by MIKE MACCOLLUM
Bollywood remakes Stepmon (or at least it sure sounds like it), and American independent filmmakers do a variation on It’s a Wonderful Life (or at least it sure sounds like it). Those are the two movies opening in limited release in Indiana this week- proving, if nothing else, that it’s not just the big-budget Hollywood stuff that could use a little boost in the imagination department. For all the details, keep reading below….
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
We Are Family– Maya is a divorced mother who is devoted to her three children. But Maya and her kids face a big change when her ex-husband introduces his new girlfriend Shreya into the family equation. Shreya has devoted her life to her career up until now, and has had no experience with any sort of parental role. Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, and Arjun Rampal star in this family drama; the IMDb says it’s an Indian remake of Stepmom. We Are Family starts on Friday, September 3, at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis.
What If…– Kevin Sorbo stars in this Christian-oriented film as Ben Walker, a well-paid businessman with a hot young fiancée. Fifteen years ago, Ben left his college girlfriend Wendy (Kristy Swanson) and abandoned his plans to become a preacher. Now, tow-truck driver Mike (John Ratzenberger) offers to give Ben a tow when his new car breaks down- but Mike also claims to be an angel who has been sent to show Ben what his life would be like if he had stayed with Wendy, and had become a preacher…. What If… starts on Friday, September 3, at the Showplace Richmond 11 in Richmond. (As noted in previous columns, the official site for the film also has said that What If… will open at a theater in Noblesville at some point in October. As of Thursday afternoon, there was no more specific information on the official site’s “theaters’ page regarding either the theater or the opening date.)
(NOTE: For a few days this week, the manoranjaninc site said that a Telugu-language film, Thakiti Thakiti, would be at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis for one show per day this Sunday and Monday. Some time on Wednesday or Thursday, that movie was removed from the manoranjan site. If this movie suddenly reappears on manoranjan’s site, I’ll let you know as soon as I do.)
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Exit Through the Gift Shop– So once upon a time, a Los Angeles-based French shopkeeper, Thierry Guetta, got a video camera, and started filming everything he could. Eventually, he met some folks involved in the street art movement and decided to document their activities; at some point, he came up with the idea of turning his footage into a movie about street art, and those who practice it- including Banksy, the internationally known graffiti artist who makes great efforts to remain anonymous (and who is especially keen not to be photographed), in order to avoid being arrested. When Guetta’s cut of his tapes turns out to be unwatchable, Banksy instead winds up taking over the movie- and makes Guetta its subject. Or at least that’s what you see in the film itself- some critics suspect that Guetta is a fiction, and that the entire film is (on some level) basically a prank… but prank or not, many of these critics have given Exit Through the Gift Shop very positive reviews. Rhys Ifans narrates this (semi? psuedo? not-at-all-a?) documentary whatsit, which will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema at 6:30 and 9:30 PM on Friday, September 3.
Flipped– Anthony Edwards, Penelope Ann Miller, Aidan Quinn, Rebecca De Mornay and John Mahoney are some of the adults in the cast of Rob Reiner’s latest film- but the focus here is really on two younger characters, Bryce and Juli. They meet in second grade, when Juli becomes convinced that Bryce should be her boyfriend. Bryce is a very shy young man, however, and he doesn’t think that this is such a good idea- but he has a hard time staying away from the opinionated Juli, since the two live across the street from each other, and go to the same school. As the two grow older, Bryce just might start to think differently about Juli- but will she have grown tired of waiting for him? Flipped holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
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 them at the party- but he may have another motive for holding the unusual event, as it turns out…. Get Low holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, the Village Park 17 in Carmel, the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield, and the Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne.
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, while The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be shown at 5 PM this 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, 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.
I Am Love– Tilda Swinton, Marisa Berenson, and veteran Italian actor Gabriele Ferzetti star in director Luca Guadagnino’s drama, which holds over this week at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne, and which will be shown at 7:30 PM this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the IU Fine Arts building in Bloomington. Ferzetti plays Edoardo, the patriarch of the powerful Recchi family; he causes turmoil when he names two heirs- his son and grandson, Tancredi and Edo- to control his business empire after he passes away. Swinton’s character Emma- who is married to Tancredi- then causes further strife in the family when she falls head over heels in love with one of Edo’s friends….
John Calvert Double Feature- Actor and magician John Calvert- an Indiana native who turned ninety-nine last month, per the IMDb- is probably best known for playing “The Falcon” in several films from the forties. Mr. Calvert is scheduled to perform at Shelbyville’s Strand Theatre on October 16, so the Strand will be showing several of his films this month. Return of the Durango Kid (1947) and Appointment With Murder (1948) will be shown starting at 7 PM on Friday, September 3- and at the same time on Saturday, September 10. Admission is just $4 in both cases; for more information, go to the Strand’s site.
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, and the
Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
Lady Frankenstein– The other heavy-set director with the surname Welles- Mel Welles, that is- shot this horror film in Italy nearly four decades ago, in 1971. Joseph Cotton (who worked for and with another fellow named Welles on more than one occasion) gets top billing, but Rosalba Neri plays the title role; Mickey Hargitay, Paul Muller and the wonderfully-named Herbert Fux (all of whom appeared in more than a few Eurosploitation titles) head the supporting cast. Shelbyville’s Strand Theatre will have a screening of Lady Frankenstein at 8 PM on Friday, September 3.
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– will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema at 6:30 and 9:30 PM on Thursday, September 9.
Peepli [Live]– Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan co-produced this satirical tragi-comedy about the mass media sensation that erupts when two poverty-stricken brothers (both facing the loss of the family farm) are told by a politician that their family 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)- has a few more shows this week at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis: at 4:30 PM on Friday through Sunday, September 3-5, and at 3:30 PM next Monday through Thursday, September 6-9. Peepli [Live] is in Hindi, but is subtitled in English- and it is well worth seeing, in my humble opinion. I managed to catch a screening last week, and was very impressed. The satire sort of ebbs out in the last fifteen to twenty minutes, which I didn’t expect- but all in all, I thought this was one of the better Indian films I’ve seen in some time. It definitely deserves the art-house bookings it has received.
Planet of the Apes (1968)- The University of Notre Dame’s Browning Cinema will show the earlier, better version of PotA at 3 PM on Sunday, September 5.
Running the Sahara– Matt Damon narrates this documentary about three men who run across the dry, dry Sahara- both because they want to be the first folks to do so, and because they want to remind folks about the need for safe drinking water around the world. The Earth House Collective in Indianapolis will have a free showing of Running the Sahara at 7 PM on Saturday, September 4.
Suck– Not to be confused with Vampires Suck, this is a musical comedy/horror film about vampires; its cast includes Jessica Pare, Dave Foley, Moby, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Alice Cooper, and Malcolm McDowell, and it was an official selection at SXSW 2010. Evansville’s Showplace Cinema East will show Suck at 9:25 PM throughout this week, while the Rave Metropolis 18 in Plainfield will show the film at 11:59 PM on Friday and Saturday nights.
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.
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 children’s film (or edited-together-TV-shows-or-videos, as the case may be) Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale will open at a number of Indiana theaters on Friday; other theaters will show it only on the weekend. For more information on which theaters will be showing this- along with other information, such as show times- click on the title above, and follow the trail of cyber-breadcrumb links until you find what you need to know.
NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND
The home page of the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis has added several titles and release dates over the past week. Most of the titles and dates confirm information that has appeared on the sites of the films themselves in recent weeks- but there’s also some new stuff in there.
Going chronologically by date, the first movies newly added to KAC’s home page this week are the Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom and the Joaquin Phoenix documentary I’m Still Here; both are set to open on September 17.
Looking even further into the future, Waiting for “Superman”– the latest documentary from An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim- is on the KAC’s home page with a full week of show times, from October 15-21. And while the Bruce Beresford drama Mao’s Last Dancer isn’t new to the Keystone Art Center’s home page, it is set to start at the KAC next Friday, September 10- so it certainly deserves a mention in this space as well.
Before leaving the KAC behind, I wanted to say a few brief words about the very well-reviewed French film Wild Grass. Although Sony Pictures Classics is releasing it in the US- and although virtually EVERYTHING released by SPC over the past few years has played at the KAC, or at some other theater in or near Indianapolis- it seems like Wild Grass won’t be showing at any theater in Indiana. This is really disappointing, because the film’s US site once had an August 20 opening date at the Keystone Art Cinema- and now, the Wild Grass page on the Sony Classics site has vanished altogether. I tried e-mailing the folks at SPC earlier this week, kindly requesting that they book Wild Grass at the KAC, or any other theater in central Indiana. I haven’t heard anything back from them as of late Thursday afternoon- but if anyone else out there would like to send a request to Sony Classics for Wild Grass, the page with their e-mail address is here.
In contrast to all of this activity on the KAC front, manoranjaninc’s site has no information this week about new Indian films set to open at Indianapolis’ Georgetown 14 in future weeks and months.
Now, we turn once again to films that do not appear on the schedule pages or sites of any Indiana theaters as of yet, but which list at least one Indiana play date on their own official sites. First up this week is the French crime drama Mesrine: Public Enemy #1, which is supposed to arrive at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on Friday, September 24. (As previously noted, the first part of the Mesrine saga- Mesrine: Killer Instinct– is scheduled to open at the KAC on September 17- although the KAC’s home page now says that three other movies are supposed to open on the same day. So even a tough, violent French criminal may find both parts of his life story getting kicked forward by at least a week.)
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve seen Mira Sorvino on the big screen all that much recently. But Sorvino heads the cast of the family drama Like Dandelion Dust– and as of a few days ago, its official site said that it was supposed to be at several Indiana theaters (the Castleton Square 14 in Indianapolis, the Greenwood Park 14 in Greenwood, the Jefferson Point 18 in Fort Wayne, and the Showplace South Bend 16) on October 1. At the time, all of those theaters were listed as “pending,” however- and my attempts to recheck the site today yielded no further information, since the “THEATERS” page on the film’s site didn’t appear to be functioning when I tried to check it out.
Finally, the official US site for A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop– Zhang Yimou’s re-do of Blood Simple– just added an October 8 start date for the Keystone Art Center in Indianapolis.
Screenings (and other events) for next Friday:
Gone With the Wind– Rhett and Scarlett and Ashley and Melanie are back on the big screen at the historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, on Friday, September 10 (and Saturday, September 11), at 2 and 7:30 PM.
Heartland Institute Presents, Chris Witt: On Editing- According to the site for this event, Witt- who edited several films that won awards at past editions of the Heartland Film Festival- will explore “the role of the editor in Hollywood” and “offer insights into the editing process and its importance to a film, as well as give an insider’s perspective on editing as a lifestyle and as an art form.” The IUPUI Campus Center in Indianapolis is the site for this event, which starts with check-in and a continental breakfast, from 9 to 9:30 AM on Friday, September 10. The editing seminar itself (which is free of charge) takes place from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and is followed by a networking lunch (which costs $10), from 12:45 to 2 PM. (The registration deadline for this event is noon on Tuesday, September 7, by the way.)
Vanishing of the Bees– Ellen Page narrates this documentary with the self-explanatory title. The Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis will show the doc at 7 PM on Friday, September 10; there will be no admission charge, according to the “find a screening” page on the film’s official site.
Winter’s Bone (see above) will be shown next Friday, September 10, at Notre Dame University’s Browning Cinema in South Bend; show times are 6:30 and 9:30 PM.