We’re rapidly approaching the summer solstice — the day when the sun can’t possibly be out for any longer than it will be. I’d like to hope that means there will be a lot of outdoor patio cocktails with people fanning themselves to beat the heat, but let’s be honest. This year is no normal year. So maybe heading to a movie will be your only aligning principle. Check out my list of the five best bets for local movie screenings during the next seven days.


Monday, June 17: It Happened One Night (Heights Theater)

As I said, everything seems goofy about this summer so far, with more rain than shine, more cool than warm. How about complementing our kooky, crazy-making environment by escaping the omnipresent raindrops at the Heights Theater, where they’ve got a whole season’s worth of screwball comedies to keep today’s modern young couples laughing-then-arguing over the differences between the sexes. It Happened One Night is certainly one of the most revered among the genre. It remains one of only three movies to have ever swept the top 5 Oscars — picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay — the other two being One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs, which to my taste is a funnier movie about the verbal parries and dodges between a man and a woman.


Thursday, June 20: Found Footage Festival: Best Of The Midwest (Heights Theater)

The Found Footage Festival is always good for a few laughs at the expense of outmoded, oddly mounted, or otherwise just plain tragic examples of filmmaking. They say comedy equals tragedy plus time, but sometimes proximity is just as important. Mel Brooks said tragedy is “when I get hurt,” and comedy is “when you fall down an open sewer hole and die.” Well, this time around, the FFF is focusing exclusively on videos that turn the Midwest (including Minnesota) into the sewer hole. Things could get messy.


Wednesday, June 19: 48 Hour Film Project Screenings (Riverview Theater)

Gather at the Riverview to take in the fruits of the latest 48 Hour Film Project challenge. Movies were due earlier this month, and the first screenings will take place on Wednesday, with finals to follow the next week. Click here for more information.


Friday, June 21 through Thursday, June 27: Much Ado About Nothing (Uptown Theater)

My fellow movie blogger Jonathon Sharp reviewed this movie a bit earlier. Here’s his take: “Whedon’s direction fills in what might be missed in the language. Some mouths, however, spit Shakespeare better than others. For instance, Jillian Morgese (who plays Hero) doesn’t sound nearly as good as Amy Acker (who plays Beatrice, the film’s female lead). That’s fine. But you notice it. Like the straight-up archaic-ness of the dialog itself, it takes you out of the story. Then again: What do you expect from a movie shot in just 12 days?”


Friday, June 21 through Thursday, June 27th: Life is Beautiful & Cinema Paradiso (Parkway Theater)

The theater currently owned by beloved Tex-Mex restaurant Pepito’s goes all Italian this coming weekend for their latest double feature. There’s not a whole lot else connecting the two of them, but the pairing still seems a natural fit. They are both among the small collection of foreign films intensely beloved by people who don’t particularly love foreign films, and just as intensely loathed by people who have seen more than a dozen of them in their lifetimes. (Don’t mind me. I’m still bitter that Roberto Begnini beat those other four guys at the 1998 Oscars and then climbed the seats like a mescaline-addled fool.)


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