The Cinephile: Can't miss films at the Hop

By Katie Kilkenny | 1/19/12 5:13pm

Cour­tesy Of The As­so­ci­ated Press

Be­tween the Dart­mouth Film So­ci­ety’s amaz­ing “End of Times” se­ries and the Loew Au­di­to­rium’s indie of­fer­ings, your dreary Win­ter term just got a lit­tle brighter. I’ve com­piled a list of the gems of this term’s film of­fer­ings below based on gen­eral themes. So get out of bed, log off of Net­flix and go watch films in bril­liant 35 mm anamor­phic.

The Oscar Hope­fuls (by date): Oscar bal­lots have just closed, and the guess­ing game is now on. Based on my em­bar­rass­ing amounts of re­search, silent black-and-white film "The Artist" (2011) is pre­dicted to be the fron­trun­ner for Best Pic­ture, among oth­ers. After win­ning the Golden Globe, Mar­tin Scorcese will be a strong con­tender for Best Di­rec­tor for his ode to film restora­tion, "Hugo" (2011), and film stu­dents will love all the wink-winks to con­cepts they’ve stud­ied in class. He will com­pete with Alexan­der Payne, di­rec­tor of "The De­scen­dents" (2011), which also fea­tures strong per­for­mances from George Clooney and Shai­lene Wood­ley. Fi­nally, the Hop­kins Cen­ter of­fers a fab­u­lous chance to ac­tu­ally see the Os­car-nom­i­nated shorts on two con­sec­u­tive days in Feb­ru­ary, which you ab­solutely can­not miss.

1) 1/21 Hugo
2) 2/17 and 2/18 Os­car-Nom­i­nated Shorts 3) 3/3 The De­scen­dents (Loew) 4) 3/7 The Artist

The Sub­ver­sive: Some of these art cin­ema flicks will push the lim­its of what you may con­sider com­mer­cially ac­cept­able fare (i.e. you have to look away some­times, but you can’t stop think­ing about them later). Nov­el­ist Julia Leigh’s di­rec­to­r­ial debut "Sleep­ing Beauty" (2011) caused con­tro­versy at Cannes with its stark de­pic­tion of one col­lege stu­dent’s dis­turb­ing foray into the busi­ness of de­sire. Leg­endary film­maker Werner Her­zog’s "Into the Abyss" (2011) doc­u­ments the last days of a death row in­mate, as well as the fed­eral ex­e­cu­tion sys­tem that ter­mi­nates his life and the per­spec­tive of his vic­tim’s fam­ily. Fi­nally, the hy­per-vi­o­lent Span­ish film "The Last Cir­cus" (2010) plays on the com­mon fear of clowns, al­le­go­riz­ing fas­cist Spain with cir­cus mad­ness.

1) 2/4 Sleep­ing Beauty (Loew) 2) 2/11 Into the Abyss (Loew) 3) 3/3 The Last Cir­cus

The Mod­ern Clas­sics: As men­tioned in an ear­lier post, Ken­neth Lon­er­gen’s "Mar­garet" (2011) has di­vided crit­ics. Half say it is the great­est Amer­i­can film of the year and oth­ers claim it’s a bril­liant mess — de­cide for your­self. The won­der­ful, apoc­a­lyp­tic "Chil­dren of Men" (2006) en­vi­sions a uni­verse in which women are un­able to have chil­dren, while the Ger­man black-and-white hor­ror drama "The White Rib­bon" (2009) stud­ies evil and vi­o­lence in a strictly re­li­gious com­mu­nity.

1) 1/28 Mar­garet (Loew) 2) 1/29 Chil­dren of Men 3) 2/25 The White Rib­bon

Go Watch It in 35 mm Just Be­cause You Can: Watch the Odessa steps se­quence in Sergei Eisen­stein’s uber-clas­sic "Bat­tle­ship Potemkin" (1925) and the vi­o­lent Pro­hi­bi­tion gang­ster drama of Howard Hawks’ "Scar­face" (1983) in glo­ri­ous widescreen. If you’re in­ter­ested in more re­cent fare, check out Steven Spiel­berg’s lat­est, the sen­ti­men­tal "War Horse" (2011), which con­tains a bat­tle scene many crit­ics say trumps the Nor­mandy beach se­quence in "Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan" (1998). And Tomas Al­fred­son’s "Tin­ker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy" (2011) as­sem­bles per­haps the best cast of British male ac­tors in re­cent his­tory to weave a clas­sic spy tale.

1) 2/8 Bat­tle­ship Potemkin 2) 2/15 Scar­face 3) 2/22 War Horse 4) 2/29 Tin­ker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy

Katie Kilkenny