The Joy of Insignificance

Poor Eran Kolirin. When I spoke with the director of The Band’s Visit a few weeks ago, he had been traveling so much that his jet lag kept him from even an hour’s sleep. Then, just minutes before this interview, he managed to whack his head against the door frame of the car that brought […]

Fly Me To The Moon: Animation for All Ages

Once again, the library’s very own cinema sprites, Deb Girdwood and Isabelle Harder, bring your lucky kids some of the finest animation in the world—and we’re not talking Saturday-morning corporate fare, either. Drag the offspring to the library for such inspired lunacy as “Petalocity,” a story of “a little girl who goes to extremes of […]

Funny Games

Word has it that controversial director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher, Caché) simply remade his original 1997 shockfest shot by shot. But who cares? The original Funny Games is hands-down one of the most disturbing films ever made; and if this one has Naomi Watts in the lead we’re, well, game. With the story of […]


Here’s an interesting show for you and the kids: Arranged, a tale of two Brooklyn teachers—Rochel, an Orthodox Jew, and Nasira, a Syrian Muslim—both of whom are in the process of being set up in arranged marriages. Somehow they manage to become close friends. By setting the film in a public grade school and forcing […]

The Counterfeiters

Told in flashback, The Counterfeiters is the exciting true story of Salomon Sorowitsch, who, in the years before World War II, was the world’s greatest counterfeiter. Arrested in Berlin, Sorowitsch is sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp—as both Jew and habitual criminal he’s considered doubly threatening. But the Germans find a use for Sorowitsch, putting […]

The Band's Visit

"Once, not long ago, a small Egyptian police band arrived in Israel. Not many people remember this. It wasn’t that important." So begins The Band’s Visit, an understated little film from Israeli director Eran Kolirin. When no one is at the airport to meet the eponymous band, the musicians, dressed in baby blue police uniforms […]

La Bohème

What better way to spend your Valentine’s Day than taking in La Bohème, a silent, melodramatic classic at the beautiful and, dare we say, sexy Heights Theater. This 1926 film, based on the Puccini standard, has all the usual suspects: the tragic Mimi, a consumptive, and her jealous lover, the Bohemian poet Rodolfo. Their love […]

Our Man in Havana

Unavailable on DVD in the U.S., this 1959 British noir classic reunites director Carol Reed and writer Graham Greene, the sly duo who gave us The Third Man and The Fallen Idol, also classics. Here, Alec Guinness plays James Wormold, a British vacuum cleaner salesman stationed in Cuba who is enlisted as a spy for […]

What Is It?

What is it? Debuting for the first time in Minnesota and unavailable on DVD, What Is It? is Crispin Glover‘s 2005 directorial debut (lately he played Grendel in Beowulf). The movie is described by its director as "being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to […]

One Curmudgeon's Opinion: The Ten Best Films of 2007

Ah, year’s end: the time to reflect on the bounty that was the 2007 movie year. There were many truly great films, one that I would actually call a classic, scores of excellent documentaries, and even a bunch of major studio flicks that are actually worth watching and only missed this collection by a hair […]