- $ 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
"Hey Bartender" Opens June 21
Fri. - May 24 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm ASat. - May 25 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm ASun. - May 26 - 4:00 - 7:00 pm AMon. - May 27 - 4:00 - 7:00 pm ATues. - May 28 - 7:00 pm AWed. - May 29 - Not ShowingThurs. - May 30 - 7:00 pm A
Japanese atrocities in the Pacific during World War II have been well documented, and we know how the U.S. retaliated by destroying great portions of Japan with the A-bomb. But what happened to diplomatic relations between the two countries during the American occupation of postwar Japan? What did we do about Emperor Hirohito? And who issued the order to bomb Pearl Harbor? These are some of the vital historical questions asked and answered, soberly and responsibly, in Emperor.
Tommy Lee Jones does his typically sour, deadpan turn as General Douglas MacArthur, adding doses of egomania and short-sightedness often hinted at by the journalists who covered his mission in Tokyo after the Japanese surrender in August 1945. He’s always interesting, but in Emperor he is relegated to the equivalent of a supporting role, consisting mainly of barking orders like “Do not come back to this office unless you are dragging him by the balls!”
The real star of the film is the magnetic, forceful and charismatic Matthew Fox, who steals the entire film as easily as if he were pitching a softball. Mr. Fox, who captured world attention as the star of the TV mystery-adventure series Lost, is heading for blazing stardom as one of the most compelling screen presences since Gary Cooper and William Holden. He plays the demanding role of Bonner Fellers, MacArthur’s protégé. Fellers was the U.S. general whom MacArthur assigned to investigate Japanese military complicity in the war and arrest and bring to justice 30 of the top war criminals close to the emperor, beginning with Prime Minister Tojo. It was a daunting and dangerous job. We won the war, but not the respect of the Japanese people. Occupation forces were warned to be careful not to act like conquerors, even when the U.S. high command drove through the streets of Tokyo and the citizens turned their backs on the convoys. General Fellers faced myriad obstacles, including a bad beating in a Tokyo bar, and learned that Japan was a nation of contrasts, where “nothing is black and white, but a million shades of gray.”
Director Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring) does a superb job of detailing a vast canvas of Japanese life on several cultural levels—from the tradition of honor and the history of suicide as an act of bravery to the shame of defeat and the rage against American soldiers over streets that smelled of burned and rotting flesh and a countryside reduced to a crematorium full of ashes. When President Franklin Roosevelt takes the deified Emperor Hirohito off the “protected” list, MacArthur faces a powder keg. Given a U.S. deadline of 10 days, it is up to Fellers to pardon the emperor, arrest him or hang him. Whatever the decision, he first has to meet the emperor face to face—a forbidden act and a spark in itself that could ignite a revolution. As his investigation proceeds, Fellers is also shown (in a subplot invented by screenwriters David Klass and Vera Blasi) searching, with the aid of a sympathetic Japanese interpreter, for an old girlfriend named Aya (lovely Eriko Hatsune, from Norwegian Wood) whom he met in college when she was an exchange student and had an affair with before the war. Were MacArthur’s motives honorable? He knows his favorite military adjutant’s fondness for Japan and his love for a Japanese woman, but he wants to please the White House and the American people, who demanded Hirohito’s head on a stick. He also nurtures an ambition to run for president. The personalities are finely drawn, and many points of view are shown in the finely tuned screenplay. Highlight: Mr. Jones’s big scene at last, when, as the supreme commander of the Allied Forces, he is finally granted permission to enter the Imperial Palace and breaks every rule in the book in one historic meeting with the emperor that changes Japan from a feudal society to a democracy.
The political intrigue works more effectively than the love story. During Fellers’s tedious probe into the actions leading up to the 1941 air attack on Pearl Harbor, the film pokes along too languidly for its own good. The only action scenes (of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) are from grainy period newsreels. But history buffs will relish the facts. No proof was ever found to charge the emperor with the attack on Pearl Harbor, but the film does reveal the single wisest decision in postwar history, which saved a 2,000-year-old dynasty from disgrace and got Japan back on its feet. The emperor never stood trial, but instead became a friend to the U.S., backed a new constitution, denounced his “divinity” as a false concept and continued to play an active role on the stage of world diplomacy until his death in 1989. Despite its flaws and occasional lapses of energy, Emperor gets all the facts right for posterity. Call it old-fashioned filmmaking, but you learn a lot and come away feeling an impact all too rare in movies today. Review by Rex Reed, observer.com
Fri. - May 24 - 6:30 pm SSat. - May 25 - 4:30 pm SSun. - May 26 - 2:30 pm SMon. - May 27 - 2:30 pm STues. - May 28 - Not ShowingWed. - May 29 - 7:15 pm SThurs. - May 30 - Not Showing
One of the more memorable scenes in Participant Media’s 2008 documentary Food Inc. involved the simple act of a family shopping in the fruit-and-vegetable aisle at the supermarket. They have diabetes medications to pay for, so their budget is tight. Broccoli and potatoes are better for them than fast food, but as they gauge the cost of those items, the burgers, fries and soda prove cheaper. And so goes the unfortunately typical American nutritional cycle: poor diet, declining health, less money to spend on better food. Food Inc. had a lot of other outrages to uncover, including meat production, corn subsidies, the struggles of small farmers, and the oppressive practices of corporate seed manufacturers, but Participant Media’s earnest new documentary A Place at the Table, a true companion piece to Food Inc., takes a closer look at the issues that faced that family. Issues that affect them and the vast segment of the population — an estimated 50 million men, women, and children — described by policy makers and advocates as “food insecure.”
The term “food insecure” is widely used, but what a lousy term for hungry, with its whiff of the clinical, and a phrasing that speaks to neurosis rather than the practical. I suppose it beats “meal-challenged.” The definition applies to anyone who at any time wonders where their next meal will come from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush include interviews with an array of talking heads including celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, who is married to Silverbush; Mariana Chilton, the founder of Witnesses to Hunger; nutrition policy leader Marion Nestle; Dr. J. Larry Brown, author of Living Hungry in America; and Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved. Actor Jeff Bridges, the founder of the End Hunger Network, makes a passionate plea for awareness, imploring the audience to consider this an issue of patriotism (“How do you envision your country? Do you envision it a country where one in four of the kids are hungry?”). T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars provide the soundtrack. It’s a classy, articulate and predictable group of concerned citizens.
The clever, simple-to-read graphics present many of the same points made in Food Inc., such as the ruinous nature of farm subsidies that support corn and carbohydrates and, ultimately, the junk-food industry. But the best illustration of Jacobson and Silverbush’s case—that something has to be done to both raise the level of awareness of the problem and reverse a trend that has grown at a horrifying rate since the Reagan administration—are the ordinary people they profile who are suffering through the misery of regular hunger.
If I had a hand in editing the film, I’d have skipped the opening shots of pastoral America, the bucolic scenes meant to remind us of how beautiful the country is before diving below the surface. It’s 2013; we know things are in a terrible way. Why not cut right to fifth-grader Rosie, who lives in rural Colorado in a tiny house with her mother, sisters and grandparents? Together they have just enough income not to qualify for food stamps. The sweet-faced child describes being so hungry in school that she starts to imagine (or hallucinate) that her teacher is a banana. To look at the girl, one wouldn’t know she’s chronically hungry; she looks healthy. It’s her teacher at the local elementary school who puts two and two (lack of focus, frequent absences) together and tries to help. But most of the donated foods the family receives are carbohydrates, packaged and processed foods. As Rosie’s grandmother makes bread for the family she speaks ruefully of not being able to afford vegetables. The same is true for Tremonica, an obese second-grader in Mississippi who suffers from asthma.
Barbie Izquierdo, a single mother from Philadelphia, is the most brutally self-aware person in the film. Having grown up in poverty, she’s desperate to break the cycle (if her daughter and toddler son have a father, he’s certainly not helping). Jacobson and Silverbush follow Izquierdo as she becomes an activist herself and enjoys the triumph of landing a job (helping others in need as they struggle to understand government assistance). But they are also there three months later when Izquierdo is confronting the reality that the job pays just enough so that she is no longer eligible for day-care subsidies or food stamps, but not enough for her to feed her kids. “What am I going to do, give them a Hot Pocket for dinner tomorrow?” she says.
This young woman — proud and strong and ambitious — looks into her refrigerator, nearly bare only five days after the last paycheck and the tears start to flow. “It’s tiring,” she says. The movie is called A Place at the Table (it played at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival under the rather vague title Finding North) and it specifically addresses our country’s hunger crisis. But it also speaks to larger hungers. Hungers for independence, a dignified life, a better chance for ones children—in short, the American dream. See it and weep. Review by Mary Pols, entertainment.time.com
Fri. - May 24 - 8:30 pm SSat. - May 25 - 6:30 - 8:45 pm SSun. - May 26 - 4:30 - 7:15 pm SMon. - May 27 - 4:30 - 7:15 pm STues. - May 28 - 7:15 pm SWed. - May 29 - Not ShowingThurs. - May 30 - 7:15 pm S
“I refuse to paint the world black,” declares Pierre-Auguste Renoir (the great French actor Michel Bouquet) in “Renoir,” Gilles Bourdos’s compassionate late-life portrait of this French Impressionist painter, infirm with rheumatoid arthritis. “A painting should be something pleasant and cheerful,” he adds. “There are enough disagreeable things in life. I don’t need to paint more.” It is the summer of 1915 and Renoir, 74, has just lost his beloved wife, Aline. He will die four years later. The great man, now rich and famous, is slavishly attended by a retinue of female servants, several of whom are former artist’s models, at his farm, Les Collettes, at Cagnes-sur-Mer on the Cote d’Azur. World War I rages to the north.
His two older sons, Pierre (Laurent Poitrenaux) and Jean (Vincent Rottiers), have both suffered serious battle injuries. Early in the film Jean returns home on crutches to convalesce from a wound that nearly cost him a leg. A third son, Claude (Thomas Doret), a k a Coco, in his early teens, lives on the property.
Despite laboring in excruciating pain, which requires his hand to be tied to his paintbrush, Renoir remains obsessed with the way “the velvety texture of a young girl’s skin” absorbs the light. He experiences a surge of vitality when he meets the 15-year-old Andrée Heuschling (Christa Théret), a k a Dedee, a voluptuous, mouthy, high-strung redhead recommended as a model by Henri Matisse. “Too early, too late,” Renoir comments wryly, meaning that their age difference prevents them from becoming lovers. For Renoir, Andrée, who has a ravenous appetite for life, is the spirit made flesh, a beauty “Titian would have worshiped,” he announces.
Renoir’s philosophy is distilled in five words: “Flesh! That’s all that matters.” While watching the movie, exquisitely photographed by the Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Ping Bing Lee (“In the Mood for Love”), you may surrender to that unabashedly sensual vision, celebrated in every shot of Les Collettes’ gorgeous, seething landscape of windblown trees, grass and streams that reflect what Renoir calls “the fury running through my nerves.”
But the movie, like its subject, refuses to stir up unnecessary melodrama. There are many small conflicts and psychological undercurrents, but the closest thing to a narrative theme is the effect Andrée has on the Renoir household. Pierre-Auguste, Jean and Claude all fall under her spell, while Renoir’s caretakers are outraged by her arrogance. In a violent outburst, she smashes several priceless plates. When Andrée and Jean first meet, and she asks him what he wants to do with his life, he replies glumly that he has “no dreams and ambitions.”
She scolds, “Never say that to a woman — she’ll despise you.” They have an affair during which Andrée, who dreams of being a movie star, stokes his interest in filmmaking, and we see his first steps in that direction.
Just outside the gates of Les Collettes lies the real world in its war-torn shambles, glimpsed in a scene in which the radiant Andrée rides her bicycle past rows of wounded, disfigured soldiers sprawled by the roadside, who eye her with a mixture of hunger and despair. Here is the horror Renoir has shut out of his sight.
Mr. Rottiers plays the 20-year-old Jean as a blank lost soul waiting for his future to find him. When he recovers, he is torn between staying with Andrée and returning to the war to fight beside his comrades. The movie ends as Jean is about to leave Les Collettes. He didn’t die. After returning safely, he and Andrée married, and before they separated in 1931, she made 15 silent films under the name Catherine Hessling. Jean went on to cinematic immortality as the creator of classics like “Grand Illusion” and “The Rules of the Game.”
“Renoir” doesn’t strain to create a deeper sense of artistic continuity between father and son beyond suggesting that Pierre-Auguste and Jean shared a vision of life expressed in the father’s advice to “let yourself be carried through life like a cork on water.” That sense of fluidity is embodied in the canvases shown in the film (painted by the famous art forger Guy Ribes), whose figures dissolve into the landscape and into one another in an ethereal mist. “What must control the structure is not the line,” Renoir declares. “It’s the color.” Review by Stephen Holden, nytimes.com
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