Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets
We’re in the final stretch of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and in case you need a reminder, a complete listing of all the movies being shown is available here. (Also, throughout the entirety of the 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here). In case your plate wasn’t full enough, there are a few other options around town. Here are some of the best:
Monday, April 22: The Happening (Mall of America)
For many, The Happening represents the (current) nadir for fallen Sixth Sense wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan, and understandably so. Any movie that casts Marky Mark Wahlberg as a science teacher is already moving two or three steps in the wrong direction. But for some, the film represents one of the most singular great bad movies of our era, a bizarre, bloodthirsty form of environmental torture porn in which (spoiler alert) the mysterious plague that seems to be sweeping humankind and forcing them to all commit suicide can be traced back to the trees, which are only defending themselves against mankind’s anti-ecological ways. The Happening plays on Earth Day, in a devilish bit of programming from the Mall of America people.
Monday, April 22: Rear Window (Riverview Theater)
It’s no secret that I consider Rear Window one of the 10 greatest movies ever made. What I wrote when coming up with my faux-Sight & Sound ballot last year: “There are three movies I always say feel, when I’m watching them, like they are clearly the most perfect example of popular, American, narrative filmmaking. If Rear Window just barely makes the cut over The Night of the Hunter and Do the Right Thing, it’s probably because the nascent auteurist in me knows Alfred Hitchcock deserves it over the man who made one masterpiece and nothing else and the man who spent the rest of his (underrated and interesting) career trying to top his one clear masterpiece.” Also, few scenes as chaste as the one where Grace Kelly turns on the lights in James Stewart’s apartment are as powerfully sexy.
Wednesday, April 24: The Gun and the Pulpit (Trylon Microcinema)
Fleece-headed Marjoe Gortner, former child evangelist who turned crossover sellout in the early ’70s, once again becomes a man of the cloth, so to speak, in Daniel Petrie’s oddball western, which came out the same year Gortner’s unhinged reservist was trying to ravage Victoria Principal amid the ruins of Los Angeles in Earthquake. The Gun and the Pulpit is a few steps shy of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” but it definitely falls in line with the era’s strange affinity for tent revivalism.
Thursday, April 25: Birdemic 2: The Resurrection (Mall of America)
The sequel no one predicted wouldn’t happen, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection cashes in on the $10,000-budgeted original’s somewhat predictable success and promises an even lustier bid for the title of “worst movie ever made.” If it’s generally agreed that sequels are never as good as the originals, the trash-slinging cast and crew here might have achieved said goal.
Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28: 8½ (Trylon Microcinema)
Federico Fellini’s ode to “director’s block” remains one of the most dazzling movies purportedly about “nothing,” though the auteur doth protest too much, methinks. Coming off the global success of La Dolce Vita, Fellini found himself in a maddening position to come up with an even bigger splash. The dissonance between the expectations of everyone around him and his own inconvenient insecurities proved an artistically fertile playground, and thus 8½ emerges as one of cinema’s most convincing test cases for sheer formalism as the medium’s greatest virtue. Sixteen years later, Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz added musical numbers.