What to go see this week

Movies Out 

What to go see this week

THURSDAY may 30

M

This German film from 1931 touches down in a frenzied Berlin during the police manhunt for a child murderer (Peter Lorre). Frustrated with the police force's incompetence, a group of vigilante criminals take it upon themselves to track down the killer using a network of street beggars as spies. The film, which begins as a sparse and haunting thriller, becomes a sort of moral thought exercise about the nature of evil and the fine lines between justice and cruelty. Fritz Lang directed in his first film with sound, and Lorre, who later escaped from the Nazis and became a go-to "Foreign Villain" in Hollywood, convincingly (if abrasively) portrays the deranged, bug-eyed killer Hans Beckert.  The composer Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" has never been performed with such maniacal effect as when Beckert whistles its signature riff as he identifies his victims. It's playing at the Capitol Theatre (a joint production with the Cinematheque) tonight at 7 and at 10 a.m. on Sunday (Sam Allard) 

1390 W 65th St., 216-651-7295,

clevelandcinemas.com

ping pong

Veteran TV producer Hugh Hartford's debut documentary feature follows eight senior citizens from around the world—with 703 years between them—as they compete for gold in the Over 80 Table Tennis Championship in Inner Mongolia. Though the contests themselves leave something to be desired in speed and adrenaline, the film makes up for it with tenderness and heart. Older folks just operate with a different set of priorities, and their unique stories are by turns uplifting and devastating. Anyone who can still stand at age 89—let alone lift weights and jog and train for a tournament—is worthy of a round of applause. These people will make you cheer. The film's part of the Docurama Fest, and it plays at the Cedar Lee tonight at 7 and again Saturday morning at 11. (Allard)

2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights,

216-321-5411,

clevelandcinemas.com

FRIDAY may 31

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X

This cheesy sci-fi flick tries to be too many different things at once. It's a musical but it's also a campy b-movie. It's a comedy, but it's also a drama (sort of). Filmed in black and white (reportedly on the last bit of Kodak Plus-X 5231 available), it pays homage to the

Rocky Horror Picture Show and those delightfully terrible Ed Wood movies but doesn't quite have what it takes to compete. The film centers on Johnny Xavier (Will Keenan), a guy who "comes from a place very far away." He's been exiled to earth only to find that his former girlfriend Bliss (De Anna Joe Brooks) has stolen his special space suit that gives him power over others. He needs to get it back and perform a "selfless act" if he has any hope of returning to the planet from whence he came. Parts of the film are good fun but it ultimately just drags on. It shows tonight at 9 and tomorrow at 9 p.m. at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. (Jeff Niesel)

11141 East Blvd.,

216-421-7450,

cia.edu/cinemathque

Now You See Me

A thriller from veteran French action flick director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk), Now You See Me, uses a lengthy intro to let us meet the magicians who would go on to become the successful magic act The Four Horsemen. The gang — J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isley Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). They’ve been summoned via Tarot card to a New York City apartment where a set of instructions awaits them. The instructions are for a trick involving a French bank. They perform the feat in front of a Vegas crowd at the MGM Hotel where they appear to transport a member of the audience into the bank’s vault in France so he can clean the thing out. The act is a huge success that catches the attention of both the FBI and Interpol, who respectively send Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent) to Vegas to try to apprehend the crew. The Horsemen also catch the attention of myth buster Taddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), who tries to debunk their act on his popular reality TV show. The questions about their purpose are all answered in the conclusion but once the gig is up, you’re left feeling a bit hollow as the conclusion isn’t as satisfying as it should be. The film opens area-wide. (Niesel)

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    What to go see this week
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