An Oscar nominee, the latest from a master auteur, the Instagramming of our finest President, and a comedy documentary await at the art house theaters this weekend.
Like Someone in Love
Abbas Kiarostami made one of my favorite movies of 2011 with Certified Copy, and he's back now with another look at off-kilter love and the ways we shape our own identities in pursuit of it. The Iranian director is once again globe-hopping to find his stories, this time settling down in Tokyo. Critics have been decidedly onboard with the film, and opening as it does in the often bleak February release calendar, it must seem like a godsend.
Chile's nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar hits theaters this weekend. The story of the 1988 campaign to unseat Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet centers on Gael Garcia Bernal as TV ad-man hired to sell the "No" vote (i.e. the anti-Pinochet vote) to the Chilean people. Director Pablo Larraín delivers an '80s news-footage quality to the film, making it period appropriate (but also decidedly unpretty). The effect works well, and for a film about struggling to get out from under the thumb of a dictatorship, nothing feels too heavy.
The Bitter Buddha
"Who is Eddie Pepitone?" asks the trailer for this documentary about the stand-up comedian who's a favorite of all the other stand-up comedians. With appearances by Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifanakis, Sarah Silverman, Marc Maron and many more, all lining up to shed some light on the decidedly unglamorous, decidedly angry, decidedly under-the-radar Pepitone. The bitter underbelly of funny men is not exactly an unexplored topic in American entertainment, but here's a movie that also seems to be exploring the bitter overbelly of a funny man, so there's that.
And you thought all limited-release movies were well-reviewed! It's time for another examination of our stovepipe-hattiest President, this time through the portal of Lincoln's personal bodyguard. Why make a movie about someone who was apparently terrible at his job? At lot of it had to do with the "CineCollage" method of director Salvador Litvak, which involves filming the actors on green-screen and then adding them to period photographs. The end result, based on the trailer, looks like something of a cross between an Epcot Center attraction and a History Channel reenactment. But hey, Penelope Ann Miller's got to eat. But if you're looking to see something truly different, this is it