— Ryan Beltram, EDN
This week in local cinema, three films debut this week as the Bijou showcases two thrillers from foreign countries: a Brazilian crime epic and a spy thriller that involves the Brits, Soviets and the French. Over at David Minor, one film debuts about a group of men planning a heist despite a lack of experience.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within: Thriller – 2010 – 115 Min – Not Rated. Starts on Friday, Feb. 24 at 8:45 pm.
More than just a shoot-em-up gangster film, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within involves corrupt politicians, dirty cops and human rights.
Lt. Colonel Nascimento is Captain of BOPE, Brazil’s elite military squad. During a rescue mission at Bangu 1, the most violent penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, one of Nascimento’s squad leaders shoots a prisoner to death. Justified in the killing as the victim was a murderous and vicious criminal, Nascimento believes the case is closed. But a human rights activist in Brazil, Diogo Fraga, witnesses the killing and brings attention to the incident.
Eventually Nascimento is relieved of command and soon finds himself assigned to the Secretary of Security department. Fraga meanwhile becomes State Representative and the two men who were once at odds with one another decide to work together after they’re exposed to a world of political corruption.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Thriller – 2011 – 127 Min – Rated R. Starts on Friday, Feb. 24 at 6 pm.
Based on the John le Carre novel, Soldier Spy follows George Smiley (Gary Oldman), an espionage veteran and disgraced spy forced from early retirement to help root out a Soviet spy within MI6.
Set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century, the film centers around a mission gone wrong in Budapest, Hungary. One of four senior figures in the British service is believed to be a Russian spy and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley is asked back to investigate the operation in Hungary and determine conclusively who the mole was.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated for three Academy Awards this year including Adapted Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Gary Oldman (his first Oscar nomination shockingly). The film has been well received and now is your chance to see it before the Oscars on Sunday.
Speaking of the Oscars, this Sunday the Bijou will be hosting its annual Academy Awards telecast party & charity benefit. A buffet-style dinner and dessert is included in the ticket price and the food will be catered by several local restaurants. A no-host bar will also offer locally crafted beer and wine during the event.
The Bijou is also encouraging viewers who come to brush up on the nominees this year as the local theater will hold a drawing for those who correctly predict the winners. Prizes will include free movie passes.
Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Shelter Animal Resource Alliance (S.A.R.A.), a nonprofit organization located in Eugene. The organization is dedicated to removing animals from shelters where they face the possibility of euthanasia. Doors open at 3 pm on Sunday and tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the event.
Still playing at the Bijou:
Pariah: Final two days of screenings on Wednesday and Thursday at 4:45, 6:45 and 8:45 pm.
Le Havre: Final two days of screenings on Wednesday and Thursday at 5 pm.
Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Films: Showing at 7:15 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 5:15 and 9:30 on Friday. Showing at 2:30 and 9:30 pm Saturday and at 9:30 pm Sunday.
Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films: Showing at 9:30 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 7:40 and 11:30 pm Friday. Showing at 12:30 and 7:40 pm Saturday and at 12:30 pm Sunday.
Oscar-Nominated Documentary Short Films: Showing on Saturday at 5 pm.
The Room: Showing at 11:15 pm Friday.
Tower Heist: Comedy – 2011 – 104 Min – Rated PG-13. Starts on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 9:20 pm.
Tower Heist marks the welcomed return of the old Eddie Murphy. Think 80s, fast-talking raw Eddie Murphy and not 90s and 00s kid-friendly Eddie Murphy. The comedian plays a small-time criminal asked to consult a band of wannabe thieves looking to steal from the man who stole from them.
When billionaire Arthur Shaw is arrested for financial fraud, Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) thinks it’s a misunderstanding. As manager of the residential apartment where Shaw lives, Kovacs tries to think the best in people. He trusts Shaw enough to allow him to handle not only his pension, but those of the employees at the apartment building.
But his view on Shaw changes as he sees who Shaw really is, a swindler who took advantage of working-class people to better himself. Despite the FBI keeping a close eye on Shaw, Kovacs and the employees at the hotel team up to steal the $20 million Shaw has hidden in his penthouse apartment. With the help of Slide (Murphy), Kovacs intends to take back what rightfully belongs to him and his fellow employees.
Tower Heist is refreshingly unique in that it involves a group of people who have no idea how to pull off a heist. Instead of the one-last-job crime movie, you get the one-time-only crime movie. The film is funny and entertaining. Ben Stiller gives one of his better performances and the supporting cast including Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena and Alan Alda is strong. If there is one criticism it’s that there wasn’t enough Eddie Murphy.
Still Playing at David Minor:
50/50: Showing at 5:20 pm Wednesday. Showing at 7:30 pm Feb. 23-29.
The Ides of March: Final showing on Wednesday at 5:20 pm.
Midnight in Paris: Showing at 7:15 pm Wednesday. Showing at 5:15 pm Feb. 23-29.
Moneyball: Showing at 7:15 pm Wednesday. Showing at 9:20 pm Feb. 23-29.
Drive: Showing at 9:30 pm Wednesday. Showing at 7:30 pm Feb. 23-29.
The Rum Diary: Showing at 9:30 pm Wednesday. Showing at 5:15 pm Feb. 23-29.
It’s a bit of a slow week in local theater but there’s still options for fans of the live performances.
There’s still time to check out Churchill High School’s presentation of The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee.
A one-act play, this musical comedy follows six kids competing in a spelling bee. But unlike most stage productions, this one skips the audition process by inviting four audience members to the stage to compete against the six characters.
Lots of laughs and plenty of wordplay make this a fun and interactive play. The final two shows will be Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12.
Another play ending this weekend is Northanger Abbey, a Jane Austen play not as widely known as some of her other work.
Presented by The Good Samaritan Society, Abbey follows Catherine Morland, a seventeen-year-old who enjoys reading. Consumed by the characters she reads in her books, Catherine has a hard time distinguishing fiction from reality as she has to deal with the troubles of growing up.
The final three shows of Northanger Abbey are Feb. 23-25. The show is at 7 pm each night and tickets are free.
Over at the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield, production of Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations continues.
Written by some guy named Charles Dickens and adapted by Barbara Field, Great Expectations follows an orphan named Pip who grew up thinking he was going to be a blacksmith but instead became a gentleman.
As a young boy, Pip is asked to the household of Miss Havisham and her little girl Estella. It is there that the young boy begins to transform from a poor, eventual working man to the benefactor of a fortune.
Great Expectations can be seen Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5.