-grandson of the couple– who used diaries and letters from family members in his research. Toby Jones and Jeremy Northam are in the supporting cast of Creation, which starts Friday, March 12, at the Eastside 9 in Lafayette.

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

Capitalism: A Love Story– Michael Moore’s latest documentary will be shown at the Earth House Collective in Indianapolis on Thursday, March 18, at 7 PM.

Carmen– The La Scala Opera Company’s production of Georges Bizet’s work will be shown at 7 PM on Thursday, March 18, at the Rave Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne.

Double-Shot Music Documentary Day at the IMA: Genghis Blues and Heavy Load– Blues singer Paul Pena is the focus of the Oscar-nominated 1999 doc Genghis Blues; after he heard Tuvan throat singing on the radio, he was determined to master the art-form- and got to be so good at it that he was eventually invited to take part in Tuva’s yearly singing contest. Heavy Load is a 2008 doc about a punk band with a twist- some members have learning disabilities. This event- which is close-captioned, and will be ASL interpreted- takes place from 1 to 5 PM on Saturday, March 13, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theatre.

Eight Men Out– John Cusack, D. B. Sweeney, David Strathairn, and Charlie Sheen are just part of the large cast of John Sayles’ 1988 film about the scandal surrounding the 1919 World Series. It will be shown at 2 PM on Sunday, March 14, in the Clowes Auditorium at the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library; the screening is the last in the “Hoosiers in Hollywood” series, and will be preceded by a talk by David Smith (author of the book Hoosiers in Hollywood).

The Ghost Writer– A talented British ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) signs on to finish the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), even though the previous writer who was working on the project– who was also the ex-PM’s longtime assistant– died before he could complete his work. Soon after the new writer and the politician meet to discuss the project, one of Lang’s former cabinet members claims that Lang authorized a war crime. The writer starts to suspect that his predecessor’s death wasn’t an accident– and that the former British leader may have been doing the CIA’s bidding while he was in office. Roman Polanski’s political thriller- which co-stars Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams, and features appearances by Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi, and Eli Wallach- starts Friday, March 5, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.

Hamlet Goes Business– Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki (Ariel, The Man Without a Past– and someone who’d get my vote as one of the most interesting international directors on the scene today) is behind this darkly comedic updating of Hamlet to the business world (or at least a rubber duck factory) of the 1980s. Hamlet Goes Business will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Thursday, March 18, at 7 PM.

The Hurt Locker– The Academy Award winner for Best Picture returns to the big screen once again this week, opening at the Keystone Art Cinema and the Washington Square ShowPlace 12 in Indianapolis, along with the ShowPlace 11 East in Bloomington, the ShowPlace 12 in Marion, the ShowPlace 7 in Muncie, the Stadium 16 in Evansville, the Honey Creek West 8 in Terre Haute, and the ShowPlace 16 in Schererville.

Laddie– Tim Holt, Virginia Gilmore, Joan Carroll, Spring Byington, Joan Leslie, Miles Mander and Peter Cushing are in the cast of this Indiana-set romantic drama from 1940, which was based on the book of the same name by Hoosier author Gene Stratton-Porter. Holt plays a young man who is part of a farming family; he falls in love with Pamela, the daughter of English immigrants- even though Pamela’s father is strongly opposed to the relationship. Meanwhile, Pamela’s brother (Cushing) is obsessed with reanimating human corpses, hunting for vampires, and building something he calls a “death star.”* Laddie– the Vintage Movie Night selection for March- will be shown by film collector and historian Eric Grayson at the Arts Center in Indianapolis’ Garfield Park at 8 PM on Saturday, March 13; the screening will follow an opening reception for “Poetry in Paint”, which kicks off at 5 PM. A $2 donation is suggested for the film.

*(Just in case someone really needs this clarification- yes, that sentence is completely bogus. Or at least I strongly suspect that it is- I haven’t seen the movie or read the book.)

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 and the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.

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 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; it will also be showing in Bloomington next week, according to The Ryder’s site.

The Mistake (Die Verfehlung)– In this German drama from 1991 (or 1992- sources vary), a West German man falls in love with an East German woman; when they get together at an apartment in East Berlin, a suspicious resident of the apartment building reports the unregistered visitors to the authorities. The Mistake will be shown at 7 PM on Sunday, March 21, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington; the screening- which will be followed by a question and answer session- is part of the IU DEFA Project: WENDE Flicks Series, showcasing films from the last days of the East German film studio DEFA.

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 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 gets married 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.

No Impact Man– This documentary about a family trying to live lives that have little or no impact on the environment will be shown on Friday in Bloomington.

The Philadelphia Story– Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart star in this 1940 classic, which will be shown at 2 and 7:30 PM on Friday, March 12- and at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 13- at Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show– The seventies cult perennial screens again at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis this Saturday night at 10 PM; a poster at the G14 says that some sort of pre-film activity (I forgot to write down the exact wording) starts at 9:30 PM.

Strawberry Shortcake: The Berryfest Princess Movie– Strawberry Shortcake and her pals in Berry Bitty City must fight off a plague of zombies hungry for strawberry-flavored flesh- no, wait… that’s the movie I want to see. Actually, SS and her crew try to prepare for the annual Spring Festival and Berry Big Parade in Berry Bitty City, following Ms. Shortcake’s appointment as Berryfest Princess. This children’s film will be at 10:50 AM daily at the Showplace Cinemas East in Evansville; other theaters in the state will have Saturday and Sunday only screenings- the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis (at 1 and 3 PM), the Studio 10 in Shelbyville (at 1 and 3:30 PM), the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart (at 12 noon), the Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne (at 12:30 PM), and the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne (at 11:55 AM).

Sweetgrass– Bloomington’s Ryder Magazine and Film Series will have screenings of this documentary on Friday and Saturday; check the Ryder’s site for times. Sweetgrass– which opened this past January at a theater 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.

Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails– Thomas the Tank Engine finds another engine named Hiro, who is apparently destined for the scrap heap. Thomas and his friends don’t like the sound of this, and come up with a plan to save Hiro- but will it succeed? Thomas and Friends– which was shown at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis last fall, and which is described on its official site as “the most heroic movie of the year”- returns to an Indiana theater with 12:45 PM showings on Saturday and Sunday at Plainfield’s Metropolis 18.

Topsy-Turvy– Mike Leigh’s film about Gilbert and Sullivan (Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner) will be shown at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theatre on Friday, March 12, at 7 PM.

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 the Yes Cinemas in Columbus.

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.

The White Ribbon– Michael Haneke (Cache; The Piano Teacher; both versions of Funny Games) wrote and directed this double Academy-Award nominee (for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film) about mysterious and creepy events taking place in a German village during the months leading up to World War 1. The White Ribbon holds over through Sunday at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, with 12:45 showings on Friday and Saturday, and a 2:15 showing on Sunday.

Windsong Film Festival– Formally known as the 11th Annual International Windsong Pictures & IPFW Communication Department Film Festival, this event takes place from March 8 and 13 at the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne. It looks like the films (many, if not most, apparently by student filmmakers) are mostly shorts, but cover a variety of genres and formats (fiction, documentary, animated).

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 holds over for two shows a day at the Great Escape 7 in Bedford.

OPENING ELSEWHERE

Children of Invention– Elaine is a young single mother with two small children. After they get evicted, Elaine tries to do everything she can to stay afloat. She eventually decides to take part in a pyramid scheme- and soon afterward, she stops coming home to her children. No one else realizes that the children are now on their own, so it is up to her resourceful son, Raymond, to find a way for himself and his sister to live without their mother. Children of Invention started on Friday, February 26, at The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA- but I didn’t know about it until this week, so I didn’t mention it in a column until now. The film also starts on Friday, March 12 at both the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, and the Imaginasian Theatre in New York City.

Delta– When a young man comes home after being gone for many years, he discovers that he has a sister. After the two meet, their relationship grows stronger and closer- so close that many in their village suspect the pair of being romantically involved. This 2008 drama- a Hungarian-German co-production, according to the IMDb- starts Friday, March 12, at the Cinema Village in New York City. (I could not find an official site for Delta, by the way- but one youtube trailer for the film is here, and another one is here.)

The Exploding Girl– After college student Ivy finds love with a fellow student, she comes home for spring break with a happy heart. But as she spends more time apart from her new boyfriend- and as she grows closer to her longtime friend Al (who has just moved in with Ivy and her mother because he didn’t have anyplace else to live)- she grows increasingly stressed out. Zoe Kazan stars in (and as) The Exploding Girl, which starts Friday, March 12, at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York City.

The Harimaya Bridge– Danny Glover co-stars in (and was an executive producer of) this drama about a man who journeys to Japan after the death of his son, in order to retrieve some of his son’s belongings- only to find that his son had several secrets. Ben Guillory, Peter Coyote, Saki Takaoka and Misa Shimizu are also in the cast of this film, which opens on Friday, March 12, at Tara Cinemas 4 in Atlanta.

Mother– Bong Joon-ho (The Host; Memories of Murder) directed this murder mystery about a single mother with a twenty-seven year old son, Do-joon, who is (as the film’s page on the official site of its US distributor puts it) “simple-minded” and frequently “behaves in foolish or simply dangerous ways.” After getting drunk one night, Do-joon sees a schoolgirl, and he follows her until he loses track of her. When the girl’s body is found the next morning, Do-joon is accused of committing the crime. Since the local police don’t really put a lot of effort into the case- and since the Do-joon has less-than-top-flight legal representation- he is quickly convicted. Do-joon’s mother, however, cannot believe that her son is a killer, and sets out to find the real murderer. Mother starts Friday, March 12, at five theaters (three in the greater Los Angeles area, two in New York City).

Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke– A rural man, Devki, comes to the big city (Mumbai) to find his fortune, but winds up spending his time on everything and anything but his would-be career. Devki meets many people from all walks of life in Mumbai, and finds that while they may be amused by his naivete, they will also stand up for him- even when he is facing dire circumstances. This Hindi-language comedy from India opens Friday, March 12, in (at least) seven theaters; six are in the Phoenix Big Cinemas chain- two in California, one in Illinois, one in Michigan, one in New Jersey, and one in Virginia- and it also starts at the FunAsia Bollywood 6 in Houston. (There may be other theaters in the US playing this movie starting March 12, but those were the only ones I could find.)

Ondine– If this movie has an official website in the US, I couldn’t find it; I also found no mention of it on the sites of the companies which (per the IMDb) will be releasing it in the US, Magnolia Pictures and Paramount Vantage. This seems odd, considering that Colin Farrell is the male lead, and Neil Jordan directed- but maybe I just wasn’t looking for the website in the right places. Then again, maybe there isn’t a US site- this movie starts Friday at just one theater in the Los Angeles area- the Fallbrook 7- and will be shown there just once per day- at 1:10 PM, which isn’t exactly prime time. So what’s going on here? Is this film being dumped in the US? I’ve read some reports online indicating Ondine will be released in the US in April- so is the Fallbrook 7 release this week some sort of preparation for that, somehow? If this was happening in November or December, I would guess that this was one of those “one week only Academy Award qualifying” runs- but that wouldn’t seem to make much sense in March, especially if the film will be getting a wider release in April. So I can’t really tell what’s going on with the US release of this film, but I can tell you a bit about the story of the film itself: Colin Farrell plays an Irish fisherman who finds that he has caught a young woman, Ondine, in his net. As the fisherman falls head over heels in love with Ondine, his daughter starts to believe that Ondine has magical powers- and the people in the village start to come up with their own ideas about her…. (By the way- since I couldn’t find a US site for Ondine, the site linked in the title above is the British site for the film.)

Raven– Roland Kickinger (from the Terminator reboot) stars with Steven Bauer and Dee Wallace in a film that its production company describes as an “amazing new twist on the classic vampire tale.” It seems that a sexy vampire lady, Raven, is on the hunt for blood in a tiny town in Arizona- and a modern-day Van Helsing is torn between his lust for her, and his duty to stake her. Raven starts Friday, March 12, at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood.

Right Yaaa Wrong– Ifffan Khan, who played a police officer in Slumdog Millionaire, is another cop in this Hindi-language thriller from India. Sunny Deol plays another cop, Ajay, who is a hero of the force in the Indian town of Goa. Khan is Vinay, a policeman with a very different personality from his friend Ajay. After Ajay and his wife face a serious crisis, he and Vinay become rivals, and both men try to outsmart and top each other. Right Yaaa Wrong opens Friday, March 12, in (at least) seven theaters; six are in the Phoenix Big Cinemas chain- one each in California, Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York- and it also starts at the FunAsia Richardson, in Richardson, TX. (There may be other theaters in the US playing this movie starting March 12, but those were the only ones I could find.)

Severe Clear– Kristian Fraga directed this documentary, which is based on footage shot by First Lieutenant Mike Scotti with a digital video camera, along with entries from Scotti’s journal and his memoir. It follows Scotti and other soldiers from the weeks leading up to the opening of the war to their arrival in Baghdad, and beyond- when resistance to the US presence in Iraq was escalating. Severe Clear starts Friday, March 12, at the Angelika Film Center in New York City and the Gaslamp Stadium in San Diego.

Stolen– Jon Hamm, Josh Lucas, James Van Der Beek, Rhona Mitra, and Joanna Cassidy star in this drama about a detective (Hamm) who has become a workaholic since his ten-year-old son mysteriously vanished. After the discovery of the body of a boy who was savagely killed five decades ago, the detective is driven to solve both cases- which seem to have more than a few things in common. Stolen starts Friday, March 12, at the Chelsea Cinemas in New York City.

Sufi Paranja Katha (What the Sufi Said)– This Malayalam-language film takes place in Malabar, a region of the Indian state of Kerala, in the late nineteenth century. Malabar had been a part of the spice route for centuries, and its long-time exposure to people from a variety of backgrounds and religions fostered a tradition of tolerance and acceptance. (I’ve read that India in general is very tolerant of a wide variety of religions; the preceding was a paraphrase of the synopsis from the film’s official site.) Anyhow, the story involves the relationship between Karthi, an heiress and a Hindu, and Maamootty, a Muslim and itinerant trader. The pair fall in love and marry- but outside of Malabar, all is not calm and peaceful. At the same time, the film is also about how the serene Karthi came to be worshipped as the goddess Biwi in the Malabar area. Indian writer K. P. Ramanunni adapted his own novel for the screen, and award-winning Indian filmmaker Priyanandanan directed the film- although it was apparently produced by an American company, which is looking to make a series of films with stories and ideas that will appeal to a global audience. Sufi Paranja Katha– which opened in India on February 19- starts Friday, March 12, at the FunAsia Irving, in Irving, TX. (The film’s official site doesn’t seem to have a trailer on it, by the way- but a thirty-second trailer can be found here; those who want an even longer preview can see a one minute and forty-five second trailer here.

Tales from the Script– Screenwriters William Goldman (The Princess Bride; All the President’s Men; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Misery) and Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost)- along with writer/directors such as John Carpenter, Nora Ephron, Shane Black, Frank Darabont, Paul Schrader, Paul Mazursky, and Ron Shelton talk about their work as scriptwriters- how they broke into the business, how they came up with their most successful scripts, and so on. Interviews with newer screenwriters who have just broken into the business are also interviewed in this documentary, which apparently has a number of interesting behind-the-scenes stories about various writers’ interaction with a number of Hollywood big shots. Tales from the Script starts Friday, March 12, at the Quad Cinemas in New York City.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND

The Keystone Art Cinema’s home page has three updates this week- it now says that the very well-reviewed Romanian film Police, Adjective will start at that theater on March 19, while Atom Egoyan’s Chloe is supposed to open there on March 26- and Academy Award nominee A Prophet will arrive on April 2.

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

The IMAX Theatre in the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis has a new film opening next Friday: Hubble 3D. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this documentary about the rough start of NASA’s space telescope, and the stunning images it has revealed since that time.

Screenings and events for next Friday:

Akeelah and the Bee– The historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin will show this 2006 drama about an eleven year old girl and her spelling-bee coach (Laurence Fishburne) on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20, at 7:30 PM.

Koryo Saram, the Unreliable People– Director David Chung’s documentary is about Stalin’s 1937 deportation of 180,000 Soviet citizens of Korean origins from Far East Russia to Kazakhstan, over 3500 miles away- and the story of how these Kazakhstani-Koreans have fared over the decades, and how they have assimilated into Kazakh society. David Chung is scheduled to be present to introduce and discuss his film when it is shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Friday, March 19, at 6:30 PM. (According to the Browning’s listing for this film, the “Koryo Saram” part of the title is a “Soviet Korean phrase for Korean person”- and Stalin had declared the Koreans to be “an ‘unreliable people’, and enemies of the state.”)

**********

Commentary Track reviews of movies featured in this week’s edition of Thinking Outside the Multiplex:
The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
The Young Victoria

3 responses to “Thinking Outside the Multiplex

  1. According to several different sites including Box Office Mojo, Ondine is being released in limited on June 4th.

  2. I could have sworn I saw at least a few sites that said April; maybe I was on different sites.

    But either way- April or June- why would it get a one-show a day release (and not in a good time slot) at one theater in mid-March if it is getting a “real” release later on?

    Ondine is a mysterious woman indeed….

  3. UPDATE-

    Another movie showing at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema this Friday night- Cape No. 7, Taiwan’s official selection for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination. It will show at 9 PM on Friday, March 19.

    I didn’t mention this until now because I thought it was going to be at the Browning on 3/26, not 3/19.

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