In Theaters

Room 237 (IFC Midnight)
Room 237
(IFC Midnight)

Primed from last Wednesday’s packed Asheville Film Society big-screen showing of The Shining, the time is right to hear the wild theories of Room 237.  Rodney Ascher’s acclaimed documentary, whose title is taken from the room in the Overlook Hotel where…well…bad things happen, presents five distinct readings of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film.  These interpretations range from Kubrick atoning for his supposed involvement with faking the Apollo 11 moon landing to hidden Native American messages.  Along with last year’s digital-vs.-celluloid doc Side By Side, the film is certainly one of the most film-nerd friendly works in recent cinema and a must for anyone interested in Kubrick’s catalog.  Look for my review on Friday.

Beyond the Hills (Sundance Selects)
Beyond the Hills
(Sundance Selects)

From Romania comes Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu’s second film since 2007’s Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.  The film stars Cristina Flutor and Cosmina Stratan as childhood friends whose relationship is complicated by religion and superstition.  Continuing Cannes’ love affair with Mungiu, the film won Best Screenplay and jointly gave the Best Actress award to its two leads.  It’s also 2.5 hours of bleak eastern European cinema, so if that’s your thing, dig in.  Look for my review on Friday.

Iron Man 3 (Walt Disney Studios)
Iron Man 3
(Walt Disney Studios)

“Hesitant” describes my approach to the week’s lone mainstream release, Iron Man 3.  After loving the first installment (obvious villain and all), my disdain for Jon Favreau’s moronic sequel was so great that I nearly stormed out of my northeast Georgia theater.  But then last year’s The Avengers came along and, with its team-based approach and smart use of the superheroes’ respective strengths, repaired a good deal of Favreau’s damage.  As the first individual film since The Avengers, it’ll be interesting to see whether the mojo carries over.  Favreau’s absence (at least behind the camera) is a good sign, as is his replacement Shane Black, who helped kickstart Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  This time, Tony Stark (Downey) faces off against a terrorist called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and continues his rivalry with fellow metal suit do-gooder Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle).  I’ll be checking out the 3D rendering early Friday morning, so please think good thoughts for me.

The Other Son (Cohen Media Group)
The Other Son
(Cohen Media Group)

After lingering on the Fine Art Theatre’s “Coming Soon” board nearly as long as the infamous Le Havre incident, The Other Son makes it way to Biltmore Avenue…for two shows during the Jewish Film Festival.  Lorraine Levy’s film takes an interesting look at the Israel-Palestine issue, in which the cultural identity of each side is explored in a manner I’d previously not seen on film.  The central drama occurs when two family on opposite sides of the conflict discover that their sons were switched at birth and, a little preachiness aside, plays out effectively.  I reviewed the film earlier this month for DVD Snapshot and can attest that it’s well worth your time.

Fleeing the Scene

Mud and The Place Beyond the Pines may be holding strong, but fellow indies Ginger & Rosa, Trance, and Silver Linings Playbook (which has flexed its muscles since Christmas day) bid adieu.  Other notables bowing out are Evil Dead and both the 2D and 3D versions of Jurassic Park, which was a delight to see on the big screen.  And at long last, we’re rid of the steaming pile of dung that is Olympus Has Fallen.

On DVD

Missed Silver Linings Playbook in theaters?  Have no fear: it’s now available to rent or own.  Definitely fear Broken City, however, and its waste of a perfectly good Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.  Whether terror should be taken into account when viewing the Streisand-Rogen mother-son comedy The Guilt Trip, Sopranos’ creator David Chase’s ’60s rock film Not Fade Away, or the Tobey Maguire suburban satire The Details is not for me to determine as I’ve yet to see either.

On Netflix Instant

There’s not much of note on the brand new front this week, but the monthly “old is new new” additions is a damn free-for-all:

  • the Jodie Foster drama The Accused
  • the breakdancing, um, classic Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose
  • one of my all-time favorites, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown
  • the Daniel Craig Nazi-resistance actioneer Defiance
  • Harry and Tonto, featuring an Art Carney performance that the Academy found more deserving of Best Actor than Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, Dustin Hoffman in Lenny, Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express, and Al Pacino in The Godfather: Part II
  • the “real men cry” sports drama of Hoosiers
  • the Nicole Kidman spooker The Others (which raises the question of just what the hell happened to its director, Alejandro Amenabar, who also made The Sea Inside and Abre los ojos, the original Vanilla Sky)
  • another of my favorites, probably in the Top 5, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction
  • the provenance-tastic The Red Violin
  • Fred Ward’s action/comedy cult classic Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
  • the immensely fun, star-studded 1973 Three Musketeers
  • Angelina Jolie’s first crack at Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
  • and Francis Ford Coppola’s supremely underrated Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

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