- $ 8.00 Adults
- $ 7.00 Seniors
- $ 7.00 Students (High School and younger)
- $ 6.00 Matinees
- $ 5.50 Children 12 and under
- $ 65.00 10 Film Pass
Opening TBA: Whiplash
Note: Sony Pictures Classics has changed its roll out strategy, however, Whiplash is still booked and will be opening at a later date.
Fri. - November 21 - 6:30 pm SSat. - November 22 - 4:00 - 7:30 pmSSun. - November 23 - 2:00 - 4:30 - 7:00 pm AMon. - November 24 - 7:00 pm ATues. - November 25 - 7:00 pm AWed. - November 26 - 7:00 pm AThurs. - November 27 - 7:00 pm A
SYNOPSIS: A fading actor (Michael Keaton) best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuilt his career, and reconnect with friends and family proves more difficult than expected. Lindsay Duncan, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton co-star in this black comedy from Biutiful director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Click to Expand/Collapse our Selected Review:
The first time we see Michael Keaton in his tighty-whities in “Birdman,” it’s from behind. His character, a formerly high-flying movie star, is sitting in the lotus position in his dressing room of a historic Broadway theatre, only he’s levitating above the ground. Bathed in sunlight streaming in from an open window, he looks peaceful. But a voice inside his head is growling, grumbling, gnawing at him grotesquely about matters both large and small.
The next time we see Keaton in his tighty-whities in “Birdman,” he’s dashing frantically through Times Square at night, having accidentally locked himself out of that same theatre in the middle of a performance of a Raymond Carver production that he stars in, wrote and directed. He’s swimming upstream through a river of gawking tourists, autograph seekers, food carts and street performers. But despite the chaos that surrounds him, he seems purposeful, driven and–for the first time–oddly content.
These are the extremes that director Alejandro G. Inarritu navigates with audacious ambition and spectacular skill in “Birdman”–the full title of which is “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” He’s made a film that’s both technically astounding yet emotionally rich, intimate yet enormous, biting yet warm, satirical yet sweet. It’s also the first time that Inarritu, the director of ponderous downers like “Babel” and “Biutiful,” actually seems to be having some fun.
Make that a ton of fun. “Birdman” is a complete blast from start to finish. The gimmick here–and it’s a doozy, and it works beautifully–is that Inarritu has created the sensation that you are watching a two-hour film shot all in one take. Working with the brilliant and inventive cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who won an Oscar this year for shooting “Gravity” for Inarritu’s close friend and fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron), Inarritu has constructed the most delicate and dazzling high-wire act. And indeed, before shooting began, the director sent his cast a photo of Philippe Petit walking a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers as inspiration.
Through impossibly long, intricately choreographed tracking shots, the camera swoops through narrow corridors, up and down tight stairways and into crowded streets. It comes in close for quiet conversations and soars between skyscrapers for magical-realism flights of fancy. A percussive and propulsive score from Antonio Sanchez, heavy on drums and cymbals, maintains a jazzy, edgy vibe throughout. Sure, you can look closely to find where the cuts probably happened, but that takes much of the enjoyment out of it. Succumbing to the thrill of the experience is the whole point.
Just as thrilling is the tour-de-force performance from Keaton in the role of a lifetime as Riggan Thompson, a washed-up actor trying to regain the former glory he achieved as the winged action hero Birdman. The film follows the fraught early going of his Broadway debut which is also his last shot at greatness–although his on-screen alter ego doesn’t help much by voicing his fears and making him doubt himself incessantly. Yes, it’s knowingly amusing that Keaton, who peaked 20-plus years ago as a superhero, is playing an actor who peaked 20-plus years ago as a superhero. Although I’d happily argue that Keaton’s Batman for Tim Burton in 1989 is THE definitive performance of the iconic character–but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation for another time.
Or is it? While “Birdman” exists in its own meticulously realized world, it’s very much of this time and place from a pop-culture perspective, with references to other real-life actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Fassbender who’ve enjoyed enormous success when they’ve donned the superhero duds. The script from Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo is cleverly meta without being too cutesy and self-satisfied.
Keaton gets to toy with his persona a bit–as well as acknowledge how comparatively quiet his career has been in recent years–but seeing him in seasoned form provides its own joy. He’s still hyper-verbal and playful and he can still be amusing and lacerating in his delivery, but there’s a wry wistfulness and even a desperation in the mix now that’s achingly poignant.
Also confronting his real-life reputation is Edward Norton as Mike Shiner, the brilliant but infamously capricious actor who steps in as Riggan’s co-star just as previews are about to begin on his labor-of-love production of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Norton, who’s come with the baggage of being difficult and demanding over the years, finds just the right balance between arrogance and sincerity.
Besides, they need each other, as they find in the days leading up to opening night. They all need each other. Inarritu has amassed a tremendous supporting cast and made ridiculous technical demands of them, yet they’ve all more than risen to the occasion and relished the chance to shine.
Zach Galifianakis plays strongly against type as Riggan’s manager and the rare voice of reason in the middle of all this madness. Emma Stone is adorable as Riggan’s world-weary, wise-ass daughter who also serves as his assistant. (She and Norton have crackling chemistry in a couple of crucial scenes.) Amy Ryan does wonders with her brief screen time as Riggan’s ex-wife; she fleshes him out and allows us to see both the selfish and the good in him. And Naomi Watts, who starred in Inarritu’s wrenching “21 Grams,” gets to play both light and heavy moments as a neurotic fellow cast member.
It’s powerfully clear that they all worked their asses of to make this complicated thrill ride look effortless. The result is one of the best times you’ll have at the movies this year–which might even be the best movie this year.
Thurs. - November 20 - 7:00 pm SFri. - November 21 - 9:00 pm SSat. - November 22 - 9:45 pmSSun. - November 23 - 2:15 - 7:15 pm SMon. - November 24 - 7:15 pm STues. - November 25 - Not ShowingWed. - November 26 - 7:15 pm SThurs. - November 27 - Not Showing
SYNOPSIS: A satirical portrait of race relations in early 21st-century America, writer/director Justin Simien's playfully perceptive feature debut tells the story of a biracial Winchester University student whose controversial radio show sparks a media frenzy of epic proportions. When Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) begins her radio program by declaring that white people will now be required to have two black friends in order to avoid appearing racist (and that drug dealers don't count), she immediately catches the attention of the all-black residential hall that is being forced out of existence due to diversification. Subsequently elected president of the hall, Samantha becomes the subject of a reality show that deals with racial issues. Meanwhile, the Winchester University's all-white student newspaper staff mistakenly assumes that young black outcast Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams) is an expert on black culture, and recruits him to report on the brewing controversy
Click to Expand/Collapse our Selected Review:
"Dear White People" made me think of an alternate title: "And That's Why They Call It Race." The negro and Caucasian Ivy League University students in Justin Simien's comedy are all competing to be the first and best across various societal finish lines, either to attain higher status or to solidify it and pass it on to one's offspring. From a certain vantage point, all this elite jockeying and politicking is exhausting to behold. Ivy League institutions are where many of America's leaders and innovators are farmed, but the process includes a certain amount of sandbox childishness. It's fortunate that, like "The Social Network," "Dear White People" is so charismatic in form and style that we easily forgive its surfeit of priviliged narcissists. And, while the tone here is broader and brassier than that of David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's Harvard rhapsody, we eventually get to see much further beyond the surface of these calculating, thin-skinned brats, to an intensely sensitive and searching core. You can see it in the eyes of Tessa Thompson, who plays mulatto campus radical Samantha White with such implosive rage and heartache that her closeups feel like grand set pieces.
"Dear White People" gets incredible mileage out of Thompson's personaility (along with her dizzying beauty) and that of her co-star, Tyler James Williams ("Everybody Hates Chris"). Williams isn't the leading man, but he quietly leads the film. As oddly Afroed, gay Lionel, he plays a character we never see in movies, a shy, offbeat young Negro whose awkward social navigation invites as much sympathy and identification as laughs. Such a watchful, introspective character, when Caucasian, naturally assumes the role of Unlikely Hero. When Negro, he is either a non-entity or a joke. In "Dear White People," he simply stands for any Negro kid who finds himself adrift in a sea of cliques and types that reserve one predetermined slot for his kind. In a sweet little reverie, he imagines himself fitting in smoothly with the Caucasian kids and then with the Afrocentric crowd, his hairstyle and clothing changing to suit each reality. Yet neither are his reality.
There are no easy heroes or foils in this briskly cross-cutting ensemble piece, only blossoming adults and beleagured elders (including Dennis Haysbert, cast to type as a no-nonsense Dean of Students) responding to a unversity economic crisis by standing their ground and sharpening their knives. Austerity breeds contempt. Two big events bookend the power plays and betrayals in between: A student government election complicated by House Negro/Field Negro politics of a distant era; and a racist theme party hosted by the movie's fictional equivalent of the Harvard Lampoon. Along the margins, a reality TV producer pulls some marionette strings. This is Obama era satire, but, in his visual storytelling, Simien is not joking. He's not content to work from the stale but persistent improv-mockumentary template that's been the state of the art for a decade--where the handheld camera flops around with a lack of conviction and worldview to match a gang of (often Ivy educated) comedy writers just bobbing for laughs.
In contrast, Simien treats his own screenplay as if it were a slow-boiling neo-noir thriller, or, in its dapper sensuality, "8 1/2." You could make a (film geek) party game out of guessing his influences. There's the erudite-vernacular screwball dialogue of Wilder, Schulberg, Chayevsky and their funkiest disciple, Spike Lee (circa "He Got Game"-to-present). Certain Wellesian low angle shots of strident characters arrayed like superheroes of intolerance suggest "The Boondocks." There's also the brashness of very early Spike, particularly the campus cattiness of "School Daze" and the exuberant sexuality of "She's Gotta Have It"-through-"Jungle Fever." Lionel mentions his own love of Robert Altman films--perhaps shared by the director, though his canvas, full as it is, rarely gets Altman-messy. The dialogue is dense but rolls out as neatly as a "Dragnet" interrogation.
Whether Simien drew on all or none of these influences, his vision seems to spring directly from what's up with his generation now. A student election managed by one computer science major's smartphone app doesn't have an election day but an election minute. Apps, Tweets and YouTube channels round out this film's cast. They're as essential to the film's storytelling as phone booths and telegrams were back when Negro college students didn't exist in movies. The pressure to make a mark in a fickle campus society composed of walking social media profiles, but without doing anything to disgrace the legacy they've been entrusted, ultimately pushes these kids to the breaking point. It all falls apart at the film's climactic party. Vulnerabilities and complexeties come to light. Characters we never expected to gain any self-awareness suddenly hit a brick wall of truth.
If it sounds like I'm talking around this film's supposed central subject, Race, I sho' is! This whole race thing is exhausting. Caucasians are generally as tired of hearing Negroes' race-based grievances as we Negroes are of being profiled, passed over for opportunities and murdered in the street with impunity. It's all so played out.
"Dear White People" agrees with me. It is as preposterously good-looking as its student government rivals and ex-lovers, Samantha and Troy (Brandon P. Bell), but never so lovely as in those moments where characters, overcome with spontaneous emotion, set aside their spiritual placards to engage on a human level. When Samantha and her new boyfriend, a somewhat dorky, analytical Caucasian teaching assistant (Justin Dobies), argue volatile issues of race and representation in cinema while stepping out of their clothes to make sweet love, you might learn everything you ever wanted to know about race but were afraid to face.
Thurs. - November 20 - Not ShowingFri. - November 21 - Not ShowingSat. - November 22 - 4:00 pmASun. - November 23 - 4:15 pm SMon. - November 24 - Not ShowingTues. - November 25 - 7:15 pm SWed. - November 26 - Not ShowingThurs. - November 27 - 7:15 pm S
SYNOPSIS: Two adulterous lovers go from pillow talk to possible murder in this sexy, brain-teasing thriller. Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grand Budapest Hotel) directs and stars as Julien, a middle-aged salesman embroiled in a steamy love affair with a married woman who, after a round of kinky sex, makes a startling suggestion. Suddenly Julien is caught up in a police investigation, ??but just what exactly happened? Based on a novel by celebrated crime writer Georges Simenon, this beguiling cinematic puzzle unfolds in an elliptical style that keeps the audience guessing every step of the way.
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Before the story has begun, she has bitten his lip and drawn blood. When the story ends, someone has been convicted of murder. In the middle, everything is gray. Director/star Mathieu Amalric has confessed that what drew him to Georges Simenon's novel "Le Chambre Bleu" was that it begins in the middle of an affair, indeed the middle of a tryst. The impermanence of any story or memory builds like bile in the guts of "The Blue Room." We think we know, but can we dissect our remembrances, run over every glance and word with a magnifying glass, retroactively turn the scene of an affair into the scene of a crime? Amalric's hero, so enfeebled by compromise he hardly merits the word, finds himself in a maze he has constructed out of his own half truths, deadened emotions and simmering resentments and he can't remember the way out. The best he can do is remember what it felt like to share the blue room of a hotel with the woman who changed his life.
Amalric is Julien Gahyde, a man with debilitating confidence. He has a wife and child, a pristine modern home, a lucrative job and a beautiful mistress. Everything is perfect and he can't enjoy any of it. His time with Esther (played fittingly enough by Amalric's partner Stéphanie Cléau) is sweaty and desperate, and immediately dissolves into ritual. He must run across town to get to his car, parked a discreet distance away. He must perfect the lie he'll tell his wife about the bloody lip Esther gave him, and deliver it with the right degree of detached disinterest. He must pretend to be himself.
Parsing out the real Julien from the one he pretends to be becomes more difficult when we realize he's landed himself in jail. These events are now being recalled before a judge because someone has been murdered. Amalric plays coy about the crime, hopping around the chronology of Julien's dalliance looking for clues. We see evidence emerge every time we leap to a new scene even as we change our picture of Julien himself. The more he lies in memory, the more human and less obvious a suspect he seems. "The Blue Room"'s slippery perspective fits a character who wonders if he ever understood a single second of his meticulously drawn life. Amalric, cinematographer Christophe Beaucarne and editor François Gédigier sand down and shellac the polycephalous narrative into fleeting, perfect surfaces. Julien looks through his past but he cannot touch any of it, the truth as volatile as the passions that drove him to misfortune.
Amalric's careful yet exuberant direction is nothing new. His first five fiction features utilize depth more expertly than most 3D features, but here his images have been wrought with laser precision. Shot in Academy Ratio, "The Blue Room" mimes Julien's predicament by imprisoning him in small square frames long before the public trial has commenced. He stares off screen at an answer that won't come, combing his myriad flashbacks for the answer as if turning a glass Rubix cube. The subtle directionality of the compositions and the constant shifts from the present to the past, "The Blue Room" often feels like a work of cinematic futurism, not dissimilar to the films of Steven Soderbergh. It constructs ideal romantic and erotic zones, only to eye them from a clinical remove mere seconds later. The past must run to keep up with the progress of the trial. The crime at the heart of "The Blue Room" eventually becomes clear enough, but the people involved remain mysterious. Amalric puts the audience inside his convicted murderer's head to get them closer to the details but even that point of view remains fatally limited. Julien cannot break out of the little box he has constructed and make any sense of the timeline surrounding the murder. He can't even believe his own version of events or trust that he knows who Esther really was. "The Blue Room" has many questions and very few answers. Even if it did, who would trust them?
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