by MIKE MACCOLLUM
In spite of the onslaught of wide releases for the holiday season, some new limited release movies still managed to sneak in to a few theaters in Indiana this week- although I’m guessing that at least one of the below will be in fairly wide release within at least a few weeks, given all of the awards talk.
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Black Swan– The last time I checked Rotten Tomatoes, this was at 86%- and some of the reviews I’ve read online suggest that Natalie Portman is a sure bet to win Best Actress. But not everyone is quite so impressed- and a fair number of those who don’t like Black Swan- well, they really, really don’t like Black Swan, calling it everything from slow and dreary to over the top camp to a Skinemax movie with pretensions to grandeur… or at least pretensions to something. As you may have heard by now, Portman plays a ballerina who is offered a chance at a lead role- but for a number of reasons (including some major hang-ups on her part), the part might go to a rival dancer (Mila Kunis) instead. Vincent Cassel (from the Mesrine movies) is the artistic head of the ballet company, while Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder are in supporting roles; Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler) directed. Black Swan starts on two screens at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on Friday, December 10.
Manasara– According to the site idlebrain.com, Manasara is a “semi-periodical love story” that is “based on current and 200 years back drop scenarios” and was “shot in beautiful locations in Kerala forest areas.” And not only that, parts of the film feature some characters (mock?) battling by using the martial art Kalaripayattu (a/k/a Kalarippayattu, per Wikipedia). I’m guessing that at least part of the movie is supposed to be funny, too, since the graphic on the site of its US distributor (linked in the title above) features the somewhat nerdy-looking male lead wearing a goofy smile and a Viking helmet, and carrying bouquets of roses. If you’d like to check this Indian film out for yourself, it will be at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Friday, December 10, at 9 PM- but it seems to be in Telugu, without English subtitles, for those of you who don’t speak Telugu and like to understand what characters are saying in a film. (I’m just guessing on that last part- there’s nothing on manoranjaninc’s site yet about whether this one has subtitles- but it’s pretty rare, as far as I can tell, for theatrical prints of Telugu films to have English subtitles in the US.)
No Problem– The IMDb says that this Indian film is a comedy, and the images on the web site for No Problem also make it look like a wacky good time- but it may have elements of a crime drama, too, since the synopsis on the official site mentions a few things that aren’t exactly knee-slappers (like a number of people getting shot and killed in a diamond heist, and another character being tortured to death). The main plot involves a pair of minor criminals, Yash and Raj. They are lifelong friends, and Yash keeps dragging Raj into a life of crime, even though Raj wants to go legit. After Yash robs a small bank, the branch manager is suspected of complicity- although he convinces the bank’s chairman to give him time to track down the crooks himself (only in the movies…). A number of other characters- from a cop with a very odd wife to a violent, big-time thief- eventually figure into the story as well. Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Sushmita Sen, Neeetu Chandra, Akshaye Khann, Paresh Rawal, Sunil Shetty and Kangana Ranaut are all in the cast of No Problem, which starts on Friday, December 10, at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis.
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS AND EVENTS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
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 starts on Friday, December 10, at the Cinemark Movies 8 Washington Market in Indianapolis- and it will be shown through Monday, December 13, 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 13, at the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.
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.” Since the death of his wife two years ago, teacher Michael Farr has been raising his two children himself. More recently, he has started to have odd visions- and hearing weird noises- in the night. Michael doesn’t know whether these sights and sounds are a product of his imagination, or if they have a supernatural source. When Michael volunteers at a literary festival in his town, he meets author Lena Morelle, whose books deal with haunted houses and other unearthly topics; Michael tells Lena all about what he has been going through, in the hope that he has found someone who might believe that his house could be haunted. But Lena is distracted by the presence of fellow writer Nicholas Holden. She had a short-lived romantic relationship with the much better-known Holden last year; he is in love with her- and even wants to abandon his wife for Lena- but she just wants to find a way to avoid Nicholas’ attentions. Over the next few days, Michael, Lena and Nicholas will find their lives altered in ways they never could have expected. Ciarán Hinds, Iben Hjejle and Aidan Quinn star in The Eclipse, which will be shown (free of charge) at 7:30 PM on Thursday, December 16, at the Root Cellar Lounge at FARM in Bloomington.
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 this week at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
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, the AMC Showplace Schererville 16, and the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne.
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 will be shown this week at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne; it also will be screened this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at IU’s Fine Arts Building in Bloomington.
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.
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 Friday, December 10, through Sunday, December 12, at 1 PM- with an extra showing at 9:30 PM on Saturday, December 11.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno– This sounds fascinating to me. It’s a documentary about how director Clouzot (The Wages of Fear, Diaboloque) was given free rein (and unlimited cash) to make a movie called “Inferno” in 1964- and how the production fell apart, and the film never was completed. Besides showing what went wrong, the doc also apparently features a fair amount of footage from the uncompleted film (with Serge Reggiani and Romy Schneider in the main roles) – and scenes of modern-day actors in the same roles. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno will be shown at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 11, at 6:30 and 9:30 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, with two showings per day (at 4:30 and 10 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.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story– Keir Gilchrist stars as Craig, a young man suffering from depression; when Craig checks into a psych ward, he meets some people who have a big impact on his life. Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Lauren Graham, and Jim Gaffigan also star in this comedy/drama, which was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar)- and which starts on Friday, December 10, at the Fort Wayne Coventry 13.
Millions– The University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will screen Danny Boyle’s 2004 film at 3 PM on Sunday, December 11.
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, the Showplace Traders Point 12 in Indianapolis, and the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield. In case Ralston’s name doesn’t 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, but most of them aren’t in the movie for all that long- Franco is onscreen by himself for the majority of the film.
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 this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at IU’s Fine Arts building.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show– Rocky returns to the Irving Theater in Indianapolis with a midnight (of course) screening on Saturday, December 11. Admission is $6, and is restricted to those 17 and older.
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 at the Merrillville High School Auditorium on Friday, December 10 at 6:30 PM. The screening will be followed by a live question and answer session with the film’s director, Hilari Scarl.
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 holds over this week (with just a few shows per day) at the Showplace Bloomington 12.
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 Honey Creek 8 in Terre and the Evansville 16 (both of which will have just a few showings per day), and starts on Friday, December 10, at the Showplace Bloomington 11.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger– Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Pauline Collins and Freida Pinto are the stars of Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, about several couples- past, present, and potential. It starts on Friday, December 10, at the Cinemark Movies 8 on the south side of Indianapolis (where it will have two shows per day, at 7 and 9:30 PM).
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 a live presentation of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlo will be on some Indiana big screens on Saturday, December 11. Finally, the site for Opera in Cinema says that an encore screening of the Teatro alla Scala’s production of Wagner’s Die Walküre will be shown at one theater in Indiana on Wednesday, December 15.
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
As of Thursday evening, I knew of only one limited release movie scheduled to open in Indiana on December 17- Tamara Drewe, but we’ve heard that song before….
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 17*….. 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.
* This text is unchanged from last week, by the way, except for switching the date from the tenth to the seventeenth. And Made in Dagenham– which (for a few days, at least) was scheduled to start at the KAC on December 17- has vanished from the theater’s list of upcoming movies (for the time being).
Screenings and events for next Friday:
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation– The historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin will show this 1989 comedy at 2 and 7:30 PM on Friday, December 17, and Saturday, December 18. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are back for their third “Vacation,” and Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn return to the series (after sitting out the second entry); plus, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, E. G. Marshall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Diane Ladd, Doris Roberts, John Randolph, William Hickey, and Mae Questel (the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl) are along for the ride this time.