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Archive for the ‘BAM’ Category

This edition of Weekend at the Movies was written by pizappas and plainclothesman. We’re sort of like Ebert & Roeper, only way more attractive.

pizappas:

This week’s crop of movies are just SO GOOD that I couldn’t let plainclothesman have them all to himself. I needed to get in on this action.

Fool’s Gold: You know how in the preview for Austin Powers: Goldmember you kept seeing him go “I love goooooooooold!!!”? As much as I would have embraced the chance to utter those immortal words in earnest myself, I couldn’t bring myself to do it after i watched this trailer.

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On the red carpet at the Fool’s Gold opening.

Basically, Kate Hudson needs money, Matthew McConaughay is a sexy fuck-up, and together they embark on a harebrained scheme to make some cash. Does this not sound like the actual real-life premise involved with making this movie? It gets even more meta with the title: presumably in the movie, and in real life both, they discover that one can be tricked by the glittery allure of the gold stuff, and in fact find the real meaning of wealth elsewhere.

On a side note, if you, like me, liked Dirty Sexy Money (don’t be a hater), and are jonesing for Donald Sutherland as a reserved old rich man – jones no more! Sage and spry and fancy as ever, here he is for the best 2 seconds of the trailer. It’s playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins: Protagonist escapes from his loud, crazy family and goes on to become a rich success star. He bring back his fancy fiancee to meet the loud, crazy relatives and loud, crazy things happen. Though a tried and true formula, I am impressed by their bold move to not stage this at Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or a relative’s funeral… I am not quite sure if loud, crazy estranged-child-coming-home-from-the-big-city movies are even allowed to happen in the summer. But hey! This is 2008. Anything is possible.

The best thing about this looks to be James Earl Jones playing Martin Lawrence’s dad. Not a casting call I would’ve made, but I don’t get paid the big bucks now do I? And he does seem to have something about him that drives his sons away, like to Hollywood for fame and fortune, or to Queens to work at MacDowell’s.

It’s playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

The Hottie & The Nottie:

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As simple as the concept seems, I was confused when I watched this preview! Looking at the poster, it really seems like Paris has befriended a zombie! I thought maybe LiLo was acting as a mama figure to the celebutante and had Taken Her Daughter To Work With Her (Day)?

But no, it turns out that this girl legit is supposed to look that way. That’s weird. But OK, if we can suspend our disbelief that Paris is an actor (zing! never-before-done-ZING!), then we can suspend our disbelief on the costume/makeup job on the “nottie.”

Blah blah, do I really need to tell you the plot of this movie? If you’re going to go see this, I’m impressed that you can actually read. Stay away from me. Luckily this is only playing uptown at the AMC Empire 25 (far from Brooklyn).

plainclothesman:

Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland: Proportionately, the length of this title far exceeds my interest in the film it is describing. From the trailer and clips, this movie seems to be about a bunch of guys who were convinced to be comedians by their drunk frat brothers at 3am before passing out in their own vomit. Vince Vaughn takes them on a bus to comedy shows as well as some of his famous friends as a back up plan. Stars Justin Long of Dodgeball and Jon Favreau of Swingers talk to the audience about…being Justin Long of Dodgeball and Jon Favreau of Swingers. If you’re a fan of Dane Cook’s inane Tourgasm series, this film looks like it would be a worthy accompaniment. This is playing at the AMC Loews Village 7.

The Band’s Visit: An Egyptian Police brass band are on their way to play an initiation ceremony at an Arab arts center, but get sidetracked in a small Israeli town. The film was selected as Israel’s Academy Award Foreign Language film, but was disqualified because more than half of the film’s dialogue is in English instead of Arabic or Hebrew. All the same, it is my pick of the week. Unfortunately, it is only playing at the Angelika.

In Bruges: Martin McDonagh, who is normally a writer for the stage, has been advertising the hell out of this little dark comedy. The trailer has played before almost every release I’ve seen in the past two months, and I still find it pretty amusing. Colin Farrell wears a perma-scowl throughout as the characters make fun of midgets, prostitutes, Belgians and fat Americans. Farrell has never really done comedy before (unless you count Miami Vice) but it seems to be a pretty good fit. While the goofy hitman in crisis movie has been done before, this looks like a well written comedy with some great actors. It’s playing at the Angelika.

Also, Gimme Shelter will be playing at the Landmark Sunshine on Friday Night at midnight, and BAM, in addition to playing Oscar contenders at BAM Rose Cinemas, will be screening His Girl Friday on Valentine’s Day. For more info, please go here. And for anyone who hasn’t seen His Girl Friday, it’s a fantastic Howard Hawks movie with Carey Grant and Rosalind Russell that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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As nouveau cirque enthusiasts across the city gear up for the upcoming run of Au Revoir Parapluie (Dec 4-16 at BAM), a French food enthusiast is born in Brooklyn.

For two of the last three nights I have warmed myself on Le Gamin’s hearty yet refined sandwiches, delicate yet substantive crepes, and invigorating yet stupefying GROG.

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Le Gamin graces New York and Boston with several locations; ours is located on Vanderbilt between Dean & Bergen, nestled on a very special block next to two of my favorite spots, sweetie pie boutique Red Lipstick and reliable repair shop Bicycle Station.

This is a first date’s wonderland with a cozy, romantic feel and a menu that won’t break your bank, even if he orders the most expensive thing (roast beef tenderloin, $15). A fireplace warms the back of the restaurant, and a generously sized patio equipped with umbrellas and picnic tables promises warm weather fun to come.

Mooseknuckle and I both began with sandwiches, or as they call them: “Les Sandwiches.” Isn’t that just darling? He housed the Merguez a la Moutarde Forte – spicy lamb sausage with roasted red peppers. You know how sometimes roasted red peppers are the ‘luxury’ item in a sandwich or salad that you pay extra for, but still you’re like – is this worth it? Should I have just gotten free tomato slices instead? In this case, the roasted red peppers totally complete the sausage – just the two of them there in that sandwich would keep each other well enough, but the goat cheese that Moosie opted to add contributed a lovely smoothness as well as that cool tartness to cut through the sausage-spice and red-pepper-sweet. Mmm!

I went for Le Saumon Fume – smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, mesclun, homemade mayonnaise, and pesto. Right away I liked their boldness at including as standard two condiments. They’re a funny pair. If you added mayo to pesto, it would totally bring down the quality. If you added pesto to mayo, you’ve got yourself some gourmet spread. But allow the two to exist separately but equally (what doesn’t work in society can sometimes work in sandwiches) and you’ve got a sandwich whose mayonnaise helps things stick together and keeps the eggs from sticking in your throat, and whose pesto seeps into the ciabatta and gives your teeth a succulent layer of olive oil to sink through before reaching the chewy crust. I liked it. The salmon itself was also great – not overly salty, and generously portioned.

Both sandwiches,$9.75, were served with mesclun salad on the side – fresh leaves, appropriately engaging but understated dressing.

The next night, intending to just stop in for desert, Mooseknuckle, Johnbaptisedme, and I were taken in by the savory selections. They were sadly out of mussels, so I opted for a Brie crepe ($9). Whaat??! Oh man. Combined with expertly carmelized onions and sliced baby tomatoes, it was excellent. If you are the kind of person who has to restrain herself from downing the whole baked brie wheel at a party, then this dish is for you. Don’t share it!

Moosepie went for a make-your-own crepe ($10.50) with chicken, goat cheese, and ratatouille. After the disappointment that it was not served by animated rats subsided, he tucked into this tasty concoction. The taste I begged off him was very satisfying. More ingredients provide many many possible combinations for personalized crepes. Like an omelette bar but way classier. Also served with salad.

Always a classist, I mean classicist, JBM got Gratinne a L’Oignon, the classic French onion soup ($6). Mmm! The rich broth you want, the crusty bread made soggy in it, the sharp cheese knocking you down. They get it right.

And then of course there’s desert! Though the actual desert menu sounds great, with a warm upside down apple tart served with creme fraiche ($5) and a classic creme bruelee (also $5), how could we do anything but head straight on to the sweet crepes ($4.50-$7)?

Apricot jam made a delicious filling. As did melted chocolate – of a really high quality and cocoa count – either on its own or combined with fresh bananas. They are famous for their crepe with fresh sectioned orange and homemade caramel, and for good reason. Unlike its made-by-Kraft counterpart (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Le Gamin’s homemade caramel does not stand up on its own, instead lending the subtle flavor of burnt sugar sweetness to the juicy oranges and light crepe dough.

The drink options in a French restaurant can be intimidating, but with a small and accessible wine list, I felt empowered to order a glass of Muscadet to accompany my meal. It was a nice choice and at $7 for a generous class I felt like all was right with the world. Mooseknucks opted for a bottle of Brooklyn, which Le Gamin rings in at $5. About reasonable and standard at a Brooklyn restaurant, no?

The drink enticements continued on to the section of the menu entitled “Les Boisson Chaudes,” or delicious wam things to which we occasionally add liquor. I was taken in by the GROG (as I may have mentioned before). It turns out GROG is a simple and refreshing drink, the Mandy Moore of warm winter drinks. Hot water, lemon juice, honey (that you add yourself to your liking), and spiced rum. Serve it in a big ole bowl and you’ve got yourself my new favorite drink!

The next night I opted for a steamed milk, again with honey and spiced rum, again served in an oversized bowl. What is not to like about drinking from a bowl? In a place like this, you feel like a viking and a refined French person at the SAME time! A valuable, if too rarely found, combination.

So, clearly, I recommend Le Gamin with no reservations (ha!). No, really, you don’t need reservations. This 3 1/2 year old restaurant was no where near crowded either night I went. Perfect for a romantic rendezvous or a night out with the gals, Le Gamin has an extensive, inexpensive menu that will make your friends think you know your GROG.

Le Gamin, 566 Vanderbilt Ave, Prospect Heights

Related merchandise: Joie de Vivre, simple living the French way. A book that tells you how to be happy like the French. I’ll stick to the food, thanks!

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Love in the Time of Cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s award-winning novel has been adapted into a film by director Mike Newell, and stars Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt. Thus far, the movie is getting pretty terrible reviews, shocking both because of the subject matter and talented director. Garcia Marquez (who is now eighty years old) apparently asked pop singer Shakira to provide two songs for the film. This explains the one new scene in which Fermina tells Fiorentino “you’re lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains” before ripping off her corset to expose a wet leather bra and tight pants. This is playing at the Pavilion.

Shakira

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: Did the title of this movie really have to rhyme? And an emporium? When I hear the word emporium, I don’t think of an FAO Schwartz style toy store, I think of a large warehouse that sells discount furniture. All the rhyming does is add to the cutesiness, which star Nathalie “if I keep talking with a baby voice I’ll be young forever!” Portman already supplies. Dustin Hoffman stars as the titular store owner who decides to retire, making the magical toys throw temper tantrums. Jason Bateman, who thus far has not gotten the post-Arrested Development career he deserves, stars as an accountant. The only way this movie could look more annoying would be if Robin Williams provided the voices of all the toys. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.

Beowulf: While some people think this is going to be a huge hit, I’m (Brooklyn) skeptical. You’ve probably heard of the epic poem Beowulf, either by browsing through passages in a translation or having some douchey English major hit on you by saying they enjoy reading the whole thing in Old English. Either way, you might have thought it strange as well when Robert Zemeckis decided to adapt it to his Polar Express-style of animation, where the characters look so similar to real life that you wonder why they didn’t just film it in live action. While it’s garnering some decent reviews so far, I might still wait for DVD. It’s playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.

Redacted: Brian De Palma’s new film about the Iraq war is already causing an uproar with the conservative right, especially with talk show host Bill O’Reilly. The film is described as a “fictional story inspired by true events,” but also contains documentary footage. Whether you want to stand outside and picket the film as Mr. O’Reilly suggests, or you have the good sense to watch the film before protesting, it is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Margot at the Wedding: Filmed in Long Island this time instead of Baumbach’s native Brooklyn, Margot at the Wedding is the story of a writer who decides to attend her younger sister’s wedding to an oafish, unemployed artist. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and Baumbach’s actual wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh. While it is so far not getting the same praise that The Squid and the Whale received, I’m going to make this my pick of the week. Also recommended: Baumbach’s Mr. Jealousy and Kicking and Screaming, which does not star Will Ferrell as a soccer coach. This is playing at the Angelika starting tomorrow, and BAM starting Wednesday, November 21st.

Southland Tales: Because I saw this on Wednesday I can officially say that it is definitely worth the price of admission. While you may be confused, frustrated and maybe a bit exasperated by the end, you will never be bored. Director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) tries to stuff far too much into this Los Angeles apocalypse sci-fi/action/comedy/drama/musical/clusterfuck but he does it will style and a giddy excitement that is refreshing. Any movie that features messianic figures, time travel, Jon Lovitz as a homicidal cop with bleached white hair, a floating ice cream truck, Christopher Lambert and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a porn star with a reality show is okay in my book. This is opening at the Angelika, but is also playing at the AMC on 19th and Broadway and the AMC on 84th Street.

Southland Tales

No Country for Old Men begins at BAM tomorrow, and Bottle Rocket is the midnight movie at the Landmark Sunshine tomorrow night. Also, several films from the After Dark Horrorfest are playing at the AMC Loews Village 7. Tickets can be purchased on Fandango. Enjoy!

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I was one of the lucky few (hundreds) to catch Sufjan Stevens‘ world debut of BQE – a multimedia extravaganza commissioned by BAM, featured in their Next Wave Festival.

I’d classify myself as a Sufjan appreciator, not a fan, but an enjoyer of. I have felt the illinoise. I was stoked on the night!

The approximately 30 minute piece is fully orchestral, with swelling crescendos, chilling tremolos, and thoroughly illing funkflexors. It was all accompanied by a grainy, three-paned video projection of Brooklyn-type images, and real live hula hoopers.

Basically, it was like some child was born who had only ever been exposed to the twee-est of the twee and the indie-est of the indie and (obviously) learned how to use a super 8 and learned that Brooklyn is cool and vomited up some stuff. And got a crush on a pretty, long-haired girl who hula hoops.

The music was enjoyable. I liked hearing the lush sounds of a full orchestra set to poppy tunes. I have been told that I took the accompanying video too seriously and that it was only meant to be a backdrop, but after staring at it for 31-odd minutes how could I not judge it? I mean really, have you ever sat across from chews-with-her-mouth-open and picks-her-teeth at a meeting? Try not judging her. It’s hard. It’s in our (my) nature.

So Sufjan’s synching up of movie’s scary parts with violin’s tremolos did seem sort of juvenile to me. And his “cool” effects like inverted colors and whatever-else seemed like “hey, I just got this cool thing called a computer and look what it can do!”

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Sufjan’s tool of the trade.

To top it off, this piece is supposed to be about the BQE, right? He even wrote this whole freshman-in-college sounding essay in the program about the significance of its grittiness, and the whimsical juxtaposition of such a concrete monstrosity against hula hoopers. Pretty hula hoopers. But when his huge melodic climax coincided with some striking (and often seen) shots of Coney Island I thought to myself, “does the BQE even go to Coney Island?”

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BQE bikers NOT on their way to the beach.

The answer is no, people. Coney Island is the EASIEST way to go Brooklyn and we all know it! It’s totally cool looking. It’s eerie and earthy and faux-modern and post-modern all at the same time! But it’s like putting on a rainbow-printed belt and calling yourself a gay rights activist. It’s like saying “in bed” after reading a fortune cookie and thinking it passes for a decent joke. It’s something we’ve all done, but that we hopefully grew out of. Or even if we didn’t grow out of it, we’re not getting comissioned by a major arts foundation to display it to crowds of thousands!

So, come on, Sufjan. Coney? Hip? Photogenic? You’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know there.

And maybe I’ve just seen too many undergrad modern dance shows (thanks sis) but glow-in-the-dark-hula-hoopers does not Art make. Get my drift? Say it forward or backward but at this level of performing I expect more. I just do. And I don’t care if that makes me a hater. It’s how I feel. My feelings.

Ahem. Anyway, nice try, Sufjan and BAM but do better next time. It’s only because I expect more from you.

Oh and to save me from total hateration (sorry Mary J, I know you don’t need this) the second half of the show was a straight up Sufjan concert and it was beautiful! I liked it and his weird, rambling story about running away from band camp and getting chased by an oboe-bird and learning the value of practicing. A totally pleasant evening marred only by the pain of wasted potential and the annoyance of hipster (metaphorical) jizz.

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Sufjan is easy on the eyes (and ears and brains).

 

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There was a lot going on at BAM on Saturday night. Probably too much. BAM held their first annual Takeover event. It was a night that consisted of several series of films, rock concerts and various other forms of entertainment. We arrived at around 9pm and waited in line for about twenty minutes before getting into the already crowded Peter Jay Sharp building. The films were about to start, as were the musical acts, but we decided to relax for a moment and get a drink at the beautifully decorated BAM Cafe. A DJ (who was very talkative) welcomed everyone to the event, where there were three dollar beers available all night and a lot of Brooklyn pride. Then it was time to check out some movies. The only problem was, there was no booze allowed in the movie theaters or the opera house. We discussed how the entire event sort of felt like a party that was awkwardly chaperoned by your parents, or an overly cautious friend who didn’t feel like cleaning up the next morning. Nonetheless, we finished our drinks and proceeded to the movie theaters.

There were four series of films playing. One was the “Pusher” series, a group of three Danish drug movies. I wanted to watch these, but that would mean giving up my entire evening and not seeing any of my friends at all. There was also a series called “When Animals Hug” which all featured fuzzy creatures being cute. There was a group of rock documentaries about The Sex Pistols, The Talking Heads, Ziggy Stardust and The Rolling Stones. And finally, there was a collection of Lindsay Lohan films, dating right up to her most recent disaster, I Know Who Killed Me. Of our group of five, two went off to watch Mean Girls, while myself and two others went to watch some of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. The theater was completely filled, with people forced to stand in the back. The crowd was energetic and giggled as a mulleted David Bowie jumped around the stage dressed in a skimpy kimono and knee high boots. We watched for a good forty minutes before we had to leave to make our way downstairs.

Be Your Own Pet had already started playing when we walked into the beautiful opera house. The crowd was smaller than I would’ve thought. There were more people watching the Ziggy Stardust movie than there were here. All the same, the band was cocky and loud, and the acoustics were excellent in the theater. The pint-sized Jemina Pearl Abegg thrashed around stage like Karen O’s bratty little sister who had forgotten to take her Adderall. The crowd was surprisingly talkative. When one fan jokingly asked them to play some Sonic Youth, guitarist Nathan Vasquez responded “Why don’t you play some shut the hell up?” They played for forty five minutes, which is a long time when most of your songs are barely two minutes long.

After this, there was a short burlesque show, where a woman named “Little Brooklyn” danced to “Minnie the Moocher” and slowly disrobed. The crowd enjoyed this, as well as The Glamazons who came on next and sang Peggy Lee’s “You Give Me Fever” dressed in red and black corsets. By the time we left this however, we all wanted more drinks, and the next string of movies had already started. The place had become ridiculously crowded at this point, and they had started holding people back from going to the cafe because they were at capacity. In short, BAM was slowly turning into a club. Everyone got a little frustrated with this. Lines were getting longer, it was becoming harder and harder to walk through the building, and we were missing the events because there were just too many at once.

I love BAM, and I love the fact that they did this event. I love that it was so popular, and for the most part, people seemed to have a good time. This was their first year though, and they obviously still have some organization problems to work out. For starters, they need to at least allow alcohol in the music hall and movie theaters. We understand that people don’t need to be bringing bottles of gin into your average movie theater for the 3:30 showing of Wild Hogs (unless they plan on throwing it at the screen), but if the logo for your Saturday night event says “Party All Night” on it, people are going to expect to be able to drink where and when they please. And honestly, I would say that the event only needed about half of the shows that took place. I know that the Lindsay Lohan movies were probably the biggest draw here (or the most eye-catching), but had it been a night of maybe just rock shows, rock documentaries and the BAM Cafe playing music, that would have been great. If you come to an event like this with friends, everyone is going to want to do something different. This means that a lot of the evening is spent either split up from people or trying to reconnect with them afterwards. If they do this again next year, and I really hope they do, I think the entire thing should be both more focused and laid back.

BAM

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There are only two movies in wide release this weekend, as no one wants to go up against Saw IV. I honestly don’t know anyone that watches these anymore, but someone must be because they always seem to make a killing (and a torturous one at that).

Saw IV: Television has informed me that this weekend “is Saw weekend.” I had no idea. I saw the first Saw movie several Halloween’s ago, and wow did it suck. I mean, it SUCKED. And naturally, my expectations weren’t particularly high for a poorly reviewed Cary Elwes torture movie. Yet here we are, four movies deep, and the franchise is still going strong. In this installment, a guy decides to torture his victims by making them watch the rest of the Saw films over and over again until they go insane and kill themselves. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Cary Elwes

Must…call…agent and get myself cast in better…movie.

Dan In Real Life: From writer/director Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) comes this new dysfunctional family comedy starring Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, John Mahoney, Dianne Wiest and Dane Cook. After watching the trailer, I can’t say it looks very good. For starters, it didn’t make me laugh, which isn’t good for a comedy. Secondly, Dane Cook is in it. Is he trying to be a legitimate actor? Because that makes me scared. And thirdly, how many fucking movies (and movie trailers) must we endure that use the song “Let My Love Open the Door” by Pete Townshend? There have been many songs since the eighties that could probably convey as much or even more emotion than this one. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Park Slope Pavilion.

Then, in limited release we have:

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: This is my pick of the week. Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon) directs this heist film about two brothers (Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman) who decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store. Sidney Lumet is a fantastic director, and he could use a hit after his last box office failure: Find Me Guilty. Luckily this film doesn’t star Vin Diesel. In fact, we’re lucky that most films these days don’t star Vin Diesel. This is playing at the Angelika.

Music Within: Ron Livingston stars as a hearing impaired Vietnam veteran who starts working with disabled Americans. It’s based on a true story, and the trailer looks good enough. As far as I can remember, Ron Livingston hasn’t really had much of a starring role since Office Space, so I guess we’ll see how he does here. This is playing at the AMC Loews on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan.

Bella: I hadn’t heard of this, but so far it seems to be getting really bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s about a waitress who is fired right after she finds out she is pregnant. The father is an international soccer star. Romance ensues. This is playing at Union Square.

Rails and Ties: Kevin Bacon stars in this drama about a train conductor who orphans a kid by running over his mother with a train. Unfortunately, the plot seems far too serious and somber to make a Footloose joke here. Also worth noting, the film is directed by Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Alison. This is playing at the Angelika.

Jimmy Carter Man From Plains: This documentary follows Jimmy Carter while on tour for his new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. I’m pretty sure the film also talks about his Presidential term, his foreign policy accomplishments, his educational programs, Habitat for Humanity, his destruction of the Death Star, his ability to bench press eight hundred pounds and the fact that he speaks Portuguese fluently. It was directed by Jonathan Demme. This is playing at the Angelika.

Jimmy Carter Man From Plains

Meanwhile BAM Rose Cinemas continues playing Into the Wild, Lust, Caution and The Darjeeling Limited.

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