Reporting Eric Henderson
Forget about the forecast. No, seriously. Pretend you didn’t just hear Mike Augustyniak toss out the possibility that parts of Minnesota could see up to a foot of snow later this week. (This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening.) No matter how much white there is on the ground, spring is definitely in full bloom at local movie theaters.
With the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival kicking off later this week (see below) and a new Terrence Malick movie arriving at the Uptown on Friday (check back later this week for Jonathon Sharp’s review of To the Wonder), there are enough options to keep you from remember you are deep in the throes of seasonal affective disorder:
Monday, April 8 through Thursday, April 11: Beyond the Hills (Lagoon Cinema)
So wrote movie blogger Steve Swanson last week of Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s visually potent examination of new school values clashing with old time religion: “Mungiu disorients the audience at times as he juxtaposes the antiquated life at the convent with the modern hustle and bustle of Bucharest. And he does such a masterful job of settling viewers into the convent’s austere surroundings and humble characters that when the tension is ratcheted up in the third act, you can’t help but grip your arm rests as firmly as a priest grips his crucifix during an exorcism.”
Tuesday, April 9: Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm (Trylon Microcinema)
Tickets are going fast for Sound Unseen’s April selection, a documentary that posits sometimes honor and recognition are a mixed blessing. Levon Helm spent much of his life post The Band under the radar, but then came a Grammy nomination and a lifetime achievement award to force him back into the limelight. Helm (who has since passed away) doesn’t exactly take the accolades with the same sort of plastered-on grin familiar to Grammy watchers.
Thursday, April 11: The Angel’s Share (St. Anthony Main Theater)
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival kicks off with Ken Loach’s crowd-pleasing British dramedy, winner of the jury prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Angel’s Share (quite accurately described by a fellow critic as a little bit of Sideways swirled around with a touch of The Full Monty) finds a quartet of ne’er do wells trying to kickstart themselves out from their situation of fiscal and social poverty. When the main protagonist finds he has quite the palate for fine whiskeys, he hatches a plan to skim a few bottles’ worth of profit from a recently-discovered and exorbitantly priced cask of caramel-colored gold. Sentimental and uplifting without being cloying, The Angel’s Share goes down smooth.
Thursday, April 4 & Friday, April 5: Clue (Uptown Theater)
An undeniable cult classic thanks to its legendary cast — Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren — Clue isn’t exactly Chinatown or really even Murder on the Orient Express, but it does have Madeline Kahn uttering the immortal (and quite versatile) declaration of loathing: “I hated her … soooo much … it, it, the f-, it, flame, flames, flames on the side of my face, breathing, breathl-, heaving breaths. Heaving breaths … Heathing …”
Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7: Artists’ Cinema: William E. Jones (Walker Art Center)
Sometimes the programmers’ notes do all the heavy lifting. This is one of those cases. To wit: “Los Angeles–based artist William E. Jones’ passion for uncovering unmined histories has fueled his intense archival search for ephemera such as commercials, ’80s gay porn, CIA surveillance footage, and instructional films. His findings have informed a host of experimental videos, documentaries, installations, artist’s books, and curated programs.” You know your interest just got piqued. There are a few clips of his work available on YouTube if you feel inclined to search them, but I think I’d get in trouble if I posted any of them here.