Thursday, September 30, 2010

music in motion at fine line tonight

It's Day 3 of the Twin Cities Film Fest tonight, and there's a special showing at the Fine Line starting at 7.  Music in Motion showcases locally-made music videos and even some live performances, all for $10/$12.  Check it out tonight.

Between the bands, we will be screening music video premieres from
Greg Hubacek and Victor Rukavina – DOOMTREE
Phil Harder – THE STAR FOLK
Andrew Melby – TOKI WRIGHT
Jon Thompson – CLOUD CULT
Shane Nelson – SICK OF SARAH
Joe Brandmeier – READY GOES
Jesse Roesler – Rockumentary – Man & Machine: Godried and Moniek’s Naked Robotic Orchestra – SNEAK PREVIEW!

minneapolis project 2010 at riverview tonight

The Riverview is screening a collection of short movies about neighborhoods in Minneapolis tonight at 7pm.  The shorts were all produced specifically for the Minneapolis Project 2010, a series put together by the Cinema Revolution Society and IFP MN with the stated mission to, "exhibit a cross-section of life and stories on film, and to collectively create a cinematic portrait of Minneapolis."  Tickets are $10.

Minneapolis Project 2010 Trailer from Minneapolis Project 2010 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

videos: sept 29 edition

Videos from MPLS.TV & City Pages, The Perennial Plate, an advertisement for the Lazerbeak album release party, and a trailer for Minnesota natives Joel and Ethan Coen's new film, True Grit.

City of Music: Gayngs from MPLS.TV on Vimeo.

The Perennial Plate Episode 28: (Wild) Rice Lake from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

Lazerbeak "Legend Recognize Legend" Album Release Party from Doomtree Records on Vimeo.

twin cities film fest kicks off... last night

Yesterday began the inaugural Twin Cities Film Festival.  Things started off with the documentary Waiting For Superman screening at the Mall of America followed by a Q&A with the film's director, Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth).  The 5-day festival continues tonight with three screenings, including Nowhere Boy and locally-made Phasma Ex Machina playing at Block E and the first screening in their Mexican films program, Sin Retorno, playing at the Mall of America.

There was a feature on this festival in Sunday's Strib by movie critic Colin Covert, and I must say it seems he was biting his tongue just a little bit [I'd link to the article, but it's locked for those who don't subscribe to the rag].  For example, sub headers that say "Organizer insists that yes, we do need a new film fest," suggest there's a fair amount of skepticism surrounding this event.  I'd have to count myself as one questioning the need for such a program.  I'll let the Strib article explain my thoughts on this (emphasis mine):
No one could argue that there is a shortage of such events here.  There's the huge Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival... the music-oriented Sound Unseen... specialized Polish, gay, Arab, black, Jewish, Italian and French series, the globetrotting Beyond Borders lineup, even a Bicycle Film Festival.  Some observers would argue that we're already at the saturation point.
Attendance and coverage of the aforementioned events are depressingly sparse, making the need for a "come-one, come-all festival" seem exaggerated.  I would believe it to be very worthwhile for someone to better promote and connect the numerous niche festivals that are already in place, leading to better coverage and attendance for these important and focused cultural events.

Covert's skepticism continues:
Most of the major films are scheduled to arrive in theaters over the next few weeks or months.
Last night, for the price $25, you could've have driven down to Bloomington to view the premiere film.  Or you could wait till Friday when the movie opens up at the Lagoon and catch it for $9.

I don't want to be too much of a downer on this festival, because there are definitely a few worthwhile events, most of which are of the locally-produced variety.  In addition to tonight's Phasma Ex Machina, there are two other feature-length Minnesota-made films, and I'm sure to attend their "Music In Motion" program screening at the Fine Line tomorrow night.

Besides, starting a festival of this size is by no means an easy task.  I'm holding out hope that this year's fest is mostly a chance for the organizers to get their feet wet, stake out their claim in the metro area's film scene, and hopefully expand on their mission and focus in the years to come.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

cosi fan tutte at the heights tonight

The Heights has a special opera performance showing on the big screen tonight, starting at 7:15:
An opera in 2 acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From the Royal Opera House. Running time 200 minutes including one intermission. Sung in Italian with English subtitles. Starring Pavol Breslik, Stéphane Degout, Thomas Allen, Maria Bengtsson, Jurgita Adamonyte, Rebecca Evans. This witty tale of deception and girlfriend-swapping, paired with Mozart’s radiant score, has made audiences laugh and sigh for centuries. Jonathan Miller’s ever-popular production updates the 18th century to today – for while fashions and technology
may have changed since Mozart’s time, love is as complicated as ever! Date of Performance September 10, 2010. Conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. Director Jonathan Miller.
I'd also like to point out that music has changed over time, but they opted not to change that for the production (which is probably for the best considering Mozart's still held in pretty high regard).

More importantly, this description doesn't really tell you any of the juicy parts of the story, so I'll let my good friend Wikipedia fill you in:
In a cafe, Ferrando and Guglielmo (two officers) express certainty that their fiancées (Dorabella and Fiordiligi, respectively) will be eternally faithful. Don Alfonso joins the discussion and lays a wager with the two officers, claiming he can prove in a day's time that these two women (like all women) are fickle. The wager is accepted.
Oh boy.  If this were real life I'd say things are about to get ugly.  Luckily it's an opera, and it seems like the consequences will be hilarious. Here's a clip from a random performance of act 1 scene 2:

If they had Youtube back in 18th century America this would definitely be NSFW.

Monday, September 27, 2010

my takeaways: max manus

This weekend I had the pleasure of viewing the historical war film Max Manus, which is screening at St Anthony until Thursday this week.  This Norwegian movie tells the story of World War II resistance fighter Max Manus, who sabotaged war boats and issued propaganda to fight Nazi occupation in his home country.  It's a well done thriller that received enough attention during last spring's MSPIFF to warrant a two-week run this fall, courtesy MN Film Arts.  While this isn't a full review of the movie, here are just some initial thoughts that have stuck in my mind since my initial viewing (there are spoilers in here, so if you know you're going to watch the movie you should come back to this post afterwards):


•The First 90% Of The Movie Is A Prelude To The Last 10%
For the most part Max Manus is a well-executed action film -- We’ve got oppressed citizens fighting everyone’s favorite baddies in the Nazis, and history repeats itself for all to enjoy.  The Nazis have lost and left Norway, but the movie plays on.  How does are hero enjoy the life of decorated veteran?  He drinks his lonely self into oblivion.  He wallows in pity, guilt and scotch with the ghosts of his friends, all victims in the Nazis relentless pursuit of Norway’s most dangerous terrorist.  His reward for returning freedom to his country is the opportunity to protect his king during a ticker-tape parade, while Norwegian flags are mockingly waved in his face.  Considering America’s current difficulty in returning soldiers to normalcy after serving in the armed services, the film’s conclusion comes off as a stinging criticism toward allied forces’ handling of depression and PTSD in military personal.

•Camera Tricks
One sequence that’s stuck in my mind takes place during an escape scene in which Manus and his men are running through the streets with Nazis hot on their heels.  The camera is focused on Manus running through the streets when it cuts to the reverse shot.  Now we’re behind Manus running into the intersection where he gets gunned down and run over.  Only as the camera cuts back to its previous angle we see Manus is still standing in the sidewalk where we last saw him on.  It turns out that the murder both the audience and Manus witnessed was actually the death of another accomplice in their plot.  That sly camera tricked us all into believing we just saw Manus murdered.  Is that also what Max Manus saw?  Did he see his own death before him?  Is that what he wanted to see?  Whatever the case, this pivotal scene was a turning point in the title character’s mental state.  His obsession about the role his actions play in the countless deaths of his friends around him slowly eat away at his emotional stability throughout the remainder of the film.

•Terrorism in World War II And The Current War On Terror
If the Nazis are fighting Norwegian terrorists in World War II, then what does that make America in the middle east?  (Everyone else is making Nazi comparisons these days, why can’t movies.)  While the entirety of his intentions aren’t explicit, German Siegfried Fehmer makes his case for Nazi occupation as a way of bringing peace and stability to Norway, a country he loves enough to desire planting roots there.  In addition to that jab directed toward our own country’s foreign policies, there are references to the power of journalism and propaganda as a tool to drum up support or, more importantly in our current context, willfully ignore the other side of the story.


You can find showtimes for Max Manus here.

2nd installment of six sci-fi classics screening tonight

"Before CGI: Six Sci-Fi Classics" continues tonight with a double feature.  In fact, one might say it's an "alien invasion double feature:"


Before CGI: Six Sci-Fi Classics

War of the Worlds

The Heights

Mon Sep 27 7:30 
Alien invasion double feature! (1953, Byron Haskin, DVD, 85m) Amazing visual- and sound- effects dominate this sci-fi classic. The Martians' space ships featured a cobra-eye weapon that shoot disintegrating rays and whose freaky noise will haunt you in the night. Not even Spielberg could improve on the original. Unfortunately, Paramount has "de-confirmed" our reservation for the archive 35mm print, we will be screening the film with the Heights new 12,000 lumen digital projector. NOTE: All tickets for War of the Worlds include admission to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


Before CGI: Six Sci-Fi Classics

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The Heights

Mon Sep 27 9:15 
Alien invasion double feature! (1956, Don Siegel, 35mm, 80min) Rakish country doctor Miles Bennell has a nagging suspicion that the wave of hysteria sweeping sleepy Santa Mira, CA might be something more sinister than paranoia. What if he’s right? What if he’s the only one who’s right?

Which tale of extraterrestrial takeover seems more terrifying?  Plausible?  Hilarious?  It's too close to call, so just see them both.

the coming week: sept 27th

•Monday, Sept 27
War of the Worlds - 7:30 @ The Heights.  2nd week of Take-Up Productions Sci-Fi Mondays.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 9:15 @ The Heights. 2nd movie in 2nd week of Take-Up Productions Sci-Fi Mondays.
•Tuesday, Sept 28
Twin Cities Film Fest Kick-off.  Waiting For Superman - 7:00 @ Mall of America Theaters.  Sold out.
Cosi Fan Tutte - 7:15 @ The Heights.  Special HD opera event.

•Thursday, Sept 30
"Music In Motion" program - 7:00 @ Fine Line Cafe.  Locally produced music videos and performances as part of TCFF.
Minneapolis Project 2010 - 7:00 @ Riverview.  Short films, each an ode to a different Minneapolis neighborhood.
Howl - 7:30 @ The Walker.  Regional premiere of this Sundance selection about the life of Allen Ginsburg.  Sold out.

•Friday, Oct 1
"Manhattan Short Film Festival" - 7:00 @ St Anthony Main.  View select shorts and vote for which should move on to the larger competition.
"Autumn Music and Movies" present The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - 9:15 @ Lake Harriet Bandshell.  Twilight Hours perform before the screening of this 1964 Jacques Demy musical.

Friday, September 24, 2010

winnebago man at the lagoon, local reviews

When I first heard about the documentary Winnebago Man, the story of the man behind the infamous YouTube clips of the same name, I had no idea how one would fill a feature length film with compelling content.  Like so many other Internet sensations, this just seemed like a way to exploit truly funny and original material for cheap money in a more traditional, financially-proven medium.  After reading reviews for this film in the Strib and PiPress, I still have little idea of what goes on the movie, but I'm less skeptical than I was a few months back.

In this documentary, filmmaker Ben Steinbauer takes center stage in his pursuit of the man behind these bizarre, no-budget commercials, Jack Rebney.  It appears that their discussions come across topics like the legacy such stardom leaves for individuals, as well as the intentions one has in making a documentary of this nature.  Rob Nelson writes:
"Winnebago Man" openly invites the question of whether its subject deserves the camera's rapt attention... the movie becomes oddly deep and even poignant. The Winnebago man's frighteningly sizable legend seems totally beyond him.
Chris Hewitt adds:
Rebney reveals he has more complicated feelings than he pretended, and he and Steinbauer begin a contentious, disturbing dance that forces Steinbauer to examine his motives for making "Winnebago Man" and that reveals Rebney as perhaps this year's most complicated movie "character."
There seems to be plenty of interesting ideas being tossed around to peak my interest.  You can check out the movie at the Lagoon all week.

star wars at lake harriet bandshell

Don't tell me a little 60 degree autumnal weather is gonna keep you from checking the latest installment of's "Autumn Music and Movie" series.  Let me tell you this folks, you're gonna be kept warm all night with some rollicking good tunes from Mark Mallman followed by some edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thrills in the 1977 classic Star Wars.

On a side note, I'm eagerly anticipating the premiere of this tv show:

last weekend for mel brooks at the trylon

This is the last weekend for Take-Up Productions' series "Mel Brooks: The Orgasm of Insanity."  Today, tomorrow and Sunday you can watch his classic Young Frankenstein along with his lesser known High Anxiety at the Trylon.  If you haven't been to one of these screenings yet this month, now's your last chance to see some big laughs on the big screen.


Mel Brooks: The Orgasm of Insanity

Young Frankenstein

The Trylon

Fri Sep 24 8:50 Sat Sep 25 7:00 Sun Sep 26 5:00 
(1974, BD, 106min) Filmed in beautiful black and white, and on the same sets as the original Frankenstein, this is Mel Brooks' masterpiece, a hilarious and often quite moving parody of the James Whale original. 


Mel Brooks: The Orgasm of Insanity

High Anxiety

The Trylon

Fri Sep 24 7:00 Sat Sep 25 9:00 Sun Sep 26 7:00 
(1977, BD, 94min) Brooks plays Dr. Richard Thorndyke, the new administrator for the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous, in this loving sendoff of the Master of Suspense. Hitchcock tributes include a scatological take on The Birds, and a memorable riff on the Psycho shower. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

gentlemen prefer blondes at the heights

Tonight you can view a restored 35mm print of the Howard Hawks picture, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are at their zenith in this truly exceptional musical comedy camp fest. Directed by Howard Hawks at A lightening pace, and featuring the classic DIAMONDS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND musical number, this film is a classic of its genre.  And all of it will be presented in a beautiful new digitally restored 35mm print!! Two singers, best friends Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris pursued by a private detective hired by Lorelei's fiancé's disapproving father to keep an eye on her, a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.  35mm print courtesy Criterion Pictures and Twentieth Century-Fox.
Admittedly, I haven't watched many of Hawks' films, but he's supposedly the master of the genre film.  Well, I'm not exactly sure if that's what to say, so I'll rephrase that.  He understands so many genres inside and out that he can tackle all of them flawlessly.  At least that's what some film guru told me years ago.  See how well he works with musicals at the Heights tonight at 7:30.

lost in woonsocket at riverview tonight

The Riverview is presenting a one-time screening of the documentary Lost In Woonsocket tonight at 7pm.  This movie comes out of the A&E reality series Random 1, where hosts John Chester and Andre Miller go across the country helping total strangers in need.  The show has been cancelled for four years, but the team has come back to help one of the strangers they came across during the taping of the show.

I've never heard of this film, but the description on the Riverview's website leads me to believe there are some interesting questions being asked in it.   The documentary seems to contain a good discussion about the effect these reality programs have on the mental and emotional state of the show's subjects. Then again, maybe it's just the story of our hosts' struggle to save two alcoholics with nothing but each other.

The movie premiered at South by Southwest and is screening tonight at Riverview at 7pm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

trash film debauchery tonight at the trylon

Alright, some real works of art for you.  Trash Film Debauchery's got a new presentation for everybody at the Trylon tonight:
The Boxer's Omen is a guaranteed face melting martial arts showdown between good and evil, demon and priest, wizard and ghost. While in Thailand to avenge his brother who was crippled in a fight with a corrupt Thai boxer, a man gets caught up in a web of fate, Buddhism and black magic. The Boxer's Omen showcases pulse pounding action scenes featuring some of the most visually haunting and eye ball teorrizing special effect sequences ever committed to film. The Boxer's omen will make you gasp, it will make you howl, it will make your brain turn to glow in the dark jelly. 
You can never tell how sarcastic people are when they're writing for the Internet, so I'm just gonna assume they mean "face melting" in a very literal sense.  Check it out at the Trylon at 7:30 tonight.

I'm not sure who those dudes at the end of the clip are, but I'd forgive you for stopping the video when they come on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

music and food videos

I got two videos for you today.  Today's pair includes another edition of Perennial Plate alongside a music video for local rap group Wide Eyes directed by Justin Staggs.   Enjoy yourself.

The Perennial Plate Episode 27: Pickles from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

troubled waters controversy

This blog does it's best to mention film screenings in the area, but I think this is the first time it's covered a story about the absence of a screening.  On Sept 7 the premiere of the Mississippi River documentary Troubled Waters at the U of M was postponed.  Initially the delay was due to questions surrounding scientific accuracy in the film according to the U's public relations staff, but that reason has morphed into questions of editorial content.  Others, however, are criticizing the school for protecting state agricultural interests who are lambasted throughout the movie.  I don't what to say more without knowing more facts, but there are two great articles in TC Daily Planet that came out on the 15th and the 17th, as well as an article appearing recently in the U's paper, MN Daily.  The anger seems to be bubbling, as demonstrated by editorials by the paper's board and even some alumni.  Hopefully we'll know the facts behind the delay soon, and get a chance to see the film ourselves.

monthly film for the arts series at black dog cafe begins tonight

This one's for my friends across the river.  Starting tonight, the Black Dog in downtown St. Paul is hosting a monthly film series titled "Film For The Arts," with support from McNally Smith.  They're screening some bold choices.  However, I say that knowing nothing about the films but what I read of their descriptions on the program's website.  Take for example tonight's screening, Feelings: Emotions and Art:
Unlike the religious artwork that was predominant at the time, this film showcases the idea of using art to explore the human condition rather than the divine by finding humanist art from the Italian renaissance; such as Giotto and Leonardo da Vince, and some 18th century artists.
See what I mean when I say "bold?"  Don't feel intimated, though, for your journey will be lead by a charming British man who you can meet right now in this preview.

Monday, September 20, 2010

forbidden planet at the heights

Sci-Fi nights kick off tonight with the 1956 B-movie classic Forbidden Planet.
Inspired by Shakespeare's Tempest, Forbidden Planet is as much a psychological thriller as it is a sci-fi adventure. An invisible monster threatens the lives of a crew sent to the distant planet Altair IV. Is it real… or the result one man's fevered imagination?
This is the first in a series of six films showing at the Heights these next Mondays in a sci-fi series brought to you by Take-Up Productions.  Tonight's film starts at 7:30.

Talented Leslie Nielsen?  Voiceover Man, you don't know the half of it!

barak goodman at st anthony tonight

Don't forget to check out the free screening of Scottsboro as well as a discussion with filmmaker Barak Goodman tonight at St Anthony.  The event begins at 7, and you can read about it in my previous blog post here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

last chance screenings: sept 16

I know this last chance update is last minute, but better late than never right?  That's not rhetorical and I expect answers in the comments section.

Lebanon - 2:50 5:10 7:30 9:40
Animal Kingdom - 2:30 7:20

•St Anthony Main
Machete - 4:35 7:20 9:50
Going The Distance - 4:25 9:40
Mesrine: Killer Instinct - 4:30 7:15

The Secret In Their Eyes - 9:10

local movie four boxes at riverview

It's made the rounds at national film festivals, including South By Southwest, and now the locally produced thriller Four Boxes is back to screen at Riverview tonight.  This thriller follows a group of people who earn a living by selling dead people's belongings when they come across a sadistic website: is a dusty, digital window into the wacked-out world of a creep they call Havoc. Havoc didn't know his apartment was wired up when he moved in. And he's weird. He sleeps in a bat-cage, builds bombs in a dungeon, and looks like he's planning to kill people on a seriously massive scale. Trevor, Amber and Rob decide they have to do something to find and stop Havoc, wherever he is. Or...maybe not - they could just keep watching, 'cause, as Rob says, "That's what the internet's for."

The movie starts at 7pm.  I must say, this film looks sufficiently creepy.

agnes varda's the gleaners and i screening tonight

Bell Museum Film Nights kicks off tonight with a film by French film legend Agnes Varda.  Every 3rd Thursday the Bell Museum will be screening a film about collecting of the scientific variety or otherwise.  Tonight's film, The Gleaners and I, follows food hunters:
Stemming from a 14th-century word, traditional gleaners scoured a field after a reaper or harvester had passed. Director Agnes Varda travels the French countryside to interview modern day gleaners, who pick through what others throw away for fun and survival.
I'm not sure how an activity can be simultaneously for "fun" and "survival," but I guess that's what makes the subject matter all the more intriguing.

is it just me showing tonight at the heights

You may have thought summer was over, but Lavender's Summer of Pride is going strong, continuing tonight with a film screening as part of their "Out At The Movies" series.  Tonight they're showing the film Is It Just Me? at The Heights, a film about trying to find the perfect guy in the age of internet dating.  Needless to say, mischief abounds.  The movie starts at 7:30, but the complimentary wine and cheese starts at 5:30.  Now if only they had complimentary popcorn for the screening...

Well that last note was kind of a downer.  Don't worry, though, I'm sure everything works out for poor, hapless Blaine.

big and f.a.s.t. at trylon

Tonight you can catch the premiere of Big and F.A.S.T. screening at Trylon.  This 30-min documentary follows Coco Mault's exploration into the world of giant roadside attractions:
The film explores the far-reaching effects of giant roadside attractions as well as their evolution into “objects that do something” as opposed to simply being statues. In the film, Jerry Vettrus, sculptor and former owner of F.A.S.T. Corporation, as well as current general manager Darren Schauf, bring viewers through the process of making a roadside giant -- from a blob of formless insulation to a shiny, fiberglass masterpiece that can easily withstand the toughest year-round conditions in the Midwest. 
The movie starts at 7pm.  View the trailer here.  Only 8 tickets remain so buy them online now before you're turned away at the door without a ticket.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

cinema lounge tonight

I hope everybody likes free movies because we've got four screening tonight at Bryant Lake Bowl.  Ok, they're actually four short-length movies, as part of the Cinema Lounge series, but that doesn't make them any less free.  All the movies look to be stellar (I can assure you on that count with at least one, which I've had the pleasure of viewing).  Plus it's a bowling alley with a bar.  It's like all my great passions at once.  Now if only they go schedule a Twins game there at the same time...

The magic starts at 7.  Here are the movies folks:

•John Koch with a preview of the upcoming "Minneapolis Project"
This festival is showing Thur, Sept 30

Minneapolis Project 2010 Trailer from Minneapolis Project 2010 on Vimeo.

•Jesse Roesler's "Insalata Caprese"
I don't see the trailer for this on his website, but here's a description of it: 
Every true love begins with a true story. Revealed through the perpective of two passionate yet introverted artists, INSALATA CAPRESE is about the moment we stop waiting for life to happen and dare to start living. Matthew Amendt, Valeri Mudek and Barbara June Patterson star in this new short film. Shot on RED.
I saw this film at MSPIFF in 2009, and it's definitely one to watch (although I should point out that I worked on the set and am a friend of the director, but that doesn't change the quality of the picture).

•Sayer Frey's "Abandon ME"
Again, no trailer. But boy do we have words to convey this movie's storyline from the film's website:

A desperate woman abandons her mother in a cornfield.  Will she leave her to die in order to free herself?

"Abandon ME" is an allegory about a daughter choosing between familial obligation and self-preservation as her three personalities confront past abuse.

•And a sneak peak at Ryan Strandjord's latest film, "Prescription Happiness"

Prescription Happiness - Teaser from Ryan Strandjord on Vimeo.

What's going on there?  Get a chance to find out tonight!