New releases are a little thin for the next few weeks, and on the whole, the month of September is traditionally one of the least well-stocked of the year. (Or, if you prefer, it’s one of the most excitingly unpredictable months of the year if you try to steer clear of summer tentpoles and Oscar hopefuls.) What better time than now to get reacquainted with some of the best limited release theaters in the area? Here are this week’s best bets around town:
Monday, September 2 & Tuesday, September 3: Leviathan (Trylon Microcinema)
I reviewed this back in April during the MSPIFF, and it remains one of my favorite films of the year so far. Now the Trylon is giving the movie it’s pseudo-“official” Twin Cities premiere (redux). What I said last spring: “If you thought Deadliest Catch was unnerving, imagine experiencing the show aboard the ship, peering through a pinhole, trying to make out what’s moving around among the dripping nets, inhaling salty night air, underneath a cloud of scavenging sea birds. That’s what it feels like to experience Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s otherworldly new experimental documentary Leviathan. For 87 minutes, viewers are plunged into a world off its axis, searching for a center of gravity, and only finding it in brief stolen moments of industrialized respite.”
Monday, September 2 through Thursday, September 5: Inch’Allah (St. Anthony Main Theater)
Jonathon Sharp wrote up this offering from the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which you can still catch this week. What he wrote: “Inch’Allah is the story of a French-Canadian obstetrician walking the cultural and concrete divide between Palestinians and Israelis. While she tries to tread lightly — befriending those on both sides of the conflict — our young, wide-eyed doctor can’t help but tumble when the story pushes her into tragedy. Perhaps the movie is a parable about not going into war zones with just dreams, thinking one can understand the multiple sides of a conflict and make moves that only bring forth prosperity and peace. Considering this week’s news on Syria, perhaps Inch’Allah‘s showing is timely.”
Wednesday, September 4 & Thursday, September 5: Animal House + Back to School (Parkway Theater)
It’s Labor Day, which means school is officially on across the state. Mark the occasion by taking in this double feature at the Parkway Theater. The 1978 collaboration between the Johns Landis and Belushi is the unquestionably canonized classic of the two, but — call me contrarian — I’d take Rodney Dangerfield’s patented fish-out-of-water act any day.
Friday, September 6 & Saturday, September 7: Purple Rain (Uptown Theater)
Never mind that quite a few of the scenes look like they were shot in Los Angeles. Never mind that the storyline is beyond stupid. Never mind that Apollonia couldn’t act her way out of the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Purple Rain is ground zero for the Minneapolis renaissance of the 1980s, and Prince is your personal tour guide. Boasting what has to qualify as the greatest song score of any post-Golden Age musical (Prince won an Oscar in the category’s final year) and a chance to see what First Avenue audiences got to see back in the day, Purple Rain is essential viewing.
Friday, September 6 through Sunday, September 8: A Woman Under the Influence (Trylon Microcinema)
“I hate John Cassavetes” is not an unorthodox thing to say, and Take-Up Productions must be aware of the feeling. They named their month-long tribute to the prototypical Amer-indie director “Love and the Lack Thereof.” The love, such that it’s present, is clearly centered around his preferred leading lady on-screen and off, Gena Rowlands, who gave a startling, force-of-nature performance opposite an equally impressive Peter Falk in A Woman Under the Influence. Rowlands plays an unstable Mabel, who at the film’s beginning returns from a stint in the snake pit and attempts to readjust to the role of housewife and mother, only to rediscover that she is not and never will be a standard-issue, cookie-cutter woman.