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Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

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(credit: Universal)

(credit: Universal)

Eric Henderson Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson joined the WCCO.COM web team in June 2006 and currently...
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This week’s collection of movie best bets is a bit hastier than normal because, duh, you should be first and foremost checking out our daily selections from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. (To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.) Still, it’s not like the other theaters in town have shut down business for the two weeks. Quite the opposite. Just as the weather’s heating up, so are the number of movies enticing you to stay indoors.

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Monday, April 7 & Tuesday, April 8: Johnny Guitar (Trylon Microcinema)

Star Joan Crawford had nothing but venom for Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, calling it maybe the worst movie she ever did. Suffice it to say that her take on her own movies was as skewed as her take on proper parenting, but it’s also worth noting that the movie was raked over the coals by most critics back in 1954 and bombed unceremoniously. (In those days, box office performance was far more often held as synonymous with quality.) But time has vindicated it. It is almost without question one of the boldest movies Crawford, Ray, or post Golden Age Hollywood ever mustered.

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Wednesday, April 9: Charlie Victor Romeo & Flashback Memories 3-D (Walker Art Center)

The Walker Art Center is handling 3-D screenings for the MSPIFF, and both of Wednesday’s presentations look to be hot tickets. Charlie Victor Romeo is a recreation of an air disaster as “scripted” by actual cockpit voice recorder transcripts. And Flashback Memories profiles Japanese musician Goma, who was rehabilitated through the power of composition and performance after he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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Thursday, April 10: Rising From Ashes (Riverview Theater)

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and the Hiawatha Bicycling Club are hosting this documentary about cycling superstar Jock Boyer as he helps a group of Rwandan genocide survivors.

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Friday, April 11 & Saturday, April 12: The Wiz (Uptown Theater)

Pretty close to reviled on its original release and still not fully resurrected as the cult hit it deserves to be, the Motown-backed big-screen adaptation of The Wiz, Broadway’s funky Wizard of Oz update from the ’70s, is admittedly kind of a mess. But it’s a mess I grew up loving. Yeah, Diana Ross circa “Love Hangover” was at least a decade too old for the part of Dorothy. Yeah, Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon; Network) has about as much musical-theater aptitude as Sam Peckinpah. Yeah, most people who hold those pastel MGM backdrops dear won’t have any use for this movie’s whimsical Harlem graffiti and World Trade Center Emerald City. I would still argue that Ross, Michael Jackson, Ted Ross and Nipsey Russell are a game and appealing quartet, that Mabel King is fee-ahce as the wicked witch Evilene, and that Quincy Jones’ multi-million-dollar adaptations of Charlie Smalls’ original songs are as hummable and joyous as anything in the 1939 movie. If you are more an Earth, Wind & Fire person than a Glenn Miller person, this is your L. Frank Baum interpretation of choice. Ease on down the road this weekend at Uptown.

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Friday, April 11 and ongoing: Under the Skin, The Raid 2, & Alphaville (Uptown & Lagoon Theaters)

Are you kidding me with this, Landmark Theaters? Right in the thick of MSPIFF, you unleash three absolute, no-questions-asked must-see movies — Jonathan Glazer’s critically deified otherworldly masterpiece, the visceral follow-up to one of the most beloved action movies of the last dozen years, and a sparkling new restoration of Jean-Luc Godard’s vintage ’60s sci-fi noir? Well, who needed sleep anyway?

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