by MIKE MACCOLLUM
One movie with a fair amount of Oscar buzz finally makes it to Indiana this week, along with an Indian film and a well-reviewed comedy about a comedian. That’s a good contrast to last week, when our only new movie was a kiddie matinee “movie” that apparently consisted of two television shows pasted together. But the news for both next Friday (when three limited release movies are scheduled to open in Indianapolis) and January 21 (when we could get five limited-release films) is better still. For all of the details, read on below….
LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
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 starts on Friday, January 7, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
Parama Veera Chakra (a.k.a. Parama Veer Chakra, apparently)- According to the IMDb, this Telugu-language film from India is an “Action/Drama/Romance.” I haven’t found much information on it in English yet, besides that tidbit from the IMDb, and the fact that the story has something to do with “patriotism”- but if the trailer is any guide, it looks like star Balakrishna plays three or more roles (in several different time periods) in the film. As of now, Parama Veera Chakra is scheduled for one showing at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis- on Wednesday, January 12, at 8 PM. Manoranjaninc sometimes adds more showings for some films, however, so check their site for more information as we get closer to the twelfth.
Note: According to Parama Veera Chakra’s Wikipedia page, actor Brahmanandam appears in the film. Per the IMDb, he was also in the last Telugu-language film to play at the Georgetown 14, Nagavalli– and he also shows up in Once Upon a Warrior, which is scheduled to start at the Georgetown 14 next Friday (see “Next Week and Beyond”, below). In fact, the IMDb says that Brahmanandam has appeared in 871 movies since he made his film debut in 1987- and the actor’s Wikipedia page says that he’s in the Guinness World Records for having appeared in 754 Telugu-language films over the first twenty years of his career. So the next time somebody tells you that some other actor has been in “a lot of movies,” just bring up Brahmanandam and his 871- and counting- credits….
Punching the Clown– The Yes Cinema in Columbus will show this comedy at 7 PM on Wednesday, January 12 (and again at 6 PM on Sunday, January 16). Punching the Clown (which won an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2009 Slamdance Festival) stars comedian/singer (and frequent Bob & Tom Show guest) Henry Phillips, in the story of a comedian/singer who has a hard life on the road. After he moves to Los Angeles, though, his career starts to take off- for a while, at least…. According to the site for the Yes Cinema, both screenings of the film will be followed by a Q & A session with star/co-writer/co-producer Phillips.
(As my deadline neared on Thursday afternoon, this week’s schedule for the Eagle Highlands 10 in Indianapolis was not available online. The Eagle Highlands does show movies not playing at other area theaters every great once in a while- two or three times a year, maybe, in recent times- so you might want to check for yourself on fandango (the site for show times at the Eagle Highlands and other Regal theaters) to see what they are offering this week.)
THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS, FILM FESTIVALS, REVIVAL SCREENINGS, AND OTHER SPECIAL SHOWINGS AND EVENTS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK
Animal Kingdom– Brothers Craig, Pope, and Darren Cody are part of a family of Australian criminals led by family matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody. Joshua “J” Cody is the brothers’ nephew- and an outsider to their lives of crime, until his mother’s death leads him to move in with his previously-distant relatives. J starts to think of himself as part of the family’s underworld activities- but he soon finds that he’s in the middle of an increasingly violent battle between his family and the police…. Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton, Jacki Weaver, newcomer James Frecheville, and Guy Pearce star in Animal Kingdom, which starts Friday, January 7, at the Cinema Center in Fort Wayne.
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 a 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).
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 starts on Friday, January 7 at the Yes Cinema in Columbus.
Fela!– The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at South Bend’s University of Notre Dame will show a performance of this musical about “the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.” That description is from the site of London’s National Theatre, which is staging the production in question; the Broadway production of Fela! won three 2010 Tony Awards, including one for Best Choreography. The DeBartolo’s screening of Fela! will take place at 7 PM on Thursday, January 13.
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 Lisbeth 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 starts on Friday, January 7, at the Evansville 16, the Bloomington 11 (where it will show two times per day), and the Honey Creek 8 in Terre Haute (which will show the film two or three times per day, depending on the day of the week).
Howl– James Franco stars as poet Allen Ginsberg in a film that recounts the events in Ginsberg’s life that led up to his writing the poem Howl, while also dramatizing Ginsberg’s 1957 obscenity trial for the poem, and (by way of animation) illustrating the poem itself. David Straithairn, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola and Bob Balaban are in the film’s supporting cast; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Celluloid Closet) co-directed. Howl will be shown at 7:30 PM on Thursday, January 13, at the Root Cellar Lounge at FARM in Bloomington; it also will be shown in the “downstairs” room IU’s Fine Arts Building in Bloomington next Friday and Saturday, January 14 and 15. With a cast like that- especially with James Franco in the lead role- I thought this one had a serious chance to make it to the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis. But like every other movie so far from distributor Oscilloscope, Howl did not make it to Indy….
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 one and a half 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, the Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville, and the Showplace Schererville 16. The King’s Speech also starts on Friday, January 7, at the Galaxy 14 in Indianapolis, and the Jefferson Pointe 18 and Coldwater Crossing 14 (both in Fort Wayne).
(*In the same sense that winning $20 million dollars or so is “okay”, that is.)
La Mission– Benjamin Bratt stars as Che Rivera, an ex-con and former drinker who grew up and still lives in San Francisco’s Mission district. Che has been trying to live a good life in recent years to set an example for his son Jes, who Che has been raising by himself since his wife died. But Che still has a temper, and sometimes resorts to violence- and after he finds out that Jes is gay, Che pummels him. Che soon realizes that what he did was horribly wrong, and he must make major changes in his life yet again…. Director Peter Bratt (Benjamin’s brother) will present La Mission– and take part in a post-screening discussion- at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater on Thursday, January 13; the film gets underway at 7 PM.
Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1/Mesrine: Killer Instinct– The good news is that the first Mesrine movie finally made its way to a (relatively?) big screen in Indiana; it started Wednesday (I think) on the “downstairs” screen at IU’s Fine Arts building, and will be shown there through Sunday, January 9. The bad news is that the second Mesrine film will show only in the Fine Arts building’s “upstairs” room, which reportedly has a much smaller screen. If only they could have done a real double feature- with both parts of the story shown on the same (larger, downstairs) screen, one after the other… then, I would have made an effort to get to Bloomington just for this event. But it doesn’t sound like it will be worth the effort and expense when one part of the movie is going to be shunted off to the (apparently) smaller, crummier screen….
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 3:45 and 9:00 PM). 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 this Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday; check their site for 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 at 9 PM Friday, January 7, and Saturday, January 8.
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 Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday 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. And several Indiana theaters will show the children’s matinee program of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magical/The Adventures of Chuck and Friends throughout the week, while others will show it on weekends only.
There also will be two musical special events that can be seen at some theaters in the state this week: the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West is up first, on Saturday, January 8; the next day, music director Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Philharmonic’s performance of three pieces (including Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1). And some theaters in Indiana will show Hood to Coast (a documentary on “the world’s longest relay race”) on Tuesday, January 11.
For more information on any 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
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, which was changed to an R on appeal. What you might not have heard is that Blue Valentine will open at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on Friday, January 14. It may open in another theater or so in the Indy area as well- but as of now, Landmark’s page for Indianapolis is the only place that I know of which says anything about Blue Valentine opening in Indy on the fourteenth.
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. As of now, Made in Dagenham is scheduled to start on Friday, January 14, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.
Once Upon a Warrior– The folks at Walt Disney Pictures co-produced this (reportedly very expensive) fantasy/adventure family film from India. Apparently, this is the first time Disney put money into a movie shot in the Telugu language- and although US theatrical prints of Telugu films rarely have English subtitles, I’m hoping that Disney plus big budget will equal English subtitles in this case*. Once Upon a Warrior is currently scheduled for four showings at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis- two each on Friday, January 14, and Saturday, January 15.
(*Although the trailer on the film’s official site does not have subtitles, there is an official-looking version of the trailer online that does have English subtitles, along with some text- including “written & directed by,” “introducing,” and the film’s title- in English. That doesn’t necessarily indicate that theatrical prints of the film itself will have subtitles, but it’s certainly a promising sign.)
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. According to manoranjaninc’s site, Yamla Pagla Deewa– like most Hindi-language films theatrically released in the US- will have English subtitles.
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. (And I know that I mentioned some of the titles that follow in a comment to the column from two weeks ago- but I thought I should mention them again here, since it’s easier to include links to official sites here… and since not everybody necessarily reads comments, for that matter.)
Another Year– Mike Leigh’s latest drama follows a year in the life of happily married couple Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), and their desperately unhappy friend Mary (Lesley Manville). According to its official US site, Another Year– which has already received a Best Actress award for Lesley Manville from the National Board of Review, and is rumored to be a contender for an Academy Award nomination or two-is currently set to open at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis on Friday, February 4.
Brutal Beauty: Tales of the Rose City Rollers– The Rollers are Portland, Oregon’s roller derby league, per this documentary’s official site- which notes that the film covers over a year and a half of “team bouts, practices and the private lives of the players” who take part in this “high-contact, and sometimes dangerous, sport.” Brutal Beauty is currently scheduled to open at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Friday, January 21. That’s the same date that Brutal Beauty distributor Cinema Purgatorio also will have ZENITH at the G14, and the same date that Evangelion 2.0 (see below) is supposed to start at the G14- and it’s also the same day that Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is scheduled to open at the Keystone Art Cinema.
And January 21 is also when the Indian film Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) is supposed to open in the US. I haven’t seen anything about this movie on manoranjaninc’s site as of yet, but since the preview has played before (or during the intermission of) two or three other Indian movies I’ve seen recently at the Georgetown 14- and since Dhobi Ghat stars Amir Khan, whose films usually do well at the G14- I wouldn’t be surprised if Dhobi Ghat opened at the G14 on January 21 as well. With or without Dhobi Ghat, it sounds like January 21 through 27 will be a busy week for central Indiana moviegoers with a taste for something different on the big screen….
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance– This sequel to the 2007 Japanese animated film Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone is currently scheduled to be at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis from Friday, January 21, through Sunday, January 23. According to its official US site, Evangelion 2.0 involves “[b]rutal mechanized action” that “explodes on a grand scale as towering cyborg gladiators- the Eva Units- fight for the fate of the world.” Two characters from the first film- Eva Unit pilots Shinji and Rei- return for the follow-up, and are joined by two new pilots, “the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari.” (And for anyone who wants to see Evangelion 1.0 on the big screen, but missed it when it was at the Georgetown 14 a while back, there will be a one-time-only showing at the G14 on Thursday, January 20.)
The Illusionist– No, this isn’t a re-release of the Edward Norton/Paul Giamatti/Jessica Biel movie of the same title from 2006. This Illusionist is a French animated film from director Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), and was based on an original screenplay by Jacques Tati. According to its official US site, The Illusionist is supposed to open at the Keystone Art Cinema on Friday, February 4. I’ve seen the preview several times, and now I can’t wait to see the movie itself.
Screenings and events for next weekend:
Criss Cross– Burt Lancaster stars in this 1949 film noir about a man who can’t help trying to win back his ex-wife, Anna (Yvonne De Carlo)- even though she and gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea) are now an item. Robert Siodmak directed the film, and the supporting cast includes Alan Napier (“Alfred the Butler” from the Batman TV show), Tony Curtis, and Raymond Burr (the latter two uncredited, apparently). Criss Cross will be shown (in 35mm, not on DVD) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater on Friday, January 14, at 7 PM. And there are some cool extra features, in addition to the movie itself- the 1951 Warner Brothers cartoon “Scentimental Romeo” will be shown before the movie, and there also will be an introduction and a post-movie talk by Film Noir Foundation founder and president Eddie Muller.
Homegrown Hollywood Film Festival– On Saturday, January 15, Anderson’s Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom will be the site 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.) And after the Paramount’s basement flooded last week, due to a burst water pipe, the theater’s need for money is probably much greater now than it had been. But the damage caused by the flooding won’t affect the festival, apparently- I found an online article from the Anderson Herald-Bulletin stating that Homegrown Hollywood will take place as scheduled, starting at 10 AM.
Lebowski fest!- The Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne is the place to be for this event on Saturday, January 15. According to the official page for this event, it will be a “bowling-filled night of mayhem and a movie,” plus “6 open lanes, food by Club Soda, a cash bar with White Russians, and maybe even a nice rug to tie it all together”- and to top it all off, there’s no admission charge. The party begins at 6 PM; the screening of The Big Lebowski starts at 9 PM.
To Save a Life– This drama about a teen who is a popular, successful student at his high school- but finds that he must reevaluate his life after a tragic incident involving one of his childhood friends- will be shown free of charge at Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre on Friday, January 14, and Saturday, January 15, at 7:30 PM.