NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW
In 2006, director Jonathan Demme's Heart of Gold documented a reserved Neil Young in concert, performing songs from the previous year's Prairie Wind. The album is one of Young's most maudlin, inspired by the death of his father and an aneurysm Young himself was being treated for at the time. The work is pretty much a long rumination on mortality, and Demme's film chronicled a laidback Young performing most of it. It's an intimate portrait of the musician, but it doesn't really cut to his often-raging heart. Neil Young Trunk Show, the second in Demme's proposed trilogy of Young concert films, does. It too starts with a slow, acoustic number, but it's a familiar one: "Harvest." It immediately kicks into an electric version of "Cinnamon Girl," and it isn't long before Young is in a customary pose, prowling and stomping the stage while wringing his guitar and unleashing a torrent of distortion and feedback. Unlike the refined Heart of Gold, Trunk Show seems more like guerrilla filmmaking. Cameras are at low angles, shooting band members' feet, or they're ten aisles deep in the audience, capturing the tops of fans' heads. It isn't as intimate as Heart of Gold, but it is more vibrant. The songs are certainly more exciting, a mix of a few classics and most of 2007's Chrome Dreams II, which Young was touring at the time. There's more happening onstage too, including a painter throwing together instant works of art. Like he did in Heart of Gold, Demme occasionally hauls his camera backstage. But the real action here takes place onstage, where Young plugs in and tears through "Like a Hurricane," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and the movie's sprawling centerpiece "No Hidden Path." It's the storm after the calm. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Friday, June 11, and 5:15 p.m. Saturday, June 12. (Michael Gallucci)
Birdemic: Shock and Terror
California software salesman James Nguyen wanted to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock with this haphazard movie about a bird attack. Rod (Alan Bagh) and Nathalie (Whitney Moore) hit it off after meeting at a diner one afternoon and begin dating. The minute they consummate their relationship, birds start attacking the city, dropping explosives on anyone and anything that gets in their way. Poorly edited and shot, the film looks like the work of an amateur. The acting is ridiculously bad, and the CGI eagles and vultures appear to be crafted using technology from the '80s. Still, Birdemic, a heavy-handed message movie about the dangers of global warming, has become a cult hit. Unintentionally funny, it's easily the year's worst movie. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 8:45 p.m. Friday, June 11, and 10:10 p.m. Saturday, June 12. (Jeff Niesel)
City of Your Final Destination
The latest film by director James Ivory (Howards End, The Remains of the Day) centers on a graduate student (Omar Metwally) who takes a trip to Uruguay with the hopes of writing a biography of a famous Latin-American author. Cedar Lee Theatre.
Director João César Monteiro plays himself in the second part of his "John of God" trilogy. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10, and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suss
A documentary about the making of Jew Suss, a classic anti-Semitic propaganda film. Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 9.
Harry Brown (Michael Caine) is a former military man living in one of England's poorest housing projects, and he's having a rough time lately. His wife just passed away and his only friend Leonard (David Bradley) is being harassed by a group of local street thugs. Leonard arms himself with a huge knife, despite Harry's warnings. Things don't end up so well for Leonard, so Harry takes matters in his own hands, arming himself with weapons he buys from street dealers to avenge his friend's death. Drawing upon his military experience, Harry takes out anyone he suspects had a part in hurting Leonard, arousing a police officer's (Emily Mortimer) suspicion. The vigilante theme isn't all that original, but Caine is such a great actor, he manages to breathe some life into the genre. The movie can be overly (and graphically) violent at times, but Harry Brown is an effectively gritty look at how Britain's other half lives. Cedar Lee Theatre. (Niesel)
This nonfiction film explores the link between Italy's TV shows and the country's celebrity culture, and explores the connection between Italy's President and the mass media. Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. At 7 p.m. Friday, June 11.
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