A trio of “event” screenings boosts this week’s mixed bag of new releases (of which Bong Joon-Ho’s Hitchcockian thriller, The Mother, is the clear winner).
First up was Art Damage Lodge’s Wednesday night screening of Ericka Beckman’s 135 Grand Street New York 1979, a freshly issued documentary on NYC’s No Wave music scene.
And now for something you can still attend: The University of Cincinnati tonight hosts a screening of The People Speak, a documentary based on the books of historian/activist/intellectual Howard Zinn. The doc — which features appearances by such high-profile peeps as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson and Sean Penn — illuminates the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans who’ve yearned for social change throughout our country’s history. 7 p.m. at UC’s Swift Hall (Room 500). A $5 donation is suggested, but no one will be turned away. Proceeds benefit the upcoming Socialism 2010 Conferences in Chicago and Oakland. For more information, contact local musician/political rabble-rouser Shane Johnson at email@example.com.
Finally, The Mariemont Theater — with help from Quarter Bistro and City Cellars, among others — will be hosting a week's worth (April 23-29) of wine tastings in conjunction with its nightly screenings of Blood into Wine, a documentary I review below. For more information, click here.
THE BACKUP PLAN — Jennifer Lopez should have scrapped this Plan — a lame romantic comedy/drama that even Jennifer Aniston was smart enough to skip. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated PG-13.) Grade: D
BLOOD INTO WINE — The presence of Maynard James Keenan, frontman for Art Metal bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, is no doubt the only reason for the existence of Blood into Wine, a tedious documentary that looks at Keenan’s deepening interest in the art of winemaking. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Mariemont Theatre.) — Jason Gargano (Not Rated.) Grade: C-
THE LOSERS — I realize there’s an A-Team movie set to be released this summer, but after catching The Losers, I’m thinking I’ve pretty much got that ground covered. Yes, this is the story of a group of highly skilled U.S. military operatives who are framed for a crime they didn’t commit and out to clear their names. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Scott Renshaw (Rated PG-13.) Grade: C
MOTHER — Mother, from the gifted South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho (The Host), isn’t Psycho, but its mixture of darkly humorous eccentricity and equally dark psychological anguish (plus some flashes of ugly violence) makes it an impressive film. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Steven Rosen (Rated R.) Grade: B
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OCEANS — Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (Winged Migration) offer up a lot of pretty pictures; what they don’t offer is something that feels like a movie. The oceans might be massive, but by giving too few of its inhabitants a context, Oceans makes them seem surprisingly small. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — SRen (Rated G.) Grade: C