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Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Poisonous Shrooms, Nazis in Africa, Crossdressing Jazz Men, or (If You Insist) Meg Ryan

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

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True love: ‘The Phantom Thread’ and ‘Casablanca’

Would you and that special someone in your life like an excuse not to talk to each other for 90-120 minutes this Valentine's Day? Well, may I suggest... the movies? Next Wednesday's options for romantic cinema offer something for everyone. For you traditionalists, there's ye olde Casablanca. For you neo-traditionalists, there's Sleepless in Seattle. For folks who enjoy a little roleplay and dress-up, there's Some Like It Hot. And for you real freaks, there's The Phantom Thread.

Special Screenings

Thursday, February 8

Corpse Bride (2005)
Alamo Drafthouse
I accidentally typed "Corpse Bridge" and now I want to see that movie. $10. 7:25 p.m. More info here.

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

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

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

Her (2013)
Grandview 1&2
If I recall correctly, Joaquin Phoenix plays a weirdo loner in this one. $12. 9:15 p.m. Saturday 11:59 p.m. More info here

Miller's Crossing (1990)
The Heights
A gangster movie, but with the Irish. $12. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Who Can See Forever (2023)
The Main
Iron & Wine's Sam Beam will be on hand for this screening of a movie about Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, but you won't be unless you already have tix because it's sold out. 7:15 p.m. More info here.

Dirty Dancing (1987)
A good old-fashioned abortion flick. With pre-show music from Mary Cutrufello. $9/$12. Music at 7 p.m. Movie at 8 p.m. More info here.

Bye Bye Tiberias (2023)
Walker Art Center
A woman returns to the village in Palestine that her mother left 30 years earlier in this documentary. Part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Free for Walker members. 7 p.m. More info here.

Friday, February 9

Shrek 2 (2004)
Emagine Willow Creek
If you liked Shrek, you're gonna wanna see Shrek 2. All week. $3. 12 p.m. More info here.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The silent Lon Chaney classic, scored live by the Curse of the Vampire Orchestra. $25-$150. 7 p.m. Saturday 2 & 7 p.m. More info here.

Gidget (1959)
Sandra Dee wants to learn to surf and make it with Jimmy Darren. $8. 7 p.m. Saturday 9 p.m. Sunday 3 p.m. More info here.

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Havin' fun with Frankie and Annette and the gang. $8. 9 p.m. Saturday 7 p.m. Sunday 5 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, February 10

Runaway Bride (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Richard Gere is a corporate raider and Julia Roberts is a—oh wait, that's the other movie. $10. 11:30 a.m. More info here.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Alamo Drafthouse
Still fun as hell, last time I checked. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Stardust (2007)
Just read the description of this movie twice and I'm still not totally sure what's up with it. $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

Sunday, February 11

She's All That (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Freddie Prinze Jr. may be my favorite bad actor of his generation. It's like he's not even entirely sure what a movie is. $10. 11:30 a.m. More info here.

Casablanca (1942)
Emagine Willow Creek
A jaded American expat and a crooked Vichy cop slowly accept that they are made for each other. Also Wednesday. $9. 1 & 6:10 p.m. More info here.

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)
Emagine Willow Creek
The lives and loves of a gay clique in Hollywood. $11. 7 p.m. More info here.

Miami Blues (1990)
Look out! Alec Baldwin has a gun! $8. 8:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9 p.m. More info here.

Monday, February 12

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Alamo Drafthouse
Sorry, but I still don't think Kate Winslet quite gets her character here. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

The Whip and the Body (1963)
Emagine Willow Creek
Christopher Lee is a sadistic man who dies and becomes a sadistic ghost. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Mom & Dad's Nipple Factory (2023)
The Main
Two conservative Christians in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, provide prosthetic nipples to women after mastectomies. $6/$10. 7:15 p.m. More info here.

Tuesday, February 13

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
This all really happened to some kids I know. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive (2024)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/Emagine Willow Creek
You thought she'd lay down and die? 4 & 7 p.m. $16.35. More info here.

Wednesday, February 14

Twilight (2008)
Alamo Drafthouse
Still can't believe MCR played this at the Xcel. Sold out. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Secret Movie Night
Emagine Willow Creek
You pay your 10 bucks and you take your chances. $10. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Phantom Thread (2017)
Grandview 1&2
I can't think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day. $12. 9:15 p.m. More info here.

Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Heights
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis were the original Bosom Buddies. $12. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
A movie about how someone with food allergies cannot be your soulmate? Justice for Bill Pullman. With pre-show music from Leslie Vincent. $9/$12. Music at 7 p.m. Movie at 8 p.m. More info here.

This Is National Wake (2023)
The story of the multiracial punk band that defied apartheid in '80s South Africa. Presented by Sound Unseen. $13. 7 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

How to Have Sex
Three British girls booze and fuck around on holiday, and if you think you’ve seen this one before—well, OK, you have, fine, but not observed with the unsentimental yet never cold distance that Molly Manning-Walker maintains here. The first-time director never condescends to the kids whose overloud, overlit idea of dumb fun she immerses us—they’re young, they’re hot, why wouldn’t they want to get smashed and hook up with a bunch of other young, hot peers?—but she acknowledges its potential risks and emotional toll. Manning-Walker, who also wrote the script, has a keen ear for the lively slang with which studious lesbian Em (Enva Lewis), thoughtless party girl Skye (Lara Peake), and outgoing virgin Tara (Mia McKenna-Bruce) communicate. But she establishes their lingo’s limitations as well—as the trip wears Tara down, there’s no vocab within the keep-on-partyin’ lexicon that allows her to communicate with her mates. But we can see everything, thanks to the remarkably transparent McKenna-Bruce. For me, one indicator of a good movie is when I feel an overwhelming need to hug a character and tell them it’s gonna be all right. And for sure, Tara is just crying out for one. B+

Lal Salaam
Aspiring Indian cricketers overcome setbacks.

Lisa Frankenstein
Set in 1989, this snarky horror-comedy's heart is in 2009, when writer Diablo Cody’s zippy post-millennial Buffy/Heathers patter still felt fresh, or at least marketable. Kathryn Newton is Lisa Swallows (eh), who cowered in the next room while her mother was killed by an axe murderer during a home invasion. Her father remarries an uptight nurse (Carla Gugino, shoehorned into a nasty stepmom-shrew role), forcing Lisa to switch schools, and now she spends her time in an abandoned cemetery, mooning over the carved head of a boy who died in the late 19th century. (You 21st century goth kids might not be impressed, but in the '80s that was cutting edge moodiness.) A freak electrical storm reanimates the boy's corpse, and he happens to be Cole Sprouse. Bodies start to hit the floor, and Lisa and her zombie suitor find a way to supply his missing parts, stitching them on and zapping him with a short-circuiting tanning bed. Phew, that's a lot, and all that keeps it entertaining rather than totally exhausting is a gamely unhinged performance from Newton, who makes Lisa over from a weepy wallflower to a kind of Madonna Bonham Carter. C+

Out of Darkness
A stone-age horror movie.

Sometimes I Think About Dying
Only sometimes?

The Sweet East
Sean Price Williams's directorial debut.

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya
An Indian "sci-fi romantic comedy."

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

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 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 Chosen: Season 4 (Episodes 1 & 2)

Dune (read the full review here)
Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of Frank Herbert's notoriously unadaptable trippy tome is impressive without ever quite being thrilling, offering beauty without real style, prophecy without fulfillment. If you’re familiar with the story, Dune feels like a movie about how to make a movie of Dune. (If you’re not, you’re probably racing to keep up with the exposition, muttering “kwis-huh hada-what?” and wondering how much of this is gonna be on the final exam.) Many of its sharpest scenes feel less like spectacular filmmaking than like elegant solutions to difficult mathematical equations. It’s a true “cinematic achievement” in the most backhanded sense of that puff-phrase—more an accomplishment than a movie. B-

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-

The Jungle Bunch: Operation Meltdown

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-

The Promised Land
We all know that a little Mads Mikkelsen can go a long way to making a movie better. And a lot of Mads Mikkelsen? Well, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee greatness, but it sure sets a floor beneath which a movie’s unlikely to sink. Here ol’ Mads plays Ludvig Kahlen, a retired soldier determined to cultivate a barren Danish heath in exchange for a noble title. But he runs afoul of the cartoonishly brutal noble (Simon Bennebjerg) who considers the land his, and once he forms a sort of  makeshift family with his housekeeper (Amanda Collin) and a thieving movie-cute little girl (Melina Hagberg), Kahlen realizes he has something to lose. It’s a treat to watch Mikkelsen cycle through his many shades of stoicism (would you believe that Kahlen’s stubborn pride is his greatest strength but also causes his undoing?) and cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk captures the lined geography of the star’s face as he does the Jutland landscape. Ultimately The Promised Land feels a bit too film-festivally in its epic epic-ness, but if it’s streaming the next time you’re visiting your folks, trust me, your dad will love it. B

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (read the full review here)
If we’re gonna have multiverses (and let’s face it, we’re gonna have multiverses) then let each individual universe we enter be rendered in a distinct style: the impressionistic pastel setting of Gwen Stacey’s world, the crackling 3D-without-the-glasses backdrop of Miles Morales’s Brooklyn, the broad strokes of the dazzling metropolis Mumbattan. In Miles’s scenes battling The Spot, a being whose body is plastered with holes you can fall into, re-emerging someplace else, or his gravity-defying travels and hangs with Gwen, there’s an absolute weightlessness to the movement, a sense of possibility that’s been processed out of most “live action” movies. The first superhero movie in years that made me wish I knew more about comics—not about the minutiae of lore, but about the art itself. 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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