Life In LC

Local Theater Watch

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— Ryan Beltram, EDN

There’s a number of new movies opening this week in local theater including Oscar winners, Oscar snubs and a movie about two dudes who think they’re really awesome.

At the Bijou:

Albert Nobbs: 2011 – Drama – 113 Min – Rated R. Opens on Friday, Mar. 16 at 4:45 pm.

Glenn Close received an Oscar nomination for her convincing performance as a man named Albert Nobbs. In 19th Century Dublin, Nobbs works as a waiter in Morrison’s Hotel. Albert is hard-working and saves his money so that one day he can start his own business. Albert keeps to himself mostly. The others at the hotel think he’s a bit strange. But Albert has a big secret he doesn’t want anyone else to know.

Clenn Close is rather mannish in this.

Albert is really a woman who has pretended to be a man for thirty years. But one day a man hired to paint one of the rooms in the hotel is forced to stay in Albert’s room with her for the night. The man discovers Albert’s secret but instead of exposing Albert, the man shows the lonely woman that there is a path in life without loneliness. A path where Albert can be accepted, loved and understood.

Albert Nobbs was nominated for three Academy Awards. If nothing else, the film is worth seeing for Close’s transformative performance.

The Descendants: 2011 – Drama – 115 Min – Rated R. Opening this Thursday, Mar. 15 at 5:20 pm at David Minor. Opens on Friday at the Bijou at 7:15 pm.

“I’m the backup parent,” says Matt King (George Clooney) at the beginning of the film. King’s wife is in a coma following a boating accident and it’s now up to him to prepare their two daughters for the possibility that she doesn’t wake up. On top of that, King is preparing to sell a large chunk of land in Hawaii that his family owns. His priorities and focus are constantly shifting as you’d might expect.

But just when it seems like he’s gotten a handle on it all, he’s thrown another curve ball as his older daughter informs him that his wife was cheating on him. Despite the heavy subject matter, The Descendants has director Alexander Payne’s signature style of balancing the drama with the comedy. Clooney as always is charming, but unlike past performances, you see him as his character and not a movie star playing one.

Shailene Woodley as the oldest daughter is a revelation as her character is given a full arc from trouble-making teenager resenting her father to young woman dealing with the situation and helping him through tough decisions. The Oscar-Winning screenplay is full of real, heartfelt moments as well as hilarious scenes that never seem forced or out-of-place.

2011 wasn’t a great year for movies, but The Descendants was one of the exceptions.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie: 2012 – Comedy – 93 Min – Rated R. Opens on Friday, Mar. 16 at 9:45 pm.

The randomness of this intrigues me.

Starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is pretty self-explanatory. Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars to make a movie, but instead they lose focus and squander all of it.

With the corporation who funded the movie pissed, Tim and Eric leave town eventually landing at a bankrupt mall. Full of vagrants, bizarre stores and a man-eating wolf (What?), the guys attempt to revitalize the mall and make back the billion they lost.

I don’t know what to make of this film. It sounds super random, but hey, I like movies that are a little different.

Still Playing at the Bijou:

A Separation: Showing at 4:45 and 7:25 pm Thursday. Showing at 5:30 and 8:15 pm Friday. Additional showing at 2:50 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Sunset Boulevard: Final showing at 4 pm Thursday.

Kill List: Final showing at 9:10 pm Thursday.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Final showing at 6:25 pm Thursday.

At David Minor:

Melancholia: Drama – 2011 – 136 Min – Rated R. Starts on Thursday, Mar. 15 at 9:15 pm.

Usually when you see a film about the destruction of earth, there are 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.

I’m interested to see this film because of Kirsten Dunst’s performance as many believed she was robbed of an Oscar nomination.

Young Adult: 2011 – Comedy – 94 Min – Rated R. Starts on Thursday, Mar. 15 at 7:30 pm.

A character with no redeeming qualities.

Another actress who received some Oscar-snub buzz was Charlize Theron in Young Adult. Reuniting director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody of Juno, their new film follows Mavis Gary (Theron), a thirtysomething fiction writer who following her divorce, decides to return to her hometown in Minnesota to win back her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson), who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter.

She’s relentless in getting whatever she wants despite everyone else’s hatred of her. While in town at a local bar, she runs into another former schoolmate Matt (Patton Oswalt), who shares her feelings of being unwanted. Soon the unlikely pair begin to form an unexpected friendship.

It’s been a while since Charlize Theron has been interesting in a movie and the track record from the director (Thank you for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air) has been outstanding so far so this looks like a film worth seeing.

Still Playing at David Minor:

50/50: Showing at 5:20 pm Mar. 15-21.

Midnight in Paris: Showing at 7:30 pm Mar. 15-21.

The Rum Diary: Showing at 9:15 pm mar. 15-21.

Nothing new this week in local theater, but a number of high-quality and popular plays are still in production.

Do you want to live in a world where books are outlawed? I don’t. But in Fahrenheit 451, this horrible law is enforced as a future society is worried about the power of books and their influence on society. But one fireman, Guy Montag, whose job is to burn written words begins to think differently.

On one particular day with the other firemen ransacking the book-filled house of an old woman, Montag accidentally reads a line from one of her books. He takes the book and soon wonders why people feel that books are so valuable and essential that they would die for them.

A science-fiction classic originally written by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting and bleak view of a future society. The stage interpretation can be seen at the Lord Leebrick Theatre this week Mar. 15-18. Shows are at 8 pm and tickets are $16 to $22.

Where the magic happens.

If you would rather watch puppets, then check out The Actors Cabaret as they continue their production of Avenue Q.

Princeton is a recent college graduate who has moved to a poor New York neighborhood. With a B.A. in English, job prospects are not looking good for Princeton. To help him through tough times are his eccentric group of neighbors including Kate Monster, a nice kindergarten assistant, Rod and Nicky, a comedian named Brian and his fiancée Christmas Eve, and Trekkie Monster, a puppet who likes surfing the web.

Mixing real people and puppets, Avenue Q is a funny and endearing play about characters just trying to figure out life. The play can be seen Mar. 16-18 at 8 pm. Tickets are $16 to $27; $41.50 for dinner and show.

Other shows still going on:

The Crucible: Final three showings are Mar. 15-17 at the Hope Theatre. Shows start at 8 pm and tickets are $14.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: This popular production can be seen at the Very Little Theatre Mar. 15-17. Shows start at 8 pm and tickets are $18.

Peter Pan: One showing at the Hult Center on Sunday, Mar. 18 at 2 pm. Tickets are $18.

The Blue Door Theater is presenting a one-night event showcasing favorite scenes and monologues from Shakespeare plays. Happening Saturday, Mar. 17 at 2 pm, the event is free.


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