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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reviews of the Cinematheque's weekend films

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 6:12 AM

The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is showing several great movies this weekend. Here are our reviews of just a few of them.

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The Bicycle Thief (Italy, 1948) Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 neo-realist classic The Bicycle Thief is one of the saddest movies ever made. Be prepared for some Cinema Paradiso/Field of Dreams-sized bawling. (Bring Kleenex. Seriously.) Set in postwar Rome — where it was shot on location using real people, not actors — the film tells the story of out-of-work father Antonio, who finds a job hanging movie posters around town. When his bike (which he’s specifically told he needs for work) is stolen, Antonio’s world starts to crumble around him. He knows that his family will starve without the bike, and he’s run out of other options. The final scenes with Antonio and his young son are among the most heartbreaking ever filmed. You’ve been warned. The Bicycle Thief celebrated its 60th anniversary a couple years ago with a new 35mm print. 5:15 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25. **** (Michael Gallucci)

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A Film with Me in It (Ireland, 2008) Ian Fitzgibbon’s ingenious black comedy plays like an irresistible cross between mid-1960s Richard Lester (think The Knack) with early Danny Boyle (especially Shallow Grave). Dublin layabouts Mark (Mark Doherty who also scripted) and Pierce (Dylan Moran) get themselves into a heap of trouble after a rapid succession of (fatal) household accidents result in the death of four people and a pet dog. Whiplash pacing, crackerjack comic timing and spot-on performances make this one of the most unexpectedly delightful surprises of the spring movie season. At 6:45 p.m. Thursday, April 22, and 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. *** (Milan Paurich)

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In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong/France, 2000) After discovering that their spouses are having an affair, a man and a woman (the incomparable Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) in 1962 Hong Kong are inexorably drawn together. Old-world social decorum, however, stands in the way of their relationship proceeding to the next logical step. Wong Kar-wai, the most postmodern of contemporary directors, has the heart and soul of the great romantic poets, and you can literally get drunk on his film’s rhapsodic beauty (Chris Doyle did the world-class cinematography). Wong’s masterpiece is so besotted with aching, palpable yearning and desire that it could very well induce a case of the vapors. Prepare to be seduced. At 8:35 p.m. Thursday, April 22, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. **** (Milan Paurich)

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One-Eyed Jacks (U.S., 1961) Marlon Brando’s only directorial credit was this very adult Western which the mercurial star took over after original helmer Stanley Kubrick withdrew because of creative differences. Kubrick was notorious for overshooting; Brando took it even further, exposing more than a million of feet of celluloid and ballooning the budget threefold. Brando is Rio, a bank bandit whose raids along the Mexican border go on hold when his disloyal partner Dad (Karl Malden) abandons him to a posse of Mexican police. Escaping prison five years later, Rio hooks up with some other outlaws and heads for the Monterey Peninsula, where Dad has done a career 180 and become a town’s benevolent-despot sheriff and straight-arrow family man. Rio’s vague revenge scheme involves emptying the local bank, but when he sees Dad now has a pretty stepdaughter (Audrey Hepburn-ish ingenue Pina Pellicer, who would commit suicide at age 30), the plans start to change. For all the behind-the-scenes drama, it’s a sturdy, if lengthy and anticlimactic, psychological oater, with trace echoes of Cape Fear. At 9 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 25. *** (Charles Cassady Jr.)

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Ricky (France, 2009) The latest triumph from chameleon-like French wunderkind François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Eight Women) is a kitchen-sink fairy tale about an adorable toddler (the titular Ricky) who sprouts wings and begins to fly. Although Ricky’s working-class parents (Alexandra Lamy and Sergi López of With a Friend Like Harry) do their best to keep his, uh, condition under wraps, the hue and cry that erupts once news leaks out creates a predictable media frenzy. Are we supposed to take Ricky’s magical appendages (and flying skills) literally? Or are they simply a metaphor for some Ozon-ian political statement about the systemic repression of minorities and/or the underclass? After two viewings, I’m still not entirely certain. The genius of the film (adapted from a short story by Rose Tremain) lies in its ability to convince us that Ricky can indeed fly; and even ponder, “Why the hell not?” At 7:10 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and 9:10 p.m. Sunday, April 25. *** 1/2 (Milan Paurich)

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