Thinking Outside the Multiplex in Indiana (April 8, 2011)

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

Spring has sprung, and there is cause for optimism about the variety of films that can be seen in Indiana theaters. Not only do we get an interesting selection of titles this week, it looks like we’ll be getting a consistent selection of cool-sounding movies in the near future… and an Indianapolis theater will have a series of midnight movies sometime soon, which will include two titles not previously seen on the big screen here in Indy (see “Next Week and Beyond” below). For more info, just click here and keep reading….

(Also, we’re changing the format of one section this week; please let us know what you think, pro or con.)

LIMITED RELEASE THEATRICAL FILMS OPENING IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

Born to Be Wild 3D– Morgan Freeman narrates this documentary, which (per its official site) is about “orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them.” Born to Be Wild 3D starts on Friday, April 8, at the IMAX Theatre at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis, the Portage 16 and IMAX, the Showplace East in Evansville, and the Jefferson Pointe 18 in Fort Wayne.

No eres tú, soy yo– If Google Translate and the Spanish-language site for this 2010 romantic comedy from Mexico are to be trusted, No eres tú, soy yo was the highest-grossing Mexican film of 2010. I don’t follow Mexican box office returns, so I don’t know if that’s true- but I do know that the IMDb says that No eres tú, soy yo is a remake of a 2004 Argentinean film with a very similar title. No eres tú, soy yo (which means something like “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” if I’m recalling my high-school Spanish lessons correctly) starts on Friday, April 8, at the Showplace Schererville 16.

Of Gods and Men– Here’s the plot of this French drama, from its US press kit: “Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay… come what may.” Lambert Wilson and Michel Lonsdale star in this film from director Xavier Beauvois; it starts on Friday, April 8, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis

Thank You– Akshay Kumar, Irrfan Khan, Bobby Deol, Sunil Shetty, Vidya Balan and Mallika Sherawat star in this comedy about several married men who constantly cheat on their wives. When one of their spouses hires a private detective to follow her husband, she may have more on her hands than just an unfaithful hubby- the detective finds that he is very attracted to his new employer…. Thank You opens on Friday, April 8, at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis. Manoranjaninc’s site, by the way, says that Thank You will run through at least Tuesday, April 12, at the G14; the same site says that the film is in Hindi, which usually means that theatrical prints have English subtitles- although there is nothing about subtitles on manoranjan’s site in this case.

Twilite: Eclipse of the Full Moon– This Indiana-made parody of the Twilight books and films opens with a 7 PM show at the Eastside 9 in Lafayette on Thursday, April 14- followed by an 11:30 show on Friday, April 15, and another 7 PM showing on Thursday, April 28. Or at least that’s what the film’s site says- the theater’s site lists show times of 7 PM on April 18, and midnight on April 19 (a Tuesday- which doesn’t seem all that likely, but you never know…).

Win Win– Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Alex Shaffer, Burt Young, and Melanie Lynskey are the stars of this comedy/drama about a lawyer and high-school wrestling coach (Giamatti) who thinks he has found a way to solve multiple problems in his life- until an unexpected reappearance makes him suspect that his “win win” plan might not work out after all. Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) directed Win Win, which opens (on two screens) on Friday, April 8, at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.

THEATRICAL HOLDOVERS (AND “RE-OPENINGS”) THIS WEEK IN INDIANA

Biutiful– Javier Bardem (who was up for a Best Actor Academy Award for his work here) plays a father named Uxbal in this drama from director/co-writer Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel). According to its official US site, Biutiful “is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds….” Biutiful– which was itself nominated for an Oscar, in the Best Foreign Language Film category- starts on Friday, April 8, at the Yes Cinema in Columbus.

The Concert– This comedy from Europe- which opened in the US way back last summer- continues its belated run at the Keystone Art Cinema this week, with two showings per day. I saw it for myself last Friday, and enjoyed it (in spite of a few unlikely turns in the plot). I also really liked Train of Life, the one previous film I’ve seen from Concert director Radu Mihaileanu- and his latest film has a very good cast, including Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), François Berléand (from the Transporter movies), and veteran French actress Miou-Miou. Aleksey Guskov plays the main character, Andrey Simonovich Filipov, who was fired from the Bolshoi orchestra thirty years ago when he hired several Jewish musicians. Aleksey has now been reduced to cleaning the Bolshoi- until he accidentally intercepts an invitation for the Bolshoi to play at a prestigious theater in Paris. He wants to get his former musicians together and have them play in Paris as if they are the current Bolshoi orchestra- and if he can get a French violinist (Laurent) to play with the group, he may just pull off his unlikely plan…

Jane Eyre– Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) directed this latest version of Charlotte Bronte’s novel; Mia Wasikowska plays the title role, while Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins, Judi Dench, Imogen Poots, and Simon McBurney are in the supporting cast. Jane Eyre continues this week (on two screens) at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.

The Music Never Stopped– J. K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci, Cara Seymour, and Julia Ormond are the stars of this drama about a father and son Henry and Gabriel Sawyer (Simmons and Pucci) who haven’t exactly been close to each other since the son ran away from home when his straight-arrow father wouldn’t let him attend a Grateful Dead concert in 1967. After nearly two decades apart, Henry learns that Gabriel can no longer form new memories following surgery to remove a brain tumor- to the extent that the son seems to be living in the late sixties. This leads Henry to try to connect to his son by way of the music of the times- the very music that Henry always hated. The Music Never Stopped continues this week (with two shows per day) at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis.

FILM FESTIVALS, NON-THEATRICAL SCREENINGS, AND MOVIE-RELATED EVENTS IN INDIANA THIS WEEK

As noted above, we’re making some changes in this section this week. Instead of more detailed information on films, dates, and times, as in the past, we’re breaking things down into geographic regions of the state, with a listing of titles and locations following that. For additional information (on the films themselves, and when and where they’ll be showing), either click on the highlighted text, or go to the links for “Outside the Multiplex” at the left of the page.

This will be how we’ll be presenting this information in the future, by the way- unless we get deluged with a flood of negative comments demanding a return to the old format.

Indianapolis and Central Indiana

It’s hard to know where to start with this section, so I’ll just dive in with this month’s entry in the Vintage Movie Night series at the Garfield Park Arts Center- The Law of the Sea, a rare early-Thirties drama that runs a little over an hour. Also of great interest (to me, at least) is the continuing annual Tournées Festival of recent films from France at Marian University, which runs through Sunday. I’d love to see all of the movies in this free festival, but I’m most interested in A Town Called Panic, which screens on Saturday afternoon.

Another cool movie for the weekend is Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet (1930), which will be shown as part of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library’s “Movies That Move the Arts” series; the complementary book this time is “Surrealist Painters and Poets” by Mary Ann Caws- and Jim Walker, of the Big Car Gallery, will lead the discussion. And on Friday night, Indy’s Cinema Underground continues its April series of music-related films with screenings of Vincente Minnelli’s 1953 musical The Band Wagon (which stars Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Oscar Levant) and Lars von Trier’s 2000 film Dancer in the Dark (with Björk and Catherine Deneuve).

Outside of Indy, Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre will offer a double dose of Hopalong Cassidy films- Bar 20 (from 1943) and The Frontiersman (1938)- along with an appearance by Joe “Hoppy” Sullivan (who has been “authorized by Hopalong Cassidy Enterprises to portray ‘Hoppy’,” according to the Artcraft’s Facebook page), and a screening of the serial The Black Whip (in its entirety, it would seem). Meanwhile, Shelbyville’s Strand Theatre shows the comedy Major League as a fundraiser for SCUFFY (the Shelby County United Fund, Inc.). And there will be a screening of the comedy Punching the Clown– which stars stand-up Henry Phillips, who also co-wrote the screenplay- at the Hamilton 16 and IMAX on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 PM.

Southern Indiana

The IU Cinema and The Ryder are the usual suspects in this part of the state- but I want to start off this week with a mention of an event somewhere else, mainly Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley Theater. That venue will feature “the top made IU films of 2011” (or possibly the top IU-made films of 2011), “showcasing the top 16 films… with winners and prizes announced.” On the previous night, the BCT “will have a FUNNY OR DIE screening with producer and IU alum Mike Farah.”

The Ryder, for its part, will have screenings of Bill Plympton’s animated film Idiots and Angels in Bloomington this weekend; showings of the nuclear waste documentary Into Eternity take place over the weekend and beyond at venues in and around Bloomington. Starting Thursday (and continuing through next weekend), the documentary Strongman (about a man with great physical strength now facing the challenges of middle age) will show at several locations in and around Bloomington.

And of course, the always-busy IU Cinema has a variety of films and events on tap. A pair of films from director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo- Hoosiers and Rudy– take place on Friday, with the filmmakers scheduled to be present. (They’ll also be the speakers for the Jorgensen Lecture Series at the IUC earlier on Friday.) On Saturday, director Hans Scheirl is scheduled to be present for a screening of his short films, followed by showings of his feature films Dandy Dust and Flaming Ears. Vincente Minnelli’s Lust for Life and Peter Yates’ Breaking Away will be shown later in the week- and Italian filmmaker Mimmo Calopresti is set to appear at the IUC for screenings of his films La Seconda Volta and The German Factory towards the end of the week.

Northern Indiana

The Cinema Center in Fort Wayne will be showing two “B” movies- Barney’s Version and Biutiful– throughout the week, while the Cinema Center @ Indiana Tech will screen two “C” movies- The Company Men and Cedar Rapids– through Monday, April 11.

And the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center has another busy week. First up is an Irish Film Series, which includes a pair of titles from director/co-writer Neil Jordan and co-writer Patrick McCabe (who is scheduled to be present for both screenings): Breakfast on Pluto and The Butcher Boy. An Irish Shorts Program and the current theatrical release White Irish Drinkers are also part of the series, which concludes on Saturday.

Also at the DeBartolo PAC this week are a midnight screening of The Breakfast Club, a showing of Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, a return engagement for the documentary Waiting for “Superman”, and a showing of the 2008 Czech/Polish co-production Karamozovi; director Petr Zelenka is scheduled to be present for this last screening.

**********

Also on big screens in Indiana this week: Sea Rex 3D continue its runs at the IMAX Theatre at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis this week, with several showings per day (when Born to Be Wild 3D isn’t screening).

For fans of opera on the big screen, the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory will be screened live at a number of Indiana theaters on Saturday, April 9 at 1 PM.

Finally, the children’s film Strawberry Shortcake: The Sky’s the Limit will have early matinee showings on a number of screens around the state again this week. Some theaters will show the film on weekends only; others will have screenings throughout the week- this site will tell you where you can see the film.

For more information on any of the above, 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

The upcoming schedule at the Keystone Art Cinema in Indianapolis comes into much sharper focus this week, with news on a number of upcoming titles- and there’s some news on future releases at other theaters as well…. But first, two titles for next Friday:

The Company Men– Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, and Tommy Lee Jones star in this drama about a group of men who must deal with dramatic changes in their lives when they are downsized by their employer. John Wells (best known for his work on television shows like E.R.) makes his feature directorial debut with The Company Men, which starts on Friday, April 15, at the Yes Cinema in Columbus.

Miral– This controversial drama from director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Basquiat, Before Night Falls) and screenwriter Rula Jebreal (who adapted her own autobiographical novel) features Freida Pinto in the title role, and has a supporting cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Vanessa Redgrave, and Hiam Abbass; it is scheduled to start on Friday, April 15, at the Keystone Art Cinema. The story takes place over four decades, on land claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Pinto plays a woman who comes of age in a time of conflict and violence; while some around her choose a path of resistance, others are more peaceful and studious- and eventually, Miral herself must decide what she will do with her own life.

In future weeks at the Keystone Art Cinema, the following titles are on the theater’s schedule- even if none have been posted on Landmark’s Indianapolis page as of yet. (And most of this repeats information already noted in comments added to past columns- but this presents all of this information in a single place… and I don’t think that everyone necessarily reads comments anyway….)

On April 22, the Seventies-set French comedy Potiche (Trophy Wife)– which was directed by Francois Ozon, and stars Catherine Denueve and Gerard Depardieu- is scheduled to open at the KAC… along with James Gunn’s dark comedy Super, about a would-be superhero with no superpowers (although he does carry a wrench to pound the forces of evil); that one has Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon in the lead roles, and Michael Rooker, Linda Cardellini, and Nathan Fillion in the supporting cast.

Certified Copy, meanwhile, is one of two films set to open at the KAC on April 29. Abbas Kiarostami (Through the Olive Trees, The Wind Will Carry Us, Taste of Cherry) directed this romantic drama, which stars Juliette Binoche (who received the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her work in the film). That Friday’s other title for the KAC sounds ever so slightly different: it’s Kill the Irishman, an action/crime drama starring Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini (also in Super, coincidentally enough), Rober Davi, and Fionnula Flanagan.

The next title on the KAC’s schedule is one I mentioned in a comment on last week’s column- Takeshi Miike’s 13 Assassins. The site for US distributor Magnolia Pictures says it will be at the KAC on June 17. What I didn’t mention last week is that I have heard that this is supposed to be part of a series of midnight movies at the theater. I don’t know when the series will start, and I don’t know most of the rest of the titles set for late night/early AM showings. I have heard, however, that most of the rest of the movies that the KAC will show at midnight have already been seen in at least one theater in town at some point. The only exception to that general rule- besides 13 Assassins itself- apparently will be the modern-day (or at least 2003 or so) cult film The Room, from writer/director/star Tommy Wisseau.

And now, here are a few upcoming titles for the KAC with bookings that are not yet as firm as those for the titles mentioned above; this information comes from the sites of the US distributors of the films in question. Two of these movies are from Sony Pictures Classics in the US, and both (per the pages for these films) are set to arrive at the KAC on May 6: Susanne Bier’s In a Better World (winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) and the World War 2 drama Winter in Wartime. The next week, on Friday the thirteenth, the ventriloquism documentary Dumbstruck is scheduled to arrive at the KAC.

Speaking of documentaries, the autism doc Wretches & Jabberers has two Indiana screenings scheduled, per its official site: at 12 noon on Saturday, April 16, at the Showplace Bloomington 11, and at noon on Saturday, April 23, at the Showplace Indianapolis 17.

Finally, manoranjaninc added a new title to its site this week- Avan and Ivan, a Tamil language comedy from India about two brothers. As of now, however, there is no start date on manoranjan’s site- just the words “Coming Soon.”

Other films and events for next Friday:

The French animated film The Illusionist starts on Friday at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The IU Cinema in Bloomington, meanwhile, will have a screening of director Mimmo Calopresti’s 2000 dramatic feature I Prefer the Sound of the Sea– with the filmmaker scheduled to be present. In Indianapolis, the Cinema Underground’s series of music-related films continues with showings of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1981 Diva and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. And finally, Franklin’s historic Artcraft Theatre will offer James Stewart in the classic comedy Harvey.

8 responses to “Thinking Outside the Multiplex in Indiana (April 8, 2011)

  1. The former College Park theater at 86th and Michigan Road in Indianapolis (which began life as a part of the Loews chain, and ended up as an AMC theater) will be reopening soon (this Friday, apparently) as the Movie Buff Theater:

    http://moviebufftheater.com/

    According to the Movie Buff Theater Facebook page, the MBT is “a family owned theater that is dedicated to bringing the arts to Indianapolis”, will “offer a wide variety of films” (including “independent arts films”), and “feels a need to bring the independent film movement to Indianapolis”.

    This sounds promising- I can’t wait to see what they will be playing…

  2. Two updates: Atlas Shrugged Part 1 will start Friday at four Indiana theaters, according to the film’s official site as of today- the Village Park 17 in Carmel, the Showplace Indianapolis 17 on Indy’s south side, the Metropolis 18 in Plainfield, and the Coldwater Crossing 14 in Fort Wayne:

    http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/

    And Manoranjaninc’s site now says that the Hindi-language thriller Dum Maaro Dum (which was shot in Goa, per the IMDb) will open at the Georgetown 14 in Indianapolis on Friday, April 22:

    http://www.dummaarodum.com/

    (And Manoranjan also says that the currently-playing Hindi-language film Thank You will show this Wednesday and Thursday as well- and will also screen at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16.)

  3. Two updates: Teen Maar, a Telugu-language film* from India with the slogan “Celebration of Love”, premieres at 7 tonight (Wednesday) at the Great Escape 10 in Noblesville. Other screenings follow through next Wednesday night, according to the site of Midwest Movies:

    http://midwestmovies.us/

    (*Which means that this one probably does not have English subtitles…)

    Also, I called the number for the Movie Buff Theater on their Facebook page today- and it looks like the countdown clock on the theater’s official site is for the site itself, not the theater… so the theater won’t open Friday, as I had thought- but the site will be up and running on Friday, apparently, and no longer “under construction”. As of now, it looks like they are aiming for an early May opening date.

    • I hope I’m misreading the Movie Buff Theater’s Facebook page and they’re not really planning to open as a first run multiplex, with or without some arthouse screens in the mix. There’s a reason the College Park theater closed, and nothing’s changed in the market or the area to make it more viable now. Now second run would be a different matter entirely.

      • First run + some art movies does seem to be what they’re aiming for, based on the Facebook page and what I heard from the person at the theater with whom I spoke during a phone call the other day.

        I’m not sure how a 2nd run/arthouse mix would work, in a physical sense. Would they need two ticket windows, with two prices? And how to prevent people who bought the cheaper tickets from going over to the other screens to see arthouse movies with presumably higher ticket prices- would they need to build some sort of physical barrier between the two sets of screens with the two types of movies? (Not that I think all that many arthouse movie fans would buy cheaper tickets to 2nd-run mainstream movies and then theater-hop to see an art film, but still…) The Village 8 in Louisville might be an example of a second-run/arthouse combo; in their case, at least, it doesn’t look like they have all that much of a price differential between their second-run fare ($4, or $3 for matinees) and “Louiville exclusives” (art films- at $5 per ticket, it seems- but $3 for matinees):

        http://www.readyticket.net/webticket/htmlshowtimes/56/ShowTimes40649.html

        http://www.village8.com/history.htm

        So maybe that’s how to make an arthouse/2nd-run combo work… or at least that seems to be one way to do so.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I’ll see whatever I can at the College Park theater. The main building theaters with the huge screens and deep, sloping auditoriums are the best place in town to see a movie to my mind. But the last two or three years before the Loews/AMC operation closed down, every time I saw something there I would wonder how on earth the theater could still be in business- because they had no business. I’ll admit I didn’t go there on Friday nights, but I was there at all other days and times, and was rarely if ever in the company of more than 20 or 30 people, even at a blockbuster on opening weekend, and was often one of just a few.

          I say a second run theater would be a different matter because unlike first run, there would be zero competition whatsoever given that the city’s only second run theaters are the Cinemarks at Washington Sq and Greenwood (which in contrast to College Park are way far away from the north side, the west side, and the center of the city). I really don’t see any issue with two-tiered pricing with the College Park theater layout either, even if you don’t trust your customers to be honest. It’s not like you can’t see every door from the concession stand/ticket taking spot. Put the art movies in the first few auditoriums and problem solved.

  4. I hope the Movie Buff Theater is successful and I’ll certainly support movies at that venue, always my first choice theater when it was a Loews/AMC. I am a little confused and anxious about exactly what their concept is though. ‘Movie Buff’ suggests something other than straight first run movies, but that seems to be what they intend to have, with independent and art films maybe later.

    I know this is unsolicited advice, but I would offer the classic: “Start as you mean to go on”. Stake out an identity or ‘Brand’, in modern idiom, immediately. The initial publicity for the opening will be the only time many people will notice the theater and that first impression will stick. Even if they start small, with only one or two unusual films in the lineup, it will establish the theater as something different. People who are interested in unusual movies will have a reason to check their listings.

    The location was one of the reasons behind the failure of the theater a few years ago. They might be able to turn that to advantage, though, with an identity as a theater for foreign and independent film. That northwest area is among the most diverse in the city. The main effort to promote an international community identity is a bit far from them, but there are a good number of ethnic restaurants on the Michigan Rd. corridor. The dinner and movie combination is always a winner.

    There are successful independent movie theaters around the country, but not many. It will undoubtedly take some experimentation to find a model that fits our community. But if they really want to be a theater for movie buffs, they need to be one from day one. Challenge the film lovers in the city to support independent and repertory cinema. I know they’re out there but are there enough? It would be exciting to find out. I hope MBT will want to answer that question.

  5. I saw many movies at the College Park cinema, and wish the new owners success. They will need to address, seriously and immediately, two problems that I felt significantly contributed to AMC’s problems at the location: the lousy plumbing, and the quality of the concessions.

    The building, by commercial standards, was old. It showed in the constant failures of the plumbing in the men’s rooms. It was a rare visit when there was not plastic over at least one fixture, an orange cone at one entrance, or standing water on the floor. I’m amazed the code enforcement people let them get away with it.

    The AMC concessions were very poor. There isn’t much you can do to a soft drink or a boxed candy, but there is a lot you can do with popcorn. AMC did nothing with it. They carried it in inside large plastic bags, and thought that if they warmed it up a bit that we’d not notice how stale it was. I thought this crazy. The rule of thumb in theater management is that you break even on the films and make your money on the concessions. Even when AMC offered price breaks I did not visit the concession stand. Compare this to Key Cinema, which had the best popcorn in Indy and which had every patron carrying a tub away from the counter. The Buffs will make or break their enterprise on the first weekend when we try their popcorn and apply a simple rule: if it isn’t the best, you’ll fail like the rest.

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