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DC Film Beat: Metro Area Cinema for 14 February – 21 February

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Last week, I complained about the never-ended glut of Oscar nominees in the D.C. area.  The AFI Silver still hasn’t rectified that problem on their main stage (“current” cinema options: The Artist and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Really?), but the side programming is tasty enough to dampen my ire.  Thursday brings a screening of Singin’ in the Rain, one of cinema’s brightest lights and a major influence on The Artist, while the AFI’s Nicholas Ray retrospective is running two all-time greats: the ballsy, half-urban noir, half-mountain-vista romance On Dangerous Ground (starring Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino) and Ray’s Hollywood noir In a Lonely Place, which ties with Treasure of the Sierra Madre for having Humphrey Bogart’s best, least characteristic performance.

Travel back into Hollywood’s Golden Age HERE.

The E Street Cinema has taken a page from the West End Cinema, in terms of making this whole Oscar season more bearable—it’s showing both the animated and live-action Oscar-nominated shorts.  There’s always some good stuff in the bunch, and it can make for interesting trivia.  Did you know, in fact, that “The Shield/Justified” star Walton Goggins is actually Academy Award-winner Walton Goggins?  Yep, he and his creative partner (Ray McKinnon, that brilliant character actor of “Deadwood” and “Sons of Anarchy” fame) won one for their short “The Accountant.”  So, there’s that.

Or, you could catch Say Anything at the E Street’s Midnight Movie showing.  Oscar-nominated shorts, John Cusack creepily holding a boom box…you’ve got options, is what I’m saying.

For more on both, go HERE.

The most exciting, most interesting film selection of the week comes courtesy of the West End Cinema.  Starting Friday, the theater will host Coriolanus, the feature-film debut of actor Ralph Fiennes (pronounced—as IMDb is wont to remind me—“Rafe Fines”).  Literary scholars out there may have sussed out that Fiennes has adapted Shakespeare’s bloody drama, but they won’t be able to guess the style of Fiennes’ film.

Working with Green Zone DP Barry Ackroyd, Fiennes melds iambic pentameter with gritty war drama, crafting the tale of a modern general more at home with killing than he is with behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.  Fiennes is predictably brilliant, as are co-stars Vanessa Redgrave and Jessica Chastain, but the real surprise is Gerard Butler, who gives an inspired performance as Coriolanus’ mortal enemy and—here’s the kicker—spiritual soul mate, the only man who understands violence as well as our (anti) hero does.

Learn more about Coriolanus HERE.

Regarding the Oscars: Vin Diesel wants to know if it’s too late to nominate Fast Five for Best Picture.