by MIKE MACCOLLUM
So this week is about as bad as it gets- there’s only one movie opening in the state this week, and I’m being pretty generous with the term “movie” here. Once again, though, the real gold is over the hills* and in future weeks, as noted in “This Week and Beyond” below….
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
(*For the few of you out there who will get a reference to one of the strangest movies I saw in a theater- the one and only Sonny Boy….)
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magical/The Adventures of Chuck and Friends– Well, don’t say you weren’t warned. Thanks (at least in part) to the fact that New Year’s Eve is on Friday this year, this is the only new thing in the state, moviewise, this week. And in a sense, it might not even be all that new- both elements of this combo, according to Wikipedia, are “series” that have been running on a channel called The Hub (or HubBub) since October 2010- so perhaps both the “My Little Pony” episode and the “Adventures of Chuck and Friends” episodes that are part of this package have already aired on TV. According to the official site for the distributor of this mini-double-feature (it apparently runs for about an hour, all together), the first half is a “newly imagined Pony Adventure” in which “we learn the five principles of Friendship”- while “Chuck learns about exercise and staying in shape” in the second part. The site for the Carmike 20 in Fort Wayne says that they will have weekend showings of this mysterious combo starting on Saturday, January 1. (The Kidtoons Films site says that five other theaters in the state- the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis, the Studio 10 in Shelbyville, the Showplace East in Evansville, the Encore Park 14 in Elkhart, and the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne- also show their programming… but as of Thursday afternoon, these theaters all either did not have their schedules for the next week online, or their online schedules said that they would be showing the December Kidtoons entry, A Very Monkey Christmas, instead of the Pony/Chuck masterwork. I suspect that most or all of these theaters actually will be showing My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magical/The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, but who knows….)
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS AND EVENTS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Just for the record- there are only seven movies in this section this week. I think that’s an all time low….
Fair Game– Doug Liman 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 will be shown on some days, but not others, at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne; check their site to see when it will be playing, and when it won’t. Also, the site for the Yes Cinema in Columbus says that Fair Game is scheduled to start there on Friday, January 7.
The King’s Speech– Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Timothy Spall, Jennifer Ehle- it sounds like they managed to get an okay* cast for this one, eh? Firth stars as a member of Britain’s royal family who unexpectedly finds himself in the king’s chair in the 1930s. Since he has horrible trouble speaking in public- and since the country wants to hear from its monarch as Europe seems to be heading towards another major war- this means the new king will have to find someone to help him overcome his problem. That’s where distinctly non-traditional speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush) enters the picture…. Tom Hooper (The Damned United, the John Adams mini-series) directed The King’s Speech, which seems to be a favorite in at least a few awards categories- as of now, at least. The King’s Speech holds over this week at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis (where it will be on two screens), the Castleton Square 14 and Showplace 17 (both also in Indianapolis), the Village Park 17 in Carmel, the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield, the Showplace Bloomington 11, the Portage 16 and IMAX, and the Showplace Schererville 16. The King’s Speech also starts on Friday, December 31, at the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville.
(*In the same sense that winning $20 million dollars or so is “okay”, that is.)
Nagavalli– According to its Wikipedia page, this Telugu-language film from India is both a follow-up to a 2005 Tamil-language film, Chandramukhi, and a remake of a Kannada-language film, Aptha Rakshaka. And Aptha Rakshaka was a sequel to Apthamitra, which was itself a version of a Malayalam-language film, Manichithrathazhu… so this Nagavalli movie has a very complicated family tree, to say the least. Anyhow, Nagavalli is a horror film (per Wikipedia), or an action/fantasy/thriller (so sayeth the IMDb), or (most likely) a mix of all of the above, plus some comedy relief and (possibly) other things as well. (I base that on a viewing of the trailer a few days ago- but since the trailer lacked English subtitles, I can’t really be certain about some of what I saw.) The plot has something to do with strange goings on that plague a family after one of them wins a mysterious portrait of a woman named Nagavalli. This film- which most likely does not have English subtitles- is currently scheduled to be shown once per day at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis through Tuesday, January 4.
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, although there will be only two shows per day (at 5:15 and 10:10 PM) from Saturday through Thursday (there is no 10:10 showing on Friday, since it’s New Year’s Eve). 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, 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. (And Lizzy Caplan, unless I missed something, isn’t in the movie for more than ten to fifteen seconds- and while that is two or three times as long as Phil Silvers was in The Cheap Detective, for example, anyone who is seeing 127 Hours for Ms. Caplan is in for a big letdown.)
Rare Exports: 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 Cinema Center in Fort Wayne will be showing Rare Exports on some days (but not others) this week; check their site for days and times.
Tees Maar Khan– Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif star in this Bollywood action comedy about a big time con man and crook who has evaded any and all authorities- from around the globe- for years. Now, though, he and his gang have been hired to pull off their biggest job yet, which involves robbing a fast-moving train with many guards…. Farah Khan (Om Shanti Om) directed Tees Maar Khan, which is in Hindi with English subtitles- and which is scheduled (as of now, at least) to be at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis through at least Thursday, January 6.
By the way: Several days ago, I noticed a posting on the IMDb’s “Comments” page for TMK which noted that at least one bit in the film was very similar to one in Vittorio De Sica’s 1966 film After the Fox– which was written by Neal Simon and Cesare Zavattini (from a play by Simon), and which had Peter Sellers, Victor Mature and Britt Ekland in the main roles. Then, just before TMK was due to hit theaters, director Farah Khan revealed that TMK is an official remake of After the Fox– although it apparently retains only the basic plot line, and the vast majority of the story points have been massively changed… I also noticed that there is a 1963 Pakistani film on the IMDb by the name of Tees Maar Khan– but I’ve found nothing to indicate whether this TMK has anything to do with the current one.
The Tillman Story– This documentary is about not only Pat Tillman- the professional football player who volunteered for the Army Rangers and was killed in Afghanistan- but also about the cover-up of the true circumstances surrounding his death, and the investigation that led to the revelation of the truth. The Tillman Story will be shown this week at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
Also on big screens in Indiana this week: Titanica has one showing per day (except on Sunday) at the IMAX Theatre at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis. Also, several Indiana theaters will present an encore showing of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlo at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, January 5.
For more information on either one of the above (including theater location(s) and/or 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
Future weeks taunt and mock the boring, no-new-movies-are-opening-except-some-little-kiddy-thing nature of this week. Both Made in Dagenham and I Love You Phillip Morris are scheduled to open at the Keystone Art Cinema on January 7- and there’s all sorts of other news as well. Some of what follows has already been mentioned in comments to last week’s column- but not all of it. And even the repeated info is “new and improved” now because links have been added, for that extra special whoop-de-doo.
I Love You, Phillip Morris– Bad Santa writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa co-wrote and co-directed this comedy/drama, which stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, and co-stars Leslie Mann. Carrey is Steven Russell, who is a member of his town’s police force, plays the organ in his local church, and has an apparently happy married life with wife Debbie (Mann). But after a serious accident, Steven has what the film’s site calls “the ultimate epiphany: he’s gay and he’s going to live life to the fullest- even if he has to break the law to do it.” Steven’s version of living “to the fullest” requires a lot more money than he can get by usual (legal) means, so he becomes a con man. After he is caught and sentence to prison, he meets Phillip Morris (McGregor), and falls head over heels in love. Steven becomes dedicated to getting Phillip (and himself) out of prison and making money for their future life together- even if it means that he has to escape from the penitentiary (more than once) and engage in further cons and frauds to do so. This based-on-a-true-story film is currently scheduled to start on Friday, January 7, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis. It may be at other theaters around the state as well, since boxofficemojo says that Phillip Morris will go into “Wide Expansion” (whatever that means, in this particular instance) on January 7; as of now, though, the KAC is the only Indiana theater that I know of that has the film on its site with an opening date of next Friday.
Made in Dagenham– Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James and Rosamund Pike head the cast of this based-on-a-true-story comedy/drama from Britain. Hawkins stars as Rita O’Grady, who works at a Ford factory in Dagenham, England, in the 1960s. Rita is talked into going to a meeting with a representative of the car company, with shop steward Connie (James) also in attendance. After Rita observes the lack of respect which she and her fellow female employees are given by management, she leads the women in a struggle against the company (among others) for better treatment. Made in Dagenham is scheduled to start on Friday, January 7, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
Yamla Pagla Deewa– According to manoranjaninc’s page, this con man comedy from India is scheduled to start at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Friday, January 14. Real-life brothers Sunny and Bobby Deol star, along with their father, the veteran actor Dharmendra; if the IMDb is correct, this is the first time that the three performers have shared the screen since they headlined the boxing drama Apne in 2007. I haven’t seen any confirmation yet that Yamla Pagla Deewa will have English subtitles- but the odds are good (99% or so) that it will, since it is in Hindi.
Homegrown Hollywood Film Festival– Anderson’s Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom will be locale for this (more or less) all-day event, which “will screen films with Anderson, Indiana roots”- some were made by Anderson natives, some were shot in Anderson, some feature folks from Anderson in the cast, and some are all of the above. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom. (I’ve been there only once- for a screening of the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera, ten or more years ago- but I remember it as a very cool place to see a movie.)
Lebowski fest!- There isn’t much information on the site as of yet- it just says that “details are, like, coming soon, man”- but the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne is the place to be for this event on Saturday, January 15.
Somewhere– Within the past few days, the Landmark Theatres page for Indianapolis added Sofia Coppola’s drama- which stars Stephen Dorff, and Elle Fanning, with Michelle Monaghan and Jo Champa in the supporting cast- to the “Showtimes” feature at the left of the page. This side of the page now says that Somewhere will start at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on Friday, January 21- although there’s nothing on the rest of the page (at the bottom of the right two-thirds of the screen) to confirm this, as of yet.
Blue Valentine– You’ve probably heard that there’s been a lot of talk about Academy Award nominations for both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams for their work in this romantic drama- and you may have heard that the film was slapped with an NC-17 rating, much against the wishes of its makers. What you might not have heard is that rumor has it that Blue Valentine may make its way to Indianapolis in “mid-January.” That may or may not turn out to be true; as of now, at least, there’s nothing on the Indianapolis page for Landmark Theatres to indicate when the film will make it to the Keystone Art Cinema (the most likely place for the film to open, especially if its an exclusive release, at first- but it may play at several local theaters, even in its opening week(s)… and even if Blue Valentine is an exclusive release, another local theater may get it if the KAC is too crowded at the time. We shall see…).
Movies return to the Walker Theatre- Here’s some very good news- the historic Walker Theatre in downtown Indianapolis will be showing movies again, as of April, 2011. According to this page on the Walker’s site (scroll down to the “Artist Opportunities” section), the Walker will show “independent films” to “provide entertainment for Indianapolis residents” and to “provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to have their work shown.” There isn’t much more information available on the site as of now, but the page also has a link that let’s you download “official guidelines and application procedures.” I couldn’t tell you anything about those guidelines and procedures, though, since the computer I’m using won’t let me open the file.
Screenings and events for next weekend:
Blood Simple– The Coen Brothers’ first feature film is also the first title in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s “Winter Nights” film noir series. It will be shown (in 35mm, not on DVD, per the IMA’s site) at the IMA’s Toby Theater on Friday, January 7, at 7 PM.
The Dancing Pirate– This is another double first, apparently. According to the IMDb, the film’s tagline was “The first dancing musical in 100% new Technicolor”- and it will also be the first Vintage Movie Night presentation of 2011 at the Garfield Parks Art Center in Indianapolis, on Saturday, January 8, at 7 PM. Charles Collins, Steffi Duna, and Luis Alberni star, along with Frank Morgan- the Wizard of Oz himself.
Every Which Way But Loose– If you’re old enough, you may remember when Clint Eastwood was viewed as a guy who starred in movies that (for the most part) were big hits with audiences but scorned by critics. Every Which Way… is a blast from that past; you can check it out at Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre on Friday, January 7 (at 2 and 7:30 PM) and Saturday, January 8 (at 7:30 PM).
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 will be shown at 7:30 PM in the “Downstairs” room of the Fine Arts Building at IU Bloomington on Friday, January 7, according to the site of The Ryder. It looks like there could be a showing on Saturday, January 8 as well- but there was no start time information on The Ryder’s site as of Thursday afternoon.