A handy guide to summer movies that don't suck

No, Ice Cube's not in Rize, the amazing new documentary by David LaChapelle about krumping and "clown-dancing" in South Central Los Angeles. But that photo from Tommy the Hip-Hop Clown's site says more than I could say in my recent review. If you're in Minneapolis, see the movie here in Uptown. It's been compared to Style Wars, Hoop Dreams, and Paris is Burning. (For background, read up on L.A.'s tradition of hip-hop dance innovation.)

Otherwise, you don't have to read the recent conversation between film critics Rob Nelson and David Thomson to know summer movies are bad. The exceptions are what we live for, though. Besides Batman Begins (much funnier than Rob gives it credit for, I think), here's a guide to all that's cool in summer movies (as well as movies and music) around the Twin Cities area, this week and beyond:

Movies and Music (and More) in Minneapolis-St. Paul

'Foxy Brown' at the Bryant-Lake Bowl tonight in anticipation of the Twin Cities Black Film Festival. Classic blaxploitation at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.825.8949 Tuesday, July 12

Movies and music on the river in Stillwater These events are always sweet. Tuesdays through August 16

A night of films in Stevens Square Park Search and Rescue - 'Cinema and Civics in Stevens Square' Wednesday, July 13

Summer Sleaze Fest: A Night of Dirty, Sexy Rock 'n' Roll, Film, and Pageantry Rock and film this Friday at the Triple Rock Social Club, with the SPITTIN' COBRAS, the BLEEDING HICKEYS, and the SCREENS, with DJs C-Gull and Trevor, plus special guests the Minnesota Rollergirls, go-go dancers, plus films by filmmaker Nicole Brending. Friday, July 15

Movies and music in St. Paul's Castillo Park in St. Paul Thursdays through August 11

'Sherlock, Jr.' at the Heights Theater with organ accompaniment The Heights screens Buster Keaton's 1924 classic with live organ playing by David Knudtson at 1:00 p.m. this Saturday at the Heights Theatre, 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; 763.788.9079 Saturday, July 16

Childish Film Series at Oak Street Cinema Minnesota Film Arts continues its series of films for kids of all ages on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. I particularly recommend The Red Balloon on July 23. All programs begin at 1:00 p.m. Oak Street Cinema, 309 Oak St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.331.3134 Saturdays though August 6

Movies and music in Loring Park in Minneapolis One of the reasons to live in this town, folks. Mondays through August 22

Movies at Bobino The people at Bobino's Starlight Lounge present an eclectic series of films on the outdoor patio, with screenings at dusk. Bobino Wine Bar and Cafe, 222 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.623.3301. Mondays through August 29

Movies at Solera Free movies on the rooftop of Solera Restaurant, with theme appropriate drink specials. Sundays and Mondays through August 29.

The Free Range Film Festival screens cool films inside a large barn as part of its "farm-fresh alternative to stale cinema" in Wrenshall, Minnesota (somewhere between Duluth and St. Paul, I gather). Corner of County Road 1 and County Road 4, Wrenshall [email protected] July 29 - July 30

Twin Cities Black Film Festival Don't know much about this young festival at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, but looks good. 1501 Hennepin Avenue August 19 - August 21

'Sin City' still playing at Roseville 4 for a couple bucks. ongoing

Late-Night Cinema at the Riverview Theater The Riverview Theater screens cult films on select Fridays and Saturdays at midnight. Riverview Theater, 3800 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.729.7369. ongoing

Atomic Midnights: cult movies on Saturdays midnight at Saint Anthony Main These late movies always promise rare, awful vintage exploitation films for you to groan and shout jokes at. ongoing

Omnitheater at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul ongoing

Search and Rescue Series from Minnesota Film Arts This essential 16mm film series draws on the University's treasure trove of endangered celluloid, with cheap admission (customarily an optional donation) at Bell Auditorium, usually on Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. The Bell, 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.331.3134. This week, however, the event takes place on Wednesday, July 13 at Stevens Square Park. (see above) (Wednesday, July 13; Tuesdays) ongoing

Minnesota drive-in movie theaters

More summer movie events in City Pages. See also the City Pages movie clock, with links to the only complete reviews in town

Oh, and here's a review of Fantastic Four...

Roll with its goofy tone, and there's much to enjoy in the first third of this labor-of-money Marvel Comics adaptation, before inept action takes over. The idea of a superhero team created in the eye of celebrity, without secret identities or a carefully contrived mythos, gets a blissfully breezy treatment from director Tim Story (Barbershop, Taxi). Jessica Alba might be a porndog casting choice as the Invisible Woman--the original '60s character looked like Donna Reed--but there's something refreshingly bald about a script so shameless that it contrives to disrobe her three times. Chris Evans, the charmcake mimbo of 2004's underrated Cellular, fires off good lines as the Human Torch before the picture loses its sense of humor. And Ioan Gruffudd's rubber-limbed Mister Fantastic benefits from improved CG animation. Then there's the Thing, one of Stan Lee's and Jack Kirby's greatest creations, a walking pile of orange rocks who spouts the humanist poetry of belligerent Brooklynese. Before cosmic rays transform erstwhile Ben Grimm into his larger stone self, Michael Chiklis carries the character's threatening bulk with the same poise he brings to FX's The Shield--he promises to be Hugh Jackman-perfect. But the Thing-suit he wears is almost as bad as the one in Roger Corman's shelved 1994 Fantastic Four movie: This monster looks like a pre-animation Yoda covered in hardened squash, with a death-metal voice. Hey, at least they left out Herbie the robot.

Note: If you're in Minneapolis, rent Roger Corman's 1994 Fantastic Four at Discount Video.

Also: Take Bahn's Fanstastic Four quiz at MSNBC.

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