So. Much. Whimsy. Broadway Metroplex.
Updating The Breakfast Club for the MySpace generation necessitated a change in format—and so, since truth is the new fiction, it makes sense that the best depiction of teenage life to hit the big screen in recent memory is a documentary. The allegedly unscripted American Teen goes behind the scenes in a small, conservative Indiana high school to present a snapshot of contemporary teenage life. The movie is satisfyingly voyeuristic—maybe that's part of the reason it seems less like a traditional documentary than an extended reality-TV show episode, albeit a good one. It's to the film's credit, though, that it depicts high school in a clear-eyed, unsentimental fashion, showcasing the intelligence and complexity of its characters as they navigate a complicated and stressful social environment—and fostering in an adult audience a tremendous sense of relief at never, ever having to go through high school again. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10.
See review. Fox Tower 10.
Director Julian Jarrold was last responsible for the nauseating Becoming Jane, and at first, it looks as though he's going to handle Brideshead just as clumsily. This film, like Evelyn Waugh's book, is told from the perspective of Charles Ryder (slightly-too-old Matthew Goode), an upper-middle class striver completely out of his depth—but the filmmakers don't do enough to remind us that Charles is our narrator. The voiceovers are scarce, the cinematography (by Jess Hall) is square and pompous when it should be dazzling, and the score (by Adrian Johnston) thunders when it should be stricken with awe. Still, the acting is more nuanced than the screenplay for Becoming Jane ever allowed. Soon we're sucked in to the life of poor, desirous Charles, who goes up to Oxford to read history and finds himself fraternizing with a flaming creature named Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw), whose idea of fun is snacking on plover eggs gathered by hand at his ancestral home; lecturing his teddy bear, Aloysius; and getting roaring drunk before noon. Unfortunately, the film doesn't linger at Oxford for long, and the remaining point on the love triangle—Sebastian's sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell)—is always present, but only fleetingly interesting. ANNIE WAGNER City Center 12, Fox Tower 10.
Akira Kurosawa and Toshirô Mifune's noir classic from 1948, screening from a restored 35mm print. Clinton Street Theater.
An elderly man tries out a succession of jobs in this smash hit from the Czech Republic! Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
Encounters at the End of the World
See review. Cinema 21.
Films by Asher Sandberg-Lewis
Short films by Asher Sandberg-Lewis, including Authority Party, "a humorous, odd caricature of media saturation and consumerism." Screening followed by live music from Doubledutch. The Artistery.
Henry Poole Is Here
See review. Fox Tower 10.
Man on Wire
In August of 1974, Frenchman Philippe Petit—not content with having walked a tightrope between the twin towers of both Notre Dame and the Sydney Harbour Bridge—decided to try his luck rigging a tightrope between the big daddies of all the world's twin towers, the World Trade Center. James Marsh's new documentary brings Petit's feat to life—an accomplishment that is either breathtakingly stupid or brave. And while I'm usually skeptical of documentaries that switch between B-roll and interview footage, the B-roll in this case is so outrageously implausible that it's more than enough to keep any viewer gripped. If you suffer from vertigo, for example, this movie will make you feel sick. Hell, I don't, and it still did. MATT DAVIS Fox Tower 10.
A horror flick starring Kiefer Sutherland as a disgraced alcoholic cop, in which Drunky McShootsalot discovers that eeeeevil entities are entering our world through—wait for it—bathroom mirrors. Not screened for critics, thankfully. Various Theaters.
Director Guy Maddin's quasi-silent film oeuvre isn't for everyone: His overbearing clichés, old-timey ways, and obsession with pseudo-sexual material drive a lot of people up the wall. But his latest film, My Winnipeg, is a "documentary" littered with half-truths and bald-faced lies—and it is a thing of beauty and humor, and easily his most accessible film to date. In black and white, Maddin captures the haunting loveliness of his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, using old archival stock, grainy footage of his snowy walks around town, and restagings of his childhood to create a love letter about what it means to be a Winnipegger. There's also the feeling that he's mixing cold, hard fact with dreamy fiction—call it Maddin's poetic license, or the truth as he sees it. COURTNEY FERGUSON Hollywood Theatre.
Pineapple Express is a hilarious throwback to goofy, low-budget '80s comedies and action flicks, plus everything Cheech and Chong have ever done. It also boasts a jaw-droppingly great performance by James Franco, and this is a sentence I never thought I'd type. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
Christian Bale plays Alfred Borden, who, along with Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) aims to become the top illusionist in Victorian London. Christopher Nolan's film gets clunky at times, and it's overlong, but Nolan knows what he's doing, and by the final act, the film's immensely entertaining narrative tumbles, rather impressively, into place. ERIK HENRIKSEN Jace Gace.
1977's revenge flick about a Vietnam vet with "a sharpened hook for a hand and a duffel bag full of shotguns." Rolling Thunder screens from a rare 35mm print, and is presented by the Grindhouse Film Festival. Hollywood Theatre.
Sangre De Mi Sangre
A Sundance-approved thriller that follows two Mexican men in New York City. Skulduggery and trickery ensues. Living Room Theaters.
Saturday Morning Cartoon Extravaganza
A whole bunch of old cartoons. The Waypost.
The Sensation of Sight
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
The cinematic equivalent of simultaneously experiencing PMS, menopause, and postpartum depression. ALISON HALLETT Various Theaters.
See review. Hollywood Theatre.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
See review. Various Theaters
Streets of Fire
Walter Hill's action/romance/musical from 1984. Laurelhurst Theater.
>In between babysitting her father, 12-year-old Molly (Madeline Carroll) obsesses over civics and the "social contract" of voting, and waxes on about democracy and the government taking care of people. (She puts those earnest Obama canvassers who've been knocking on your door to shame.) Her biggest dream? For her father, Bud (Kevin Costner), to vote in the presidential election. Shockingly, he drinks his way through election night. But thanks to a stunt by Molly, Bud's ballot ends up being the highly improbably deciding vote in the presidential race. The two are thrust into the political spotlight, and are wined and dined by the candidates and the press, as Bud decides how he'll cast his replacement ballot. If this were a typical film with an up-and-coming child actor, earnest Molly would be the supremely annoying, overacted, precious character. But Costner plays that part in this movie—he's good, but his character is obnoxious. Meanwhile, Carroll is great as a dry-yet-sweet Molly, saving an otherwise average and predictable film. You can't help but get wrapped up in her idealism, and she might even convince you that your vote counts. AMY J. RUIZ Various Theaters
Tell No One
Eight years after losing his wife in the woods to a mysterious serial killer (no, not Jason Vorhees), a still-grieving pediatrician begins to receive emails hinting that the tragedy might not be as random as originally thought. Adapting a novel by US airport bookstore staple Harlen Coben, writer/director Guillaume Canet's confident, almost irritatingly taut thriller wastes no time in cranking the paranoia up to eleven. The sheer amount of red herrings can be difficult to wade through at times, but Canet's sense of style makes even the more head-scratching moments enjoyable. A gratifyingly nasty whodunit with a healthy sense of its own absurdities. ANDREW WRIGHT Fox Tower 10
This, the fourth film in the 007 series, is arguably the quintessential Bond. Perhaps the best part of the film, however, comes seven minutes in, with Tom Jones' unbelievable title music: "They calllll him the winnerrr who takes alllllll," Jones belts out over the brass section. Then he strikes like Thuuhunnnderbaalllllllll. Makes me quiver, every time. MATT DAVIS The Press Club.
See review. Various Theaters
The Wackness follows Luke (Josh Peck), a slack-jawed drug dealer who spends his summer days pushing an ice cream cart full of marijuana through Central Park, trading weed for medical advice from psychiatrist Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley) and befriending Squires' fetching stepdaughter, Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). Jonathan Levine, the writer/director of The Wackness, graduated from high school in 1994, the same year his film is set. Based on the writing here—smart and evocative when focusing on teenagers, histrionic and clichéd when the grownups get involved—Levine should wait until he's actually lived through middle age before he tries to write about it. ALISON HALLETT Fox Tower 10, Hollywood Theatre.