Popcorn & Candy: Distressing Damsels Edition

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Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson (Magnolia Pictures)

DAMSEL

The Zellner brothers’ Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter was one of my favorite movies of 2015, so this self-conscious, precious genre subversion is a major disappointment. Robert Pattinson stars as a goofy 19th century pioneer who travels with a neophyte preacher (David Zellner) on a quest to marry his beloved (Mia Wasikowska). The dynamic shifts, drastically, but despite gorgeous locations and a score that evokes Popul Vuh’s music for Werner Herzog, the movie is stymied time and again by knowing, unfunny dialogue. Read my Spectrum Culture review.

Watch the trailer.
Opens tomorrow at E Street Landmark Cinema.

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Andrea Riseborough (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

NANCY

Nancy (Andrea Riseborough) is a sallow, socially awkward 30-something who lives with her sick mother (Ann Dowd) and escapes from her dreary existence by creating alternate identities online. When she sees a news report about a couple (J. Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi) who’s daughter went missing 30 years ago, Nancy is startled that the age-progressed image of the lost child looks something like her. Writer-director Christina Choe tells a potentially intriguing tale about deception in the age of the internet–look at that still!–but the central character  is too lost for us to want to follow her.

Watch the trailer.
Opens tomorrow at E Street Landmark Cinema.

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Victor Sjöström and Ingrid Thulin (The Criterion Collection)

WILD STRAWBERRIES

To celebrate Ingmar Bergman’s centennial year, the National Gallery of Art and the AFI Silver are combining forces to present a thorough survey of the Swedish master’s films –and yes, that includes The Touch with Elliot Gould (August 15 at the Silver). The National Gallery launches the series this weekend with a 35mm of Bergman’s 1957 classic about an august professor (Victor Sjöström) who looks back on his long life.

Watch the trailer.
Sunday, July 1 at 4 pm at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium. Free.

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Sorry, honey, I’ve never rampled.

FAREWELL, MY LOVELY

My Critic’s Pick in this week’s Washington City Paper, where I wrote, “’Or maybe it was just the plain fact that I am tired and growing old,’ says Philip Marlowe in the opening lines of Farewell, My Lovely. The AFI Silver’s tribute to Robert Mitchum wraps up with this 1975 adaptation of the novel by Raymond Chandler. Hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe is a perfect character for the aging, jaded actor. Set in 1941 Los Angeles, the movie is drenched in a neon art deco that was once the standard for film noir but now has all but disappeared from the big screen, much like icons such as Mitchum. Co-starring Charlotte Rampling as a rich judge’s young wife and Sylvester Stallone as a small-time thug, the movie seems to be passing the silver screen baton to the next generation. Despite a subplot involving a rare jade, Farewell, My Lovely is no Chinatown, but they still don’t make them like this anymore.”  Look for a cameo from hard-boiled crime writer Jim Thompson as Rampling’s cuckolded husband.

Watch the trailer.
Monday, July 2-Thursday, July 5 at the AFI Silver.

Also opening this week, the barely recognizable NBA all-stars of Uncle Drew. Stay tuned for my Washington Post review.

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