Nine Fridays/Saturdays of film for $35

September 10 & 11, 2010

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Michael Nyqvis, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Haber, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Andersson, Ingvar Hirdwall, and Marika Lagercrantz

Dragon Tattoo Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger's are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is based on the trilogy of books by Stieg Larsson and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Tragically, Larsson did not live to see the phenomenon his work has become as he died suddenly in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts to his Swedish publisher. Music Box Films (152 minutes) (in Swedish).

September 24 & 25, 2010

Rating: PG-13 for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, and Eli Wallach

Ghost Writer Roman Polanski’s political thriller is his best work in years. The Ghost in question is a young, broke, hard-drinking hack writer (Ewan McGregor) who signs on to rewrite the memoirs of a retired, Tony Blair-like Prime Minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Holed up with his entourage at the Martha’s Vineyard house of the book’s publisher, Lang is accused of having turned over captured terrorist suspects to the C.I.A. for rendition and torture. All hell breaks loose, and the atmosphere inside the house turns barbed and dangerous. Polanski used the dour north coast of Germany as a substitute for the Vineyard in winter, and the cinematographer Pawel Edelman turns the constant downpour and gloom into a beautiful, slate-colored curtain—a subdued but enveloping field of lies and secrecy, impenetrable to the Ghost, who is lost among power players far too clever for him. With the wonderful Olivia Williams, as Lang’s brilliant wife, and a smirking Kim Cattrall, as his mistress. Polanski, whose mastery of classic exposition is a relief from today’s scrambled filmmaking, wrote the script in collaboration with Robert Harris, whose 2007 novel served as the basis of the movie. New Yorker (128 minutes) (in English).

October 29 & 30, 2010

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, You, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Tanaka, Kirin Kiki, and Yoshio Harada

Still Walking The three generations who gather together in “Still Walking,” a quiet, stirring film from the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, fit uneasily under the same roof. Set in a port city, though largely played out in the tight, boxy confines of a single home, the film turns on a melancholic, at times resentful and seethingly angry 15th-anniversary reunion to mark the death of the eldest son. Grief has brought the scattered family members together and, at least at moments, seems all that they have left in common. Mr. Kore-eda, who also directed “After Life” and “Nobody Knows,” can have a deceptively simple touch. In “Still Walking,” the story builds through an accretion of details, in shared glances, gestures and conversation. As with the disordered arc of many family gatherings, food is cooked and consumed amid a great deal of small talk, and children laugh loudly and run free through the rooms. The drama enters obliquely, coming to a slow boil in the bitter comments and sharp looks of the surviving son, Ryota and in the oppressive silences of his father, a retired doctor, Kyohei. Among other things, “Still Walking” is very much about what it means to return to a home that you helped create, animating it with spirit and love (or rage or fear or despair), and then left behind. New York Times (114 minutes) (in Japanese).

November 19 & 20, 2010

RATING: R for a rape scene, violent images, some graphic nudity and language

Starring Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella, José Luis Gioia, Carla Quevedo, Bárbara Palladino, and Rudy Romano

Lemon Tree Recently retired criminal court investigator, Benjamin, decides to write a novel based on a twenty-five year old unresolved rape and murder case, which still haunts him. Sharing his plans with Irene, the beautiful judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years, Benjamin’s initial involvement with the case is shown through flashbacks, as he sets out to identify the murderer. But Benjamin’s search for the truth will put him at the center of a judicial nightmare, as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, testing the limits of a man seeking justice and personal fulfillment at last. Winner of the academy award for the best foreign language film. Sony Pictures Classics ( 127 minutes) (in Spanish).

December 10 & 11, 2010

RATING: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson, Cara Seymour, Matthew Beard, and Sally Hawkins

An Education Peter Sarsgaard gives his best performance yet as David Goldman, a London hustler of enormous charm who zips around town in a maroon sports car, and who seduces, slowly and patiently, a very bright sixteen-year-old girl—Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a student from suburban Twickenham who is hemmed in by her cautious parents and her school and is rather too easily dazzled by champagne, a few dinner clubs, and a weekend in Paris. Based on a short memoir by the talented, acid-tongued journalist Lynn Barber, the movie is set in 1962, when England was gradually emerging from postwar austerities and the fabled antics of swinging London were just getting under way. Carey Mulligan is self-possessed, but what makes the movie unusual is the strange innocence of Sarsgaard’s seducer: David is a liar and swindler, but he is as eager as Jenny is for pleasures of every kind—he enjoys them as if for the first time. The novelist Nick Hornby did the adaptation; the director, Lone Scherfig, born in Denmark, is alive to the social nuances of class and money in England. With Emma Thompson as a formidable, stupid, anti-Semitic schoolmistress. New Yorker (100 minutes) (in English).

January 7 & 8, 2011

RATING: R for language, some sexual content and nudity

Starring Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Sarah Steel, and Ann Guilbert

Please GiveThe writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s radiant comedy of middle-class mores depends on observations so acute, and a touch so accurate, that the movie, even as it borders on satire, strikes us as intensely sympathetic to its characters. Holofcener is great at awkward social scenes in which conversation goes absurdly awry, but she’s ambitious, too, and her movie explores such large and grave matters as the ambivalent nature of benevolence and the exhausting but inescapable necessity of family loyalty. Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt play a married couple who run a Manhattan antique-furniture store; their anguished and pimply daughter, played by Sarah Steele, has the relentlessly logical egocentricity of a smart, moody adolescent. Next door to the family lives a grouchy old woman who is visited by her two granddaughters—a virtuous wallflower and a selfish, hard-nosed cosmetician. The movie feels loose and easy, but it has actually been designed with great rigor, with its matching pairs of characters and bits of echoed dialogue. New Yorker (90 minutes) (in English).

Febuary 11 & 12, 2011

RATING: Not Rated

Starring Jeff Rutagengwa, Eric Ndorunkundiye, Jean Marie Vianney Nkurikiyinka, Jean Pierre Harerimana, Narcicia Nyirabucyeye, Edouard B. Uwayo

Munyurangabo Lee Isaac Chung’s debut feature opens with the taut threat of violence as the titular teenage character (Rutagengwa) steals a machete from a street market. He ponders the weapon, imagining it covered with blood, then packs it away in his knapsack for an unstated purpose. Chekhov’s principle of drama is in full effect, but what’s remarkable about this film (much lauded on the festival circuit) is how it slowly steers its way from portent to poetry. Munyurangabo’s quest is a simple one: He desires a grisly revenge against the soldier who murdered his father in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Yet the journey to this sanguine end is filled with numerous complicating factors, most resulting from his friendship with Sangwa, (a young runaway who returns home to his parents after a three-year absence. The longer retribution is delayed, the more red-eyed passions are muddied. Sangwa’s family drama provides humanizing insight into the Hutu caste for which Munyurangabo (a Tutsi) harbors so much enmity, while the fervent words of a poet (Edouard B. Uwayo) bring necessary context and clarity to the genocide’s lingering effects. A lyrical and ambiguous final image (which evokes the god Janus) drives the point home: Munyurangabo’s great horror—and great hope—is to go on living, New York Time Out (97 minutes) (in Kinyarwanda)

April 1 & 2, 2011

RATING: R for some drug material, language and violent content

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Kevin Breznaha, Isaiah Stone, Shelley Waggener, Ashlee Thompson, and William White

Winter's Bone Even before the real trouble starts — with suspicious lawmen on one side and a clan of violent drug dealers on the other — Ree Dolly faces more than the usual litany of adolescent worries. Her father, locally renowned for his skill at cooking methamphetamine, has vanished, and her emotionally hollowed-out mother has long since abandoned basic parental duties, leaving Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) to run the household and care for her two younger siblings. The family lives in southwestern Missouri, a stretch of the Ozarks that is both desolate and picturesque, words that might also suit “Winter’s Bone,” Debra Granik’s tender and flinty adaptation of a novel of the same title by Daniel Woodrell. “Winter’s Bone,” was warmly embraced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. New York Times (100 minutes) (in English).

May 27 & 28, 2011

RATING: PG-13 for sexual references and smoking

Starring Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay, Ben Chaplin, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, Leo Bill, and Imogen Poots

Me and Orson WellesFollowing his Russian A vivid view of Orson Welles (Christian McKay) at twenty-two, as seen through the eyes of a cocky teen-ager (Zac Efron) from New Jersey who bluffs his way into Welles’s Mercury Theatre group in 1937. The plot is conventional: the young man gets initiated into sex and the many other fascinating and complicated rights of the grownup world—that is, he gets warmed up and then burned by people more experienced and ruthless than he is. But the details of the production that Welles stages (a modern-dress “Julius Caesar”) are fascinating, and at the center of it stands the seductive and bombastic young genius, who applies his superlative theatrical instincts to an old classic. The British actor McKay has the necessary stature and vaunting authority, an easy way with a cigar, a sly smile, and a strong voice. “I am Orson Welles!” he thunders, when challenged. “I own the store.” The picture has great spirit and considerable charm. It’s about the giddiness of promise—the awakening of young talents to a moment when anything seems possible. New Yorker ( 114 minutes) (in English).