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Catch 2023 Indie Standouts, a Genuinely Great Biopic, and a Terrible Date Movie on the Big Screen This Week

Pretty much every movie you can catch in Twin Cities theaters this week.

Promotional stills|

Scenes from ‘Malcolm X’ and ‘Werckmeister Harmonies’

The great biopic is Malcolm X. The terrible date movie? You'll have to read on to find that out.

Special Screenings

Thursday, February 1

The League (2023)
Capri Theater
A celebration of baseball's Negro League. $5 or free for north side residents. 7 p.m. More info here.

Shrek (2001)
Emagine Willow Creek
Never heard of it. $3. 12 p.m. More info here.

Chinatown (1974)
The Heights
See Nicholson's slashed nose on the big screen, larger than life. $12. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Planetquake (2024)
Man, Michael Paré is in all these damn cheapo action movies. $8. 1 p.m. More info here.

Chronicles of a Wandering Saint (2023)
Walker Art Center
An Argentinian woman seeking sainthood stages a miracle. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 6 p.m. More info here.

American Fiction (2023)
Walker Art Center
See my review below in the "Ongoing" section. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 8 p.m. More info here.

Friday, February 2

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Emagine Willow Creek
A must-see for dragon owners, I suppose. All week. $3. 12 p.m. More info here.

Scream It Off Screen
This seems to sell out in advance every month now. Totally deserved success. $13/$19. 8 p.m. More info here.

Werckmeister Harmonies (2001)
I took a first date to this typically, uh, deliberately paced, two-and-a-half-hour Béla Tarr film back when it came out. Strangely, it wasn't our last date. $8. Friday-Saturday 7 p.m. Sunday 3 & 5:45 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, February 3

Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)
The Main
Paul Walker's brain is transplanted into a dinosaur that's in love with Denise Richards. $8/$10. 10 p.m. More info here.

The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Parkway Theater
You know, if I can't do it by now, I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to spell "Caribbean" on my first try. $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

Sunday, February 4

Notting Hill (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Starring Emma Roberts's aunt and the bad guy from Paddington 2. $10. 11:30 a.m. More info here.

My Fair Lady (1964)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Bloomington 13 at Mall of America/Emagine Willow Creek.
This was tween Keith's favorite movie musical. $16.26. 1 & 7 p.m. Monday 7 p.m. More info here.

Escape from New York (1981)
Emagine Willow Creek
This movie took place in 1997. Also Wednesday. $9. 1:10 & 6 p.m. More info here.

Pet Shop Boys Dreamworld: The Greatest Hits (2024)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek/Lagoon Cinema
Can't stop thinking about the "Always on My Mind" scene in All of Us Strangers. $15. 7:20 p.m. More info here.

Blow Out (1967)
Brian De Palma's mashup of The Conversation and Blow Up is one of the all-time great set-in-Philly films. $8. 8:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9:15 p.m. More info here.

Past Lives (2023)
Walker Art Center
I didn't like this as much everyone else did. Full review here. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 1 p.m. More info here.

Earth Mama (2023)
Walker Art Center
A pregnant single mom fights to get her children back from the foster care system. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 3 p.m. More info here.

Monday, February 5

Man on the Moon (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Jim Carrey, back in his Oscar-seeking days. $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Cemetery Man (1994)
Emagine Willow Creek
He's half-man, half-cemetery. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Wednesday, February 7

Malcolm X (1992)
Alamo Drafthouse
Enough of these sequels already, Hollywood! $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

Paprika (2006)
Emagine Willow Creek
Yep, just like the Japanese Breakfast song. $11. 7 p.m. More info here.

Meat Raffle (2023)
The Parkway
A new indie horror-comedy shot in Wisconsin. $12. Music from That Dam Clam Jam Band and PeeWee Dread at 6:30 p.m. Movie at 7:30 p.m. More info here.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Showplace ICON
Have you ever seen the Muppets parody of the fake orgasm scene? $8.60. 7 p.m. More info here.

Tape Freaks February
Time again for a secret VHS screening. $5. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Mother of All Lies (2023)
Walker Art Center
A Moroccan filmmaker tries to answer questions about her childhood on a set built to resemble her neighborhood. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 6 p.m. More info here.

May December (2023)
Walker Art Center
If I cared about the Oscars at all, I'd be upset at how my favorite movie of 2023 was nominated only for Original Screenplay. Full review here. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 8 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

Doesn't Sam Rockwell have better things to do? Are the visual effects trash because the team got lazy or on purpose, for, like, camp reasons? Why didn't Henry Cavill and John Cena kiss? Doesn't Bryce Dallas Howard have better things to do? These are just a few of the questions with which I distracted myself while waiting for meta-hack Matthew Vaughn's latest manic foray into ridic spyjinks to end, and in fact, I'm still not sure that a part of me isn't still back at the Showplace ICON, where I will remain forever, grimacing through one self-referential post-credits scene after another. Winking so hard you hope he'll sprain his stupid face, Vaughn hustles Howard and Rockwell through a plot that's about as fun to untangle as an extension cord; BDH writes spy novels that are so good real spies want her dead, and it just gets weirder and more hectic from there in that "everything's a joke and nothing's funny" post-MCU way. Wait, did I hear someone say "I hope there's a shitty CGI cat in this!"? How could there not be? C

The Chosen: Season 4 (Episodes 1 & 2)
It's the TV series about the life of Jesus that everyone (except anyone you know) is watching.

Fitting In
This Maddie Ziegler coming-of-age flick was originally called Bloody Hell, but that was too Canadian or something.

The Jungle Bunch: Operation Meltdown
"A vicious beaver blankets the jungle with a dangerous pink substance that explodes when coming into contact with water." Sounds bad!

The Promised Land
My (hypothetical) headline for a (hypothetical) review of this movie about Mads Mikkelsen as a settler from Denmark who into a bloody war with an evil nobleman? "Danish Graves."

A single woman freezes her eggs.

Ongoing in Local Theaters

Follow the links for showtimes.

All of Us Strangers (read the full review here)
In Andrew Haigh’s idea of a ghost story, the specters roost inside our heads, where they can seem more real than the material world outside; they can allow us to make peace with the past, or they can lure us away from our lives into deceptively comforting fantasies. Andrew Scott is Adam, a solitary gay screenwriter old enough to remember the AIDS epidemic and Frankie Goes to Hollywood; while writing about his parents, who died in a Christmas Eve car crash when he was 11, he pictures them so vividly they come to seem more real than his everyday life. He also falls for his neighbor Harry (played by Paul Mescal in a bear hug of a performance, just in case you thought this one was gonna have a happy ending), though we’re also left to wonder how many of their interactions might simply be imagined as well. A ghost story but also a love story, All of Us Strangers suggests that everything we need to make us complete is already within us—and that this might in fact be the saddest fate possible. A

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+

Anyone But You

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The Beekeeper (read the full review here)
The premise of The Beekeeper should be a slam dunk for a brainless action flick: Jason Statham is a (you guessed it) beekeeper who swears vengeance on scam artists that target the elderly—and he’s also a Beekeeper, a member of a secret government org of unstoppable killing machines. In his Carhartt jacket, ball cap, and rusty pickup, The Beekeeper is a working-class hero out to avenge us average poors against the slick elites, with Statham declaiming wonderfully moralistic lines like “Taking from an elderly person is just as bad as stealing from a child—maybe worse” in that iconically garbled deadpan of his as he fucks up evil phishing bros. But for all the heads ingeniously bashed in here, I couldn’t help but feel that a movie this dumb really should be a helluva lot more fun. Bee Minus

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-

The Boys in the Boat

The Equalizer 3


40 Below: The Toughest Race in the World

The Holdovers (read the full review here)
Alexander Payne makes movies about unlikeable, obsolete men, and then leaves us to wonder whether they’re obsolete because they’re unlikable or unlikable because they’re obsolete. The latest addition to Payne’s roster of curmudgeons is Paul Giamatti's Paul Hunham, a staple in many high schools and probably every single prep school: the sexless (if not virginal), odd-smelling disciplinarian. Hunham is condemned to spending Christmas break with bright-yet-underachieving Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), who brandishes a truly formidable Adam’s apple; their relationship evolves from purely adversarial to a wary kind of trust and respect, with school cook Mary Lamb (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) intervening between them. Especially as its third-act revelations roll in, the humanization of the characters can feel a bit mechanical if you’re not in the mood. But though I usually feel like I’m being worked over in Payne’s movies, and often I push back, here the cast coaxed me along for the ride. B+

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-

What would happen on the International Space Station if Russia and the U.S. went to war? Probably nothing this silly. With both U.S. and Russian science teams instructed to take over the station from their rivals, we get an hour and a half of people sneaking around in space, kinda like Alien without an alien, and about as action-packed as Solaris. The big question: Will the Russians recognize that we share the same biology, regardless of ideology or will they find a more ignorant thing to do, like Russians will?

Killers of the Flower Moon (read the full review here)
Martin Scorsese has always shoved the futility of a thug’s life in our faces, but in his later years he’s taken a longer, historicized view of the banality of crime. Participating in the attempted genocide of the Osage Nation under the delusion that he’s helping his family, Leonardo DiCaprio’s dim Ernest Burkhart is kin to Robert De Niro’s Frank Sheeran in The Irishman, a man who squanders his life as a goon in the service of powerful, violent men. But this film belongs to Lily Gladstone as Burkhart’s Osage wife Mollie. With her impassive gaze, a smile that reveals nothing while edging toward a smirk, and eyes that eyes can tease without mocking, rage with sadness, or go dead-blank with shock, she takes center stage here to represent all the people (and particularly women) that Scorsese pictures have happened to over the years. A-

Mean Girls (read the full review here)
The trailer promised that this wouldn't be "your mother’s Mean Girls,” but exactly whose Mean Girls it would be remained unclear. It also did its best to conceal the fact that it’s a musical by not featuring a big musical number, and that sure didn't bode well. Frankly, the very premise—a homeschooled American girl who grew up in Kenya as the daughter of a research zoologist not understanding how everyday U.S. teenage life works—feels misguided in 2024. In the real world, Cady would amass a huge online following after at least one video of a lion went viral, and then she’d get canceled when an old problematic tweet surfaced. Another big misstep is Reneé Rapp as the infamous Regina George. Now, obviously, in 2024, a PG-13 movie isn’t going to feature blatant homophobia or multiple uses of the R-slur, and I’m certainly not saying it should, but this film didn’t replace those examples of meanness with… well, anything. The new Mean Girls isn’t mean enough—and it isn’t good enough either.—Joel Swenson C+


Oppenheimer (read the 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-

Origin (read the full review here)
“Inspired by” Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Ava DuVernay's is partly a writer’s biopic, partly a movie of ideas—two hard-to-execute genres baked here into an unstable amalgam. The ostensible goal is to illustrate the concepts in Wilkerson’s best-seller as we watch her write the follow up to her brilliant Pulitzer-winning history of the Great Migration,The Warmth of Other Suns. Will you emerge from Origin thinking about race, oppression, or injustice differently? Possibly. You’ll certainly come out remembering the way DuVernay vividly illustrates the horrors of bigotry—as Origin proceeds, the visceral response to injustice overcomes the how and why it occurs, and it’s hard not to wonder just how much DuVernay cares about Wilkerson’s ideas at all. Origin is the sort of movie where the filmmaker is so worried that the audience won’t get it that she loses sight of whatever “it” might have been in the first place. C+

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-

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

The Zone of Interest (read the full review here)
Jonathan Glazer's latest embeds itself in the quotidian routine of a Nazi family that lives on a gorgeous estate that just so happens to share a wall with a death camp. Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) have five children, including two younger kids who squabble and a perpetually wailing baby—they’re the exact sort of family Goebbels would want an Aryan Norman Rockwell to paint. Yet what do we accomplish by spending two hours in the company of these drab Nazis? After The Zone of Interest I knew what I was supposed to think about Herr and Frau Höss—Glazer’s forcedly aestheticized didacticism saw to that. But what was I supposed to feel, aside from horror at the systematic extermination of Jews, which, I hope, anyone going into this film already experiences? B-

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