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Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

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Eric Henderson Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson joined the WCCO.COM web team in June 2006. As a member...
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I’ve been informed that many if not all of the screenings of 12 Years a Slave at the Uptown Theatre were sold out this weekend, so I guess the first thing that should be on your movie checklist for the coming week would be that, if you weren’t among the lucky ones to snag a ticket. Also, there are still a few days left of the Minneapolis ReelAbilities Film Festival at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. (Here’s the full schedule.) Beyond that, though, there are new installments in continuing month-long series, and a pair of weekend options that couldn’t be much more different. Read on!

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Monday, Nov. 4 & Tuesday, Nov. 5: The Swimmer (Trylon Microcinema)
Friday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 10: Trapeze & The Professionals (Trylon Microcinema)

The Trylon Microcinema has been filling the void left by the shuttering of the Oak Street Cinema for years now, and as fantastically as they’ve been carrying that baton, many of the serieseseses they’ve been presenting haven’t been quite as comprehensive as Oak Street, at its best, managed. (Not a flaw, per se; they’ve sacrificed completest tendencies for an even greater variety of choices.) In November, they’re standing back and giving barrel-chested, brow-furrowing actor Burt Lancaster the chance to roar, with no less than eleven of his credits on the menu (most of them classics, and the rest at least elevated by his always reliable pheromones). From the entire slate, none have quite as ardent a cult following as the one screening Monday and Tuesday: Frank Perry’s The Swimmer, based on a John Cheever story and capturing with unnerving fidelity that transitional period that Mad Men has been mining for its more recent seasons. In it, Lancaster plays a seemingly well-adjusted businessman who decides one day to swim across his entire county’s worth of backyard pools. What seems like a quest to connect and better himself starts to take a darker turn.

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Wednesday, Nov. 6: Tombstone (Theatres at Mall of America)

Sam Elliott. Burt Reynolds. Jeff Bridges. Ron Burgundy? It’s Movember, and the Mall of America is paying tribute to that ever-more-ubiquitous upper lip moss by bringing back four movies that meet the sartorial requirements. For my money, the first is probably the hairiest of them all, thanks mainly to Elliott but with some strong supporting ‘staches from Kurt Russell, Bill Paxton and Val Kilmer. Heck, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, and I’m not even fully sure that Dana Delany wasn’t sporting a little bit of 5 o’clock shadow in the 1993 Wyatt Earp western epic.

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Wednesday, Nov. 6: Shame (Walker Art Center)
Friday, Nov. 8: Hunger (Walker Art Center)

Before Steve McQueen became an ubermensch with 12 Years a Slave, the director was putting Michael Fassbender through all sorts of hell in his first and second feature film efforts. Hunger put Fassbender into the ever loosening skin of Bobby Sands, an IRA militant who, while incarcerated, staged a hunger strike that eventually killed him in 1981. Shame kept that skin on ripe display as Fassbender suffered through the “we should all have such problems” malady of sex addiction. Both of them love-them-or-hate-them sort of films, they’re showing at the Walker this week on the eve of McQueen’s dialogue on Saturday.

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Friday, Nov. 8: McConkey (Pantages Theatre)

To paraphrase Dolemite, if you’re craving action, than this is the place to find that satisfaction. The Pantages Theater is hosting a one-night-only screening of McConkey, a documentary about freeskiing and ski-base jumping pioneer Shane McConkey. According to event organizers, RBAF athlete Miles Dashir and Levi LaVallee, a Winter X Games award winning American snowmobile racer, will both be at the screening. And, hey, since it’s going to snow this week, and since daring skydives are big in the news recently, perhaps you can try to recreate some of the moves shown in the film? Ticket information available here.

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Friday, Nov. 8 & Saturday, Nov. 9: A Clockwork Orange (Uptown Theatre)

Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s dystopian novel is undoubtedly the most polarizing among his post-Lolita films (i.e. the Kubrick® era). Banned in Britain, slammed in the U.S., reaping beaucoup box office lucre and an Oscar nod for best picture (this when the film was still rated “X”), forever transforming the strains of “Singin’ in the Rain” into a prelude to brutality, Clockwork Orange is probably my least favorite Kubrick this side of Spartacus, but can any other director claim a “dud” half as spectacular?

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Saturday, Nov. 9: The Great Muppet Caper (Theatres at Mall of America)

A free Saturday morning family screening at the Mall of America. See it if for no other reason than to catch a glimpse of the terpsichorean Miss Piggy tap dancing in crystal slippers, riding a bicycle through London, and diving headlong into the centerpiece of an Esther Williams-style water ballet.

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