Every Wednesday, we find you five movies for you to check out over the coming weekend, from the latest wide release to weird local screenings to timely classics you can watch on your couch. Did we miss something? Let readers know in the comments.
The Master Screens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Texas Theatre Paul Thomas Anderson's highly acclaimed 2012 film comes to DVD and Blu-Ray in a couple of weeks, but the Texas Theatre is giving you a last-minute chance to see it on the big screen. The movie's three leading stars -- Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams -- all received Oscar nominations for their work in the film, but the film itself was denied a spot in the Best Film and Best Director categories. I'm personally not the biggest fan of it, but I think that's a shame. Time will eventually sweep away the bulk of 2012's releases, but, like Anderson's 2007 film, There Will Be Blood, this one has a chance of sticking around.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III Starts playing at the Dallas and Plano Angelika Friday. This new film by Roman Coppola brings to mind Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Though not as visually interesting or clever, Charlie Sheen slips easily into the title role of Swan, an out-of-shape, sex-obsessed egotist whose daydreams give the film a loopy, surreal feel. His problems start when his girlfriend, Ivana (Katheryn Winnick), comes across a cache of photos of Swan's exes and dumps him. From them on, we pass back and forth from reality to something slightly less as Swan tries to sort out his life and move on. Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray shine as Sheen's co-stars.
The Kid with a Bike DVD/Netflix Streaming Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's most recent film has been available on Netflix for a while, but it finally hit DVD and Blu-Ray this week as part of the Criterion Collection. At the heart of the movie is an act of kindness like you rarely see on screen. A hairdresser takes in a motherless boy who's been abandoned by his father. Why? It's an abrupt decision. She doesn't know him, and he doesn't know her. They meet purely by chance, but that single moment is a catalyst for change in both their lives. The boy, Cyril (Thomas Doret), is difficult , to put it mildly. That the hairdresser, Samantha (Cecile de France), has any patience with him is a wonder.
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But that's what the Dardennes are going for. Why put up with such a difficult child? Why devote so much energy and frustration to helping him? Because it's people like Cyril who need help the most. What Samantha does for this small, vulnerable child seems so unusual, and we wonder why she bothers. But we've got it backwards. This is how it should be. We're hard-wired to do what's easiest and most convenient for us, and the Dardenne's challenge that. Without invoking religion, the Dardennes end up telling a deeply religious story.
The Playroom Screens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Texas Theatre The road from idea to finished feature was a long one for The Playroom, which local filmmaker Julia Dyer (Late Bloomers) worked on with her late sister, Gretchen. The result features John Hawkes (Winter's Bone, The Sessions) and Molly Parker (Deadwood), though the true stars are the four young Dallas-area children who play the film's protagonists. Several critics have compared it to Ang Lee's 1997 film, The Ice Storm. Both contrast the irresponsibility of adults with the vulnerable maturity of the children who so badly need them. The Playroom screens at the Texas Theatre Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
A Good Day to Die Hard Wide release Bruce Willis returns as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, the most recent installment in the Die Hard franchise. For some of you, that's all I have to say. For the rest of you, I'll let the trailer do the talking.