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Babette's Feast

Posted 4/21/2010

BABETTE'S FEAST Director Gabriel Axel's precious 1987 Danish drama concerns the titular Frenchwoman (the elegantly timeless StAcphane Audran) who flees Paris to live in a remote part of Jutland in the latter half of the 19th century. She works as the cook for a pair of spinster sisters who prefer to eat simple meals. A lottery ticket brings Babette a sudden influx of cash, and she spends it by whipping up a sensuous meal. Satisfying both as a textbook art-house flick and food porn. Based on an Isak Dinesen novella. At the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium April 24 at 10:15 a.m.

THE BACK-UP PLAN Jennifer Lopez' single woman decides to get artificially inseminated--and then meets a man (Alex O'Loughlin) in TV director Alan Poul's (Six Feet Under, Big Love) feature debut. Opens April 23.

THE LOSERS Stomp the Yard director Sylvain White helms this actioner delivering the usual dude-flick bankable goods: a black-ops unit getting burned and seeking revenge, things going boom, and Zoe Saldana handling firearms. Bonus points for Idris Elba. Could be stupid fun. Opens April 23.

OCEANS The French Winged Migration filmmaking team of Jacques Cluzaud and Jacques Perrin turn from the skies to the seas in this documentary exploration of underwater life and what man is doing to pollute it. Opens April 22.

STAR TREK Star Trek fandom has good reason to celebrate producer/director J.J. Abrams revamp: he nails it, crafting a Star Trek that essentially prequels the original series--how the USS Enterprise crew came to be--and reboots the series by crafting an action flick that both stands on its own while being respectful to what has come before. At a little more than two hours, it's a summer blockbuster that manages to tell its story in a manner that won't confuse a Trek novice, fits in a few special-effects set pieces, and throws in a few Easter eggs for longtime fans. (Vincent Williams) At the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium April 24 at 2 p.m.

UMBERTO D. While The Bicycle Thief arguably exerted a greater and more immediate impact on film history, 1952's Umberto D. is en route to become neorealist director Vittorio De Sica's most revered masterpiece. It follows the plight of its titular character, an impoverished pensioner played by Carlo Battisti, as he struggles to make ends meet for himself and his beloved dog while suffering a variety of base humiliations that threaten to topple his will to survive. More modern in tone and structure than The Bicycle Thief, but still using a nonprofessional cast and real-life settings, this movie presents its story in a fractured, episodic nature; the common thread linking these moments from a forgotten man's life is the cold shoulder industrial society turns toward its lower classes. De Sica co-scripted D with Cesare Zavattini, the theorist credited with founding the neorealist school, which made important advancements in demonstrating the political power of narrative cinema. (Eric Allen Hatch) At the Charles Theatre at noon April 24, at 7 p.m . April 26, and at 9 p.m . April 29

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