This Week in Film: April 6, 2007

The week-long Images Festival just kicked off, so keep your eyes open for my "reportage" that should be trickling in throughout the week. However, if you're interested in experiencing the fest right from where you are now, check out their new online component called ifpod. From there you can watch a curated selection of old and new videos by some of our country's finest experimental video-makers.

The big -- and I mean BIG -- multiplex opener this weekend is the double feature circus bonanza known as Grindhouse. Now Playing! The throwback to 70's Exploitation cinema is comprised of two feature-length movies -- a combo deal. The first is Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror about a small town under attack by a swarm of zombies; the second is Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, which has something to do with Kurt Russell stalking chicks with his car. Then there's the much buzzed-about intermission that consists of three sick and sleazy trailers courtesy of Eli Roth, Edgar Wright and Rob Zombie.

So what should we expect of Grindhouse? If past work is any indication, Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Sin City) should deliver plenty of bloody, kinetically charged mayhem; whereas Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill) will likely load up on his trademark verbiage while he continues to scratch his itch for Godardian flourishes. It's where high art and sub art -- and high concept -- converge in this post-modern pastiche; all the while, scraping and sampling, unapologetically, from the nostalgia of a bygone era known for its excess. Yet, with the current state of the world and the need for cathartic escapism, the time feels right for this sort of thing.

Finally, I highly recommend Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates, which is playing a limited engagement at the Cinematheque this week (April 6, 7 & 11). If the names Tarkovsky, Bergman and Antonioni spark your cinephillic longings, then this Turkish masterpiece should certainly be one of your must-sees. The beguiling but emotionally veracious film about a disintegrating relationship -- between a middle-aged man and his young lover -- has rightly earned its director/actor a befitting place in the world cinema canon. The film's gotten emphatic raves wherever it's played. Thus, if I have any purpose writing this weekly column, it's to urge you to at least "try" Climates... because it's far richer and more challenging than anything else playing this week.

Lots of movies opening this week, let me know what you're seeing.

Opening this Week:
Grindhouse *
The Page Turner
First Snow
Who Loves the Sun
Young Triffie
Climates *
The Hoax
God Grew Tired of Us
The Marsh
Mardi Gras: Made in China
Are We Done Yet?
Firehouse Dog
The Reaping

(* = Recommended)

(Photos: Images Festival, NBC Film Turkey, The Weinstein Company)

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