August 16, 2013 Slideshows » News, Blogs

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5 Must-See Movies This Weekend 

Blackfish, a documentary about Tilikum, a killer whale that attacks its trainer, opens with the gripping 911 call that was placed after the incident at Sea World in Orlando in 2010. That sets the tone for this terrific film, which is showing at the Cedar Lee Theatre. The movie examines the world of training the huge creatures. The filmmakers take us back to Puget Sound in 1970 where Tilikum was initially captured. The whale is transported to British Columbia where trainers abuse it and keep it confined in a small dark pool at night. We learn that if anyone is to blame for the attacks, it’s Sea World. But Sea World repeatedly declined to be interviewed for the film, so we never hear its side of the story. Because the film so carefully documents its defense of the numerous lawsuits filed against it, the lack of a first-hand testimony from a Sea World rep doesn’t diminish the movie in any way. It’s a terrific documentary. (Jeff Niesel)
Many critics have rightly called Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which is playing at Cinemark Valley View and at the Cedar Lee Theatre, his best movie in years. And they’re right. Rather than give everyone equal face time, Allen focuses primarily on Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a self-involved socialite who’s been in a tailspin ever since her wealthy, philandering husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) went to jail on charges of fraud and left her penniless. Neurotic and nervous, Jasmine is quite a character and Allen exploits the fact that she inspires both sympathy and revulsion. He adroitly mixes comedy and tragedy by centering the film on such an anti-hero. She experiences the kind of quick decline that can happen to anyone, and that’s this film’s biggest strength. She experiences the kind of sudden financial turnaround that we all fear. (Niesel)
Much like Steven Soderbergh's often-imitated 2000 film Traffic, Henry Alex Rubin's (Who is Henry Jaglom?) Disconnect weaves a variety of intersecting storylines together and creates a precarious balance that seems to be on the verge of bursting apart at the seams at any minute. A critique of the way in which our obsession with social media doesn't enable us to see the consequences of our actions, the film includes a terrific cast that features Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Alexander Skarsgard, Max Thierot and Paula Patton. While it's not an easy film to watch — the tension surrounding the school bully episode at the core of the storyline is palpable throughout the entire film — the movie manages to intrigue as much as it unnerves. It screens at 9:30 tonight and at 7:15 p.m. tomorrow at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Tickets are $9. (Niesel)
As played by Chloe Grace Moretz, Mindy McReady/Hit-Girl is a terrific character. She threw everyone for a loop in 2010’s Kick Ass, where she played a foul-mouthed little brat who kicked some serious ass. She delivers some great lines in the film’s sequel; it’s just too bad so much of the ultraviolent film focuses on her coming-of-age. Though fun, Kick Ass 2 isn’t as fun as its predecessor, perhaps in part because Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), who died in Kick-Ass is no longer around, and Hit-Girl’s surrogate father Marcus (Morris Chestunt) is essentially a non-entity. Still, the showdown between Chris D’Amico/Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has rechristened himself “The Mother Fucker,” and Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a classic scene worth slogging through the rest of the film. (Niesel)
Not exactly "fun for the whole family," this bleak Romanian drama about abortion which took top honors at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 remains one of the most celebrated films of the past decade. 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days follows two college rooommates as they arrange an illegal abortion in 1980s communist Romania. Can you spell F-U-N? The significance of the title only becomes apparent halfway through the film, but it has some gruesome ramifications, far as the operation is concerned. The film is sometimes somber to a fault -- welcome to the Balkans! -- but is nonetheless a triumph. It plays at the Cinematheque tonight at 5:15 and tomorrow at 9:30 as part of the Cultural Gardens Film Fest. (Sam Allard)
4/5
As played by Chloe Grace Moretz, Mindy McReady/Hit-Girl is a terrific character. She threw everyone for a loop in 2010’s Kick Ass, where she played a foul-mouthed little brat who kicked some serious ass. She delivers some great lines in the film’s sequel; it’s just too bad so much of the ultraviolent film focuses on her coming-of-age. Though fun, Kick Ass 2 isn’t as fun as its predecessor, perhaps in part because Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), who died in Kick-Ass is no longer around, and Hit-Girl’s surrogate father Marcus (Morris Chestunt) is essentially a non-entity. Still, the showdown between Chris D’Amico/Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has rechristened himself “The Mother Fucker,” and Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a classic scene worth slogging through the rest of the film. (Niesel)
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