Thinking Outside the Multiplex (March 26, 2010)

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

So, we’re getting some interesting movies this week- Greenberg looks like it has potential, and Atom Egoyan is a director worthy of attention, even if Chloe has a trailer that makes it seem like a fairly standard-issue (would-be) thriller. On top of those two titles, other cool movies (like A Town Called Panic) arrive in the state, and the irresistible (to me, at least) Horrorhound convention is in Indy this weekend. But even with all of these presents waiting to be opened, I am fixated on April, and wondering why it is that that month will apparently bring so many off-beat movies- from religious/inspirational films such as Letters to God and The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, to the intriguingly titled The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (which will be a fairly wide release, apparently, but is coming from a distribution company I’ve never heard of before), to miscellaneous other limited-release/arthouse titles that have me really jazzed (A Prophet, Fish Tank, and The Runaways are all on the schedule for the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis- and the sites for Vincere and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo still say that they are on the way as well), to several veteran actors returning to the big screen (if only briefly, perhaps) in Frankenstein Rising.

Sure, April is an “off” month of sorts, just before the summer boom begins- but other off-season periods have come and gone before, and we haven’t had anything like this sort of variety on local theater screens in quite a while. And it isn’t just that all of the above movies (apparently) will be coming to Indiana, but that they will be here (more or less) at the same time. In fact, this is beginning to remind me of that ancient era in which not every single damn screen in town was devoted to the same ten or twelve “major” films, which- in their omnipresence- crush out any hope of seeing much of anything different in a theater. I have no idea why this April looks like such a relief from the monotony of the same old, same old- but I hold on to a faint, utterly unrealistic hope that this could be a sign we could get a little more variety on the big screen this fall, as well.

LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

Chloe– Catherine starts to suspect that her husband David is fooling around on her- and after she meets escort-for-hire Chloe, decides to employ the young woman in order to test David’s fidelity. When Chloe reports back to Catherine with reports on what she and David have been up to, Catherine’s emotions may start to get the best of her…. Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried star in this remake of the French film Nathalie; it starts Friday, March 26, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, the ShowPlace East 11 in Bloomington, the ShowPlace 16 in South Bend, Stadium 16 in Evansville, and the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.

Greenberg– Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) directed this comedy/drama about forty-something Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), who has come back to Los Angeles so that he can housesit for his brother Phillip while Phillip and his wife and children are on a long vacation out of the country. Roger had been part of a band in LA back in the day, and he uses his return to the city to catch up with both fellow former band member Ivan (Rhys Ifans) and ex-girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Jason Leigh- who co-wrote the film’s story with Baumbach, and co-produced with Scott Rudin). While Ivan and Beth have done something with their lives in the intervening years, Roger tells the world that he has been “doing nothing.” But even Roger may be inspired to do “something” after he meets Florence (Greta Gerwig), who has been working as a personal assistant to Phillip Greenberg and family while pursuing her dream of becoming a singer. Greenberg starts Friday, March 26, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.

Varudu (Bridegroom)– The way that some Indian film producers and distributors provide only the sketchiest possible information about their films- even on the official sites for those films- is something that still amazes me, even though I first noticed this practice several months ago. I understand the desire to keep a certain element of surprise about a film (and in the case of this film, there was a deliberate effort to build up publicity about the little-known actress playing the female lead)- but why not at least give a hint of the story outline with a sentence or two of plot description? The makers of Varudu have cruelly ignored my silent, psychic plea, since I spent twenty to thirty minutes searching for a synopsis for this Tamil-language movie on Wednesday and Thursday, and came up with very little- beyond what you could guess from the English-language translation of the title itself. However, there are hints that Varudu is not (just) a romantic comedy or drama- this trailer on youtube shows some wrestling around and gunfire, along with a possible ‘splosion. (Or at least it does once you get past the early part, which shows the film’s crew building a big set.) I’ve also read online reports that one hundred real-life families somehow figure in the film (ensuring a certain number of ticket sales, at the very least); additionally, I have read that the title was allegedly switched late in the game, after the director made massive changes to the screenplay. Whatever it’s all about, Varudu starts Wednesday, March 31, at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis. Or maybe it starts on Tuesday, March 30- manoranjaninc’s site currently shows an 8 PM showing on that date, followed by a parenthetical “TBD.”

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

The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D. World Tour LIVE– Hmmmmmm- with a title like that, is there any possibility that this could be a LIVE concert featuring the Black Eyed Peas? Why, yes- yes, it is… along with a half-hour of behind the scenes pre-concert footage that allegedly will not be available elsewhere. The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D. World Tour LIVE will be shown at 10:30 PM on Tuesday, March 30, at the Galaxy 14, the Castleton Square 14, and Kerasotes ShowPlace 16 and IMAX in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, and eleven other theaters across the state. (The concert is taking place in Los Angeles, by the way- hence the late starting time out east.)

Blue Hawaii– As I was getting ready to type this entry, I suddenly realized that I have never seen an Elvis movie in its entirety- not on TV, not on the big screen, not anywhere. (I strongly suspect that this may have something to do with being traumatized by the jaw-dropping awfulness of the few minutes of Harum Scarum that I saw on TV years ago- although I think the after-effects of that horrifying incident have finally started to wear off….) I’m going to be too busy to see Blue Hawaii myself, but if you’d like to put some Elvis into your own life, you can catch a big-screen dose of The King at 2 and 7:30 PM on Friday, March 26, at the historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin; they will also show Blue Hawaii at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 27. (As to the plot- always an important consideration in Le Cinema du Presley, from what I’ve read- it apparently involves Elvis, some pretty girls, surfing, and miscellaneous other characters (including Big E’s mother- played by the not-much-older-than-Elvis Angela Lansbury, of all people) who are neither Elvis nor one of “the girls.”)

The Boys of St. Columb’s– This was another of those titles that sent me off to Wikipedia, since I was totally unfamiliar with its subject. According to the Font of All Wisdom-ipedia, St. Columb’s College is a Catholic grammar school for boys in Derry, Ireland. The school was founded in 1879, and started to attract more and more students after a 1947 act of the British Parliament allowed all secondary school students in the UK to receive a free education, if need be. The Boys of St. Columb’s tells the story of the school, and its influence on some of the leading figures in present-day Ireland- including two Nobel Prize winners. It will be shown at 3 PM on Sunday, March 28, at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema, as part of the Browning’s “Contemporary Irish Cinema” series.

DIRT! The Movie– This documentary about the interconnection between humans and soil will be shown at 4 PM on Sunday, March 28, at the K. I. EcoCenter, 129 W. 28th St., in Indianapolis; it also will be screened at 7 PM on Thursday, April 1, at the Earth House Collective in Indianapolis. DIRT! examines the ways that we depend on the soil- from how it provides a place for our food to grow, to the medicines and other products derived from it- along with the ways that we have been harming (and more recently, trying to save) the land.

A Film with Me in It– This dark comedy/thriller from Ireland is about a would-be actor who is having a rough time- he doesn’t manage to land even the minor roles he tries out for, his girlfriend is threatening to leave him, and his landlord is on the verge of kicking him out. Then, things somehow manage to go from bad to worse- much, much worse- as several deaths take place in the actor’s apartment, and the bodies start to pile up. Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Neil Jordan appear in A Film With Me In It, according to the IMDb; it will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Friday, March 26 at 9:30 PM.

Five Minutes of Heaven– Back in 1975, Protestant “loyalist” Alastair Little (then sixteen years old) shot and killed Catholic James Griffin while James’ younger brother Joe looked on. Three decades later, both Alastair and Joe are going to be on a live television program designed to promote reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics- but Joe’s plans for Alastair have nothing to do with peace or reconciliation. Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt star in Five Minutes of Heaven, which will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema on Friday, March 26 at 6:30 PM; both Five Minutes of Heaven and A Film With Me In It are part of the Browning’s “Contemporary Irish Cinema” series.

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- holds over for another week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield, the Village Park 17 in Carmel, the Stadium 16 in Evansville, the Carmike 20 and Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne, the Eastside 9 in Lafayette, the ShowPlace 16 in Schererville, the Great Escape 16 in New Albany, the ShowPlace 16 in South Bend, the Honey Creek West in Terre Haute, the ShowPlace 11 East in Bloomington, and the ShowPlace 7 in Muncie.

Hamlet– The Metropolitan Opera’s production of this all-singing, no(?)-dancing version of Shakespeare’s play will be shown live and in Hi-Def at 1 PM on Saturday, March 27, at the Galaxy 14, the Castleton Square 14, and Kerasotes ShowPlace 16 and IMAX in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, and twelve other theaters across the state- including the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema; for more information, go the Fathom Events site.

Horrorhound Weekend– This three day event gets under way on Friday, March 26, on the east side of Indianapolis. Scheduled guests include director George Romero, writer and sometimes actor Joe Bob Briggs, writer and filmmaker Clive Barker, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, actors David Hess (Last House on the Left), Sid Haig, Tom Noonan, Richard Lynch, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, Robert Z’dar, and Louise Robey, and Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson (one of a number of horror-movie hosts in the lineup of guests). Also, at least seven films will be screened during the weekend, including the first public screening of an extended edition of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, and Smash Cut, with convention guest David Hess. As if all that weren’t enough, a number of other events are scheduled as well, from a concert to a panel on George Romero’s Day of the Dead, with the director and members of the cast and crew.

Hubble 3D– Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this documentary about NASA’s space telescope, its much-publicized initial problems, and the efforts of astronauts to repair the Hubble. According to its official site, Hubble 3D lets moviegoers “journey through distant galaxies to explore the grandeur and mysteries of our celestial surroundings”; it continues this week (with morning and/or early afternoon showings, depending on the day) at the IMAX Theater in downtown Indianapolis’ Indiana State Museum.

The Hurt Locker– The Academy Award winner for Best Picture holds over at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, the ShowPlace East 11 in Bloomington, the Honey Creek West in Terre Haute, the ShowPlace 16 in Schereville, and the Stadium 16 in Evansville; it will also be shown through Monday, March 29, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

Irish Short Cuts: On the Lighter Side- Four short films from the Emerald Isle- Six Shooter (a 2005 short from In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh), Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom (2003), New Boy (2007), and animated Academy Award Nominee Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2009)- will be shown at 6:30 PM on Saturday, March 27, at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema. Not surprisingly, Irish Short Cuts: On the Lighter Side is another entry in the Browning’s “Contemporary Irish Cinema” series.

The Land Beyond the Rainbow– The DEFA Project/ WENDE Flicks film series apparently concludes with a showing of this 1991 German film at 7 PM this Sunday, March 28, at the Buskirk-ChumleyTheater in Bloomington. The Land Beyond the Rainbow is set in an East German village in the 1950s, and apparently does not shy away from showing the repression and injustice of the era; the screening will be followed by a question and answer session.

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.

Lunafest– This festival of short films “by, for, about women” will take place at 2 PM on Saturday, March 27, from 4 to 8 PM at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne. For a list of the films, click here– then click on the individual titles (on the left side of the page) for more information.

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)- will be shown in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday, according to The Ryder’s site.

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, Saturday and Sunday in Bloomington

1 Giant Leap– Described on the Lotus Petal Cinema’s site as an exploration of “the global nature of music and art” that “incorporates music and visuals from 25 countries,” this documentary features LOTS of famous folks (including Michael Stipe, Brain Eno, Ram Dass, Kurt Vonnegut and Dennis Hopper, to name but a few). 1 Giant Leap will be shown at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, March 30, at the Lotus Petal, as part of their “Reel Matters” series of docs.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show– The seventies cult perennial will be shown at midnight on Saturday, March 27, at the Lotus Petal Cinema in Nashville; the screening is a “Help Save the Lotus Petal Cinema” event, according to an email I received a few days ago. Rocky Horror will also be seen at its usual 10 PM time at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis this Saturday.

The Runaways– Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning star as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in this film about the all-girl-band, which was written and directed by Floria Sigismondi. The Runaways– which co-stars Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat, Tatum O’Neal and veteran actress Peggy Stewart, and was co-executive-produced by Joan Jett herself- holds over for another week at the ShowPlace 12 in Schererville. Per the Keystone Art Cinema’s home page, The Runaways is currently scheduled to open at that theater on April 9.

Stravinsky and the Ballets Russes– A trio of one-act ballets based on music by Igor S.- The Firebird, The Rite of Spring, and The Wedding, to be specific- make up this film, which will be shown at the Rave Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne on Sunday, March 28, at 1 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), and the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart and Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne (at 12 noon for both).

Sweetgrass– Bloomington’s Ryder Magazine and Film Series will have screenings of this documentary on Sunday; 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 11:25 AM showings on Saturday and Sunday at Plainfield’s Metropolis 18.

A Town Called Panic– This looks very odd, and supercool. It is based on an animated TV show from Belgium, and features the strange adventures of plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian, and Horse. The film’s official site says it is something like a “Gallic Monty Python crossed with Art Clokey on acid.” It will be shown in Bloomington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, according to The Ryder’s site.

UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy LIVE– Two Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts will be shown LIVE- yeah, LIVE, man, LIVE!- at 10 PM on Saturday, March 27, at the Castleton Square 14 and Kerasotes ShowPlace 16 and IMAX in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, and ten other theaters across the state.

The White Ribbon– Michael Haneke’s latest will be shown through Monday, March 29, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

The Wiggles’ BIG BIG Show in the Round The children’s performers come to the big screen with this recording of a performance in Sydney Australia last December. It will be shown at noon on Saturday and Sunday at the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart; the Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne will have noon showings at least through Tuesday, March 30, according to the theater’s schedule page.

The Wizard of Oz– The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will accompany the 1939 film as it unspools on the screen at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis at 8 PM on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27- and at 2:30 PM on Sunday, March 28.

OPENING ELSEWHERE

Last week’s roll call of movies opening out of state actually had more than one title with an Indiana release date. This week, we’re back to normal; only one of the films below (Ca$h) seems even somewhat likely to get a screening in the state- and that most likely depends on how wide its “nationwide” release turns out to be….

Angadi Theru– Like this week’s Varudu– and a number of other Indian films in past weeks- I can’t tell you much about this Tamil language film. The film’s official site notes that the director is known for the realism of his films, and it notes that the male lead is a newcomer who is cast as a volleyball player. Beyond that, it’s sort of hard to say much, even after watching the trailer- the graphic on the main page of the film’s official site makes it look like it takes place in a tropical paradise- but the colorful poster for the film on the Phoenix Theaters site looks like it came from another movie altogether. Angadi Theru opened on March 25 or 26 (depending on the venue) in at least six theaters- two in California, and one each in Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and Illinois.

Bluebeard– As French sisters Catherine and Marie-Anne play games in their family home’s attic back in the ‘fifties, Catherine delights in telling the meek Marie-Anne stories about the notorious 17th-century nobleman known as Bluebeard. Those stories are then dramatized on screen, as two other sisters, Anne and Marie-Catherine, fall into poverty and are forced to leave school following the death of their father. In their desperate situation, both sisters seriously think about marrying Bluebeard, even though a number of his previous wives vanished without a trace. Bluebeard finds Marie-Catherine appealing, and the two wed- but he then demands that she never enter the cellar when he isn’t home, and Marie-Catherine realizes she must try to outsmart Bluebeard and not become his next victim. Catherine Breillat- whose name is usually associated with the description “controversial,” since her previous films include Fat Girl and Romance– directed Bluebeard, and adapted the fairy tale for the screen; it starts Friday, March 26, at the IFC Center in New York City.

Calvin Marshall– The title character is a student at a junior college. Calvin has dreamed about being a Major Leaguer since he was a boy- and while he has 200% of the willpower to succeed, he is severely lacking when it comes to baseball skills. In spite of that, Calvin’s never-say-die attitude means he just won’t give up, whether the failures are in baseball or his love life. Many of Calvin’s friends and family support him- but eventually, even Calvin may have to come face to face with the truth, and move on to something besides baseball. Alex Frost stars as Calvin, and Steve Zahn appears as a coach; Michelle Lombardo, Abraham Benrubi, Jane Adams and Diedrich Bader are in the supporting cast of this bittersweet comedy. Calvin Marshall starts Friday, March 26, at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 and the Harkins Chandler Fashion Center 20.

Ca$h– Sam and Leslie Phelan think that they have a surprising bit of financial good luck- but the surprise could turn out to be deadly, because it also brings them to the attention of an odd and menacing man named Pyke Kubic. As the couple follows Kubic on a wild ride through Chicago, they realize that they are getting pulled into an adventure that could end in violence. Sean Bean stars in this thriller, which opens on Friday, March 26, at twenty-seven theaters (eleven in or near Minneapolis/St. Paul, seven in or near Las Vegas, five in the San Diego area, and four in or near Fresno, CA). The film’s official site also claims that it will be in theaters “nationwide” on April 9.

Dancing Across Borders– Filmmaker and dance fan Anne Bass was visiting Cambodia a decade ago when she noticed a young man who had impressive natural talent as a dancer. Bass wanted to give the young man a chance to build on his abilities by leaving his homeland and attending the School of American Ballet in New York. The young man agreed, and this documentary is the result. According to its official site, Dancing Across Borders “chronicles the intimate and triumphant story of a boy who was discovered, and who only much later discovered all that he had in himself;” the film opens on Friday, March 26, at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Dream Boy– Nathan is a socially awkward teen whose family is always on the move, due to domestic discord. Their most recent home is next door to that of Roy and his family. Roy and Nathan attend the same school, and start to do their homework and studying together. As they grow closer, the relationship becomes a romance- one that they must keep secret from others in their isolated community. Dream Boy starts on Friday, March 26, at the Chelsea Cinema in New York City, along with Manuel and Manuela (see below) and Just Say Love (which played at the Salem Cinema in Massachusetts several months ago). (And since the film’s official site didn’t have much information on it the last time I checked, this link to the site of the film’s US distributor has more information for all who want it.)

The Eclipse– According to its official site, this is “a film about the challenges of love, fear of the unknown and release from the burden of grief.” The plot description suggests a mix of a love-triangle romantic drama and haunted house ghost story. Ciarán Hinds, Iben Hjejle and Aidan Quinn star in The Eclipse, which starts Friday, March 26 at six theaters- five in California, and one in New York City.

Godspeed– Faith-healer Charlie Shepard lives in a small Alaskan town with his wife and son. Charlie doesn’t make much money, and his marriage is starting to fall apart- and then things go from bad to worse when his wife and child are savagely killed. After half a year, Charlie is still grieving- he has given up on his former house and profession, and tries to keep to himself. But when a woman named Sarah shows up, and requests that Charlie help her father deal with the death of her mother, Charlie agrees. The two travel to Sarah’s isolated house, and Charlie meets Sarah’s brother Luke- who may have had something to do with the deaths of Charlie’s wife and son…. Godspeed– a “tightly wound, stylish thriller that explores the limits of humanity on the edges of the Last Frontier,” according to its official site- starts Friday, March 26, at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Harmony– After expectant mother Jeong-hye kills her violent and abusive spouse, she receives a ten-year prison sentence. When she gives birth to a baby boy while incarcerated, the legal system forces her to give up her son for adoption. Jeong-hye then has an idea: she will start a choir with her fellow prisoners. The warden supports this plan- and even promises Jeong-hy that she can spend some time with her son if the choir works out…. Harmony opened at the MPark 4 in Los Angeles and the Krikorian Metroplex 18 at Buena Park Downtown in Buena Park, CA, on Friday, March 19. It will hold over for another week at both theaters; it also starts this Friday in at least five other theaters- one each in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Hawaii.

Kevorkian– If this documentary has a website, I couldn’t find it- and the fact that there are several other films on Jack Kevorkian made it difficult to find information on this particular film, given its title. What I can tell you is that this documentary was directed by Matthew Galkin, and is intended to give a complete portrait of Jack Kevorkian- with a special emphasis on his run for Congress in 2008. Kevorkian starts Friday, March 26, at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood.

Lbs.– Although Neil is only twenty-seven, he isn’t exactly in great health: his weight is over 300 pounds, and he has a heart attack that disrupts his sister’s wedding plans. Neil’s food addiction leads him to cheat on his strict post-heart-attack diet- and when this cheating is exposed at his sister’s chaotic, rescheduled wedding ceremony, Neil decides that he must make some drastic changes in his life. He moves out of his parent’s house to a remote, broken-down trailer home, and eventually starts to make some progress with regard to both his weight and his love life. Lbs. opens Friday, March 26, at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

Manuela and Manuel– When Manuel’s best friend Coca finds herself both pregnant and unmarried, Manuel decides to pose as Coca’s fiancée when she meets with her very traditional family. This isn’t the easiest or most natural role in the world for Manuel, however, since he has always thought of himself as Manuela, and has just been through a romantic crisis. With both friends pretending to be someone who they really are not, a number of misunderstandings, complications and conflicts inevitably arise. This comedy/drama from Puerto Rico starts Friday at the Chelsea Cinema in New York City. (Note: The official site for Manuela and Manuel (linked in the title above) had little useful information on it as of a few days ago; this page for the film on the site of its US distributor, Regent Releasing, has more substance.)

Maro Charitra (a.k.a. Maro Charithra: Love Never Dies)– In a New York city near the Niagara Falls, a family from a small town in India moves in next door to an Indian family that has been living in the US for many years. But this is not the only difference between the two families- Balu’s family is from the upper Brahmin caste, while Swapna’s family is from a lower caste; they speak different languages; and they have very different cultural backgrounds (Balu’s father thinks Swapna’s mother is much too noisy and crude). In spite of all this, it isn’t long before Balu and Swapna fall in love- although they still must struggle to bridge the gaps caused by their different backgrounds. Maro Charitra– a contemporary updating of an Indian film of the same title from the ‘seventies- started Wednesday, March 24, at the Towne 3 in San Jose; it then opened in at least eight other theaters (two each in Texas and New Jersey, and one each in Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, and California) on March 25 and 26.

A Matter of Size– Four Israeli men with weight issues are getting increasingly sick and tired of trying to diet. One of the men, Herzl, gets a job washing dishes in a Japanese restaurant- and learns that his new boss, Kitano, used to coach Sumo wrestlers when he lived in Japan. Herzl becomes enamored of the sport, and wants Kitano to train him and his friends- but Kitano will need to be convinced that the four men would be worth his efforts. This comedy started on Friday, March 19 at the West Newton Cinema, in West Newton, MA, and the Stuart Street Playhouse in Boston.

My Tale of Two Cities– Carl Kurlander (who wrote St. Elmo’s Fire, and worked as a writer and producer on the TV show Saved by the Bell: The New Class) lived in Hollywood until he accepted a teaching position at the University of Pittsburgh. Kurlander moved with his wife and daughter back to his home town, hoping to find a saner life with more depth and meaning. Pittsburgh is experiencing severe economic decline, but while his wife wants to move back to California, Kurlander decides to make a documentary about the city, interviewing people like Teresa Heinz Kerry, Joanne Rogers (widow of Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood), and former football player Franco Harris- along with a number of Pittsburgh residents who have never had a brush with fame. As the film progressed, Kurlander dealt on camera with his family’s troubled past in the city- and eventually, My Tale of Two Cities became a documentary about how Pittsburgh reinvented itself, and came back from its low point. My Tale of Two Cities opened on Friday, March 19, at SouthSide Works in Pittsburgh; it continues there this week.

Nick Nolte: No Exit– Well, if you’ve ever wanted to see a documentary in which Nick Nolte interviews Nick Nolte- with the two Nicks wearing different clothes, so you can tell them apart- then this is certainly your movie. A number of the actor’s friends and coworkers (including Rosanna Arquette, Jacqueline Bisset, Powers Boothe, Barbara Hershey and Alan Rudolph) also offer their perspectives, in what must be the most Nolte-centric movie of all time. Nick Nolte: No Exit started on Friday, March 19, at the Facets Cinematheque in Chicago. I couldn’t find an official site for the film itself, but the theater’s page on this documentary is here.

Sakuran– The English-language site for this 2007 Japanese film makes it clear that women called the shots behind the scenes- it was inspired by a manga created by a woman, while another woman adapted the story for the screen, and the film was directed by Mika Ninagawa (an award-winning still photographer making her directorial debut). Singer, actress and model Anna Tsuchiya plays Kiyoha, who has been raised to be a courtesan from a young age. Following an unsuccessful attempt to flee from the “pleasure-quarter” in which she is forced to live, Kiyoha is more determined than ever to be free- even if she has to become “most wanted courtesan” in order to do so. Sakuran starts Friday, March 26, at the VIZ Cinema in San Francisco

Smash His Camera– Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) directed this documentary about longtime paparazzo Ron Galella, who is in his late seventies, but still working- and who is notorious for his determination to do whatever it takes to get shots of the stars when they least expect (or want) to get snapped. Galella’s work has led to both legal retaliation and physical violence from various celebs- and has been a part of the discussion over whether stars can have any hope of any sort of privacy, in any aspect of their lives. Smash His Camera starts Friday, March 26, at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood. (By the way- the film’s official site didn’t seem to have a trailer on it when I checked a few days ago; this youtube video isn’t an official trailer either, apparently, but does consist of several minutes of footage from the film.)

The Two Escobars– That would be Andres Escobar and Pablo Escobar. Pablo was known around the world due to his activities with the Medellin Drug Cartel. Andres was a Colombian soccer player who was hugely popular in his homeland, until he made a big mistake in a key game- a mistake that destroyed the Colombian National Team’s hopes of winning the World Cup, and led to Andres’ murder. The Two Escobars explores various connections between the two men- besides their shared last name, they were born in the same city, and both loved soccer when they were young. Moreover, Pablo’s success in the drug trade apparently had a great deal to do with the prominence of Colombian soccer at that time- just as his downfall was linked to soccer’s decline in that nation. The Two Escobars starts Friday, March 26, at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood.

Waking Sleeping Beauty– Journey back in time, if you will, to that distant era of the mid-1980s. The Disney animated films division was going through a difficult patch, with a succession of money-losing movies, and no apparent hope of any immediate change in the situation. This documentary explores the causes of the animated doldrums- along with how Disney animation made its comeback. Waking Sleeping Beauty (which is being released by some arm of Disney itself, strange as that may seem) starts Friday, March 26, at five theaters- three in California, one in Chicago, and one in New York City.

Well Done Abba– Armaan Ali is a driver for a corporate big shot in Mumbai. Armaan takes a leave of absence so he can find a suitable husband for his daughter- and then doesn’t return to work for three months. His boss is understandably upset by this, but Armaan has a long, complicated story to tell about why he was gone so long- a story that grows more chaotic and complicated as it goes along, and eventually involves the near-collapse of a government. Boman Irani stars as Armaan Ali in this comedy, which apparently has nothing to do with a certain Swedish supergroup of the ‘seventies- and which opens on Friday, March 26, at the Movie City 8 in Edison, NJ.

West of Pluto– Ten fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds on a dead-end street in a Quebec suburb go to school, party, play in bands, experience love, smoke pot, and more- all in the course of a day. Non- professional actors play the teens in this fiction film, which is described on its official site as “marriage of hyperrealism and dreamscapes” that lifts “the veil on the protagonists’ inner lives.” West of Pluto starts Friday, March 26, at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND

The Keystone Art Cinema’s home page has added the Canadian-Irish co-production A Shine of Rainbows to their list of upcoming films. Connie Nielsen and Aidan Quinn star in this drama, which won an audience award at the 2009 Heartland Film Festival, according to its official site. A Shine of Rainbows is currently scheduled to open at the Keystone Art Cinema on April 16.

Manoranjaninc has added an image for the Telugu-language film Darling to its site; as of now, there is only one (sort of) scheduled showing at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis- at 9 PM on an unspecified Friday in April.

Blood Into Wine– This documentary about musician Maynard James Keenan’s effort to establish a vineyard in Arizona will be shown at Shelbyville’s Strand Theatre on Friday, April 9, at 7 PM.

Famous Monsters Convention– Thanks to an ad in this week’s NUVO, I learned that this convention will take place from July 9-11 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. Scheduled guests mentioned in the ad include actors Thomas Jane, Ernie Hudson, Bill Moseley, Amelia Kinkade, and Tony Todd- along with the Godfather of Gore himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis. Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead reunions are also part of the convention, along with a beauty pageant at the “Blood Red Pool Party.” If and when more details become available as this event draws near, I will provide them.

Frankenstein Rising– Towards the end of next week- on Thursday, April 8- this horror film will have a 7 PM screening at the Studio 10 in Shelbyville; it will also have two shows at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis the next night. (Full disclosure time: I emailed this movie’s official site last year and requested that it be shown in the Indy- area- so I’m not exactly neutral with regards to this movie. I haven’t seen it myself yet- but I am very happy and excited to know that it is on the way.)

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry– Gavin MacLeod, Robert Guillaume and Jansen Panettiere star in this Christian-oriented film about an older man (MacLeod) who imparts his wisdom to a trio of pre-teen boys in 1970; it opened at one theater in Richmond last October, and will be coming back to Indiana on April 2, with engagements at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, the Studio 10 in Shelbyville, and the Eastside 9 in Lafayette.

Tournées Festival– The third edition of this festival of French films will take place from April 6-11 at Marian University in Indianapolis. The films scheduled to be shown this year are Academy-Award nominee Entre les Murs (The Class), Un Secret, Academy Award nominee Indigenes (Days of Glory), and the documentaries Ballerina and Comme Un Juif en France (Being Jewish in France); they will be screened at the University’s Mother Theresa Hackelmeier Memorial Library. There is no admission charge for the festival- which is supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture- but registration is requested; see the event’s official site for details.

Screenings and events for next Friday:

The Passion of the Christ– Mel Gibson’s film will be shown on at 8 PM on Friday, April 2, at the Strand Theatre in Shelbyville- which will also have showings on Saturday, April 3 (at 1:30 PM), and Sunday, April 4 (at 4:30 PM).

3 responses to “Thinking Outside the Multiplex (March 26, 2010)

  1. If the ISO wants to accompany a film, I wish they’d choose a silent. Are they going to turn the soundtrack off or play over it?

  2. I don’t know what they did with TWoO’s soundtrack while the ISO played. My first source for this- an underwriting announcement on WFYI, I think- made it sound like the soundtrack would be off while the orchestra played, but I could find no confirmation of that on the ISO’s site, so I didn’t mention it.
    I saw one silent film (The General) while the ISO played, and it worked wonderfully. But I agree- an orchestra playing while a “soundie” unspools seems like an odd, unworkable idea.

  3. I saw the Fairbanks Robin Hood accompanied by the San Diego symphony a couple of years ago and it was wonderful! This event sounds more like a multi-media performance piece than anything.

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