If you're addicted to movies, stop what you're doing and go see Blancanieves. This fabulous update of (and twist on) the Grimm Brothers' Snow White fairytale is enchanting in every way. It's a silent film, first off — say whaaa — and set in 1920s Seville. A little girl who never knew her mother runs off with a troupe of dwarves and becomes a famous bullfighter. This one's an homage to silent films that is itself a beautiful silent film. Hemingway himself would weep at its truth. The little girl is the cutest thing you've ever seen and auteur Pablo Berger has created a world so rich in textures and details that even without spoken dialogue, it's rapturous to experience. If you loved The Artist and hated Brothers Grimm, you'll fall head over heels for this gem from Spain. It opens today at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. (Sam Allard)
2163 Lee Rd.,Cleveland Heights,
Much like Steven Soderbergh's often-imitated 2000 film Traffic, Henry Alex Rubin's (Who is Henry Jaglom?) movie 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 opens today. (Niesel)
No Place on Earth
This documentary revolves around cave enthusiast Chris Nicola, who found some old clothes in a cave and then tracked them to a family that hid there during the Holocaust. He wrote about the experience for National Geographic Magazine and that article then convinced director Janet Tobias to make a film about Nicola's discovery. She tracked down a few of the cave's survivors and provides interviews with them here. While the re-enactments of what life was like for those people as they hid from the Nazis are a little too staged, the amount of primary source material here is really compelling. The film opens today at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. (Niesel)
2163 Lee Rd., 440-349-3306,
When Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix), a former Navy seaman turned drifter, shows up as a castaway on the yacht that Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has rented for his daughter's wedding, Lancaster doesn't kick him off. Rather, he thinks he's met Freddie in a previous life and treats him as a subject to study and possibly aid. The leader of a religious sect that loosely resembles Scientology, Lancaster, modeled on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, subjects Freddie to a series of interviews in order to explain his often-violent outbursts. That's essentially the plot of this film from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights). While Phoenix and Hoffman are both terrific (the scenes in which they square off against each other are riveting), the film fails to deliver any kind of true climax, even as the tension between Freddie and Lancaster demands some kind of resolution. The film shows at 7 tonight at then at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. (Niesel)
11141 East Boulevard, 216 421 7450,
The Cedar Lee hosts its first annual Sci-Fi Marathon tonight, and the four-film roster they've assembled is pretty eclectic -- The original Godzilla (Gojira) (1954) shows tonight at 8, The Matrix (1999) at 10, Total Recall (1990) at 12:30 a.m. and They Live at 2:30 a.m. You've probably heard of all of those except maybe They Live. That's the hokey John Carpenter flick about a guy who discovers a pair of sunglasses and realizes that earth has been colonized by aliens in disguise. As the 2:30 a.m. finale, it may be the marathon's most entertaining offering (aside from the The Matrix, which remains stellar in wholly un-ironic ways). They Live features one of the greatest lines in cinematic history: "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum." Marathon tickets are $16 and available in advance only. Individual film tix are $5 each at the door. (Allard)
2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5411, clevelandcinemas.com
This movie from director Quentin Dupieux, the guy behind 2010's wacky Rubber, is exceptionally well-filmed and well-acted. But it also has a meandering plot that takes so long to get going, it's easy to lose interest by the time something actually happens. The film centers on Dolph (Jack Plotnick) and his search for his dog that has apparently run away. In the attempt to find his dog, he encounters Master Chang (William Fichtner), an author of several self-help books who has taken to stealing people's dogs to make them appreciate them better. Chang admits he encountered a bit of a problem with Dolph's dog but gives him a book that he says will help him reconnect with the creature. While the film clearly takes cues from directors like David Lynch, it's just so absurd, it's hard to discern any kind of real point. The film shows tonight at 9:45 and tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. (Niesel)
11141 East Boulevard, 216 421 7450,
The Great Gatsby
In preparation for what looks to be a breathtaking Baz Lurhman reboot of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel — what some critics unabashedly call the greatest American novel ever written — Jack Clayton's 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow might be a worthwhile appetizer, if for no other reason than that it sets the bar pretty daggone low. The production value's not bad here, but something about the performances tend to devalue Fitzgerald's work. Farrow almost offensively overdoes Daisy Buchanan and Redford really phones it in as the titular Gatsby. It's fun to see a baby-faced Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, but generally speaking this one feels like a campy '70s stage production. It's playing today at 1:30 p.m. and then again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Cedar Lee. (Allard)
2163 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights,
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