by MIKE MACCOLLUM
For yet another week, new limited-release films from India outnumber such films from other parts of the world when it comes to what will be opening in Indiana theaters this week. So let’s have two (or three, or more) cheers for India- and for all of those who book these movies and show them on their screens. And let’s hear some cheers as well for the Shiloh Crossing 18 in Avon, for showing a documentary that apparently would not get a theatrical release in Indiana otherwise.
Of course, since this column celebrates any venue- theatrical or otherwise- that gives moviegoers some additional choices in big screen entertainment, let’s give some huzzahs as well to any of the locations mentioned below (and to the people who work to keep limited release movies showing at these venues). This is a sort of average-plus week with regards to non-mainstream movies in Indiana- but it’s probably going to get worse in the next few weeks, as the holiday movies dominate most screens. To see what your options are for this week, keep reading….
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Cool It– Ondi Timoner (Dig!, We Live in Public) directed this documentary about both Bjorn Lomborg (author of the book The Skeptical Environmentalist), and what the film’s official site describes as Lomborg’s “mission to bring the smartest solutions to climate change, environmental pollution, and other major problems in the world.” Cool It never did open at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis (in spite of an ad in a Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star proclaiming that it would)- but it will start at the Shiloh Crossing 18 in Avon on Friday, December 3. (There won’t be any late shows at this theater, however- the last showing of the day starts at 6:30 PM.)
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey– Ashutosh Gowariker (who made Jodhaa Akbar and the Academy-Award-nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India) directed this fact-based account of a group of people who in 1930 banded together to resist the British in the port city of Chittagong. The film’s Facebook page calls it a “Period Thriller;” on the IMDb, the genres are “Action,” “Drama,” and “History.” Abhisshek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone star in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, which (according to manoranjaninc’s site) is in Hindi, with English subtitles- and will open at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Friday, December 3.
Rakht Charitra, Part 2 (a.k.a. A Bloody History, Part 2; a.k.a. Rakta Charitra, Part 2)– And from what I’ve seen and read about this one, the “bloody” part of one of those alternate titles is no exaggeration. (There’s even an animated splash of blood as you move your cursor/weapon over some parts of this alternate official site for the film.) According to the official site of the Hindi-language version of this action/crime/political/revenge drama from India, it is the second half of a two part story (the first part opened several weeks ago), and is based on the real-life story of an initially shy man whose overpowering desire for revenge (following the deaths of his father and brother) led him to be accused of committing a number of extremely violent acts, including more than a few murders. In spite of- or perhaps in part because of- all of this, he was eventually able to become a minister in the government of an Indian state. Apparently, Rakht Charitra was shot (or dubbed) in several different languages. Per manoranjaninc’s site, the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis will be playing the Telugu version (which apparently lacks English subtitles) on Friday, December 3, at 6 and 9 PM. (If you’re like me, and depend on English subtitles to watch- or at least understand what is being said in- Indian films, it sounds like you’ll have to wait for the film’s Hindi version to hit DVD; that’s the one that has English subtitles, according to what I’ve read.)
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS AND EVENTS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Artament– The Cinema Center in Fort Wayne has its annual fundraiser- which features an art auction and a screening of the film Exit Through the Gift Shop (see below) – on Saturday, December 4, starting at 6 PM. Tickets are $25; for more information, click on the link in the title of the event, above.
Boxing Gym– This documentary by veteran filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (Titicut Follies) is about a gym in Austin, TX, and the many different people who go there to work on their boxing skills. Boxing Gym will be shown at 6:30 and 9:30 PM on Saturday, December 4, at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in South Bend.
Break Ke Baad (a.k.a. After the Break)– Imran Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sharmila Tagore, Navin Nischol, Lillette Dubey, and Shahana Goswami star in this romantic comedy/drama from India. Khan and Padukone play Abhay and Aaliya, who have known each other since childhood, and go through an on-and-off romantic relationship that starts when they are in their teens. Per the movietickets.com “schedule” page for the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis, Break Ke Baad– which is in Hindi, with English subtitles- will be shown at that theater at 12:30 PM on Friday, December 3, through Sunday, December 5. Curiously enough, this information is not on manoranjaninc’s page- or at least it wasn’t there as of Thursday afternoon- so you might want to call the theater to confirm that the film actually will be there.
Buried– Ryan Reynolds stars as Paul, a man who has been working as a truck driver in Iraq. He awakens in a dark, cramped space, and finds that he has been buried alive in a sort of coffin. While the people who did this to Paul left a flashlight and cell phone in the coffin with him, Paul also realizes that there isn’t all that much oxygen in there- and he’d better think fast if he’s going to have any hope of staying alive…. This suspense drama has been getting pretty good reviews from most critics, by the way, but it probably isn’t a good movie for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia- the audience spends a great deal of time stuck in the same confined space as the main character. Buried will be shown through Monday, December 6, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.
Conviction– Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell star in this based-on-fact story about a woman who spent many years trying to free her brother from prison, following his conviction on what she believed to be trumped-up charges. Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Peter Gallagher and Juliette Lewis are also in the cast; Tony Goldwyn directed. Conviction will be shown through Monday, December 6, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.
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 Cinema Center in Fort Wayne starting on Friday, December 3; the Saturday showing is part of the Cinema Center’s “Artament” event (see above for more information).
Fair Game– Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) directed this ripped-from-the-not-all-that-recent headlines account of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts), her husband, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), and the political firestorm in which they were involved beginning in 2003. Bruce McGill, Sam Shepard, Polly Holliday, Brooke Smith, Iris Bahr and Adam LeFevre are all in the supporting cast. Fair Game holds over this week at both the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis and the AMC Showplace Schererville 16; it also starts on Friday, December 3, at the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne.
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 that story at the party- but he actually may have another motive for holding the unusual event, as it turns out…. Get Low will be at the Yes Cinema in Columbus this Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest– The cinematic version of the third book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy features Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) once again fighting to expose powerful people who prey on others- although Lisabeth reportedly spends a fairly substantial chunk of this installment confined to an intensive care unit, recovering from the injuries she suffered at the end of The Girl Who Played With Fire. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis (with daily showings at 3:30 (or 3, depending on the day) and 9 PM); it also will be shown a number of times in Bloomington this Friday and Saturday, along with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire– see The Ryder’s site for information on which movies will be showing when, and where. And The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest will be part of the Yes Film Festival at the Yes Cinema in Columbus this weekend- click on the highlighted text for information on festival show times- and then will be shown at the Yes on Wednesday, December 1 (at 7:00 PM) and Thursday, December 2 (at 5:30 and 8:30 PM). Finally, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest also holds over at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne, where it will be shown at least one time per day through Tuesday, December 7.
Guzaarish– Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are the stars of this Hindi-language drama from India about a paralyzed magician who sues for the right to end his own life (prompting at least one poster on the IMDb to ask if Guzaarish might be in some way a remake of The Sea Inside). Guzaarish will be shown at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 4, and Sunday, December 5, at 6:30 PM.
Inside Job– Matt Damon narrates this documentary from director Charles Ferguson (whose No End in Sight received an Academy Award nomination as Best Documentary Feature several years ago). According to its American press kit, Inside Job is “the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008,” and “traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia” by means of “extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists.” Inside Job holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis (although there won’t be an early evening show on Thursday, December 9, according to the KAC’s schedule page).
Kurosawa at 100- Since the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend has four movies in their tribute to the legendary Japanese director this week, I thought I would list all four under this heading. First up is Ikiru, on Saturday, December 4, at 3 PM; it’s followed by The Bad Sleep Well on Sunday, December 5, also at 3 PM. High and Low will be shown at 6:30 PM on Thursday, December 9; Stray Dog screens at 9:30 PM on the same day.
Like Dandelion Dust– Mira Sorvino, Barry Pepper, Kate Levering and Cole Hauser star in this family drama about a pair of birth parents who decide that they want to reclaim the young boy they gave up for adoption. It starts on Friday, December 3, at the Yes Cinema in Columbus.
Marwencol– The Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Indianapolis International Film Festival will both present a screening of this documentary on Thursday, December 9, at the IMA’s Toby Theater. The screening starts at 7 PM, and tickets are either $9 (if you aren’t an IMA member) or $5 (if you are an IMA member). According to Marwencol’s site, the film is about Mark Hogancamp and how he “builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard” after “being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar.” Hogancamp then “populates the town he dubs ‘Marwencol’ with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town’s many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helps Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds of the attack.”
127 Hours– James Franco plays mountain climber Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire; it holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis, and starts on Friday, December 3, at the Showplace Traders Point 12 in Indianapolis and the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield. In case Ralston’s name does not ring a bell, you may remember a story in the news back in 2003, about the man who had to cut off one of his own arms- and survived- after the limb got trapped underneath a large, immovable rock. Well, that was Aron Ralston- and that scene is pretty intense. Amber Tamblyn, Treat Williams, Lizzy Caplan, Kate Burton, Kate Mara and Clémence Poésy are also in 127 Hours, per the IMDb, but most of them aren’t in the movie for all that long- Franco is onscreen by himself for the majority of the film.
Orange– According to its US distributor, this Indian film is a romantic comedy about a playboy and his girlfriend. It is currently scheduled for to be shown at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 4, at 9 PM, according to the theater’s schedule page on the movietickets.com site. The site for manoranjaninc- which says that Orange is in Telugu, and does not have English subtitles- had this screening on their site as of a few days ago, but it isn’t listed there anymore, for some reason. Given that apparent clash, it’s probably a good idea to call the theater in advance to be sure that the film actually will be showing on Saturday.
Rare Exorts: A Christmas Tale– According to the page for this Finnish film on the site of its US distributor Oscilloscope, Rare Exports is “a wildly humorous nightmare,” “a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern-day morality,” and “a darkly comic gem” about what happens when the not-so-merry real-life Santa Claus is discovered in the frozen wilds of northern Finland. The site for The Ryder says that Rare Exports will be shown at Bear’s Place in Bloomington on Sunday, December 5, at 7 PM- and at the Root Cellar Lounge at FARM (again in Bloomington) on Thursday, December 9, at 7:30 PM. (More showings are scheduled for next weekend at IU’s Fine Arts building, per The Ryder’s site.)
Scenes from a Parish– This documentary about a Catholic church in the town of Lawrence, MA- and what happens over the course of four years as the population in the community changes- will be shown at 7 PM on Friday, December 3, at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in South Bend.
See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary– Stand-up comic CJ Jones, musician Bob Hiltermann (drummer and producer for Beethoven’s Nightmare- “the world’s only deaf rock band,” according to this film’s official site), actor and teacher Robert DeMayo (who teaches at Juilliard but is also homeless) and singer TL Forsberg (who is hard of hearing and- per the film’s site- “struggles to be accepted by the deaf community” since she “‘passes’ in the hearing world” and is “not a native sign language user”) are the four entertainers featured in this documentary. The film (which is fully subtitled) uses their stories to give audiences insight into deaf culture so that they can “see this vibrant community in a fascinating new light,” according to the documentary’s site. See What I’m Saying will be shown in at 6:30 PM in Evansville (at the Deaconess Hospital auditorium) on Tuesday, December 7- followed by a 6:30 PM showing on Wednesday, December 8, at the Rhinehart Recital Hall on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. On Thursday, December 9, this documentary is scheduled to play at the Keystone Art Center in Indianapolis- but an exact time has yet to be scheduled, according to the film’s site. Finally, the Merrillville High School Auditorium will be the site for a 6:30 PM screening on Friday, December 10. All of these screenings will be followed by a live question and answer session with the film’s director, Hilari Scarl. For more information on the film, where it will be showing, the admission prices, and the charities that will benefit from the ticket sales from these screenings, go to the official site (linked in the title above).
Stone– Edward Norton plays a convict up for parole; he must not think that his chances are all that good, though, since he tries to use his lovely wife (Milla Jovovich) to “persuade” his about-to-retire parole officer (Robert De Niro) to let him out. John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) directed. Stone starts Friday, December 3, at the Showplace Bloomington 12.
Three Stooges Extravaganza!– That’s the title of this month’s “Vintage Movie Night” presentation at the Garfield Park Arts Center in Indianapolis, which gets underway at 8 PM on Saturday, December 4; a two dollar donation is suggested (but why not make it three dollars, in honor of the stooges?). Local film historian and preservationist Eric Grayson will show four stooges short as part of this event: Disorder in the Court (1936), Malice in the Palace (1947), The Brideless Groom (1947), and Sing a Song of Six Pants (1947); for those of you who keep track of this sort of thing, that’s three Shemps and one Curl(e)y.
Waiting for Superman– Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) directed this documentary about education in America- in particular, the film deals with public schools vs. charter schools, and the fate of five individual students, each of them hoping to get a good education. Waiting for Superman holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis (where it will have one showing per day, at 1:40 PM). Waiting for Superman also starts on Friday, December 3, at the Honey Creek 8 in Terre Haute (which will have two or three showings per day, depending on the day) and the Evansville 16- and it will be shown on this Saturday and Wednesday at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
Wilby Wonderful– Paul Gross, Rebecca Jenkins, Callum Keith Rennie, Sandra Oh, Maury Chaykin, James Allodi and Ellen Page are the stars of this dark (or very dark, from what I’ve read) comedy about a most unusual day in the Canadian island town of Wilby. Wilby Wonderful is the last of the Indiana Film Society’s 2010 “The (Northern) Ties That Bind” series, and will be shown free of charge at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 7; the location is the Indianapolis Senior Center on 708 East Michigan Street.
Also on big screens in Indiana this week: The children’s film Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas will show at a number of Indiana theaters throughout the week; other theaters will show it only on the weekend. Also, Titanica and Wild Ocean continue at the IMAX Theatre at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis, while an encore showing of Glenn Beck’s Broke: Restarting the Engine of America will be on some Hoosier big screens on Wednesday, December 8. Finally, the site for Opera in Cinema says that a live presentation of the Teatro alla Scala’s production of Wagner’s Die Walküre will be shown at several theaters in and near Indiana on Tuesday, December 7. I checked the site for the three Indiana theaters (all of them part of the Carmike chain) on Thursday afternoon, however, and found a listed show time for the opera (at 11 AM*) at only one of them (the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart)… so either the other two theaters just haven’t added the showing to their schedule pages yet, or they just won’t be showing it.
(*After all, this is a live presentation of a production from several time zones away….)
For more information on any of the above (including theater locations and show times), click on the highlighted text above, and follow the trail of cyber-breadcrumb links until you find what you need to know.
NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND
Tamara Drewe– One of these weeks, this movie actually will open at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis. Last week, the theater’s home page said it would open there this week; this week, they say it will be there next Friday, December 10…. Anyhow, Stephen Frears directed this adaptation of the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds; Gemma Arterton plays the title character. According to its press kit, Tamara Drewe is a “contemporary comedy of manners” set in the English countryside. Ms. Drewe was once an ugly duckling, but now she’s a very attractive young woman who writes for a big newspaper- and she causes quite a stir when she returns to the village in which she was born.
As of December 2, at least, Tamara Drewe is the only limited release movie that I know of scheduled to open in an Indiana theater on December 10. A standee for the Indian comedy No Problem was in the lobby of the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis as of a few weeks ago, and it had a start date of December 10 on it- but I don’t know if the standee is still there, and the movie has yet to appear on manoranjaninc’s site. (Again, that was as of Thursday, December 2- but the folks at manoranjan frequently add things to their site late on Thursday or early on Friday, based on past experience…)
Screenings and events for next Friday:
Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench– This black and white indie musical/romantic drama received rapturous, “ten best of the year” reviews invoking names like Godard, Cassavetes, and Busby Berkeley- and references to movies ranging from Once to Pickup on South Street and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Of course, with praise like that, Guy and Madeline will be bypassing theatrical release in Indiana- but this movie about the romantic relationship between a shy woman and a trumpet player will be on the big screen at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Friday, December 10, at 6:30 and 9:30 PM.
It’s a Wonderful Life– Frank Capra’s holiday perennial will be shown at Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre on Friday, December 10, and Saturday, December 11, at 2 and 7:30 PM.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale– See above for more information.
See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary– See above for more information.