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On the Big Screen This Week: An Iranian Film Fest, Pee-wee (RIP), and a Killer Dance Doc

Pretty much all the movies you can see in Twin Cities theaters this week.

Promotional stills|

Scenes from ‘Pina’ and ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’

I'll have more on a couple of this week's new releases tomorrow, but for now let me put in a good word for Wim Wenders' Pina, playing at The Main next week. Maybe you think you don't care about modern dance. Maybe this movie can change your mind.

Special Screenings

Thursday, January 11

Hoop Dreams (1994)
Grandview 1&2
Best sports doc ever? $12. 9:15 p.m. Saturday 11:59 p.m. More info here.

The Dark Knight (2008)
Parkway Theater
The Batman movie we deserve. $9/$12. 8 p.m. More info here.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Trylon
To honor the 50th anniversary of Large Marge's death. $8. Thursday-Saturday 7 & 9 p.m. Sunday 3 & 5 p.m. More info here.

Friday, January 12

The Persian Version (2023)
The Main
An Iranian-American woman reunites with her family in NYC. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 7 p.m. More info here.

Scream It Off Screen
Parkway Theater
Another sold-out SIOS. Gotta love it. Sold out. 8 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, January 13

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Extended Edition (2001)
Alamo Drafthouse
So long that they should call it The Three Towers$10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

A Revolution on Canvas (2023)
The Main
A documentary about the disappearance of 100 "treasonous" paintings in Iran. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 1 p.m. More info here.

Opponent (2023)
The Main
An Iranian refugee in Sweden takes up wrestling to help him gain asylum. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 4 p.m. More info here.

Leila's Brothers (2023)
The Main
A woman struggling to keep her family out of poverty discovers that her father has been keeping a secret. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Lion King (1994)
Parkway Theater
I love how Mufasa's explanation of the circle of life is that it's OK for lions to eat their prey because when the lions die they help the grass grow so the smaller animals can eat. Pretty self-serving! $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

Sunday, January 14

Election (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Misogynist or just about misogyny? You be the judge. $10. 11 a.m. More info here.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Emagine Willow Creek
Pretty sure this is the one about the Sorcerer's Stone. Also Monday and Wednesday. $9. 1 & 6:40 p.m. More info here.

Nowhere (1997)
Emagine Willow Creek
Greg Araki goes to high school. $11. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Stranger and the Fog (1974)
The Main
A recently restored Iranian New Wave classic. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 1 p.m. More info here.

Beloved (2018)
The Main
A documentary about an octogenarian Iranian herder. Part of the MSP Iranian Film Showcase. $8/$12. 4 p.m. More info here.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Trylon
Crazy to think that this all took place in 2019. $8. 7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9:30 p.m. Wednesday 9 p.m. More info here.

Monday, January 15

The Winterbeast (1992)
Emagine Willow Creek
Don't stay at the cursed mountain lodge! $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Tuesday, January 16

Gurren Lagann The Movie: Childhood's End (2008)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek
After their underground village collapses, a boy and a girl journey to the surface to protect their people. Also Wednesday. $13.57. 7 p.m. More info here.

Pina (2011)
The Main
Wim Wenders' fantastic 3D tribute to the choreography of Pina Bausch. $10/$15. 4 & 7 p.m. More info here.

Wednesday, January 17

Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston have a torrid affair during WWII. Oh no, wait. This is the shark one. $10. 7:20 p.m. More info here.

MN Hardcore (2020)
Cloudland
The TPT-aired docuseries about local punk in the early '80s. Filmmaker Dave Roth and special guests will be there. Donation. 7 p.m. More info here.

Purple Rain (1984)
Grandview 1&2
Never heard of it. $12. 9:15 p.m. More info here.

The Barbarians (1987)
Trylon
Bodybuilding twins are trained as gladiators. $10. 7 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

All of Us Strangers
Big Andrew Haigh fan. Can't wait.

The Beekeeper
Love the way he just [clenches fist] keeps all those frickin' bees.

The Book of Clarence
LaKeith Stanfield is a false messiah in Jeymes Samuel's biblical epic.

Fallen Leaves
Aki Kaurismäki's first film in six years.

Guntur Kaaram
"An unpredictable yet charismatic man takes on underground political factions."

Mean Girls
I try to keep an open mind about things, but why?

Ongoing in Local Theaters

Follow the links for showtimes.

American Fiction
Jeffrey Wright never misses (his brief turn as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was a highlight of last year's by-the-numbers Bayard Rustin biopic, Rustin) and he's reliable hilarious as an intellectual Black novelist who dumbs down to write a book in "realistic" hood style. Once My Pafology becomes a bestseller and a hit with the literati, Wright's Thelonious "Monk" Ellison has to get in character as its thug author to promote the book. Meanwhile, Monk has to live his real life: dating a neighbor, mourning his sister's death, dealing with his mother's dementia, and clashing with his newly out brother. Phew! The suggestion is that we, like the fans of Monk's Black stereotypes, will only watch a movie about an upper-middle-class Black family if we're hooked by a more sensational story. But for that clever bait-and-switch to work, you need to tell a much more interesting story about an upper-middle-class Black family. B+

Anyone But You

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The Boy and the Heron (read our full review here)
I’m not the first to call this Miyazaki’s The Tempest, but it’s worth repeating. For this film, Miyazaki famously unretired, and it wasn’t his first time. (Characteristically, the 82-year-old called his decision to return to moviemaking “pathetic.”) His latest imagined world brims with fantastical species—ravenous human-sized parakeets and the shmoo-like warawara, who inflate after eating fish guts and rise up to the other world to become human souls—yet the filmmaker’s stand-in is an ancient wizard of sorts who regrets fashioning a crumbling alternate universe beset by unforeseen calamities. If its 2013 predecessor, The Wind Rises, felt like a finale, this feels like an encore, a coda, a curtain call, a monologue from a great artist assuring us that this time, really, he is leaving the stage for good. His charms are all o’erthrown. For now, at least. A-

The Boys in the Boat

The Color Purple

Ferrari
Stop letting Adam Driver play Italians already—he sounds like Dracula. Otherwise he's a suitably intense presence at the center of yet another Michael Mann tale of masculinity-in-conflict. As his wife, Penélope Cruz is great (when is she not?) and it's fun to watch the cars careen, skid, or flip off the road. But the rest of the time Ferrari just spins its wheels. B-

Godzilla Minus One (read our full review here)
Takashi Yamazaki's human-scaled approach to the kaiju flick hardly makes for as effective a postwar drama as some have said—it feels like more of a nice gesture than a real story. But it does provide a workable narrative framework for his ideas about Japan. He gives us the sense of a country that’s just crawled out of its wreckage only to get knocked back on its ass; the heroes of Godzilla Minus One meet the threat with a mood of “shit, not again.” As for Godzilla himself, he’s scary as hell. He’s nimbler than usual, his tail whipping with ferocity and velocity. And wisely, Godzilla Minus One allows a creature who rises from the depths of the sea to show what he can do on his own turf—or his own surf, I guess. B

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

The Iron Claw
Good acting, bad hair, not enough wrestling, and just one brother after another dying and the dad saying "You boys gotta get tougher!" B-

Migration

Night Swim
Local angle alert: This "evil pool that kills people and makes people evil" movie takes place in "the Twin Cities." It's also a horror movie released in the first week of January, and you know what that means. C

Oppenheimer (read our full review here)
If you think it’s wild that so many people turned out this summer to see a three-hour biopic about a theoretical physicist, well, wait till you hear that they actually showed up for a three-hour movie about a commerce secretary nominee’s U.S. Senate confirmation hearing. A story of how figures who consider themselves world historical agents play the game and get played, with the final word on the matter delivered by none other than Einstein himself, Oppenheimer is vivid pop history told through anecdote, image, and aphorism, and its politics aren't entirely reprehensible or stupid. There are times, even, when it's as smart as Barbie. A-

Poor Things (read our full review here)
Yorgos Lanthimos is such a cheekily off-putting director it never occurred to me what his idea of crowd-pleaser might look like. But with Poor Things, he doesn’t just want to be admired, he wants to be loved. And in its own creepy, garish, oversexed, male-gazey way, Lanthimos’s arch fairy tale does have heart. An Eve who can’t wait to get the fuck outta Eden, Emma Stone’s Bella Baxter becomes Frankenstein’s monster as Candide in the world at large, indomitable because she has no shame. Bella’s sex-positivity is indubitably a man’s ideal of what it means to be a free woman, addressing fewer contradictions of femininity than Barbie does, but Stone inhabits her character so completely that you might even say she liberates Bella from her creator. A-

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé
Footage of a spectacular concert (which doesn't necessarily mean spectacular concert footage, let alone a spectacular concert film) undercut by a few too many crowd reaction shots and a lot too much behind-the-scenes propaganda about what a hard worker and great mother the artist control-freaking the narrative here is. B

Saltburn (read our review here)
Emerald Fennell writes and directs like someone who takes time to admire the shape and consistency of her turds before she flushes. In this story of class envy and (da da dum) murder, the writer/director of Promising Young Women fixates naughtily on bodily fluids—she films cum lapped from a tub drain and period blood shared in a kiss as though no human has ever before ingested either liquid. We’re expected to respond “I can’t believe this is happening!” but of course we can believe this is happening. It’s a movie. Crazy things happen in movies. We’re just not sure why this has to be happening. It’s like Fennell just stood on set and kept yelling “lurider!” at everyone. C

Wonka
Even more unnecessary than most prequels, and I couldn't hum any of the tunes if you promised me a lifetime supply of chocolate as a reward. But the Dickens by way of Rowling characterizations and settings are distracting enough for a couple hours, and your kids have made you sit through worse. B

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