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Movie Blog: This Week's Best Bets

More Oscar stuff this week, as you might have expected.

And among the offerings are some fresh nominee screenings. One of the most exciting is that of Timbuktu, which is nominated for a best foreign film Oscar.

Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu is supposed to be a gorgeous, nuanced and heartbreaking examination of Islamic extremism in Africa. The story follows the inhabitants of a town in Mali after it's taken over by fundamentalists. Critics have loved it – it's got a 98 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes – and I'll have a review up later this week.

The film is slated to hit the Walker Art Center on Friday. Also, on Feb. 28, there'll be a screening at the museum with a community panel of notables from the state's African community, and then in April (if you can wait that long) the director himself will be in town for another set of screenings.

In other Oscar news: If you're still interested in catching the shorts, those are still playing at the Lagoon and the Riverview. You can also find several of the big ticket nominees playing at theaters across the Twin Cities.

But if you're not quite down to see award season stuff, here's what you should know about.


Monday, Feb. 16: All The President's Men (Trylon Microcinema)

As part of the Trylon's Masterpieces of Paranoia series, this 1976 classic brings you back to the time when journalism meant something, when listicles weren't everywhere, and when two reporters and a guy named Deep Throat could change the world. Watch Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman hammer away at typewriters while wondering how the scoop of the century would have played out if Twitter had been around. Imagine Nixon tweeting: "I'm not a crook."

All The President's Men - Trailer by YouTube Movies on YouTube


Tuesday, Feb. 17: Verdun (St. Anthony Main Theatre)

This isn't the sort of movie I usually post about, but my endless fascination with Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast is making me do this. His current series is a look at the human meat grinder that was World War I, and one of the most nightmarish battlefields discussed in that program was the muddy and treacherous Verdun. The film in question, by Leon Poirier, recreated that infamous battlefield 10 years after the conflict ended, and the filmmaker used soldiers who fought in it as subjects. The film is in black-and-white, obviously, and the film's score will be performed on piano live at St. Anthony Main. Don't miss it. This is a one-night event.

VERDUN. DVD-Trailer by absolutMEDIENBerlin on YouTube


Wednesday, Feb. 18: Interstellar (Riverview Theater)

While my relationship with Christopher Nolan's latest movie is mixed – I loved the first part, hated the second and liked the third – I'll recommend it here. If you haven't seen it by now, Interstellar is a beast, a work of admirable ambition. It's the sort of three-hour film you'll want to see on the big screen, on the cheap, and on a week when temperatures are supposed to be straight-up Martian.

Interstellar Movie - Official Trailer 3 by Interstellar Movie on YouTube


Thursday, Feb. 19: Red Army (Uptown Theatre)

A documentary for the State of Hockey, Red Army follows the Soviet Union's pruned national hockey team as the red empire crumbles and the NFL looks to poach its talent. But this sports story isn't business as usual. This was a time when sports were a battleground between east and west, capitalists and communists. And when the captain of the CCCP team tells the story, there's was a lot more on the line than just winning or money. These guys were essentially playing for their lives.

Red Army Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Documentary Movie HD by Movieclips Trailers on YouTube


Friday, Feb. 20: The Duke Of Burgundy (St. Anthony Main Theatre)

If Fifty Shades of Grey looks boring to you, then consider this. It's from the director of the hilarious and psychedelic Berberian Sound Studio, and it's an homage to '70s European softcore featuring two lesbian protagonists. From the trailer, we can tell we're in for a Nabokovian amount of butterflies and director Peter Strickland's signature taste for visual and audio flare.

The Duke of Burgundy - Official Trailer I HD I IFC Films by IFC Films on YouTube


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