Many know the surging Korean film industry for its rousing,
bloody genre hits, but it also boasts movies of a more elliptical, enigmatic,
New Wave-y kind. Like this playful, melancholy bagatelle by Hong Sang-soo, a
seemingly autobiographical portrait of a drunken filmmaker whose relationships
are as untidy as the film is exacting and masterful.
Not so long ago Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant, bizarre,
and beautiful parable about a whacked-out WWII vet (Joachim Phoenix) and the
charismatic founder of a Scientology-like cult (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was
seen as an Oscar shoo-in. It's since been eclipsed by other wannabes, but don't
be surprised when in a decade or two it makes it into Sight & Sound's Ten Best List.
Nearly all of David Lynch's films are inscrutable
masterpieces, but this mammoth adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic is
considered by some to be an inscrutable mess. As such it is also very
entertaining, with Kyle MacLachlan hamming it up as an intergalactic desert
warrior leading a jihad against an Evil Empire.
One of the best ways to get to know a country is through its
films. For example, Hollywood informs us that America
is a country of wise presidents (Lincoln),
murderous slave owners (Django Unchained),
and unfunny Billy Crystal movies (Parental
Guidance). So what do the films of France tell us? Find out by
attending tonight's French Cultural Center's program "Experiencing Contemporary
France through Films," in which Anne-Christine Rice discusses
her book La France
contemporaine à travers ses films.
If the supernatural critter Kyubey appeared and offered you
the chance to become a Magic Girl who fights witches and harvests "grief seeds"
that will purify your "soul gems," what would you do? Sounds like a good deal,
but in Akiyuki Shinbo's anime Madoka Magica the Movie (2012) all is
not sweetness and light; the fun comes at the cost of hard experience.
Celebrity photographer Kevin Mazur directs this rapid-fire
documentary bashing the sleazier brand of parasitic paparazzi, interviewing stars like Jennifer Aniston, Elton
John, Kid Rock, and Sarah Jessica Parker, who talk about how miserable it is to
be rich and famous. Sure, it's hypocritical, but so is our love/hate affair
with trash and gossip.
What is it like to work at the Pine Street Inn and find that
your long-estranged father is a resident there? And then write a book about it?
And then have it made into a movie, Being
Flynn, directed by Paul Weitz and starring Paul Dano and Robert De Niro? All
of this is the subject of Nick Flynn's new memoir, The Reenactments, which the author will read from and discuss at the
Brattle Theatre at 6 pm on Wednesday, January 9.
Those ambivalent about having children might consider
watching David Cronenberg's meditation on the subject, The Brood (1979). A woman with anger issues consults a therapist
whose experimental treatment results in her sprouting demons of wrath from her
body. They kill people, and they never call and never send flowers on Mother's
Combine Peter Pan with the horrors of World War II and you
might get something like Volker Schlöndorff's Oscar-winning adaptation of Günter
Grass's The Tin Drum (1979). In it, a
little boy recognizes the cruel absurdity of the world, refuses to grow up, and
beats the title instrument to annoy the hell out of everyone.
Long ago, detectives in movies could drink martinis, smoke,
banter with their spouses, and treat every night as if it were New Year's Eve - detectives like Dashiell Hammett's inimitable
PI pair Nick and Nora Charles, played by William Powell and Myrna Loy. So it's
fitting that the Brattle Theatre usher in the new year with two of the pair's best
films, both directed by W.
shows a bit of Francophilia in Vincente Minnelli's ambitious An American in Paris (1951; 2:30 + 7 pm). In it Gene Kelly plays an expatriate Yank artist
who exults in the canvases of Renoir and Monet, the tunes of George and Ira
Gershwin, and the gamine charms of 19-year-old Leslie Caron. It's paired with Kelly's
first solo directorial effort, Invitation
to the Dance (1956; 5 + 9:30 pm),
a triptych of tales told entirely in music and dance.
The days of winter brighten with the deft footwork and
irrepressible geniality of Gene Kelly. Tomorrow, the Brattle Theatre's
retrospective of his films offers a triple dose of terpsichorean therapy. In
Charles Walter's Summer Stock (1950; 12:30 + 5 pm) he plays the head of a theatrical troupe
who charms a small-town girl played by Judy Garland.
If Holy Motors
intrigued you, or if you're already a fan of French enfant terrible Leos Carax, you should take a look at this
passionate and brilliant 1991 film that stars Juliette Binoche (then Carax's significant
other) as a homeless woman who lives on the Pont Neuf. She's a painter who's
going blind, but can she find love with an alcoholic ex-circus-performer?
If you feel like joining in with the festivities,
there's the Regent's Sing-Along Sound of
Music (1965), where you and Julie Andrews can belt out the great Rodgers
and Hammerstein tunes.
Regent Theatre, 7
Medford St, Arlington ::
Wednesday, December 26-Saturday, December 29; Wed @ 10:30 am + 7 pm:: $15; $12 seniors :: 781.
It's a musical Wednesday to brighten the post-Christmas
gloom. At the Brattle you can enjoy the Gene Kelly Centennial Tribute with the
iconic hoofer in Stanley Donen's On the
Town (1949; 2:15 + 7 pm) and George Sidney's Anchors Aweigh (1945; 4:15 + 9 pm).
Brattle Theatre, 40
Brattle St, Cambridge ::
Wednesday, December 26 :: Double feature $12; $10 students, seniors :: 617.