NEW THIS WEEK
CABIN IN THE SKY Director Vincente Minnelli made his Hollywood feature debut with this all-black 1943 adaptation of the 1940 Broadway musical that recast the Faust legend about a man making a deal with the devil. That man is "Little Joe" Jackson (Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who, like much of the cast, appeared in both the Broadway and MGM productions), a gambler who gets mortally wounded in a barroom dice game. Little Joe dreams he gets a few months reprieve to prove he's worthy of saving, and finds himself a pawn in a battle between the forces of good (Kenneth Spencer) and evil (Rex Ingram). The standouts here are showstopping Ethel Waters as Little Joe's wife, and the recently departed Lena Horne as a temptress who knows exactly how to wear a sequined satin gown and feather boa. At the Charles Theatre at noon June 26, at 7 p.m . June 28, and 9 p.m . July 1.
CHOCOLAT The light, yummy Chocolat leaves a savory aftertaste, even when it comes close to overdosing on sweetness. In 1959 France, mysterious stranger Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) and her young daughter Anouk drift into a small, stodgy country village and turn everything upside down by opening a chocolate shop that has the locals salivating. Resented by the ultraconservative town mayor (a villainous Alfred Molina) and his starchy secretary (Carrie-Anne Moss), Vianne nevertheless sets about helping the town come to life. She befriends a feisty old crone (Judi Dench), a kleptomaniac battered wife (Lena Olin), and a widow in lifelong mourning (Leslie Caron). Based on Joanne Harris' slender bestseller, director Lasse HallstrA¶m infuses Chocolat with marvelous ambiance, aided by his strong ensemble cast (which also includes Johnny Depp as a gypsy Irishman). The gentle story veils an ominous fable of the darker side of the '50s, with its terror of outsiders, blind clinging to convention, and determination to squelch passion. (Luisa F. Ribeiro) Screens at the Village of Cross Keys June 26 at dusk.
FRESH Director Ana Sofia Joanes' documentary Fresh is the latest salvo in the ongoing American reevaluation of food--what's in it and where it comes from--and practically picks up where Robert Kenner's Food, Inc. leaves off. Both documentaries include interviews with The Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan, who assayed the environmental, economic, political, and nutritional compromises that industrialized agriculture has created in the American food supply. And both look toward alternative strategies for growing and promoting healthier and more sustainable food supplies and dietary practices. Fresh takes this last idea and runs with it, and Joanes' focus on the people and farms actively pursuing alternative farming strategies and economically thriving with them is a refreshingly leading-by-example argument in this ongoing food discussion. (BM) At the Senator Theatre June 29 at 7:30 p.m .
GROWN UPS Adam Sandler co-wrote and stars in this comedy about a group of junior high pals--Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade--who get together as ostensible adults after the death of a friend for a 4th of July weekend with their families. Opens June 25.
UP Ed Asner provides the crotchety voice to 2009's most overly appreciated animated family flick, from the writing/directing team of Pete Docter (WALL-E) and Bob Peterson (Ratatouille). At the Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus Wyman Quad June 25 at 8:30 p.m .
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