Think you’re going to catch a fallow period for moviegoing on the eve of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival next month? Think again. There are more essential screenings going on in this town than you can shake a snow shovel at. So put all your other plans on ice and check out some of these offerings:


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Tuesday, March 19: The Comedy (Trylon Microcinema)

If you’ve ever seen a few episodes of Adult Swim’s astonishing Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, you’re no doubt familiar with the comedy duo’s prickly, surreal, alienating sense of humor. Their punchlines land like the sort of depression so all-encompassing you have no choice but to laugh. Now comes Tim Heidecker in a dramatic rendition of hipsterdom’s entitled ennui and the self-loathing that comes with it. It’s like Halloween where the razor blades are hidden in PBR tallboys.


Wednesday, March 20: Margot At The Wedding (Walker Art Center)

“If I could read your handwriting, I’m sure I’d be furious.” Speaking of people with too much money who think too much of themselves, check out Noah Baumbach’s underrated family dramedy, starring Nicole Kidman as an insufferable, pompous intellectual who is none-too-thrilled to be paying witness to the wedding of her earthy sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to a porcine blowhard (Jack Black, playing a little too on-type here) and who can’t help but interject passive-aggressive snark into every single exchange. Devastatingly funny … whenever you’re not overcome with the urge to punch everyone in sight.


Tuesday, March 19 through Thursday, March 21: RaroVideo Series: Italian Classics (St. Anthony Main)

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Lesser-known films from Italian titans Michelangelo Antonioni (The Vanquished), Luchino Visconti (Conversation Piece) and Francesco Rosi (Many Wars Ago) are playing at St. Anthony Main over the next few days as programmed by Minnesota-based distributor RaroVideo U.S. If you have any interest in any of these auteurs — and you should — there’s no excuse not to catch at least one or two of them.


Thursday, March 21: Harold And Maude (Heights Theatre)

Hal Ashby’s beloved cult ’70s hit Harold and Maude is probably still familiar to some Twin Cities residents as the movie that played for so long at the now-defunct Westgate Theater on 45th and France that some local film fans took to picketing the theater to get them to change the program. It showed nearly 2,000 times over the course of two full years. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of one of those record-breaking screenings (not exactly sure which one), the Heights Theater is paying tribute to Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon’s darkly comic May-December romance with one (just one!) screening of the film.


Friday, March 22 & Saturday, March 23: The Evil Dead (Parkway Theater)

Some are die-hard Dead By Dawn fans, and to them I offer a hearty “Groovy!” Others swing their boomsticks around for Army of Darkness, and I kind of want to slap them around like those skeletal arms in the medieval cemetery. I’ve always been partial to the original Evil Dead movie, made over the course of years by the indefatigable Sam Raimi, who turned some paper clips, spray paint, paper-mâché and 16mm film stock into one of the zaniest, goriest, most inventive American horror movies ever. What Night of the Living Dead was to the era of civil rights, political assassinations and the generation gap, The Evil Dead was to the Pac-Man generation. (The screening is obviously a tie-in with the forthcoming remake, but let’s just for a few more weeks pretend that didn’t happen.)

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Eric Henderson