Movie Tickets: What to See Beyond the Multiplex

Catch up on Oscar picks or check out a mockumentary

By: Sophie Gilbert

Now that the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards are over, the Super Bowl ad lineup has been analyzed to death, and the national-anthem delivery has been reliably flunked, it can mean only one thing: It’s officially Oscar season. With less than three weeks to go until the 83rd Academy Awards, there are still a few chances to catch up on movies you missed before the office pool is due. West End Cinema is screening all five nominated documentary shorts starting February 11, while Landmark E Street is showing all the live-action and animated shorts starting Friday. Out of the ten best-picture nominations, Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, and True Grit are currently on screens at AMC Loews in Georgetown; AFI Silver Theatre is screening The Social Network through February 24; and 127 Hours is at AMC Shirlington and Hoffmann Center.

We have an Oscar-nominated movie or two in our lineup this week (one is from 1954, but it’s a classic anyway). Among the highlights: An Alfred Hitchcock thriller, a surreal drama about three isolated Greek teenagers, and a 1977 cine-poem about life in a gritty Los Angeles neighborhood. And all this without a special effect or a Smurf-like Na’vi in sight.

Tuesday, February 8
Without Alfred Hitchcock, would there ever have been a Christopher Nolan or a Darren Aronofsky? AFI is honoring the grandfather of psychological suspense movies with a Hitchcock retrospective, part one of which runs through March 31. On February 8, you can catch Murder!, one of his earliest films, about an actress with memory loss who’s accused of killing a colleague. Buy tickets ($11) at AFI Silver Theatre’s Web site.

West End Cinema hosts a screening of The Secret to a Happy Ending, Takoma Park filmmaker Barr Weissman’s documentary about the alt-country band Drive-By Truckers, followed by a Q&A with Weissman. Get tickets ($11) at West End Cinema’s Web site.

Wednesday, February 9

Journalist and author Sebastian Junger (War, The Perfect Storm) and photographer Tim Hetherington traveled to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in 2007 and 2008 to report on the conflict there for Vanity Fair. Restrepo, their Oscar-nominated documentary about the platoon they were embedded with, is at the Avalon Theatre Wednesday; buy tickets ($11) at Avalon’s Web site.

At Artisphere, Arlington Independent Media screens Out in the Silence, a documentary about filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer’s experiences after they announce their same-sex wedding in Wilson’s hometown of Oil City, Pennsylvania. Tickets ($6) are available at the door, and more information is available at Artisphere’s Web site.

Thursday, February 10

Two 2010 movies threw monkey wrenches into the conventional understanding of documentaries. I’m Still Here, Casey Affleck’s controversial film about his beardy brother-in-law, Joaquin Phoenix, turned out to be a hoax. And guerilla street artist Banksy tweaked audiences even further with Exit Through the Gift Shop, his Oscar-nominated documentary about street art and filmmaking (sadly, for those hoping to see a glimpse of the notoriously secretive Banksy, his face is obscured throughout). There’s a screening at Avalon February 10; buy tickets ($11) at Avalon’s Web site.

Friday, February 11

Dogtooth opens at the Avalon Friday. The Greek artistic drama—nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar—tells the story of three teenagers imprisoned in a house by their parents, whose only contact with the outside world is a sex worker employed by their father. “Dogtooth is like a car crash,” said critic Roger Ebert in July. “You cannot look away.” Get tickets ($11) at Avalon’s Web site.

Saturday, February 12

The AFI is celebrating Ginger Rogers’s centennial this spring with a retrospective of some of the actress and dancer’s biggest movies, as well as some of her non-dancing roles. You can catch Top Hat, the 1935 comedy musical starring Rogers as a model obsessed with tap dancer Fred Astaire, at 4:45. Get tickets ($11) at the AFI’s Web site.

Sunday, February 13

Killer of Sheep, Charles Burnett’s 1977 neorealism-influenced tale of an African-American family in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood, comes to the National Gallery of Art, followed by a Q&A with Burnett. The movie wasn’t released until 2007 due to issues with music rights but was widely praised by critics as a masterpiece of cultural representation. 2 PM; free. For more information, visit the National Gallery’s Web site.

Monday, February 14

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without romance, so abandon cynicism and go see Sabrina at the AFI Silver Theatre. Billy Wilder’s 1954 tale of the chauffeur’s daughter (Audrey Hepburn) and the two brothers who fall for her (Humphrey Bogart and William Holden) is at 8:30. Buy tickets ($11) at the AFI’s Web site.

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