According to the URL for this blog post, this is the 100th edition of “This Week’s Best Bets.” How time flies when you’re sitting in the dark for an untold number of two-hour chunks. And what better way is there to spend the aftermath of a long election campaign drawing to a close and some of the first snowflakes promising a long, cold, harsh winter ahead? That’s right — watching movies. This week’s selections for the best limited release and repertory screenings around town boasts more than just a few somber, slow and possibly downright depressing options. And then Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell shimmying their diamonds. Read on:


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Wednesday, Nov. 5:  Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Walker Art Center)

You’ve missed your opportunity to see Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Palme d’Or winning new film Winter Sleep, which would’ve been the most appropriate title to catch at this seasonal juncture. However, there are still opportunities to see some of his other acclaimed works. This week, the Walker Art Center is presenting his pseudo-murder mystery (told somewhat from the outside-in) Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.


Thursday, Nov. 6 through Sunday, Nov. 9:  Arab Film Festival (St. Anthony Main Theater)

Now celebrating its ninth edition, the Mizna Twin Cities Arab Film Festival is taking place vis-à-vis the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul, with screenings to be held at St. Anthony Main. Click above for a full schedule, but know that there are a number of screenings at which the directors will be present. One screening to note in particular is the short documentary (packaged with two others) Karama Has No Walls, which was nominated for an Oscar last spring, and in all likelihood probably came pretty close to winning the thing. More to come tomorrow.


Friday, Nov. 7 & Saturday, Nov. 8:  Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage) (Walker Art Center)

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You know what you’re getting into when you watch latter day Jean-Luc Godard. What you don’t know is from what angle, or rather angles. A Cannes sensation and, though you probably shouldn’t take my word for it, the prickly director’s most accessible and formally playful film since … well, possibly since his ’60s heyday. Movie blogger Jonathon Sharp will present a review of the film in a little bit.


Friday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 9:  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Trylon Microcinema)

When Jane Russell hits the gym to ask a bunch of taut, tawny, toned Olympic athletes “Is there anyone here for love?” and the apparent answer, despite Russell’s infamously come-hither assets, comes back a resounding “meh,” you’ll have to forgive dozens and dozens of gay cinema theorists for reading between those incredibly broad lines. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has been described by some as the Battleship Potemkin of frothy, girlish musical entertainments. Directed by Howard Hawks with all the subtlety of a redwood being felled (no, make that a redwood decked out with red and pink tinsel), Blondes splits the extra prodigious bill between Monroe and Russell, playing just two little girls from Little Rock who board a transatlantic cruise-liner in hope of landing their own little Rockefellers. Curvaceous chaos ensues, culminating in Monroe’s most iconic musical performance, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Can’t miss frivolity.


Sunday, Nov. 9:  Batman (Area AMC Theaters)

I can’t tell whether AMC is tying this in with the release of Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar this week or whether it’s a nod to Michael Keaton’s comeback performance in Birdman. Either way, a great opportunity to see Jack Nicholson literally eating money on the screen and wiping his mouth with more money. Also plays on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

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Eric Henderson