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The Apartment

Posted 1/20/2010

THE APARTMENT Billy Wilder's 1960 The Apartment isn't just a classic, but a template for today's smartest dramedies. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a hapless office drone who frequently hands over the keys to his bachelor pad to his philandering bosses in exchange for career advancement. When Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the cute, little elevator operator he flirts with at the office, turns out to be the mistress of his supervisor (Fred MacMurray, atypically playing a reptilian cad), Baxter nurses disappointment. Soon, he's nursing Miss Kubelik, who winds up attempting suicide in Baxter's apartment while waiting for a tryst. The movie turns on its head the '50s stereotype of single gals preying on family men in the workplace, and in doing so passes for protofeminism. (Heather Joslyn) At the Enoch Pratt Central Library Jan. 23 at 2 p.m.

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI German director Robert Wiene's silent 1920 Expressionist nightmare is a virtuosic fusion of haunting story and hallucinatory, chiaroscuro visuals. The titular "doctor" (Werner Krauss) is a traveling sideshow hawker whose main attraction is the clairvoyant Somnambulist (Conrad Veidt), who, perhaps, carries out Caligari's nefarious bidding. With a live score provided by Darsombra vs. Ala Muerte. At the Creative Alliance at the Patterson Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford join forces as a headstrong father and scientist racing to save the children and tug heartstrings in this drama based on journalist Geeta Anand's book The Cure. Opens Jan. 22.

LEGION Paul Bettany stars as a fallen angel/leader of humans fighting off the last judgment-qua-Armageddon--or something--because a waitress may be pregnant with the second coming of Christ. Biblical mayhem and action flick and Kate Walsh? Could be serious B-movie fun. Opens Jan. 22.

THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK The beloved Judd Apatow movie machine would be Nowheresville if not for Preston Sturges, and nowhere is this more apparent than in 1944's The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. This merciless lampoon of the Hayes code and all its compulsory euphemisms for sex, booze, and swing dancing--take a drink every time someone says "marriage" when they mean "making love"--ends with a sextuplet virgin birth heard around the world. Made amid WWII, the movie leaves no sacred cows unbroiled as it satirizes the war effort and the related cultural insanity. (Rahne Alexander) At the Enoch Pratt Central Library Jan. 23 at 10:15 a.m.

TOOTH FAIRY The Rock stars in this family-friendly flick about a hockey player forced to be a real-life tooth fairy. Opens Jan. 22.

SWING TIME Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in this 1936 George Stevens musical about a gambler dancer (Astaire) who falls for a dance instructor (Rogers). The plot is flimsy, but the dance sequences remain classics. At the Charles Theatre at noon Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. Jan. 25, and 9 p.m. Jan. 28.

SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER . . . AND SPRING The concept of what-goes-around-comes-around receives treatment in Korean writer/director Kim Ki-duk's poetic parable. Cruelty, possessiveness, and hate intrude at a floating Buddhist temple in the middle of an idyllic lake, presided over by an aging monk (Oh Yeong-su). The monk's young charge (played by Kim Jong-ho as a child and Seo Jae-kyeong as a young man) falls prey to all three worldly ills--the latter two via his relationship with a young woman (Ha Yeo-jin) who comes to the monk for a cure for her mysterious ailment. As the movie cycles through the title seasons, the consequences of the young man's real-world actions play out in the spiritual world of the temple, and the cosmic balance is eventually restored. (Lee Gardner) At Breathe Books Jan. 21.

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