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DC Film Beat: Metro Area Cinema for 30 November – 5 December

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Fellow D.C.’ers, I apologize in advance if this column doesn’t pop this week.  I’m feeling a bit of the old malaise.  It’s not the weather; True Grit screened this week, and it is killing me that I can’t attend the early screenings.  I’d liken the feeling to seeing everyone get exactly what you wanted for Christmas while you end up with…I don’t know, a Beanie-Baby or something.

Hence the bad case of the Mean Reds.  It does not speak against the quality of this week’s D.C. release, though.  In fact, we’ve got quite the strong showing over the next seven days.

First up, the AFI Silver has a special screening on Saturday (4 December) of John Madden’s new thriller The Debt.  Truth be told, the buzz on this one is not great (I’m at a loss why people keep casting Sam Worthington and then complaining that he’s not charismatic enough), but its final release date is still up in the air, so AFI is giving you a chance to see it potentially months before anyone else does.

Far more stimulating is their Victor Fleming festival running through 19 December.  If ever you wanted a clinic in the old Hollywood masters, here’s your best chance.  If you only have room for two this week, go with the great screwball comedy Bombshell or the Spencer Tracy version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Click HERE for more details.

The E Street Landmark has the new Claire Denis film, White Material, a tense drama starring the great Isabelle Huppert as a woman caught in the middle of a violent civil war in Africa.

Even more intense is 127 Hours at the Bethesda Landmark.

Not only is this one of the best films of the year (and a more-than sufficient apology for director Danny Boyle’s last film, the atrocious Slumdog Millionaire), but I cannot see how star James Franco does not win Best Actor for his work as trapped climber Aron Ralston.

Franco is a revelation here—funny, sad, driven—and his engaging presence in every scene of the film makes this harrowing film far more entertaining than it should be.  Essential viewing.

Head on HERE for more information on either film.

For the last choice, the Washington Psychotronic Film Society’s free screening of Let’s Visit the World of the Future (Church of Subgenius Night), you’ve got…well, I’ll let the WPFS describe it for you:

“It’s a black and white look backwards and forward into the future through the eyes of the Subgenius Big Daddy Slacker. Is it Bob!?”

Yikes.  Proceed with caution HERE if you’re interested.

Twenty-three days to True Grit, twenty-three days to True Grit, twenty-three days to True Grit…