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What the Title of Sydney Sweeney’s New Pregnant Nun Movie Gets Wrong About Catholic Doctrine

Plus pretty much every movie you can see in Twin Cities theaters this week.

Publicity still

Haha, remember when the Internet was full of headlines like that? Anyway, I have not seen Immaculate, in which Sweeney plays (as you've probably heard) a nun who becomes "with child" without having sex. And I have a weakness for that Gothic strain that portrays the Church as full of creepy schemers. (I mean, like, it's not?)

But! I have issues with the title, an allusion to the Immaculate Conception—which, for the infinity-th time, refers not to the Virgin Birth or getting spermlessly knocked up in general, but to Mary being conceived without sin. (An actually weirder bit of doctrine than the Virgin Birth, honestly.) There was already a joke this year in The Book of Clarence that got it wrong. These things matter! (Not really! But kinda!)

And now, on to this week's movie listings.

Special Screenings

Thursday, March 21

The Ark and the Darkness (2024)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16
Noah's flood—proven by science! $16.35. 7 p.m. More info here.

Rad (1986)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek
The BMX cult classic. $16.35. 7 p.m. More info here.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Grandview 1&2
These two young men certainly grew up well, didn't they? $12. 9:15 p.m. Saturday 11:59 p.m. More info here.

A Woman of Paris (1923)
The Heights
A little-seen Chaplin-directed film that he pulled from distribution after a lukewarm public reception. $12. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Viva (2015)
The Main
An ex-con challenges his son's dreams of becoming a drag performer in Havana. Part of the Cuban Film Festival. $7-$10. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Shining (1980)
The Parkway
Never marry a writer. $9/$12. Pre-show trivia at 7:30 p.m. Movie at 8 p.m. More info here.

Kinetic Visions
Walker Art Center
A specially curated playlist from the Walker's collection, shown in the Benson Mediatheque. Free. 6 p.m. More info here.

Friday, March 22

Nothing But a Man (1964)
I've heard so many good things about this Michael Roemer slice-of-life drama about a working-class Black man. $8. 7 p.m. Saturday 9 p.m. Sunday 3 p.m. More info here.

The Plot Against Harry (1969)
A small-time numbers runner gets out of prison and finds himself shut out of the game. $8. 9 p.m. Saturday 7 p.m. Sunday 5 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, March 23

The Crow (1994)
Alamo Drafthouse
About as goth as the '90s got. $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Roméo et Juliette
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek/Showplace ICON
Live from the Met, it's Shakespeare with songs. Also Wednesday. $27.09. 11:55 a.m. More info here.

Jurassic Park (1993)
The Parkway
Thirty years later, I still have a hard time remembering that it's one "r" and two "s"s. $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

Sunday, March 24

King Kong (1933)
Alamo Drafthouse
The original is still the greatest. $10. 11 a.m. More info here.

Rascal Does Not Dream (2023)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek
A pair of films adapted from the popular manga series. $16.35. 2 p.m. Wednesday 7 p.m. More info here.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Emagine Willow Creek
Pretty sure this is the one with the prisoner of Azkaban in it. Also Wednesday. $11. 12 & 6 p.m. More info here.

The Duellists (1977)
Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine square off (or whatever it is that duellists do) in Ridley Scott's debut. $8. 7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9:15 p.m. More info here.

Monday, March 25

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Alamo Drafthouse
If vampires existed, they would absolutely be this insufferable. $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Emagine Willow Creek
They don't make movie stars like Donald Sutherland anymore. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Tuesday, March 26

Reality Bites (1994)
Alamo Drafthouse
Corny as fuck, then and now. $7. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Bloomington 13 at Mall of America/Emagine Willow Creek
Maybe the public domain is a bad idea. Also Wednesday. $16.35. 7 p.m. More info here.

Wednesday, March 27

Street Fighter (1994)
Alamo Drafthouse
Raul Julia's final film. $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Deathstalker II (1987)
Emagine Willow Creek
A comic version of the original Deathstalker. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Hate to Love: Nickelback (2023)
Emagine Willow Creek/Lagoon Cinema
Remember when we tried to say something nice about these guys. $20. 7 p.m. More info here.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Grandview 1&2
Rewatched this recently and it's as dopey as I remembered. $12. 9:15 p.m. More info here.

16MM Pan/Scan Show
A classic Japanese monster movie, shown in the "pan and scan" version for TV. $10. 7 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
I got burned once. Never again.

I believe I've said more than enough about this already.

Late Night With the Devil
A found-footage horror flick about evil being release by a 1977 live TV broadcast.

The heart-tugging Pixar movie returns to theaters.

A Vietnamese woman falls for her neighbor.

SNL vet Julio Torres wrote, directed, and stars in this story about a Salvadoran toy designer struggling to stay in the U.S.

William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill
An "intimate portrait" of the old ham.

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 reliably 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+

The American Society of Magical Negroes

Arthur the King

Bob Marley: One Love
For me, the most forgivable music biopic cliché is the scene in the studio “where it all comes together,” usually after the genius has been struggling to articulate his vision to the band. At least in their clumsy way scenes like this try to understand where great music comes from. And so the best part of this rote retelling of the reggae great’s life, rigorously vetted by his family, comes during the Exodus sessions, where new guitarist Junior Murvin adds a rock tinge to the Wailers’ established sound. As for the rest, well, it’s not all as ridiculous as when Bob and his crew leave a Clash show and stroll blithely through London as riots break out behind them, or the singer’s flashbacks to his youth that occur while he’s performing onstage, but if you know anything about Bob Marley’s life, you’ll learn nothing new here. Lashana Lynch does what she can as Rita Marley, James Norton’s job as Chris Blackwell is to keep saying “I don’t know if that’ll work, Bob,” and Kingsley Ben-Adir has real screen presence but his charisma doesn’t suggest Bob’s own. Optimistically, I’ll take the movie’s success as a good sign that there’s real hunger to know more about one of the great international Black diasporan culture heroes, and I hope the curious don’t stop here. Read Chris Salewicz's Bob Marley: The Untold Story or Timothy White’s Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley or, hell, Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, which fictionalizes Marley’s shooting. Watch any number of YouTube clips, including Marley’s 1977 set at the Rainbow. And definitely listen to the music. If you know Legend, which you probably do even if you’ve never listened to it on purpose, go back to Marley’s start at Island Records—Burnin’Natty Dread, and Catch a Fire. Sample the earlier Studio One recordings. And don’t stop there. C+

The Boy and the Heron (read the 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-


Demon Slayer: To the Hashira Training

Dune: Part 2 (read the full review here)
The first part of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation was a well-crafted slog, occasionally spectacular but often merely studently, as the director seemed intent to prove that he deserved the assignment. But with all the power players set in place, Part Two does an awful lot right. Villeneuve distills the essence of the novel’s currents of deception and misdirection into a legible screenplay while generating some truly uncanny moments. And as Paul Atreides, Timothée Chalamet shows us a man who makes a pragmatic decision to exploit the dogmatism of his followers because he believes that every other choice will cause more death and destruction, or who at least rationalizes his motives that way. With IP-recycling now the culture industry’s standard cannibalistic practice, Villeneuve, like Paul, imagines himself the good guy in this scenario, respectful of the traditions placed in his care rather than merely exploitative. But also like Paul there are forces at play beyond his control. So what happens when Villeneuve’s hero threatens to become a butcher? Stay tuned for Part 3. B+


Kung Fu Panda 4

Love Lives Bleeding
If you head in to Love Lies Bleeding to watch Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian fuck each other and murder dudes—and why else would you be there?—you will not be disappointed. In true noir fashion, Jackie (O'Brian) is a drifter, en route from an Oklahoma childhood to a bodybuilding competition in Vegas, stopping off in New Mexico because that’s the sort of place these stories happen. Here she meets Stewart's Lou and the bodies start to hit the floor. As the knot tightens around the lovers, generating a titillating claustrophobia à la Jim Thompson, the question becomes whether Lou’s brains will save Jackie or Jackie’s brawn will save Lou, or whether theirs is the sort of love that dooms them both. Not till the final scene are the roles they’ve chosen to play in this relationship finally clear. (Love, Glass seems to say, means never complaining about disposing of your sweetheart’s murder victims.) I’ll admit, for a half-hour or so I worried that director Rose Glass’s euphorically nihilist lesbian death trip was too nutty to be a good movie and yet not nutty enough to be a great one. After [SPOILER REDACTED], that concern felt stupidly quaint. A-


One Life

Ordinary Angels

Perfect Days
In Wim Wenders’s latest, Koji Yakusho is Hirayama, an elderly man who cleans public toilets in Tokyo with dutiful care. (Every American will leave this film envious of a city with such well-maintained public restrooms.) In his work and his free time, Hirayama hews to a routine so strict that every slight deviation over the course of the film feels seismic, to him and to us. He doesn’t exactly shrink from human contact—he bonds with his irritating young co-worker’s would-be girlfriend while listening to Patti Smith’s “Redondo Beach” and plays shadow tag with a dying man. But his existence is largely self-contained, and this is one of the rare films to show that a life lived alone is not necessarily lonely and certainly isn’t meaningless, though like any life it comes with its own regrets. Hirayama is open to beauty in every moment—during his breaks he photographs the way the sunlight hits the leaves—and so is Wenders. In fact, I would say that Perfect Days captures the unbearable joy of being alive if it didn’t make me sound like a pretentious sap. Fortunately, the closing sequence, as we watch an array of emotions flickering across Yakusho’s face, makes that point for me without using any words. A

Poor Things (read the 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-

Snack Shack

The Taste of Things
Trần Anh Hùng’s sumptuous tale of love in a rural French kitchen is a good old-fashioned movie—by which I mean, it could’ve been released by Miramax during the first Clinton administration. And while I might have found it a bore back when similar dinosaurs ruled the Earth, now it’s nearly as charming as a baby triceratops. Benoît Magimel is late 19th century gourmet Dodin Bouffant and Juliette Binoche is Eugénie, his cook of 20 years (and lover when she’s in the mood); he repeatedly courts her, while she remains aloof. But the love story feels like an excuse to linger in the presence of these gourmets and, more to the point, the lavish meals they prepare. The deliberate, patient efficiency with which Eugénie works just highlights how thoroughly TV has conditioned us to think of cooking as a hectic, nervous affair—here even gutting a fish becomes an elegant task. Cinematographer Jonathan Ricquebourg shoots Binoche’s wonderful ass as lovingly as he does the dishes she cooks, and he goes for the gold in every scene. While Dodin may hold forth on the notion of balance in a meal, this film hardly shares his aesthetic—it’s suffused with the summer light that Eugénie cherishes. Bougie as hell, mais oui, but any class warriors who don’t salivate over the fare on offer here don’t deserve a share in the spoils of the revolution. B+

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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