Local Theater Watch


— Ryan Beltram, EDN

It’s cold, wet and white outside so your first inclination might be to stay in and stay warm. But if you’re a movie lover, a new slate of Oscar-nominated movies opening this week might entice you to brave the weather.

At the Bijou:

Pina: 2011 – Documentary – 103 Min – Rated PG. Opens on Friday, Mar. 23 at 5:45 and 8 pm.

Dance, dance, dance

German director Wim Wenders pays tribute to the late dance choreographer Pina Bausch in this visually beautiful documentary that was nominated for Best-Documentary Feature at this year’s Oscars.

Rather than tell a basic profile story on the main character through interviews, Pina chooses to focus more on the late dancer’s style and passion through dance. Following the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble, the film takes the audience on a visually stunning journey of discovery. Wenders follows the dancers out of the theater and into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal –  where Pina called home for 35 years.

Still Playing at the Bijou:

Albert Nobbs: Showing at 4:45 pm Thursday and 5 pm Friday-Sunday.

A Separation: Showing at 5:30 and 8:15 pm Thursday. Showing at 7:30 pm Friday-Sunday with an additional showing at 2:20 pm Saturday and Sunday.

The Descendants: Final showing on Thursday at 7:15 pm.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie: Showing at 9:45 pm Thursday. Final two showing on Friday and Saturday at 10:10 pm.

The Room: Showing only on Friday at 10:30 pm.

At David Minor:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Thriller – 2011 – 127 Min – Rated R. Starts on Thursday, Mar. 22 at 5 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.

deliberately paced and very anti-James Bond, Soldier Spy is worth seeing for the performances rather than the mission or action. Despite the presence of recent Oscar winner Colin Firth and up-and-coming star Tom Hardy, the film belongs to Oldman who received his first Oscar nomination for the film.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 2011 – Drama/Thriller – 158 Min – Rated R. Starts on Thursday, Mar. 22 at 9:25 pm.

A dark thriller with sex, drugs and violence

Based on some best-selling novels you might have heard of, Dragon Tattoo is the first American translation of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy which was first adapted for the big screen a few years ago in Larsson’s native country of Sweden.

Directed by David Fincher, the US version stars Daniel Craig as disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as the dangerous cyberpunk Lisbeth Salander.

Following a much publicized feud and eventual criminal conviction over allegedly fabricating facts in a story about a wealthy businessman, Blomkvist is approached by Henrik Vanger, a wealthy old man who needs a good investigator to look into an old family incident. More than 40 years ago, Vanger’s niece went missing. Convinced that she was murdered and unable to trust his own family members, Vanger hires Blomkvist to find out the truth.

Eventually Blomkvist discovers Salander, who also has a good investigative mind,  and the two work together to solve a mystery nearly a half-century old. As they go deeper into their investigation, they uncover immense corruption beyond anything they could have imagined.

Carnage: 2011 – Drama – 80 Min – Rated R. Starts on Thursday, Mar. 22 at 7:25 pm.

Based on the play God of Carnage, the film adaptation stars Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as four parents meeting at one of their apartments to discuss an incident where one child hit the other in the face with a stick.

There to have a civilized discussion on the incident, the two couples slowly start to unravel as they disagree over whose fault it was. As the day goes on, the four adults grow increasingly childish themselves and the evening turns into chaos.

Directed by Roman Polanski who knows a thing or two about characters slowly unraveling, Carnage takes place almost entirely inside a New York apartment. The confined space and tense atmosphere adds a level of claustrophobia to the tone of the film.

Featuring three Oscar winners and a fourth whose been nominated multiple times, Carnage is all about the performances. Whether you like or agree with any of them is beside the point. The film is an 80 minute acting showcase full of humor, mean spiritedness and chaos.

Still Playing at David Minor:

Melancholia: Showing at 5 pm Mar. 22-28.

The Descendants: Showing at 7:25 pm Mar. 22-28.

Young Adult: Showing at 9:25 pm Mar. 22-28.

Nothing new in local theater this week, but there’s still a number of professional plays still going on.

On Thursday, Mar. 22, the Very Little Theatre will continue its production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Based on the 1988 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, Scoundrels follows two sly con men who make money by swindling ladies out of their money.

But while at a Casino near the French Riviera, the two thieves become aware of each other and they decide to make a deal: The first to get $50,000 out of a woman gets to stay in town, while the other has to leave.

This award-winning musical comedy and Broadway hit can be seen Mar. 22-25 this week. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 pm with tickets costing $18. The Sunday Matinee is at 2 pm. Tickets are $18 and $13 for seniors.

Theater goers looking for something a little darker can check out the dystopian story Fahrenheit 451. Presented by the Lord Leebrick Theatre, the play was originally written as a novel in the early 1950s by Ray Bradbury.

The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman who seems to spend more time starting fires than putting them out. He lives in a society where television has taken over as a main source of entertainment. Books have been deemed a negative influence on society and thus have been banned.

But on one particular day with the other firemen ransacking the book-filled house of an old woman, Montag accidentally reads a line from one her books. Upon reading this line, Montag steals one of the books. He wonders why people feel that books are so valuable and essential that they would die for them. Ignoring the rules by which he is forced to uphold, Montag decides to read the book and interpret it on his own. But by doing so, he may be risking his life.

You have three more chances to see Fahrenheit 451 as the show runs Mar. 22-25. All shows start at 8 pm and tickets are $16 to $22.

The Actors Cabaret continues its production of the Tony Award-Winning play Avenue Q.

A play for puppet lovers

Recent college graduate Princeton has moved to a somewhat poor area in New York City. Facing the daunting task of finding a job with a B.A. in English, Princeton finds comfort in the odd neighbors that live in his apartment. There’s Kate Monster, a good-hearted  kindergarten assistant, Rod and Nicky, a comedian named Brian and his fiancée, Christmas Eve, and Trekkie Monster, a puppet with a lot of interests on the internet.

Mixing real people and puppets, Avenue Q is a funny and clever play about characters trying to find their way in life. The play resumes on Friday and continues through the weekend. Friday and Saturday shows will be at 8 pm while the Sunday show will be held at 2 pm. Tickets are $16 to $27; $41.50 for dinner and show.


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