Too often I tie your decision on whether or not you should catch a limited-release or repertory screening in the Twin Cities based solely on the weather. For much of the last year or two, that’s been a winning bet on my part, with two endless winters and stifling summers. This week, I lose that bet, because aside from a grey, rainy Monday, the rest of the week is expected to be pretty gorgeous. So, forget I said anything about the weather ever (and forget I’m going to say anything about the weather in the future, either). You have five fantastic reasons below why you should want to sit in the dark with strangers.


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Monday, May 19: Family Plot (Riverview Theater)

Alfred Hitchcock’s last movie wasn’t a major hit upon its initial 1976 release. And, in fact, next to some of that year’s splashiest thrillers like Carrie and The Omen, many thought it looked creaky and antiquated. Their loss. Time has vindicated Family Plot enough so that it joins a long list of great final films from cinematic masters that were misunderstood and/or undervalued in their day — Dreyer’s Gertrud, Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Fassbinder’s Querelle, Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible. The cavalier treatment given this lighter romp (itself a bit of a throwback to things like The Lady Vanishes, rather than Frenzy’s nods to Psycho) may have had something to do with Hitchcock’s falling star in the wake of Topaz and Torn Curtain. A pity, really.


Wednesday, May 21: The Defenders: Lydia Liza (Trylon Microcinema)

It’s never a bad idea to head to the Trylon for their monthly, top secret “Defenders” screening. This month’s one-off curator is none other than local musician Lydia Liza. I’m not saying that it’s going to be a modern music-centric documentary, or that it’s going to be the opposite. Actually, I’m not going to say the screening will be anything, in particular, because the whole point is you’re supposed to show up and be surprised. (That said, there’s also a bonus “Defenders” screening on Thursday selected by Trylon’s own director Barry Kryshka. It’s sold out, so I feel no such compunction about speculating wildly. The event says it’s “very much a ‘one time only’ chance to see a certain movie, in a certain way, on a big screen,” and you may note that this next week marks the anniversary of a certain one-time all-time box-office champ’s original release.)


Friday, May 23 & Saturday, May 24: Princess Mononoke (Uptown Theatre)

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Here’s something sort of neat: a chance to see Hayao Miyazaki on the big screen without the nuisance of heavily Disney-fied American voiceover dubs. And it’s not just any Miyazaki movie but the one that arguably turned him into something close to a household name: 1997’s environmental epic Princess Mononoke. The movie screens this weekend as part of Uptown Theatre’s midnight series. (Incidentally, you can also catch Miyazaki’s latest — The Wind Rises — this week at the Riverview. While the historical biopic is certainly a great deal more foursquare than Mononoke, or indeed any other classic Miyazaki films, it still boasts some truly haunting sequences such as the extended depiction of the 1923 Kanto earthquake.)


Friday, May 23 thru Thursday, May 29: Only Lovers Left Alive (St. Anthony Main Theater)

Befitting a movie about the undead, St. Anthony Main is giving Jim Jarmusch’s latest a second chance in the Twin Cities. Only Lovers Left Alive (one of this year’s most notable movies to date) stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as an ice-cold vampire couple. Not just the coolest cast of the year, they’re also in one of the coldest vampire movies this side of Let the Right One In.


Saturday, May 24: The General (Pioneers and Soldier Memorial Cemetery)

It’s a bit of a shame that the powers that be couldn’t have orchestrated it so that the Jarmusch movie was the one screening in this particular venue, but that may have been a bit too (ahem) irreverent. Instead, why not literally laugh in the face of death by taking in a screening of Buster Keaton’s classic comedy The General (often included on list of both the best silent movies and the best comedies of all time) in Pioneers and Soldier Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis this Saturday evening. More about the screening here.

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Eric Henderson