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.
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.
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.
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.
After proving himself one of Hollywood's best comic
performers in films like Meatballs and
Ghostbusters, Bill Murray established
himself as one of the screen's most appealing dramatic actors, refining his
sardonically tragic persona in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003; 7:15 pm) and Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers (2005; 5 + 9:30 pm).
Cinema genius and convicted pedophile Roman Polanski bounced
back from ignominy to film glory with The
Pianist (2002), which may be the crowning achievement of his career. He won
a Best Director Oscar, and Adrien Brody took Best Actor for his portrayal of
real life Jewish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman, who evaded capture by the Nazis
in occupied Warsaw.
What happened to independent cinema? It's alive and well at
Focus Features, which has kept the indie torch alive with films such as Cary
Fukunaga's Jane Eyre (2011; noon and
5 pm), Joe Wright's Atonement (2007;
2:30 + 7:30 pm), and Rian Johnson's Brick
(2006; 10 pm), all screening Saturday, December 22 at the Brattle as part of their Focus
Features 10th Anniversary Retrospective.
Has anyone been paying attention to the rapid approach of
the end of the world on December 21, as per the Mayan calendar? The Brattle
has, and they're celebrating the impending event with Cinemapocalypse, which
screens what they claim to be three of the best doomsday movies ever. It starts with a film we're not sure qualifies, Roland Emmerich's 2012 (2009; 8:30 pm), followed the next day
by one we definitely agree belongs on the list, Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (1995; 4:30, 7, 9:45 pm).
Two tough-minded movies at the Brattle celebrate those folks
whom Mitt Romney was referring to with his unfortunate 47% remark. In Do the Right Thing (1989; 7 pm) Spike
Lee directs and plays a pizza deliverer who discovers that sometimes the right
thing involves a trashcan and a plate glass window. And union stalwarts played
by Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto, and Harvey Keitel become unlikely criminals in
Paul Schrader's Blue Collar (1978;
4:30 + 9:30 pm).
As proven in "Comedy Marathon: Universal Pictures
Celebrating 100 Years," the aforementioned studio cornered much of the comic
market in the '40s with stars W.C. Fields, here represented by The Bank Dick (1940; 3 pm) and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941;
4:45 pm), and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, yukking it up in Buck Privates (1941; 11 am + 6:30 pm)
and Abbott & Costello Meet
Frankenstein (1948; 1 + 8:30 pm), all screening at the Brattle.
have any doubt that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
(1960; 5:30 pm) is the most perverse and frightening film ever made, take
another look when it screens tonight at the Brattle. Then stick around for a
free sneak peek at Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock (2012; 8 pm), a behind-the-scenes
drama about the making of Psycho, starring Anthony Hopkins in the
According to "The Biology of B-Movie Monsters," a scientific
paper by Professor Michael C. LaBarbera (see the Fun List, page TK), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957; 5:30
+ 9:15 pm) would have to eat his own body weight every day just to survive.
Thanks for spoiling that fantasy, Teach. Luckily, we can still believe in The Creature from the Black Lagoon
(1954; 7:30 pm).