Local Theater Watch

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— Ryan Beltram, EDN

What’s great about local entertainment is that you get to see something a little different. The discovery of something that normally would never even be on you radar is what makes local cinema and theater great. Plus a bonus is after seeing something new and unique, you can show off to your friends and seem more cultured and intelligent.

There are a number of options this week in local cinema. The Bijou has three movies debuting: A story about an unlikely friendship, a film about a notorious European pop star and a comedy featuring puppets. Plus the Bijou will be hosting a one-night event showcasing an Academy Award nominee’s work. David Minor is a little more mellow this week with only one movie opening and it’s a good one.

Local Cinema: Bijou

Le Havre: 2011 – Comedy/Drama – 93 Min – Not Rated. Opens on Friday, Feb. 3 at 5:30 pm.

A Story about an Unusual Friendship

When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe-shiner, Marcel Marx, creates a temporary safe haven for the illegal immigrant, Idrissa. Despite the suspicions of a local inspector, Marcel tries to finance a trip that will enable the boy to get to his family in London.

Le Havre offers tenderness, deadpan humor and most importantly, a heavy dose of drama that forms from the friendship between Marcel and Idrissa. Despite the drab scenery, Le Havre features an oddball cast of local residents that livens up this poignant film about unlikely friendships and the steps we’ll go to protect them.

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life: 2010 – Drama – 130 Min – Not Rated. Debuts on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:45 pm.

Serge Gainsbourg led quite a life and director Joann Sfar documents the French singer in Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. From growing up in the 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris through his successful years as a song writer in the 1960s to his death in the early 90s at the age of 62, Sfar chronicles the ups and downs of one of Europe’s more notorious entertainers.

Besides being a talented musician, Gainsbourg was also a painter and notorious playboy who had affairs with various women in the 1960s including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.

But unlike most musical bio-pics, the film also features an unusual alter ego for Gainsbourg in the form of a puppet. His bad-boy persona and philandering ways are embodied in the puppet and gives the film a unique visual style not seen in other biographies.

Team America: World Police: 2004 – Animation/Comedy – 98 Min – Rated R. Opens on Friday, Feb. 3 at 10:30 pm.

To commemorate the passing of Kim Jong-il, the Bijou will be showing Team America: World Police Feb. 3-9. Directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, Team America is a movie that makes fun of politicians, celebrities, Hollywood blockbusters, terrorists and dictators.

If you’re a fan of Alec Baldwin or Kim Jong-il or if you might get offended witnessing excessive vomiting or puppet-on-puppet sex, Team America: World Police probably isn’t the movie for you.

An Evening with Don Hertzfeldt

Unconventional Animation

On Sunday, Feb. 5 the Bijou will be hosting a one-night event showcasing the work of animator and Academy Award nominee Don Hertzfeldt. Following the screening of his earlier work, Don will debut his third and final chapter in a trilogy of short films about a mysterious man named Bill.

The final chapter entitled, It’s Such a Beautiful Day, mixes traditional animation, experimental optical effects, trick photography and new digital effects. Following the presentation of the entire trilogy, Don will be live on stage for a Q & A.

The screenings will be at 7:30 and 10 pm and tickets are $10.

Still Playing at the Bijou:

A Dangerous Method: Showing at 4:45, 7 and 9:10 pm Wednesday and Thursday. The later showtime on Friday will be at 9:20 pm. There’s an additional screening at 2 pm Saturday and there is only one showing on Sunday at 4:45 pm.

Shame: The final two days of showtimes will be Wednesday and Thursday at 5:15, 7:30 and 9:45 pm.

Local Cinema: David Minor

Drive: 2011 – Crime Drama – 100 Min – Rated R. Debuting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 9:30 pm.

One of the most acclaimed films of the year and an Oscar snub, Drive is a cool, uneasy film that stays with you long after you see it. Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks, this low-key crime drama follows a man known only as Driver (Gosling) who by day is a stuntman for movies and by night, a hired getaway driver for criminals.

Driver lives a quiet, somewhat lonely life until a new neighbor, Irene (Mulligan), moves in next door. It’s just her and her son as the father is still in prison. Driver and Irene become friends but when the father is released from prison, he becomes involved in a botched heist which Driver volunteered to be apart of. Now a hit has been put out on Driver and he must end  this feud and protect Irene and her son.

The film is affectively unHollywood. It’s slow-paced and has a European vibe to it. Some viewers may become impatient by its pace but based on the performances and the cool soundtrack, viewers should see this.

Still Playing at David Minor:

50/50: Showing at 9:30 pm Feb. 2-8.

The Ides of March: Showing at 7:40 pm Feb. 2-8.

Moneyball: Showing at 5:20 pm Feb. 2-8.

Contagion: Showing at 5:20 pm Feb. 2-8.

Midnight in Paris: Showing at 7:40 pm Feb. 2-8.

In the Theaters:

There’s nothing new in high school theater this week, but at both the collegiate and professional level, a number of plays are available to see including a story about trying to live the American dream during the Great Depression and a comedy about love, divorce and marriage.

The Hope Theatre in Eugene presents Awake and Sing!. Set in The Bronx during the Great Depression, Awake and Sing! follows a working-class Jewish family and their struggle to achieve the American Dream.

A Story About Perseverance Through Hard Times

Written by Clifford Odets during one of the most challenging times in American history, Awake chronicles the Berger family and their troubles to get by as a family. The parents, grown cynical of a world that has beaten them down attempt to teach their children the realities of the existing world in the 1930s. But the children, earnest and ignorant, want to dream of a better life.

Odets’s play challenges the audience to look past money and greed and to discover the treasure of family, freedom and our place in the future. The themes presented in this drama are as relevant today as they were when Odets wrote it during the Depression.

The last three days to see Awake and Sing! are Feb. 2-4 at the Hope Theatre in Eugene. The show is at 8 pm and tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors. UO students with valid UO ID get in for free.

Over at Lane Community College, the Student Productions Association is presenting Exploding Love, a comedy about an explosive (literally) relationship.

Skeeter can’t get over his ex-wife. When he learns that she is getting married to another man, he decides to strap dynamite to his chest and lock himself in the men’s bathroom at the courthouse where she intends to get married. If you’re looking for a fun evening featuring over-the-top comedy, check out Exploding Love.

The play is Feb. 2-4 at 7:30 pm at the Blue Door Theater. Tickets are $10.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more dramatic, Sacred Heart Hospice presents, Vesta, an examination of the emotions and decisions a family faces through the end of a grandmother’s life.

Vesta is an independent 75-year-old who must confront not only a debilitating stroke but also terminal cancer. Her daughter Carol, who is her mother’s primary caregiver; and Carol’s husband and teenage daughter Kelly, each struggle with the grandmother’s decline.

Vesta will be playing at the Upstart Crow Studios in Eugene. Th play runs Feb. 4, 10-11, 17-18. The show is at 8 pm and tickets are $15.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical is still going on at the Actors Cabaret.

This two-act spectacle follows a cast of seven including Lin, Pickles and Betty, three women living carefree lives at Armadillo Acres. When a stripper named Pippi moves in, things get a little more interesting. By the end of the show, there’s been erotic dancing, disco, TV show confessionals and flan.

The musical will resume Friday, Feb. 3-5. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are between $16 and $27 without dinner. A meal included is $41.95. The Sunday show is at 2 pm.

The Lord Leebrick Theatre continues its production of The Real Thing and it’s been so popular, the theater has extended it through Feb. 11.

Directed by Fred Gorelick, the play follows Henry, a playwright struggling to write about love. It doesn’t help that he’s having an affair with Annie, who’s married to Max. The play deals with different relationships and the struggles these individuals face including honesty, integrity and fidelity.

Stoppard’s story uses the “play within a play” tactic to keep viewers on their toes. This concept is one of many levels on which the author teases the audience into not knowing if they’re seeing reality or an act. The Real Thing is a witty commentary on the challenges of marriage, intellectual integrity and pop culture.

The Real Thing resumes this week on Friday, Feb. 2 with a three-day run through Saturday. Tickets range from $14 to $30.

 

 

 

 

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