Allow me to pretend to be the first to say, “Finally!” The endless Oscar season is over and now we can all turn our eyes back on the object the highly distracting awards were supposedly engineered to highlight.

Aside from the business-as-usual options at the multiplex, you’ve got the chance to see some nutty noir, nuttier romance fantasies, and more mixed nuts. Check out my suggestions below.


Monday, Feb. 25: The Lineup (Heights Theater)

Not many other titles in the Heights Theater’s “Columbia Noir” series scream seediness quite as immediately as this one, and few other directors included in the Heights’ own lineup really grind the dirt into the space under your fingernails quite as enthusiastically as Don Siegel. The Lineup presents the bigger, badder version of what originally ran on CBS radio and, later, television. Think of it as the 1950s’ version of Michael Mann’s (totally awesome) big screen adaptation of Miami Vice.


Tuesday, Feb. 26: The Last Song (Theaters at Mall of America)

Look. Just because Valentine’s Day is in the rear view doesn’t mean you get 50-odd weeks of taking it easy. OK, maybe you can catch a break in March. But as we’re still in the midst of sanguine February, you’re probably going to want to at least ask your significant other if they would be interested in splitting a soda and popcorn while watching Theaters at Mall of America’s last offering in their series of date night movies based on the works of Nicholas Sparks. I haven’t seen it, but I can only presume that The Last Song isn’t the worst of Sparks’ lot. I mean, I’ve seen three or four of his other adaptations in my well-deserved solitude and … I mean, The Last Song can’t be worse than all the others, right?


Thursday, Feb. 28: El Brigadista (St. Anthony Main)

For its second offering, the Minnesota Cuban Film Festival digs back into the archives to bring local audiences the Silver Bear winner at the 1978 Berlin Film Festival (which more or less indicates first runner up, though in this case, the Golden Bear was awarded to a trio of films from Spain: Las Truchas, Ascensor and Las Palabras de Max). El Brigadista (The Teacher) presents director Octavio Cortazar’s take on the literacy brigades in early 1960s Cuba. As promised by the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s program notes, there are mistrust and death threats. “And then there were the crocodiles!”


Friday, March 1 through Sunday, March 3: Jules and Jim (Trylon Microcinema)

Francois Truffaut is the subject of a month long love letter from the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis, and his effervescent touch should make for a perfect way to welcome spring (fingers crossed). Ask anyone who is in the early stages of a love affair what their favorite Truffaut film is, and they’ll tell you Jules and Jim, which positively floats on Jeanne Moreau’s slightly sad-eyed charm. (Ask any overgrown boy who never quite raised enough hell when he was actually young enough to get away with it what his favorite Truffaut film is, and he’ll tell you the movie that’s playing the Trylon two weeks later.)


Saturday, March 2: Kids Film Festival (Walker Art Center)

The Walker is welcoming young cinephiles in training to cut their teeth at the Free First Saturday Kids Film Festival. Eleven films will be screened in all, culminating in a trio of 3-D offerings.


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