Local Cinema Watch

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by Ryan Beltram, Eugene Daily News

Hello local cinephiles. With Christmas coming on Sunday it’s a predictably light week for new movies. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new opening this week. The Bijou has one new film debuting and it’s about the end of the world. Kind of depressing for the holidays but if that doesn’t interest you, they’re also holding a special two-night screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Now that’s more like it.

David Minor has two films debuting on Thursday, one is about two brothers forced to fight one another in mixed-martial arts and another about a bored screenwriter who decides to take a late night walk in Paris.

At the Bijou this week:

Melancholia: Drama – 2011 – 136 Min – Rated R. Starts on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 5:30 and 8:25 pm.

Usually when you see a film about the destruction of earth, there’s shots of national monuments being blown up and people narrowly escaping collapsing streets. In Melancholia, director Lars Von Trier decides to balance the impending demise of earth with the emotional demise of the main character Justine (Kirsten Dunst).

On the night of her wedding, Justine is struggling with depression. Despite a lavish wedding paid for by her sister and brother-in-law, Justine is a damaged soul who only sees things as they actually are and is unaffected by human assimilation or persuasion.

Besides having to deal with her own demons, Justine like everyone else in the world is aware of Melancholia, a blue planet hurtling towards earth. Whether the planet is actually headed for earth or if it is just a giant metaphor for Justine’s personal issues is up for interpretation. Von Trier tells stories that are bleak and the women are often put through the ringer. But Melancholia looks to juxtapose bleakness and beauty and leave viewers with something they won’t forget.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Drama – 1946 – 130 Min – Not Rated. Special screening Dec. 24 and 25 at 2:20 pm.

When people think of holiday films, the one that probably comes to mind the most often is It’s a Wonderful Life. Written and directed by the great Frank Capra, the film tells the story of George Bailey, a businessman who looks out for the people of Bedford Falls and attempts to prevent the rich and powerful Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town.

But when George’s Uncle Billy loses all of the local business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank, George realizes that he will be accused of stealing it and as result will not only lose his business, but see Potter take control of the town.

George contemplates suicide but the prayers from his loved ones result in an angel named Clarence coming down to rescue George and show him what life would be like without him.

The Bijou will be projecting the film from an extremely rare archival 35mm film print. In this day and age when movies are presented digitally and in some cases in 3D and IMAX, it’s exciting to see a film presented in a way it was originally intended.

Still playing at the Bijou:

Margin Call: Showing at 5 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 7:40 pm Dec. 23-25.

The Way: Showing at 7:30 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 5 pm Dec. 23-25.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: Showing at 10:10 pm Dec. 21-25.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: Showing at 10 pm Dec. 23-25.

Two new films open this week at David Minor:

Warrior: Drama – 2011 – 140 Min – Rated PG-13. Starts on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7:20 pm.

Despite strong reviews, Warrior performed poorly at the box office went it was released in September. Now is your chance to see this modern-day Rocky story on the big screen.

Starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, two actors unknown to most American audiences, Warrior follows the two actors as brothers struggling with life. Tommy (Hardy) is the younger brother and son of an alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte). When Tommy returns home from serving in the military, he’s trained by his father to compete in a mixed martial arts tournament.

His older brother Brendan (Edgerton) is struggling to provide for his family as a teacher so he decides to resume fighting as well. As both brothers ascend through the ranks of MMA fighting, they will eventually have to meet in the ring and fight one another. But which brother needs to win more; the ex-Marine with a tragic past or a man forced back in the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin.

Midnight in Paris: Comedy – 2011 – 94 Min – Rated PG-13. Debuts on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 5:30 pm.

Director Woody Allen’s most successful film financially and one of his best-reviewed films in years, Midnight in Paris has enjoyed a long run locally at the Bijou. But now you can see at David Minor.

Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, the film follows the couple as they travel to Paris for a vacation. Gil (WIlson) is a successful screenwriter struggling with his first novel. Seeking inspiration, he decides to walk the streets of Paris at night.

But what begins as a one-time stroll through the city turns into nightly walks as Gil begins to fall in love with the city and the characters from the past he encounters. His romantic and nostalgic view of the city inspires him, but this sudden jolt of excitement may also push him further from the woman he’s about to marry.

Still playing at David Minor:

Cowboys and Aliens: Showing at 5:15 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 7:20 pm Dec. 22 and 23.

Crazy, Stupid, Love: Showing at 5:15 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 9:45 pm Dec. 22 and 23.

Friends with Benefits: Final screening on Wednesday at 7:25 pm.

Rise of The Planet of the Apes: Showing at 7:25 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 9:45 pm on Dec. 22 and 23.

Our Idiot Brother: Showing at 9:20 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 5:30 pm on Dec. 22 and 23.

Super 8: Final screening on Wednesday at 9:20 pm.

David Minor will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for the holidays.

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