The Butler scored a #1 berth in its debut week in theaters, which means the summer movie season is more or less officially over. In that vein, there’s a bunch of serious (and seriously humorous) screening options around town this week. Check out these five options:


Monday, August 19 through Thursday, August 22: Lovelace (St. Anthony Main Theater)

Amanda Seyfried has been earning solid notices for playing Linda Lovelace, star of the infamous Deep Throat who later turned into an outspoken voice in opposition of the porn industry. (And Sharon Stone has been winning raves for her de-glammed turn as the porn star’s mother.) With shades of Boogie Nights, directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl, The Celluloid Closet) once again turn their attention toward the representation of sexuality in modern mass media.


Wednesday, August 21 & Thursday, August 22: The Defenders + Modern Noir Defenders (Trylon Microcinema)

Fans of Take-Up Productions’ ingenious The Defenders series will get a shot at a one-two dose this week. The program invites movers and shakers in the Twin Cities arts/media scene to present an offbeat personal favorite, defending an otherwise maligned, misunderstood or just plain unknown film and daring the audience not to make it all the way through. The titles are never announced in advance, and screenings are totally free … that is, unless you try to leave before the movie’s done. This week marks the second anniversary of the series, so who better to serve as the master defender than the man behind it, Jim Brunzell? As an added cherry on top, a reading of the latest issue of Twin Cities Noir this Thursday will be followed by a special “Defenders” screening of an unnamed modern noir film. Admission to that is free for anyone who attends the reading.


Thursday, August 22: Big Joy: The Adventures Of James Broughton (Walker Art Center)

You might say that James Broughton drank life for every drop it’s worth. Artistically a proponent of happiness above all else, his experimental films nuzzled right into the furry California next wherein the wonder of discovery, the liberation of open expression and the boundless horizons of sexual freedom met. While some may regard his works as the ultimate in “you had to be there” indulgence, there’s just as much fuel behind the argument that now, more than ever, one can’t discount the rarity of honest, good vibrations. Big Joy, a new documentary about the life and times of Broughton, will screen at the Walker this Thursday following a showing of one of his most sexually frank shorts, 1968’s The Bed. Director Stephen Silha will be on hand, and I’ll have a Q&A with him in the Movie Blog later this week.


Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25: Land of Milk and Honey (Trylon Microcinema)

Without a doubt the most offbeat selection in a series profiling an already offbeat, underheralded talent, Land of Milk and Honey sees French comedian/filmmaker Pierre Étaix forging a documentary-ish look at the Left Bank uprising of May 1968. (Almost every filmmaker in the country made one of these excepting perhaps Jacques Tati; the best of which probably remains Chris Marker’s A Grin without a Cat.) Tackling every subject under the sun and still taking time to turn the mirror on himself, Étaix here seems to prefigure the dazzling faux-introspection of Orson Welles’ F for Fake.


Saturday, August 24: Twin Cities Motion Pictures (Parkway Theater)

As one of the Facebook event comments says: “We like bikes here in the ‘hood! Why not bike movies?” The Parkway is hosting an evening’s worth of bike-themed films, including the documentary Bikes Over Baghdad (BMX riders perform in the Middle East) and the award-winning short The Cyclist.


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