If Soderbergh makes it, it’s art, right?

Magic MIke – Stephen Soderbergh, 2012 – USA
Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Wendi McLendon-Covey

So far, it’s received 13 positive reviews, 3 mixed and no negative reviews. It’s even been favorably compared to Boogie Nights. So, why does it feel like saying, “I buy ‘Playboy’ to read the articles”? Magic Mike opens tomorrow.  Oh, and doesn’t it look like McConaughey is about to break out into jazz hands in that picture? Metacritc Score: 69 (keep in mind, this will change as more reviews come in).

Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson, USA – 2012
Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edwad Norton, Frances McDormand

Wes Anderson’s latest finally makes its way to Nashville after opening Cannes and hitting NY & LA back in May. If they didn’t wait too long and you’re still interested, it’s at the Belcourt starting tomorrow. Metacritic Score: 84

Your Sister’s Sister – Lynn Shelton, USA – 2012
Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt

Also making its way to town is Your Sister’s Sister, the latest from indie sensation Lynn Shelton. It co-stars Mark Duplass, who co-directed the 2010 NaFF closing night selection, Cyrus. Metacritic Score: 71

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Today (in NY & LA)

I’m not often jealous of my friends who live in New York or Los Angeles, but today, I am. For today is Beasts of the Southern Wild day.

Yes, I’ve seen it. I was one of the lucky ones to get a seat at the first press & industry screening at Sundance. But, seeing it once is almost a cruel form of punishment, because you will want to see it again so badly, that being forced to wait six months just isn’t right.

Coming to the Belcourt soon.

Couch Potato Tuesday, June 26

Put ’em in our Netflix cue or find ’em at the Redbox or get ’em from your provider’s on-demand service…however you want to catch ’em, here are the ones you can catch as of today. Oh, and…duh…I’m doing trailers from here on out where available.

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius, 2012 – France
Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelop Ann Miller, Beth Grant and (of course) Uggie!

We were able to show it to you early here in Nashville, back in November. Back then, I said it was going to get nine Oscar nominations and would likely win Best Picture. I was wrong…it got ten nominations. If you’ve missed it up until now, you can finally join in the conversation. And you’ll get to see not only some fine silent acting, but also one of the great dog performances of all time. Shout out to the lovely Beth Grant – a NaFF favorite – for her small, but pivotal, part. Metacritic Score: 89

21 Jump Street – Chris Miller, Phil Lord – 2012 USA
Jonah Hill (skinny version), Channing Tatum (mostly-clothed version)

This Friday the world gets the mostly-unclothed version of Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, so if you’re a huge Channing Tatum completist and missed this riff on 80s TV while it was in theaters, here’s your chance to catch him showing off his comedic chops rather than his pecs and abs. This did get largely positive reviews. I have yet to see it, but I imagine that it will somehow feel appropriate on On-Demand one day when I’m simply not in the mood for anything serious. Or, if Magic Mike should make me want to become a Channing Tatum completist. Then again, that would mean watching The Vow, so that ain’t gonna happen. Metacritic Score: 69

Also out on DVD / BluRay / VOD this week:

After a brief run at the Belcourt earlier this year, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia reaches home video – although I’ve not yet found a way of seeing it aside form buying it at Amazon. If someone finds a Redbox with it or can find it on Netflix (I didn’t see it yet), let us know. Metacritic Score: 82

Julia Roberts stars in yet another take-off of the Snow White fable, Mirror Mirror. Metacritic Score: 46

Some say Wrath of the Titans is better than 2010’s Clash of the Titans. I say that’s like claiming getting salmonella is better than getting shingles. Metacritic Score: 37

DVR Theater, Week of 6/25

Get your remotes ready! It’s time to start hitting the REC button.

Tonight (Monday, June 25)

Sundance Channel – 2:00 AM Eastern, 1:00 AM Central
Mermaid

This Russian charmer (and how often can you say that?) won Best Director in World Cinema at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to get a screener of it way back when (in Indianapolis). If you liked Amelie, you’ll like this story of a young girl who grows up believing she has the power to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, June 26

Sundance Channel – 4:00 PM Eastern, 3:00 PM Central
Kavi

This extremely well-made short film had its World Premiere at the 2009 NaFF and went on to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action short.

Turner Classic Movies – 6:00 PM Eastern, 5:00 PM Central
East of Eden

Do I really need to explain why you should see this if you already haven’t? It’s James Dean, for crap’s sake. Is this Cain & Able fable redux a little over-the-top? Sure. But it’s James Dean. Oh, and despite the black & white photo, it’s in Technicolor.

Wednesday, June 27

Sundance Channel – 5:35 PM Eastern, 4:35 PM Central
Instead of Abracadabra

Yet another short from the 2009 festival that went on to garner an Oscar nomination, Instead of Abracadabra is one of the funniest shorts I’ve seen in ages. Chimay!
(You’ll have to watch the film to get that).

Sundance Channel – 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central
Paris Je T’Aime

Paris Je T’Aime is an omnibus film – a collection of several shorts from the likes of Gus Van Zant, the Coen Brothers, and tons of world-renowned filmmakers from all over the world. Like any collection, it’s uneven. If you get impatient with the film as a whole, do yourself a favor and fast-forward to the final segment starring Margo Martindale as a Denver postal worker on vacation in Paris. In seven minutes, she delivers one of the most moving performances I’ve ever seen. I can’t see it to this day without tearing up. Truly amazing work.

Thursday, June 28

Sundance Channel – 11:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 PM Central
24 Hour Party People

I’m glad to write this blog when it offers me the opportunity to encourage you to check out a film that nearly everyone missed. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson, the British music writer who would go on to found Factory Records, signing Joy Division (who would become New Order after the death of Ian Curtis) and essentially creating the club scene of 1980s and onward. The film has style, panache, and is a lot funnier than you’re probably thinking it will be. If the names Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays make you a little giddy, then you better not miss this one.

Friday, June 29

Sundance Channel – 4:15 PM Eastern, 3:15 PM Central
Crude

You may remember this one from the 2009 festival (a lot of 2009 love goin’ out in this post), but if you missed it, you may also know it from headlines. This is the film that got Joe Berlinger sued for his unused footage so Chevron could see what people were saying about them behind their backs. Nevertheless, the film stands on its merits as a depiction of corporate avoidance of responsibility and what happens when a people fight back.

Saturday, June 30

Turner Classic Movies – 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central
Sullivan’s Travels

Preston Sturges is probably one of the best directors that more mainstream movie fans have never heard of (or, if they’ve heard the name, they likely haven’t seen any or many of his movies). Well, now is a great chance for you to hop on the bandwagon if you’re not there already. Sullivan’s Travels is about a comedy filmmaker who, during the Great Depression, decides that he needs to make a serious picture about the suffering of the people (he’s going to call it O Brother, Where Art Thou?– I know you’ve heard that title before). Along the way he learns what really matters to the people who are suffering and valuable life lessons are learned, but what you’ll get to see is a genius filmmaker whose movies still hold strong today. I can’t wait to add The Palm Beach Story to this list – the funniest comedy you’ve never seen!

Sunday,July 1

Turner Class Movies – 2:00 AM Eastern, 1:00 AM Central
Umberto D

We have a tendency to believe that old people are crotchety comedic relief (like real life Abe Simpsons) – at least that what movies usually tell us. Rarely is there a film that actually examines what old age actually is. Michael Haneke’s Amour just won the Palme D’Or at Cannes in doing so. Back in 1952, Italian neo-realist Vittorio di Sica was in competition at Cannes with this wonderfully simple portrait of an old man whose pension is not enough for him and his dog to get by. There is nothing grand about this film. Indeed, neo-realism is the opposite of grandiose. But that is what makes the scenes all the more affecting. Umberto isn’t a man who is trying to change the world. He just wants a safe space for him and his beloved dog to exist in it. I recommend tissues.

Yes, I know. It sounds so horribly depressing and sad. But beauty isn’t always pretty and if everything was funny, you’d never laugh again because funny would be boring. So, watch Umberto D and then do a repeat viewing of Instead of Abracadabra for some laughs! Chimay!