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President's Day

Posted 7/7/2010

AMERICAN DREAM Barbara Kopple's 1990 documentary about a meatpackers strike in Austin, Minn., during the mid-1980s Reagan years remains a pertinent document about corporate mismanagement and greed. Vital and heartbreaking. At the Enoch Pratt Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium July 10 at 10:15 a.m.

AVALON Barry Levinson's 1990 intergenerational saga about a Polish-Jewish family immigrating to American remains one of his more touching portraits of Baltimore. Screens at the American Visionary Arts Museum July 8 at 9 p.m.

BREAD AND TULIPS You've got to love European movies in which it's taken for granted that women over the age of 35 are sexy and interesting. In this sunny Italian import, Licia Maglietta stars in the Anne Tyler-esque tale of Rosalba Barletta, a middle-aged Roman wife and mother on vacation who happens upon a freer and more suitable life for herself after her tour group accidentally ditches her. Stranded at a rest stop, she hitchhikes to Venice on impulse. There, the former mad housewife blossoms, making friends, finding work as a florist, and rooming with an eloquent, sad-eyed Icelandic waiter (Bruno Ganz). Meanwhile, her gruff but harmless husband (Antonio Catania) hires a bumbling amateur detective (Giuseppe Battiston) to track her down. With its quirkiness, gentle wit, emotional openness, and vibrant visual palette, Bread and Tulips offers unexpected joie de vivre of its own. (Adele Marley) Screens July 9 at the intersections of High and Stiles streets at 9 p.m.

MICKEY ONE Arthur Penn's 1965 stab at doing an American riff on French New Wave didn't connect at the time, and has yet to be rediscovered much as it's never hit home video, but the occasional appearance on late-night TV has whet the appetite for this B&W crime drama. Warren Beatty plays a Detroit comic wanted by the mob who hightails it out of town to hide in Chicago. What it may lack in narrative staying power it more than makes up for in visual pizzazz--thanks to French cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet (who also lit Jean Becker's A Man Named Rocca, Louis Malle's The Fire Within, and Claude Sautet's Classe Tous Risques) and 1960s bombshell Donna Michelle. At the Charles Theatre at noon July 10, at 7 p.m. July 12, and 9 p.m. July 15.

PELADA This documentary follows two former collegiate soccer players who didn't earn a spot on a professional team as they travel to 25 countries around the world playing pickup matches--with prisoners in Bolivia, moonshine brewers in Kenya, freestylers in China, and Iranian women who play in hijabs. Screens at the Charles Theatre July 13 at 7:30 p.m.

PREDATORS Pure summer escapist violence porn: Nimród Antal helms this actioner in which Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, and Danny Trejo show up as killing-machine bad-asses who get hunted by the 1980s sci-fi creature bad-ass. Hopefully an absurd good time that requires absolutely no brain functioning. Opens July 9.

PRESIDENT'S DAY Local filmmaker Chris LaMartina's latest feature puts an ax-wielding psycho killer in an Abe Lincoln mask during a high school class presidential campaign in this entertainingly gory, consistently witty slice of DIY horror. At the Creative Alliance at the Patterson July 9 at 7 p.m.

SHUTTER ISLAND Director Martin Scorsese takes noir and infuses it with the psychological thriller in Shutter Island, which opens in 1954 with deputy Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) joining his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) on a ferry bound for the titular fortress housing a hospital for the criminally insane. They're investigating an escape from a room guarded 24 hours a day and locked from the outside. Throughout, Scorsese alludes to other movies, and the movie is just as much an experience for the senses as it is for the mind, though Scorsese's allusions eventually start to feel derivative. (Emma Brodie) Screens at the Broadway Pier July 7 at 8:45 p.m.

STRAY DOG In Akira Kurosawa's 1949 noir, cop Murakami (a young Toshirô Mifune) loses his Colt pistol to a pickpocket on a crowded bus. Murakami's shame turns into an obsession when he realizes his firearm is being used in a series of dastardly crimes. The detective embarks on a relentless quest to apprehend both the weapon and its wielder. While some of the plot points in Stray Dog--notably the fear and mayhem caused by a single weapon loose in the streets--may seem naïve in today's blood-soaked times, the movie still works as a potent character study of a man driven by guilt and yields a suitably intense climax. (Eric Allen Hatch) At the Enoch Pratt Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium July 10 at 2 p.m.

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