March 13, 2019

When Animal Movies Attack, and More on Local Screens This Week

Movie Dope

No mother*%^&ing snakes on this plane, Nick.

Not interested in Mar. 15’s new releases: Wonder Park, Five Feet Apart or Captive State? On Mar. 13, the Flicker Film Society unleashes Cujo for its monthlong “When Animal Movies Attack!” celebration. Stephen King’s 1981 novel was brought to the big screen by Lewis Teague—he also directed the King adaptation Cat’s Eye—and pitted underrated scream queen Dee Wallace (Stone) and “Who’s the Boss?” pint-size star Danny Pintauro against a rabid St. Bernard.

The Flicker series continues on Mar. 18 with a Killer Animal Triple Feature. The night of animal animosity starts with one of the subgenre’s greatest entries, 1980’s Alligator. Thanks to a script by John Sayles and a memorably sardonic Robert Forster, Alligator toes the line of camp—it is about a flushed pet gator that mutates in the sewer—without stepping over like so many of its peers. The second feature, 1976’s The Food Of The Gods, comes from Bert I. Gordon, a big name in the killer animal world. The evening closes with a 1978 TV movie, The Beasts Are on the Streets, from one-time Bond director Peter R. Hunt (George Lazenby’s only mission, the excellent On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). The title is pretty literal.

On Mar. 14, ATHICA will be screening Portrait of Jason as the closing event for “Ringer: Contemporary Portraiture.” In the 1967 documentary, Shirley Clarke interviews Jason Holliday about what it was like to be black, gay and a hustler in the America of Don Draper.

On Mar. 15, Southern Brewing Co.’s Movies on Tap screens cult favorite The Boondock Saints, which is sure to go better with craft beer. I imagine this movie has had a bit of a resurgence with Norman Reedus’ newfound fame via “The Walking Dead.”

With spring break behind us and summer ahead, Ciné is screening the National Park Service documentary Confluence on Mar. 18. Members of the folk band The Infamous Flapjack Affair, whose tour of the Colorado River Basin is chronicled in the film, will be on hand for a Q&A. The following night, Mar. 19, at Ciné, Bad Movie Night presents Karate Rock, which sounds like a Karate Kid-Grease matchup starring Antonio Sabato Jr.

On Mar. 18, the UGA Women’s History Month film series continues with Mankiller, a 2017 documentary about Cherokee Nation chief Wilma Mankiller.

Now, some thoughts on last week’s new releases:

CAPTAIN MARVEL (PG-13) The MCU moves on despite the deaths of more Marvel heroes than most people could name prior to 2014 with the first appearance of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), aka Carol Danvers (and a bunch of other names through the years). As Kree warrior-hero Vers, she comes to 1995 Earth hunting the Skrulls, a shapeshifting race of evil aliens, and befriends a binocular Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, sporting some decent deaging).

Captain Marvel has a different task ahead of it than a Marvel movie introducing a better-known property, and despite having five listed writers, the movie takes off nicely, establishing this comic universe’s most powerful being, i.e., Marvel’s Superman, whose presence is sorely needed to defeat Thanos in next month’s Avengers: Endgame.

The film has the standard Marvel humor amidst the world-saving, but this more sci-fi origin story did not feel as samey as some of the previous 20 movies, which have started to blend together into one entertaining, tonally similar mush of super-heroism. However, Captain Marvel lacks the distinctive stylishness that allowed Black Panther to stand out from the pack. As fun as Captain Marvel is, the movie is really just a one-shot setting up next month’s universe-changing end to Phase Four of the MCU.


Everybody Knows

EVERYBODY KNOWS (R) Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi travels to Spain for his latest tale of family ties. Tragedy strikes when Laura (Penelope Cruz), who lives in Argentina with her husband and two children, returns to her family’s small village for her sister’s wedding. During the reception, her teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) is kidnapped. Soon, Laura, her former lover Paco (Javier Bardem) and her husband Alejandro (Ricardo Durin) must face secrets buried for years in order to save Irene.

Farhadi is a skillful narrator whose direction compliments his writing. Sure, Everybody Knows could probably hold a few more surprises. None of the bombshells dropped by various family members—of which there are so many it can be hard to keep up—are any more unexpected than those during a week spent watching soap operas.

Yet the mystery is not the point of this captivating collaboration between the master filmmaker and his expert Spanish cast. How many great foreign filmmakers have struggled to translate their skills into another language—usually English? Everybody Knows may be in Spanish, but you would never know it is a foreign language—much less a foreign culture—to Farhadi.