The B movies are starting to push out some of the underperforming Oscar contenders from area multiplexes. As much as I love the idea of Movie 43 playing alongside Zero Dark Thirty, maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere for your movie fixes. Here are some of my picks for the best movie viewing options this week.


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Monday, Jan. 28 through Thursday, Jan. 31: Beware of Mr. Baker & Only the Young (St. Anthony Main)

You have a few more days to catch two of the crown jewels of The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Frozen Docs series. Jonathon Sharp reviewed both of them for this blog, and here’s what he has to say on both. Beware of Mr. Baker: “No gushing profile. The movie suggests that for great art humanity must sometimes tolerate a man who loves dogs and horses more than his fellow men, who makes, at best, questionable decisions when it comes to finances and friends, and who will pick the drums over his wife and children. What you think of that argument will affect your view of the documentary, but it won’t stop anyone from enjoying Mr. Baker’s story — even if he hits you in the face with a cane.” Only the Young: “The juxtaposition of joy and crisis, augmented by the unpredictability of where the doc is going, gives Only the Young a youthful, gentle flow. Moreover, the film is made all the more interesting by the fact the teen subjects aren’t something out of Kids. Garrison, Kevin and Skye are healthy, in a word “normal” teenagers -–  they’re not too difficult to relate to.”


Wednesday, Jan. 23: 71 Fragments on a Chronology of Chance (Trylon Microcinema)

Oddly enough, the older Michael Haneke gets, the less of a knee-jerk misanthrope he seems, though I know some people have emerged from his newest movie Amour resolute as ever that the man just doesn’t see most humans as fit to live. His 1994 film 71 Fragments on a Chronology of Chance brought his either arrogant or uncompromising (your choice) “glaciation trilogy” to a fractured, violent conclusion. See it for yourself and read the tea leaves. I’ll be over here remaining grateful for the hard turn he took with 2000’s Code Unknown.


Friday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, Feb. 3: Ball Of Fire (Trylon Microcinema)

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Howard Hawks, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Alfred Newman, Gregg Toland. I could say more, but why bother?


Friday, Feb. 1 through Thursday, Feb. 7: Oscar-Nominated Short Films — Animated and Live Action (Uptown Theater)

One of the coolest side effects of the ever-growing ubiquity of what publicists and pundits alike call “Oscar season” (which, in case you didn’t know, just started for next year’s awards with the announcement of the Sundance Film Festival Awards; yep, a year-round Oscar calendar, get used to it) is that people outside of Hollywood have started to pay serious attention to the short film categories. Which is pretty great regardless of the quality of any given year’s slates in the three fields (i.e. animated, live action, documentary), because this year’s Oscar-nominated short film directors often yield next year’s hot feature length commodities. Uptown Theater will be presenting programs for two of the three categories (not documentaries, for some reason) starting this Friday. Later this week, I’ll rank out the nominees in a separate blog post according to their Oscar chances and my own personal favorites of the bunch, so keep an eye out for that.


Saturday, Feb. 2: Piper at The Gates of Oz (Parkway Theater)

Feeling trippy? Check out The Wizard of Oz accompanied live by the Pink Floyd tribute band Momentary Lapse of Floyd, as they sync up the proggy rock gods’ Dark Side of the Moon LP to the movie many say they intended to be played along simultaneously. Of course, most of the people who claim the movie and album are unified aren’t always in the soberest of states.

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Eric Henderson