Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

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Eric Henderson Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson joined the WCCO.COM web team in June 2006 and currently...
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Thanksgiving weekend is often one of the busiest (if not the busiest) movie weekends of the entire year, and this one should be no different with Life of Pi, Rise of the Guardians, Silver Linings Playbook and other new movies opening up against returning champions Skyfall, Lincoln, and the final Twilight movie.

That said, if you’d like to avoid the crush of families itching to spend some time away from each other at the multiplex, there are a few more offbeat screening options this week you might want to consider. Here are some of the best screening options for the next seven days:

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Monday, Nov. 19: The Birds & Psycho (St. Anthony Main Theater)

In anticipation of next week’s release of Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-baiting Hitchcock, which recreates the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s most enduring shocker Psycho (I’ll review that one all in good time), and in the aftermath of the TV movie The Girl, which showed his dealings with The Birds’ Tippi Hedren, St. Anthony Main is holding a Hitch double feature, with the bonus incentive of winning tickets to catch a sneak preview of the Hopkins movie. I guess you could bend both Psycho and The Birds into something resembling a Thanksgiving-themed program. After all, Norman Bates was a true family man, and The Birds is all about intruding where you’re not welcome. Pass the turkey.

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Monday, Nov. 19 & Tuesday, Nov. 20: The Connection (Trylon Microcinema)

Two more evenings of the film I blurbed last week too. Here’s what I wrote last time: “Take-Up Productions has filled their calendar this week with screenings of Shirley Clarke’s grim, prowling drama The Connection, all in service of not only elevating the film, which was adapted from Jack Gelber’s off-Broadway play about heroin addicts, from its underground status — it was initially barred from being screened in the same New York City in which it takes place — but also to raise some dough for Sound Unseen, KBEM, and (on Give to the Max Day) for the Trylon Microcinema itself. Watch addicts slowly kill themselves on dope to the strains of Freddie Redd and Jackie McLean’s jazz score, and help the Trylon get a new marquee. Win-win.”

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Monday, Nov. 19 through Thursday, Nov. 29: The Studio Ghibli Collection: 1984-2009 (Lagoon Theater)

Studio Ghibli is most well-known as the house that gave the world Hayao Miyazaki. His old fashioned brand of animation and even older tradition of telling childrens’ stories has made him one of the most beloved entertainers of our era. He won an Oscar for his masterpiece Spirited Away, a sort of Alice in Wonderland with floating big head grannies, helpful puffs of dust, and a magnificent bathhouse for oversize, mobile vegetables. Most of his other films are just as imaginative. The full calendar of titles playing can be found here. His most recent film, Ponyo, plays on Thanksgiving Day.

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Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25: Gremlins & Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Trylon Microcinema)

With its controversial climactic monologue from Phoebe Cates describing how she came to stop believing in Santa Claus, the original 1984 Gremlins is one of the all-time anti-Christmas classics. A failed inventor visits an out of the way gift shop specializing in all forms of Orientalism and purchases a gift for his son: a Mogwai, a cuddle-sized pet somewhere at the nexus of koala bear, Boston terrier and Hello Kitty. Gizmo is cuteness incarnate until someone breaks the rules about feeding him after midnight. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins and, to an even bigger extent, its madcap 1990 sequel The New Batch plunge deep into the destructive id lurking behind Spielberg’s idyllic vision of Americana.

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Sunday, Nov. 25: Her Sister From Paris (Heights Theater)

Contstance Talmadge and Ronald Colman star in this silent-era romp about a couple experiencing their own seven-year itch. Helen takes leave from her wifely duties to Joseph to spend some time with her mother. In her place, she invites her “twin sister” Lola, the worldly, jazz age flapper from Paris, to come take care of Joseph while she’s away. The plot mechanics driving this comedy are as creaky, dated and transparent as they sound, but there aren’t so many opportunities to catch a Constance Talmadge marquee that fans of silent cinema can afford to pass this one up.

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