Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets
Fests are still playing out. Fantastic new works of art are still in theaters. (If you haven’t caught Stranger by the Lake yet and you’re … ahem … open-minded, clear a spot on your calendar.) And the screenings just keep coming! It’s enough to make your head spin. Ignore those slightly above-average temperatures in Mike Augustyniak’s latest forecast and duck back into the screening room with me. Here are this week’s best bets:
Monday, March 10 & Tuesday, March 11: 12 O’Clock Boys (Trylon Microcinema)
Another vibrant option from March’s “Trylon Premieres” series, 12 O’Clock Boys is Lotfy Nathan’s eye-opening documentary about Baltimore youths who aspire to execute the perfect dirt bike trick — something we used to call popping a wheelie back in my day (you know, back when sitting in the saddle a la Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure constituted a showstopper). At the center of the documentary is Pug, a kid whose quest to join the dirt bike crew Nathan scarcely soft-pedals, since devoting himself to the mission means he’s also skipping class and sneaking out of the house on a regular basis. Nathan’s images are absolutely sumptuous, though, which forms an intriguing cognitive dissonance with the movie’s overall take on the cost of living the dream.
Wednesday, March 12: Oh, Sun (Walker Art Center)
Another screening in the museum’s A Riff on the Rif: In the Spirit of the Cinematheque Tangier series, Oh, Sun is an offering from a lesser-heralded master of the first-generation African filmmakers. Med Hondo’s movie, as per the Walker’s introductory remarks, “details the systematic racism in labor, housing, and French society overall. But the film does not take the form of grim social realism: it is avant-garde, fast-moving, and at times surreal—think Jean Genet or Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or.” I’m sold!
Thursday, March 13: Trading Places (Theaters at Mall of America)
John Landis month continues at the Mall of America. Trading Places paired two generations of SNL superstars together — Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd — but is perhaps more fondly remembered as the movie that turned Jamie Lee Curtis from the proto-“Last Girl” from Halloween into the surprisingly sexy future star of Perfect (and, OK, True Lies).
Friday, March 14 thru Sunday, March 16: The Bad Sleep Well (Trylon Microcinema)
Long before he brought his Shakespearean overtures to late-career masterpieces Kagemusha and Ran, Akira Kurosawa overlaid elements of Hamlet onto the contemporary story of a man’s corporate revenge plot. With shades of noir revisionism, Kurosawa’s movie is ice cold.
Friday, March 14 and ongoing: Generation War (Lagoon Theater)
Generation War, a heralded miniseries from German TV, is getting released in two parts Stateside, and opens at the Lagoon Theater this week. The story follows five friends as their country enters WWII, and while it was incredibly popular, it also led to some debate over its accuracy and whether or not it papered over the culpability of the general populace for the rise of Nazism in the ’30s. There will be a Q&A after Saturday’s 11 a.m. showing of part one with the University of Minnesota’s Dr. Gary Cohen (History), Dr. Leslie Morris (former director of the Center for Jewish Studies) and Dr. Sabine Engel (director of the Center for German and European Studies); and there will also be a Q&A with Cohen, Engel and Dr. Rick McCormick (chair of the German department and a specialist on German Film) after Saturday’s 8 p.m. showing of part two.