This just in! The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul just announced that the opening night selection for this year’s MSPIFF will be British director Amma Asante’s Belle, a period piece about Dido Elizabeth Belle and the court case that many say helped bring about the end of slavery in England. On the heels of 12 Years a Slave‘s success at the Oscars, the film — which stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson, and Matthew Goode — probably couldn’t be arriving at a more opportune time. That said, undoubtedly the most thrilling title to see among the late additions is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which earned raves at Sundance and was filmed over the course of more than a decade. I previously posted a list of the films announced as this year’s lineup here. Until then, there are still lots of movies to check out around town. Here are the best limited-release or retrospective showings in the Twin Cities this week:
Monday, March 17 & Tuesday, March 18: All the Light in the Sky (Trylon Microcinema)
The movies couldn’t ask for a face more gloriously unstable than Jane Adams’. Ever since her central role in Todd Solondz’s emotionally merciless Happiness, she’s represented the understated nature of fragility. She’s not an actress of grand gestures, but one of subtle shifts. She’s not an avatar of repression so much as she is of wilted grace constantly under duress. Her knack for the uncomfortable pause meshes beautifully with the loose and improvisatory veneer of director Joe Swanberg. In All the Light in the Sky, Adams plays an actress who is coming to the realization that her best years are likely behind her. It ain’t Sunset Boulevard, but the disappointments of the business are still pretty horrific even in this muted context. (By the way, though this is part of Trylon’s Premieres series, All the Light in the Sea isn’t even the most recent film by the hyper-prolific Swanberg. 24 Exposures was released in New York just a couple months ago, and Happy Christmas played at Sundance. The guy directs quick.)
Wednesday, March 19: The Defenders: Euan Kerr (Trylon Microcinema)
You know the drill. A local personality has been invited to serve as a one-time-only programmer at the Trylon Microcinema. They choose the movie, they pick a charity to donate all proceeds toward, and the more outside of the canonical norm their film selection falls, the better. This month, the duties have fallen to MPR’s Euan Kerr. What movie he picks is going to be a secret until the moment he introduces it, but that’s all part of the fun, no?
Thursday, March 20: Three Amigos (Theaters at Mall of America)
The Mall of America’s John Landis festival reaches what my 9-year-old self would’ve called its apotheosis (if I used words like “apotheosis” back then) with a screening of Three Amigos. Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short play Old Hollywood pseudo-swashbucklers who find themselves wrapped up in a real-life bordertown standoff. Townies mistake them for the real deal, despite their Chi-Chi’s birthday sombreros, and ask the bedazzled trio to save them from the grips of El Guapo. A singing bush, an invisible swordsman, and a tense sing-a-long to “My Little Buttercup” were sadly not enough to get more than one out of four stars from Roger Ebert, but he was well beyond 9 years old when Three Amigos was first released, so.
Thursday, March 20: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Heights Theatre)
Some may call it bad form to include a screening that’s already technically sold out, which is the case with the Heights’ forthcoming screening of the Blake Edwards’ 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, featuring undoubtedly Audrey Hepburn’s most beloved performance. I’m including it here in order to stress the importance of keeping an eye out for those ever-popular Heights retrospectives as soon as tickets go on sale.
Friday, March 21 and ongoing: Nymphomaniac, Part 1 (Lagoon Theater)
Jonathon Sharp will be reviewing the latest succès de scandale from the current art house’s most infamous gadfly Lars Von Trier later this week. It’s four hours long, features lots of unsimulated sex sequences, invites Uma Thurman in for what may be one of the greatest single-scene performances of all time, lets Shia LeBeouf whip it out, and you only get to see half of it this weekend. Mad genius.