Reporting Eric Henderson
Alright, now you can afford to take a small breath. May is just about here, and the behemoth MSPIFF has finally drawn to a close. Enjoy the respite, but don’t get too comfortable with that Neftlix queue. There are still plenty of first-rate screening options in the Twin Cities this week. Here are some of the best options:
Monday, April 29: Shadow of a Doubt (Riverview Theater)
Heavily referenced in the recent art house shocker Stoker, Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt was frequently referred to by the master of suspense as his favorite among his own films. Among the potential reasons why, it deposits the embodiment of pure, antisocial evil right at the heart of domestic Americana. More than that, it toys with the notion of family as an infallible source of security and stasis. In fact, it may be the root cause of all your deepest problems. But for those who find that notion too distasteful, rest assured these metaphoric implications are buried deep within one of Hitchcock’s classiest thrillers.
Tuesday, April 30 through Friday, May 3: Paradise Trilogy (Walker Art Center)
Ulrich Seidl very well may be the Todd Solondz of Germany, and his Paradise trilogy provides possibly the most ambitious forum for his penchant for grotesquerie. Screenings of Paradise: Love, Paradise: Faith, and Paradise: Hope are showing this week at the Walker Art Center.
Thursday, May 2: Singin’ in the Rain (Heights Theater)
Singin’ in the Rain is an artillery of pleasure, from its opening montage fabricating the flawless rise to stardom of Gene Kelly’s Don Lockwood, right to Kelly’s closing cry of “Stop that girl!” before launching into a heartfelt rendition of “You Are My Lucky Star.” From the deferred reveal of why no one at Monumental Pictures is allowing Lockwood’s leading lady Lina Lamont to speak for herself, right down to the priceless scenes depicting the Hollywood film industry’s growing pains with the advent of talking pictures. From Debbie Reynolds’ boundless optimism as up and comer Kathy Selden, to Donald O’Connor’s peerless professionalism as he sings, dances and guffaws up a storm. I dare you to not smile at least once during this film.
Thursday, May 2: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Walker Art Center)
What I wrote about one of my 10 favorite movies of 2011: “Apichatpong ‘Joe’ Weerasethakul’s latest doesn’t quite have the same plumes of mystery that marked his earlier masterpieces Tropical Malady and Syndromes of a Century, but its mélange of shadow people, doting ghosts, sensuous catfish and sparkling crepuscular caves still adds up to one unforgettable trip. And if none of that previous sentence makes one lick of sense to you, my advice is probably to skip this one.”
You’re no doubt familiar with Airplane! (justifiably ranked among the most hilarious movies ever made), but when was the last time you took in a screening of the prototypical 1970 disaster movie Airport? Ludicrous plot twists, hysterically campy dialogue, flagrant overacting, especially from Oscar-winning Helen Hayes (who turns her own old biddiness into something pathologically cute) and Oscar-nominated Maureen Stapleton (who, it must be admitted, lends some legitimate credibility to the proceedings with her ticky sturm und drang). Airport is a top-heavy hodgepodge of ingredients slopped together in a bowl and called soufflé. Fitting, given the movie was written by recipe card. And yet, Airport is pretty irresistible. Much like Arthur Hailey’s artless blockbuster novel it was adapted from, Airport makes for, if nothing else, pretty good people watching. If the book functioned as sort of a Cliff’s Notes version of airport procedural, the movie is a portrait in miniature of Hollywood in a moment of crisis, stuck in a dead zone between the Golden Age and the still-emerging New Hollywood. This is all probably a moot point for most lifelong Twin Citizens, though. The reason to see this movie now is because most of it was filmed in and around the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, circa 1969. (Added bonus: On Sunday, the Trylon will be presenting a “free mystery film,” but surely it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Dana Andrews/Linda Darnell film from 1957 they’re teasing is Zero Hour, the poker-faced film whose food-poisoned plot and overdramatic dialogue Airplane! lifted almost directly. And stop calling me Shirley.)