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On the Big Screen This Week: Brutal Monkey Revenge and Dirty Lady Letters

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

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Scenes from ‘Monkey Man’ and ‘Wicked Little Letters’

Just a reminder that I not only make (bad) jokes about special screenings here. I occasionally include short reviews of new movies I don't have the time or inclination to write about at length. This week, that means Monkey Man and Wicked Little Lies.

Special Screenings

Thursday, April 4

Sasquatch Sunset (2024)
Alamo Drafthouse
A sneak peek at the big new Sasquatch movie. $14.50. 7:20 p.m. More info here.

Caddyshack (1980)
Grandview 1&2
I forgot how brutal the TV edit of this was. $12. 9:15 p.m. Saturday 11:59 p.m. More info here.

The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Heights
Where'd she go??? $15. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Monster Mash (2024)
Oh no! Dr. Frankenstein is building a super-monster! $8. 5 p.m. More info here.

Friday, April 5

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut (1986)
The Main
"Plant" yourself in your seat for this month's Midnight Mayhem offering. $10. 10 p.m. More info here.

Scream It Off Screen
The Parkway
It's always sold out! 8 p.m. More info here.

Ape x Mecha Ape: New World Order (2024)
Oh, poor Sean Young. Hasn't she endured enough? $8. Friday, Monday-Tuesday 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Wednesday 1 p.m. More info here.

Conan the Barbarian (1988)
A movie about what is best in life. $8. Friday-Saturday 7 & 9:30 p.m. Sunday 3 & 5:30 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, April 6

Interview With the Vampire (1994)
Alamo Drafthouse
Lotta cute '90s boy vampires. $10. 11 a.m. More info here.

Friday (1995)
Emagine Willow Creek
On a Saturday??? 11 a.m. 4:20 p.m. More info here.

Destroy All Monsters (1968)
The Parkway
I said ALL monsters! $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

The Government Inspector (2023)
This Gogol adaptation is part of the “Artists in Exile" series, "in support of Russian artists who, either by dictum or choice, are now working abroad." $20. 3 p.m. More info here.

Sunday, April 7

Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Alamo Drafthouse
This movie makes me smile just thinking about it. $10. 11 a.m. More info here.

Gone With the Wind (1939)
AMC Rosedale 14/AMC Southdale 16/B&B Bloomington 13/Emagine Willow Creek
Lost Cause garbage propaganda, but Vivien Leigh does look great. $16.35. 1 & 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday 7 p.m. More info here.

The Godfather (1972)
Emagine Willow Creek
Good way to kill a Sunday afternoon. Or evening. Also Wednesday. $11. 12 & 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Strangers on a Train (1951)
A stranger's just an accomplice to murder you haven't met. $8. 8:15 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9 p.m. More info here.

Monday, April 8

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
Alamo Drafthouse
Why look at the real eclipse when you can watch a shitty movie. $14. 6:20 p.m. More info here.

Poltergeist (1982)
Emagine Willow Creek
Would love to get high with '80s JoBeth Williams, not gonna lie. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Double Indemnity (1944)
The Heights
A heroic insurance inspector foils a dastardly plot. $15. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Tuesday, April 9

Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Alamo Drafthouse
The Farrelly brothers really did have moment. Before Peter became a "real" director. $7. 6:20 p.m. More info here.

Food, Inc. 2 (2024)
Lagoon Cinema/The Main
This sequel focuses on the people doing something about the abuses covered in the original Food, Inc. $12. 7 p.m. More info here.

Wednesday, April 10

The House of the Devil (2009)
Alamo Drafthouse
Early Ti West, starring early Greta Gerwig. $10. 6:20 p.m. More info here.

Secret Movie Night
Emagine Willow Creek
It's that time of the month again! $10. 7 p.m. More info here.

Emagine Willow Creek
None of these words are in the Bible. $20. 7 p.m. More info here.

Anchorman (2004)
Grandview 1&2
Probably safest for me to keep my opinions about this one to myself. $12. 9:15 p.m. More info here.

Indigo Girls: It's Only Life After All (2023)
The Main
The Indigo Girlsaissance really is something. $10. 7 p.m. More info here.

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus (2023)
Just before he died, the musical great recorded this career-spanning solo piano concert film. Presented by Sound Unseen. $13. 7 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

Family Star
Apparently this new Indian movie had major censorship issues.

The victim of a homophobic assault seeks revenge.

The First Omen
Evil supernatural pregnancies are in for 2024.

Monkey Man
Dev Patel's directorial debut is a brutal action-revenge flick with some confusing but admirable politics, targeting Hindu nationalism and featuring an army of trans warriors rising up from the streets. Patel stars as an unnamed, sullen man (after The Green Knight and this, I suspect dude may never smile in a movie ever again) caught up in a nasty underground fighting circuit; he infiltrates ritzy Indian society to deliver the big payback to the crooked police chief who razed his village and killed his mother. He isn't exactly a natural behind the camera: The movie crawls to a halt midway before a Rocky training montage set to tablas carries it into the home stretch. And he doesn't always shoot the bloody, imaginative fights to their advantage, with a little too much camera action and close ups a little too tight on the combatants. But if you like your action unrelentingly grim, he's your man. And your monkey. B

Remembering Gene Wilder
He was more than an annoying meme!

Someone Like You
"An achingly beautiful redemptive love story for our times," it says here.

Wicked Little Letters
This sort of naughty British comedy for grandmas always has a much higher caliber cast than it deserves—poor old Timothy Spall certainly deserves better, as does poor young Anjana Vasan. As for Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley (wow, a The Lost Daughter reunion of sorts), they're just slumming; here the former is an uptight, upright Christian prude who accuses the latter, a foul-mouthed Irish gal, of sending her obscene letters. You'll guess the culprit before the big reveal and figure out where the courtroom scenes are headed as well. But if plucky middle-aged women banding together to hatch a plan and bouts of clumsy cussing are your cup of tea, the kettle's on. C

Ongoing in Local Theaters

Follow the links for showtimes.

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+



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+

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

Horror films being where we discuss the unspeakable, it’s almost too perfect that the woman with the most over-scrutinized anatomy in Hollywood right now should star in a film where wicked religious figures commandeer her as an incubator for their messiah, just two years after Dobbs legalized forced birth. For most of the way, Immaculate's tale of a pregnant nun is just silly, gory fun, but its final five minutes—in which Sydney Sweeney, bloodied and in labor, unleashes a fury we didn’t know she had in her—seem to belong to a much better film. Or maybe they don’t feel like they belong to a film at all. Maybe this is just free-floating female rage distilled into a single moment by an actor who gets that this is her zeit and she is the damn geist. If you wanted to borrow a religious term, you might even call it iconic. B


In the Land of Saints and Sinners

Kung Fu Panda 4

Late Night With the Devil

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


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+

Tillu Square

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