Looking ahead to this week's movie options, there's a few indie-sized pics and one massive, Super Big Gulp-sized car racing comedy. Ordinarily Gothamist is all about championing the cinematic little guy, but when it's this goofy, yet earnest we say go for the excess.
But to the small fish first: Quinceañera is a Los Angeles coming of age story centering around one Mexican-American girl, Magdalena and the traditional celebration which marks her 15th birthday. A festival favorite, there've been raves about newcomer Emily Rios's performance as Magdalena. When Robin Williams decides to play it serious, he can be amazingly compelling. Throw in some awesome Toni Collette action and an autobiographical story by Armistad Maupin about meeting a young author who writes about his abuse but then disappears, and you've got the intriguing mystery drama, The Night Listener. The twists and turns are quite engaging and the treatment of Williams' character's gay marriage deteriorating is deft.
Chicks like to scream too, so says the woman-centric horror flick, The Descent. Six woman go into a cave in the Appalachians but you'll have to keep your eyes uncovered until the end to see who survives, after a cave-in forces them to abandon their route. Also you may not realize we need another anthropomorphized animated animal movie, but apparently we do. This week's addition to this crowded subgenre is Barnyard and it's about all the mischief the farm animals get up to when the humans aren't looking. Sounds groundbreaking.
For the Williamsburg set might we recommend the hilarious and thoughtful, The Puffy Chair which begins its run at the Anjelika this weekend. Written and directed by the Duplass brothers and produced on a shoestring budget while they were living here in NYC, Josh (Mark Duplass) is a flailing talent booker who convinces his girlfriend Emily to take a road trip to deliver a purple Lazy-boy he bought for his Dad on eBay. Along the way they pick up Josh's hippie-ish brother Rhett and unexpected adventures in modern dating ensue. It's funny and sad, will have you debating your own relationships and rocking out to the Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Yo La Tengo and Matt Pond PA soundtrack.
The Frank Borzage retrospective at the Museum of Moving Image continues this week with a rare 16 mm print of the romantic Borzage's Bad Girl on Saturday at 4:30 pm. Starring James Dunn and Sally Ellers, this film about a Depression-era couple's new family won the director his second Oscar.
A Best of Buster Keaton series begins next Monday at Film Forum with the Keaton classic, The General. The 7:30 pm screening will feature live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner. If you've never seen any Keaton films, his acrobatic grace and comic timing will blow you away. Be sure to check out at least one of the Monday screenings over the next two months.
Introduce the kid in your life (or your inner child) to the magic of Baloo the Bear and Mowgli in Disney's The Jungle Book at the IFC Center's ongoing exhibition of films from the New York International Children's Film Festival. The movie screens twice this Saturday at 11:00 am and 12:45 pm with tickets costing $10.75 for adults and $7 for children under 12. Guaranteed you'll be humming the Oscar-nominated tune "Bare Necessities" all the rest of the weekend.
After the pain of Kicking and Screaming, it seemed that maybe the sheer comic brilliance of Will Ferrell had been forever tarnished. Thank the comedy gods though for his newest Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby which had Gothamist practically rolling in the aisles and shedding a small, sentimental tear. Ferrell plays Ricky Bobby a down home boy with only the humble desire to go fast. With the help of his best bud, Carl Naughton, Jr. (a truly inspired John C. Reilly), Ricky Bobby breaks out big on the NASCAR circuit scoring a huge house, a hot wife and scads of endorsement dollars. But it all goes up in smoke after a not-so-fiery crash and Bobby must battle back, overcoming his fears to defeat his nemesis, a French, gay "Formula Un" racer (Sacha Baron Cohen). With biting endorsement parody, one top notch supporting character after another and oodles of quotable one liners, Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay have made a new entry in the comedy canon.
Production Still from Talladega Nights with Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen.