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Movies: The Month Ahead

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 4, 2010 5:20PM

2010_1_4white-ribbon-poster.jpg Used to be that January was largely the dumping ground for crap that was deemed unsuitable for release during the rest of the year. That's probably still true to a degree. Example: Tim Allen's feature directorial debut is quietly making its way into theaters this month. But there's an awful lot about to go into wide release that looks enticing. And when you add in local-only screenings, you've got a slate of movies that's sure to keep you busy all month long. Here are some highlights.

  • Daybeakers (1/9 at various theaters)
    Guilty pleasure time: vampire sci-fi starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Neill. Shot largely in 2007. Lord help us if it turns into this year's Ghost Rider: a movie that was predicted to bomb but didn't. Also opening this weekend: Youth in Revolt, the latest film in the Michael Cera genre. It stars ... Michael Cera.
  • Italics Film Series (1/7 - 1/31 at Museum of Contemporary Art)
    In conjunction with their exhibit "Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution," the MCA presents a program of highly acclaimed films made from 1969-81. They include little-seen selections (Bertolucci's Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man and Fellini's Casanova) as well as bona fide classics (including Pasolini's The Decameron, Visconti's The Damned, and Antonioni's The Passenger, starring Jack Nicholson.) Also in the lineup: 1978's The Inglorious Bastards, directed by Enzo G. Castellari, which recently inspired a certain American director.
  • Elia Kazan's American Century (now through 2/3 at the Siskel)
    A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden surely all ring a bell, and it's a once in a blue moon chance to see them all on the big screen in close proximity. But the real pièce de résistance in the series is a newly struck print of Wild River, one of Kazan's most neglected movies. It's never been released on home video. It was also one of Montgomery Clift's last roles. We have a real soft spot for Monty and are thrilled about finally getting the chance to see it.
  • The White Ribbon (opens 1/15 at Landmark Century and Landmark Renaissance Place)
    Funny Games auteur Michael Haneke's latest won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes. It's somber, wicked tale set in a German village on the eve of WWI. Bizarre accidents begin to plague the community, leading to even stranger "punishments."
  • Doc Films has a boatload of goodies on their Winter Calendar. Through March 10, every Wednesday will highlight films by David Lynch and David Cronenberg. This month alone we get Mulholland Dr., Videodrome, Blue Velvet, and The Fly. Mondays focus on British New Wave in the 1950s and 1960s. Séance on a Wet Afternoon, a supremely creepy melodrama starring Kim Stanley, is part of the series. Other programs this winter include "American Avant-Garde Cinema of the 1940s and 1950s" and collaborations between John Ford and John Wayne.