Friday Night at the Movies

Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds
Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds

Your best bets on the big screen this weekend.


INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Not everyone is into Quentin Tarantino, a superb filmmaker with an adolescent's fascination with blood and guts. But critics love him, and more than one has ranked this movie--about a group of WWII Jewish resistors taking revenge on the Nazis--among his best (with raves for the opening few minutes). (area theaters)
City Pages: "Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun . . . consummate Hollywood entertainment--rich in fantasy and blithely amoral. It's also quintessential Tarantino--even more drenched in film references than gore. It may be a tad long and a little too pleased with itself, but it's tough to resist the enthusiastic performances and terrific dialogue--if you're not put off by the juvenile premise or cartoonish savagery."
Star Tribune: 3.5 stars Pioneer Press: 2.5 stars 87% positive

LORNA'S SILENCE: In this somber but well-made film about the shady underbelly of Belgium, an Albanian immigrant woman living with her junkie husband gets involved in a potentially deadly scheme. (Edina Cinema)
City Pages: "Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, secular worker-priests of the Belgian cinema, emerge once more from their lower depths. In a sense, the Dardennes make economic horror movies, starring the dregs of the working class. Their characters are the victims of soggy street-cart food and social disintegration--no God, no family or community infrastructure, no moral compass."
Star Tribune: 3.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars 89% positive

SHORTS: A decent kids' movie about a nerdy suburban teen who finds a rainbow-colored stone with wish-fulfillment powers. (area theaters)
City Pages: "A cute and mildly clever fantasy with the comic elasticity of a Tex Avery cartoon."
Star Tribune: 2.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3.5 stars 37% positive

SOUL POWER: Not a great concert film, but this documentary about a three-day music festival that accompanied the 1974 Muhammad Ali/George Foreman boxing match in Zaire is filled with enough shining performances and backstage insight to satisfy a serious music fan. (Lagoon Cinema)
City Pages: "Soul Power features performances by Celia Cruz, the Spinners, Fania All-Stars, Bill Withers, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, and more. The shows became the stuff of pop culture folklore."
Star Tribune: 2 stars Pioneer Press: 2 stars 87% positive


DISTRICT 9: For sci-fi fans, this fast and furiously inventive film is already an instant classic. Aliens descend on Earth, but they're not here to invade or save us from ourselves--their spaceship just broke down. Now they're living in a South African ghetto, and they're getting restless. (area theaters)

PONYO: Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki is back with a riff on Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Little Mermaid, but with a Miyazakian twist: the mermaid is an anthropomorphic goldfish with magical powers, and her handsome prince is a five-year-old schoolboy. (area theaters)

THE COVE: This documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in the cove of a remote Japanese fishing village is forthrightly activist and a rousing blend of faux-thriller, horror movie, and farce. (Edina Cinema)

THE HURT LOCKER: A full-throttle body shock of a movie. It gets inside you like a virus, puts your nerves in a blender, and twists your guts into a Gordian knot. Set during the last month in the yearlong rotation of a three-man U.S. Army bomb squad stationed in Baghdad, it may be the only film made about Iraq that gives us a true sense of what it feels like to be on the front lines. (area theaters)

JULIE & JULIA: Worth seeing--and only worth seeing--for Meryl Streep's joyful and lusty performance as chef and bon vivant Julia Child. (area theaters)


A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: Kubrick's most problematic movie (1971) returns. It is both despicable and technically astounding, with a performance by Malcolm McDowell that is one of the most mesmeric ever put onscreen. (Riverview Theater, Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m.)

DONNIE DARKO: This 2001 satiric teen melodrama with sci-fi/horror flourishes (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) has developed a true cult following. The title character is a borderline schizoid high school somnambulist who imagines that a six-foot-tall rabbit named Frank has predicted Armageddon to occur within a week of a big presidential election. At once brooding and hilarious, poignant and nihilistic, ingenious and overblown, the film is nothing if not unpredictable--and uncannily of its period. (Uptown Theatre, Saturday at midnight)

For more film ideas, capsule reviews, and showtimes, click here.

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