by MIKE MACCOLLUM
There are some weeks that make you glad that you live in Indiana, given the number and variety of unusual films available on big screens across the state.
This is not one of those weeks.
The five (!) national releases this Wednesday and Friday have steamrollered many (if not most) limited-release films out of most theaters in Indiana this week, leaving but a few scraps here and there… and possibly also contributing to the postponement of the Indiana debut of at least one art film (Farewell). Yes, Get Low does open in Indy this Friday, while Hubble 3D expands, and there are a few cool-sounding movie-related events – but overall, this week isn’t exactly a highpoint for theatrical releases in the Hoosier state. A number of generally more interesting-sounding movies loom on the horizon, but those are all for the indefinite future (and the end of the column). To see what we’ve got for this week, read on below….
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Get Low– Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, and Lucas Black star in this comedy/drama about Felix Bush, a longtime recluse in Depression-era rural Tennessee who ends his self-imposed exile so that he can throw a large “funeral party” for himself- while he is still alive. Felix says that anybody who has heard any of the many wild stories that have been told about him over the years can tell it at the party- but he actually may have another motive for holding the unusual event…. Get Low starts on Friday, August 20, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Generations of Animation– According to the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s page for this “all-ages” event, it will feature two programs (or possibly one program, shown twice) featuring “examples of animation from across generations,” with clips and short films that were made- using a variety of techniques (cell animation, stop-motion animation, and computer-generated imagery)- between 1914 and 2009. Per the IMA, “[t]he film selections showcase how technology has shaped children’s film (and film in general) since its earliest days. You’ll see the evolution of film right before your eyes!” Generations of Animation takes place from noon to 2 PM- and from 2:30 to 4:30 PM- on Sunday, August 22, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater, and/or the IMA’s Art Labs (I couldn’t really tell, from the event’s page).
The Girl Who Played with Fire– This follow-up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo finds computer hacker Lisbeth Salander framed for murder. Most people just assume that she’s guilty- but Mikael Blomkvist, Salander’s partner in a previous investigation, is determined to prove her innocence… and to find out which governmental and/or political bigwigs set up Salander. The Girl Who Played With Fire will be shown at 8 PM this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at IU’s Fine Arts building in Bloomington, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be shown at 7:30 PM this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, at the same location.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo– See above.
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 will have several shows per day this week at the IMAX Theater in downtown Indianapolis’ Indiana State Museum- and it also starts on Friday, August 20, at the AMC Showplace Indianapolis 17, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, the Portage 16 and IMAX in Portage, and the Showplace East in Evansville.
Jaws– Steven Spielberg’s 1975 smash hit will be back on the big screen this weekend at Shelbyville’s Skyline Drive-In, as a second feature to (what else?) the Piranha remake. (The theater’s site uses the title Piranha 3D, by the way- but I’m not 100% certain that Piranha will be shown in 3D. You might want to call the Skyline in advance if you really must have your piranha in three dimensions….)
The Kids Are All Right– Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon) directed and co-wrote this comedy about a pair of lesbian mothers, Nic and Jules (Julianne Moore and Annette Bening), who have a pair of teenaged children (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) by way of an anonymous sperm donor. When the older of the kids turns eighteen, she decides to track down the donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). Paul is much more laid back than Nic, and his increasing involvement with the family leads to a number of complications. The Kids Are All Right holds over this week at the Keystone Art Center in Indianapolis, the AMC Showplace Bloomington 11, and the AMC Showplace Michigan City 14. The Kids Are All Right also opens on Friday, August 20, at the Yes Cinema in Columbus and the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
L.A. Confidential– This multiple Oscar-winner from 1997 is this week’s entry in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s “Summer Nights” movie series. As usual, the film starts at dusk; the doors open at 6 PM for IMA members (and 6:30 for everyone else), and the film will be shown in the IMA’s amphitheater.
Micmacs– Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest is about a fellow named Bazil, whose father was killed by a landmine. Since Bazil is now also homeless after getting a stray bullet lodged in his head, it’s not hard to understand why he bands together with some other societal outcasts to get revenge on the companies and people who made the weapons that harmed him. Micmacs– which has an eccentric visual style reminiscent of Delicatessen and City of Lost Children– holds over this week at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
Mid-August Lunch– One of the writers of Gomorrah, Gianni Di Grigorio, stars in and directs this film- which is quite a change of pace from grim crime drama. Di Grigorio plays Gianni, who lives in an apartment in Rome with his nonagenarian mother. Mother and son are both pretty much broke, but the manager of their building is willing to forget about their ever-increasing debt if they will host his mother over the course of the big summer holiday “Pranzo di Ferragosto.” Gianni and his mother agree- but then the manager decides to bring not only his mother but one of his aunts, too… and one of Gianni’s friends leaves his own mother at the apartment as well. With limited money and a small apartment, Gianni does his best to keep his mother and their guests happy. Mid-August Lunch– which is described on its official site as “both a warmly vibrant family drama and a delicately balanced comedy of manners” that “won numerous prizes at international festivals”- will be shown at 6:30 PM on Thursday, August 26, at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema. Additional screenings are also scheduled for next weekend.
Midnight Picture Show – It sure sounds like The Rocky Horror Picture Show– but the site for the Irving Theatre in Indianapolis says that they can’t mention the title by name. If you want to check this movie out- whatever it might be- then be at the Irving on Saturday, August 21, at midnight….
Multi-Media Extravaganza- The Earth House Collective in Indianapolis is the venue for this event, which gets underway at 8 PM on Wednesday, August 25. This event rates a mention in this space because it will feature videos made by Jessica Sowls and Austin Dickson of Indianapolis.
Peepli [Live]– Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan co-produced this satirical comedy (or tragic-comedy, per at least one review) about the mass media sensation that erupts when two poverty-stricken men (both facing the loss of their farms) are told by a politician that their families might be better off if they commit suicide- and one of the farmers seriously starts to consider whether or not he really should kill himself. Peepli [Live]– which is doing very well on both Rotten Tomatoes and the IMDb’s “User Rating” system as of now (for whatever that’s worth)- holds over this week at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis. According to Manoranjaninc.com’s site, Peepli [Live] is in Hindi, but is subtitled in English- so Indianapolis art film fans who’ve already seen everything on offer at the Keystone Art Cinema this week might want to give this atypical-sounding Indian film a try….
Raiders of the Lost Ark– The Ryder folks will be presenting a free screening of Steven Spielberg’s 1981 mega-hit in Bloomington’s Bryan Park at 9 PM on Friday, August 20.
Sita Sings the Blues– This animated version of a legendary tale from India is well worth seeing- and you can check it out for yourself at 7:30 PM on Thursday, August 26, at the Earth House Collective in Indianapolis.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D– World champion surfer Kelly Slater is your guide through this 3D thrill-ride of a surfing movie, which continues this week at the IMAX Theater in downtown Indianapolis’ Indiana State Museum. If you want to see this on the big screen, though, you should hurry- the IMAX’s site says that August 26 will be the last day for The Ultimate Wave at that location.
The Wildest Dream– The Wildest Dream– which was part of this year’s Indianapolis International Film Festival, and which is about the first man who tried to make it to the top of Mount Everest- holds over this week at the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis. Liam Neeson narrates, by the way, and Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Dancy, and the late Natasha Richardson also contributed vocal performances.
Winnebago Man– Outtakes from a late-eighties sales tape sent to Winnebago dealers- outtakes which featured a man using more than a bit of foul language- were traded on VHS tapes in the nineties, and went viral on the Internet in 2005. This documentary focuses on both the viral video phenomena, and the “Winnebago Man” himself- who apparently had no idea that he had become an Internet superstar. Winnebago Man will be shown at 9:30 PM on Thursday, August 26, at Notre Dame University’s Browning Cinema.
Winter’s Bone– After her criminally-inclined father takes off on yet another of his mysterious, unexplained absences, seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly learns that dad put the family home up for bail- and if he doesn’t show up for his hearing, Ree and her mother and siblings will be homeless. Facing lack of convenient transportation, harsh winter weather, and defiantly uncooperative kinfolk, Ree doggedly searches for her father- all too aware of the dire consequences if she doesn’t succeed…. Winter’s Bone– which was based on Daniel Woodrell’s excellent novel- won two major prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, and the Grand Jury Prize in the Drama category), and features a much-praised performance by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree. It holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
Also on big screens in Indiana this week: The encore screening of the Rifftrax folks goofing on a (colorized) print of Reefer Madness takes place on Tuesday, August 24; several “never-before-seen shorts” are also part of the program, according to the official site for this event. Also, the children’s film (or edited-together-TV-shows-or-videos, as the case may be) Strawberry Shortcake: The Glimmerberry Ball Movie will be shown at a number of Indiana theaters as well. For more information on which theaters will be showing these- along with other information, such as show times- click on the relevant title above, and follow the trail of cyber-breadcrumb links until you find what you need to know.
NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND
As of Thursday evening, Manoranjaninc’s home page had no news about upcoming Indian films at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis.
The home page of the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis now says that the Cold War espionage drama Farewell will open at that theater next Friday, August 27.
Other news about the KAC is all from the land of official movie sites, and posters ‘n’ previews seen at the KAC- so please keep in mind that this information is even more tentative and apt to change than that which shows up on the KAC’s home page. First up is the Aussie crime/suspense film Animal Kingdom, which is now set to open at the Keystone Art Cinema on Friday, September 10, according to the film’s official site. Next is the Casey Affleck-directed documentary on Joaquin Phoenix, I’m Still Here. Its official site says that it will be at the KAC on September 17- one week after it opens anywhere in the US.
And since I’m Still Here is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures- the corporate sibling of Landmark Theatres- then this information seems credible. But that raises the question: Why this movie?? Magnolia and its subsidiary Magnet have released a number of interesting-sounding movies to US theaters over the past few months: Neil Jordan’s Ondine (with Colin Farrell); George Romero’s Survival of the Dead; The Extra Man (with Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, Katie Holmes, and John C. Reilly); and The Warlords (with Jet Li). None of these made it to the Keystone Art Cinema, or any other theater in Indianapolis- and while the still-in-release The Extra Man looks like it will be shown in a fairly large number of theaters across the country, the KAC won’t be one of them, apparently. Magnolia did show one recent title at the KAC- the Tilda Swinton starrer I Am Love– but that’s it. I wouldn’t think that I’m Still Here would have that kind of perceived “pull,” but you never know. I guess some things just have to be chalked up to the vagaries and mysteries of theatrical film distribution in the modern era… but I’d still like to hear some of the thinking behind these decisions…. Maybe somebody at Magnolia thinks that movies with titles that start with “I” will be big in Indy; it makes about as much sense as anything else I can come up with….
Anyhow, on a visit to the KAC this week, I noted the following: A poster for the documentary The Tillman Story; previews for The Concert and Zhang Yimou’s Blood Simple do-over, A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop; and a poster and a preview for Never Let Me Go (with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Charlotte Rampling). The Concert is the only one of these for which I’ve heard any sort of a release date information/guesswork; as of this week, the word is that The Concert may show up at the KAC in approximately six to eight weeks.
Again, though- do keep in mind that even that vague range of possible Indianapolis arrival dates for The Concert is extremely tentative and subject to change at this point. On the other hand, since both Animal Kingdom and A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop are Sony Classics releases in the US, the odds are very high that both will play the KAC.
That bodes well for Alain Resnais’ extremely well-reviewed Wild Grass, by the way. It too is a Sony Classics release stateside- so while the film’s official US site still claims that it will be at the KAC on August 20 (which it won’t), the odds are still good that it will show up at the KAC someday.
But the soldier-returning-from-Iraq drama The Dry Land may not be so lucky. The official site for that film once said it would show up at the KAC on August 27- but there is now no mention on the site of the film getting any kind of theatrical release anywhere in Indiana.
B-Movie Celebration– I noticed this week that the fourth annual festival of B Movies will take place September 24-26 at the historic Artcraft Theatre (and at other locations as well) in Franklin. Scheduled guests this year include veteran director Bert I. Gordon (Mr. BIG!- the guy who made Earth vs. the Spider, The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the Puppet People, etc.) and Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman- and the films include a little something from Mr. Ingmar Bergman. (Yes, that Ingmar Bergman- sort of, at least. Check it out for yourself, if you don’t believe me….)
Screenings for next Friday:
Both Mid-August Lunch and Winnebago Man (see above) will be shown next Friday at Notre Dame University’s Browning Cinema in South Bend.
O Brother Where Art Thou?– The last film in this year’s “Summer Nights” movie series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art will be shown on Friday, August 27.
The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo both will be shown again next weekend in Bloomington, according to the Ryder’s site.
And the classic musical Oklahoma!– the film that inspired Stieg Larsson to write his Millennium Trilogy*- will be shown next Friday (and Saturday) at the historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin.
*No, no, no, no, it didn’t- but wouldn’t it be cool if it had?