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Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 26 at 14:00 PM

Better late than never!

The news:

Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday. Not a bad year at all for the major categories, though the foreign film selections are an embarrassing mess. The ceremony itself is still imperiled, but the WGA made some significant concessions this week, raising hopes for a red carpet with actual stars.

After high expectations, sales were quite slow at Sundance. Baghead, a horror-comedy by the directors of the laidback The Puffy Chair, sold yesterday to the mini-major Sony Pictures Classics, so you should be seeing that in theaters sometime this year. Previously sold: Frozen River, about poverty and human smuggling in upstate New York; the high school doc American Teen; an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke; the high school comedy Hamlet 2; and Henry Poole Was Here, a “spiritual drama” starring Luke Wilson. Manohla Dargis loves Sugar, which sounds awesome (it’s a baseball drama from the directors of Half Nelson), and a strong crop of regional films.

And you all already know Heath Ledger is dead, right? Depressing.

Opening this week:


In On Screen this week, it’s all about the ladies. The engaging Persepolis (an adaptation of the graphic-novel memoir about growing up during the Iranian Revolution, by Marjane Satrapi, whom I interview here), the John Cusack-starring Grace Is Gone (technically about a dead lady—Jen Graves says, “The whole movie is a fake, charming though it may be in the scenes that feature blissfully ignorant 8-year-old Dawn, played by Gracie Bednarczyk, who could be forgiven for not realizing she’s in a sad movie”), the vagina dentata-themed Teeth (me: “The studiously insipid imagery, the ersatz ‘promise’ rings—abstinence-only education was way past due for a camp takedown”), and the Canadian-Caribbean step extravaganza How She Move (me again: “The only reason to watch How She Move is the elaborate, thrilling dance routines at the climactic competition”).

A ridiculous number of limited runs this week, thanks to a wide-ranging Children’s Film Festival at NWFF (labeled “CFF” in the drop-down movie times search) and the awesome Rialto series at SIFF Cinema. Don’t miss Eyes Without a Face tonight or Band of Outsiders Wednesday (playing in a double feature with Two or Three Things I Know About Her). For something more lowbrow, check out the rare prints in the grindhouse double feature at Grand Illusion. Prefer something free? Check out Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America, an advance look at an upcoming PBS doc.

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How She Move is actually a very stimulating film. I saw it last year at Sundance when it was just a little indie, and I'm impressed that its done so well for itself.

Posted by Carollani | January 26, 2008 2:12 PM

This post is a little too 'inside baseball' for me. How do you even get to see the foreign language films and why are they "an embarrassing mess"?

Posted by la | January 26, 2008 2:12 PM

Sorry, @2, I posted about that last week. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, the Romanian entry, was heavily favored going into the nominations. It (along with Persepolis) was rejected in favor of a really weird slate of movies nobody seems to care much about. I should say, however: I haven't seen any of the actual nominees yet, so I can't really judge their merits.

Posted by annie | January 26, 2008 2:19 PM

Thanks for that. I thought I was living under a rock or something. The post made it seem like all the foreign language films were terrible, which seems unlikely.

Posted by la | January 26, 2008 4:17 PM

Persepolis was GREAT! Everyone loved it - me, two female friends, my 16yo son.

Looking forward to Band of Brothers.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 26, 2008 4:38 PM

I saw "Persepolis" this afternoon too. It was GREAT but I took little catnaps during it, so I don't know what I missed. But if I had a 16-year-old son, he would have loved it, and anyone else who might have been with me had they come.

Who knew Danielle Darrieux was still among the living? Looking forward to "Beaufort" winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film because well, you know, Hollywood.

Posted by UNWILLING IN SEATTLE | January 26, 2008 10:39 PM


Posted by John Pontoon | January 27, 2008 8:55 AM

I've seen The Counterfeiters, and it isn't bad, but it shouldn't have been nominated over 4 Months. But I'm thrilled Persepolis received an animation nod, though it doesn't stand a chance against Ratatouille (and I can live with that).

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | January 27, 2008 3:46 PM

Can't wait to see "Teeth".

Just found this on another site:
The Vagina Dentata Purse, by artist Kate Kretz

Posted by louisa Kater | January 28, 2008 7:06 AM

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