Meru – Winner of the Sundance Audience Award for documentaries, Meru captures the ascent of three climbers up the “Shark Fin” route of India’s Meru Peak in the Himalayas. Conrad Anker, Renan Oztuk, and Jimmy Chin (who co-directed the film with his wife) attempt to scale the 21,000 foot peak, which ends with 1,500 feet of smooth vertical surface. The film interweaves the background stories that led the three climbers to face the Meru Peak with footage of the climb itself, filmed by two of the three. Their tales include substantial hardship and loss, including previous failed expeditions, and the climb video is reportedly harrowing. Meru is screening November 1st to 10th.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Remember how the first two HP movies were all kiddie and cutesy, and then the third one got real dark real fast? Well, this is the third one, also known as the movie where all the kids are suddenly older and become teen heartthrobs. The eponymous prisoner, Sirius Black, escapes from Azkaban prison and seeks out Harry, his godson, who has every reason to fear Black, as he is the man who reportedly betrayed his parents to Voldemort. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity; Y Tu Mama Tambien), the film stars the usual suspects (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson) as well as new faces Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Sid and Nancy) and Michael Gambon (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; Gosford Park). Prisoner of Azkaban is playing November 7th and 8th. $4
Julie & Julia – THE inspirational movie for bloggers everywhere (yes, including yours truly). In the 1950s, Julia Child (Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman; The Devil Wears Prada) studies at Le Cordon Bleu and starts working on a book that will eventually become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, launching her career as a TV chef. Meanwhile, in the early 2000s, Julie Powell (Amy Adams, Junebug; American Hustle) struggles with her dead-end job by resolving to cook all of the 524 recipes in Child’s book. Powell’s blog devoted to her project, the Julie/Julia Project, became the first blog to inspire a major motion picture, written and directed by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle; You’ve Got Mail). It’s showing at the Kimball from the 11th to the 15th of November. $4
Global Film Festival – The College of William and Mary’s Global Film Festival begins a series of promotional “mug nights” this month, selling logo mugs on successive Thursdays at the Kimball in support of the festival and screening selections of W&M film students. The films technically qualify as “global,” since the United States is on the globe.
On November 12th you can see the first feature of director David Wain (Wanderlust; They Came Together), the 80s camp comedy parody Wet Hot American Summer, made in 2001. A cult favorite stacked with at the time mostly-unknown talent including Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, and Elizabeth Banks, WHAS recently birthed a prequel series on Netflix, First Day of Camp. November 19th brings actual 80s adventure-comedy The Goonies (which sounds like the name of a goofy horror movie) to the Kimball. Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen; the Lethal Weapon series), The Goonies was written by Chris Columbus (who produced Prisoner of Azkaban and directed the first two Harry Potter movies), executive produced by Steven Spielberg (1941) and stars Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men), and Martha Plimpton (Running on Empty; TV’s Raising Hope). Successful on its initial release in 1985, it has developed a significant cult following among fans of gadget-filled kids adventures, Cyndi Lauper, and Captain Lou Albano. $4
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – The first of two films uniting Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and George Roy Hill (they would reconvene a few years later for The Sting) is an iconic western made near the end of the genre’s Hollywood heyday. Butch (Newman, The Hustler; The Verdict), leader of the Hole in the Wall Gang, and sharpshooter Sundance (Redford, The Way We Were; Sneakers) will give anything a try to get ahead, including moving to Bolivia or even going straight. Known for its anachronistic soundtrack (including the Burt Bacharach tune Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head) and genre-defying shifts in tone (part action, part comedy, part romance) Butch and Sundance is part of the Kimball’s Classic series (really worthy of the name) and screening November 15th. $4
Bikes vs. Cars – From Swedish director Fredrik Gertten, Bikes vs. Cars tackles the costs of our automobile culture and the role that bicycles can play in reducing those costs. More than just a story of car drivers and cyclists, Bike vs. Cars is concerned with urban planning and the automobile industry, as well as activists. Executive produced by Chris Paine (Who Killed the Electric Car?), Bikes vs. Cars is showing from November 16th to 25th. You can probably expect everyone from Williamsburg Area Bicyclists to be there.
WEST SIDE STORY SINGALONG OMG
It’s just like at home, only with a bunch of other people who are singing along, too! As part of their kickoff to their “Film & Community” Film Fest in February, they’re gonna have the W&M Show Choir on hand to help you stay on key during West Side Story, and then later Southeast Side Story: A Williamsburg Community Musical (10 minutes short), and then Japanese cult film auteur Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe, a hip-hop/samurai/martial-arts/kitsch-pomo-pinku-style reimagining of the gang fight musical (wth??). $5 for one film or $8 for both- and oh ps there’s a party in the lobby in between the two. November 20!
A Walk in the Woods – Has this crisp weather got you in the mood for camping? Well, in case it’s too cold for you, here’s a movie with some amazing scenic views you can take in instead of the real thing. Based on Bill Bryson’s book of the same name, A Walk in the Woods recounts Bryson’s effort to trek the Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford (Barefoot in the Park; All the President’s Men) plays Bryson, who moves back to the United States after decades abroad. Bryson attempts to recruit friends to join him on the hike, eventually settling for Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte, 48 Hours; The Prince of Tides), a friend from college who turns out to be in poor physical shape (and a recovering alcoholic). The two are tested by the demands of the trail, their equipment, fellow hikers, and each other’s company along the way. A Walk in the Woods is showing from November 21st to 28th.
Rockefeller’s Restoration – November 29th, the Kimball will commemorate the beginning of the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg with a screening of the American Revolution drama The Howards of Virginia, starring Cary Grant as plantation patriarch Matt Howard of Albemarle. Filmed in 1940, the movie makes extensive use of many newly restored Colonial Williamsburg locations. Prior to each screening there will be free showings of restoration-themed features: a March of Time newsreel about Colonial Williamsburg (1942); The Music of Williamsburg (1960); The Colonial Naturalist, a story of Mark Catesby’s first trip to the colonies (1965), and the documentary Williamsburg Restored (1951). $5
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