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Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

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(credit: CBS) Jonathon Sharp
Jonathon Sharp is a web producer and blogger at WCCO.COM. He started...
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(credit: Sony Pictures Classics)

(credit: Sony Pictures Classics)

The gloom is over, apparently. Now that the sun has emerged from its bed of clouds, we can actually start enjoying spring-time again. But if you find yourself seeking relief from the sun, here’s some suggestions to consider…and then see.

Before Midnight (Uptown Theater) 

We’ll start with my #1 recommendation: Before Midnight.  I saw this on Saturday, and it’s great. If you don’t know the back story, however, let me fill you in. This is one of those movies where knowing what went into it really adds to the experience. Trust me.

The Before movies are now a trilogy — about romance, the beauty of conversation, life, happiness, time, and the virtues of walking around lovely European cities. It all started in 1995 with Before Sunrise, when an American guy named Jesse (Ethan Hawke) met the French beauty Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train, and the two spent the night talking and walking around Vienna. When I saw it as a high schooler, it seemed the pinnacle of romance.

Nine years later (in real time), the two crossed paths again in Before Sunset. And again the two took a long walk, this time in Paris. But things weren’t the same: the two were obviously still in love, although it wasn’t as simple as before. Jesse was married (to someone else), and Celine had a career as an environment activist.

Fast forward nine more years, and we find the couple in Before Midnight. Now the two are together and have two kids. We listen in — and enjoy beautiful, immensely impressive long long long long shots — as the two venture into a different region in their relationship. The location, this time, is Greece, a place of real-life political turbulence. It’s a fitting backdrop in regards to what’s happening with our couple. They are in their 40s, still flirting constantly, but tensions exist between them. Jesse wants to move to the U.S. to be closer to his son, whom he had with his alcoholic ex-wife. Celine wants to stay in Paris. Their conversation teeter-totters from affectionate prodding to straight-up yelling duels. The movie, in its course, poses a lot of questions, like: How long does romance last? Is it possible (or healthy) to be with someone for life? And does there come a time when you can’t breathe new life into old romance?

I should say you don’t need to see the first two movies to “get” Before Midnight. But if you’re looking to see a movie about love that isn’t pixy-stick sweet, see this. It’s playing at the Uptown Theater.

Friday, June 14: Pandora’s Promise (Lagoon Cinema) 
In the mood to consider enormous geo-political resource problems? There’s a doc playing at the Lagoon that just might be up your alley. It’s called Pandora’s Promise, and it makes the argument for nuclear energy as a rather clean way to help power the world as emerging economies bring millions and millions of people into a modern lifestyle. It’s directed by Robert Stone.

June 14-16: All The President’s Men (Trylon Microcinema)

 In the wake of numerous political scandals, you might very well want to look back at the mother of all -gate suffixed titles. This classic follows two journalists as their work uncovers an Everest-sized scandal that eventually forces President Nixon to resign. Required watching for anyone interested in journalism with a capital J.

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