Reporting Eric Henderson
The Oscars are next Sunday, so if you haven’t caught some of the worthy contenders like Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty or Amour, there’s still a little bit of time. (And, of course, if you haven’t seen the also nominated Les Miserables, count yourself lucky.)
All that said, this year’s slate of contenders are almost all across the $100 million line, so maybe odds are pretty good you’ve already seen most of them. If that’s the case, there’s a ton of stuff out there you can keep your cinephile appetites whetted over this week.
Monday, Feb. 18: Dead Reckoning (Heights Theater)
One of the lesser-known entries in the Heights Theater’s late-winter Columbia Noir series, Dead Reckoning stars Humphrey Bogart as a soldier trying to figure out what led to the sudden disappearance of a fellow soldier who was set to receive the Medal of Honor. Director John Cromwell’s movie comes on like the dark underbelly of William Wyler’s massive hit The Best Years of Our Lives, which itself was hardly a sunny portrait of the domestic difficulties faced by WWII soldiers returning home after spending long and bloody years overseas.
Monday, Feb. 18 & Tuesday, Feb. 19: Moulin Rouge! (Trylon Microcinema)
Even in a year with a grindy Quentin Tarantino genre mashup among Oscar’s best picture nominees, Baz Luhrmann’s gaudy musical blitzkrieg Moulin Rouge! still resonates as probably the least sane movie nominated for the big prize since, oh, let’s say JFK. I mean that as something of a compliment, even though lord knows I wasn’t the only one who wanted to run screaming from the theater back in 2001. It’s absolutely impossible to not have a strong opinion on the movie. Luhrmann’s gleefully irresponsible karaoke (p)opera musical spectacle isn’t just rinsed in absinthe, it’s drowning in the stuff. Few movies as conversant in the interchangeable power of pop culture are also as admirably free from irony, though truth be told, <em>Moulin</em> also reeks of self-parody.
Thursday, Feb. 21: Marina (St. Anthony Main)
The fourth annual Minnesota Cuban Film Festival begins this week, with screenings at St. Anthony Main every Thursday for the next six weeks. There isn’t a whole lot of information about this film online (at least, not in English), but all indications are that it tells the story of a woman in the coastal Cuban town of Gibara who befriends a young fisher in a most elliptical manner.
Video: Marina Preview
Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 24: Remember the Night (Trylon Microcinema)
Underrated Hollywood craftsperson Mitchell Leisen directs Preston Sturges’ wry screenplay in this effervescent comedy about second chances and the people who risk them. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray (pre-Double Indemnity) star respectively as a petty thief and a district attorney who skirt the edge of law as they start feeling sweet on each other. The way Leisen and Sturges consistently turn contrived situations on their head is a minor miracle. (By the way, Take-Up just announced next month’s programs, and if you’re a fan of Francois Truffaut, or Isabelle Adjani getting freaky in a subway, you’ll want to click over here.)
Saturday, Feb. 23: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Uptown Theater)
Ben Affleck? Whatev. Tim Curry’s performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter is the Oscar snub of all time.