By Eric Henderson

Mea culpa. I know that I’ve been largely absent over the last few weeks. It was never my intention to shirk my duties to highlight some of the best local repertory and limited-release movie options. This week is so chock full of possibilities that I couldn’t let it fall by the wayside. And I promise from here on out, I’ll be a much more reliable cinematic tour guide. I whittled this week’s bounty down to the five you see below, but one of the films that didn’t survive my final edit looks amazing enough to cite on its own here: Chris Mason Johnson’s AIDS drama Test (pictured above), which screens tonight and tomorrow at the Trylon. Also of note, the Trylon’s always-fun The Defenders series this month features none other than local rock god (and former WCCO staffer) Mark Mallman, presenting one of his beloved but possibly highly denigrated pet faves. You won’t want to miss it.

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Wednesday, Sept. 17: The Blob (Pioneers and Soldier Memorial Cemetery)

Tuesday is supposed to be a #Top10WxDay, and according to Lauren Casey, Wednesday should be about as nice, though there might be a little chill settling into the air after dusk. Which will make Pioneers and Soldier Memorial Cemetery the perfect setting for a screening of the classic 1950s horror hit The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and a half-melted jelly bean filmed against a bunch of matted backdrops. OK, so maybe the film hasn’t aged so gracefully. Isn’t that part of its charm?

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Thursday, Sept. 18: Trailer Trash Episode IV: A New Hope (Theaters at Mall of America)

I’m not just saying it because MOA gave me a pullquote in their promotional materials for the series, but “Trailer Trash gives itself over to the cinematic dogs of a particularly funky, grotty history.” Which is to say it sure beats any given Oscar night. The latest installment promises “some Van Dammage, co-eds in peril and former athletes tackling the big screen.” And after all the trailers are through, fans will get treated to a feature length film. Will it be a diamond in the rough or a schlock-sterpiece? You’ll have to show up to find out.

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Friday, Sept. 19 & Saturday, Sept. 20: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Walker Art Center)

Kumiko, which competed at Sundance earlier this year, is engaged with Minnesota’s cinematic history in a totally unique way. The film stars Rinko Kikuchi (who was nominated for best supporting actress in 2006’s Babel) as a woman fixated on finding the stash of cash Steve Buscemi’s character supposedly buried in the snow in the Coen Brothers classic Fargo. For any Minnesotan who was duped by Ethan and Joel’s totally fabricated assertion that the original movie was based on a true case, Kumiko offers up the portrait of a kindred soul. Walker will be hosting the writer-director brother duo of Nathan and David Zellner for post-screening discussions.

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Friday, Sept. 19 thru Sunday, Sept. 21: Fox and His Friends (Trylon Microcinema)

No filmmaker in the era of feature-length filmmaking was prolific on the same level as Rainer Werner Fassbinder. His career spanned not much more than a dozen years, and he produced upwards of 40 films and TV dramas (including that massive 15-hour behemoth Berlin Alexanderplatz). Most of his films were intimately personal affairs for Fassbinder, but few probably cut quite so close to the bone for the tragic figure as Fox and His Friends, in which a suddenly successful gay man finds himself victimized by everyone claiming to be his friend.

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Monday, Sept. 15 thru Thursday, Sept. 25: The Zero Theorem (St. Anthony Main Theater)

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A full review is forthcoming of Terry Gilliam’s latest film, which he also calls the culmination of a future dystopian trilogy along with 1985’s Brazil and 1995’s 12 Monkeys. If it’s even a fraction as good as either of those, it will be worth at least a watch.

Eric Henderson