For about eight or nine weeks in a row during the dog days of summer, I’ll find myself typically opening this weekly rundown the with the exact same cliche, Groundhog Day-style: “The weather is hot, so what better way to cool down than to take in a cool movie in an air-conditioned environment?” I guess now would be the time to ponder whether the inverse of that wisdom is true? In most cases, undoubtedly, though I do remember spending more than one frigid January evening shivering away in the heat-challenged, now defunct Oak Street Cinema. Take it on faith that wherever you choose to take in one of this week’s limited-run or repertory screenings, it will be warmer than it is outside. Here are this week’s best bets:
Monday, Jan. 6 & Tuesday, Jan. 7: Le Joli Mai (Trylon Microcinema)
If it’s a Monday, then Chris Marker must be my favorite filmmaker of all time, or close enough that distinctions don’t matter, in a “first among equals” sort of situation. In any case, the Trylon sets off on the best of all possible feet with their January series “Chris Marker: Citizen of Everywhere, Citizen of Nowhere.” A bona fide resident alien, Marker’s films all belie a radically heightened consciousness — not just political (though that would’ve been plenty enough), but socially, philosophically and humorously. Few movies are as richly dense or as intellectually enjoyable as Marker’s. The series kicks off with his name-making Le Joli Mai, a second-person account of the state of Parisians’ well being following the nation’s withdrawal from Algeria.
Wednesday, Jan. 8: Narco Cultura (Trylon Microcinema)
This month’s Sound Unseen showing at Trylon is more than just a tad heavier than usual. As per their description, “For Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, there is no music more popular today than narcocorridos. These bloodthirsty and explicit odes to the exploits of narco traffickers and drug lords of Mexico openly glorify violence, narcotics and money. The end result is a highly disturbing documentary that provides a window into a surreal world where brutal reality and popular entertainment intersect. Narco Cultura takes viewers behind the scenes of the most explosive and violent music subculture in America.”
Wednesday, Jan. 8 & Thursday, Jan. 9: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Parkway Theater)
Do you like lights? Do you like sounds? Do you prefer when nothing else gets in the way? Apparently the executives who shepherded the bloated, shallow but intermittently dazzling 1979 big-screen adaptation of Gene Roddenberry’s cult classic series answered “yes” to all three questions. Everyone knows that only the even-numbered Trek films are even worth the effort, but at the same time, neither is The Motion Picture the worst the series had to offer.
Thursday, Jan. 9: Die Hard (Riverview Theater)
Just as this holiday season informed me that apparently Love Actually is the worst Christmas movie of all time, the same demographic who fostered that conclusion (male, Gen X) assured me that Die Hard is the best holiday movie ever. The timing may seem off at first for a one-night-only showing at Riverview, but that’s because they’re not showing it as part of any holiday program. Rather, it’s being shown, as per Riverview’s site, “in conjunction with Mayor Betsy Hodges Tour of Minneapolis. She will be in attendance to view her favorite movie, and the general public is invited to join her. There will be no admission charge.” Though her selection has me slightly worried for the future of diplomacy over the long-festering standoff between Minneapolis and St. Paul, I can’t deny there’s something very rock star about the pick.
Thursday, Jan. 9 through Friday, Feb. 28: Omnifest (Science Museum of Minnesota)
Temperatures are supposedly going to level off somewhat by Friday, and approach the humane level of mere freezing cold. But in case you’re still hankering for something a little more roasty-toasty, you could always take in a screening of the IMAX classic Ring of Fire, which depicts the warm, glowing, warming glow of Mount St. Helens and Japan’s Sakurajima belching their broiling contents. It’s one of the five films being presented at the Science Museum during the 2014 Omnifest, along with Great White Shark, Blue Planet, Stomp’s World Beat, and To the Limit.