Quote of the week from Marilyn Monroe, which applies to this week’s highlighted films: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” You can catch the goddess of 1950s film on a Washington screen this week along with Deadheads, doctors without borders, and free school lunches.
Tuesday, April 12 Catch Jim Kohlberg’s The Music Never Stopped before it closes at West End Cinema this week. The movie, based on a real-life case study by neurologist Oliver Sacks, stars Lou Taylor Pucci as Gabriel, a man whose brain tumor has left him with no memory beyond the 1970s. J.K. Simmons (Juno, those annoying Farmer's insurance commercials) stars as Gabriel’s father, who’s obliged to unwillingly embrace the music of the Grateful Dead in order to bond with his son. Tickets ($11) are available at West End Cinema’s Web site.
Wednesday, April 13 This week, Landmark Bethesda Row screens In a Better World, the Danish winner of the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Mikael Persbrandt stars as a doctor struggling with both family life at home and his work in an African refugee camp. The movie was called an “edge-of-your-seat, compelling drama” by the Los Angeles Times’s Kenneth Turan, who also wrote that director Susanne Bier has “outdone even herself.” Tickets ($10) are available at Landmark’s Web site.
Thursday, April 14 FilmFest DC continues with a screening of Mamma Gogo at the Avalon Theatre tonight. The Icelandic satire/autobiography, directed by Academy Award nominee Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, explores the life of a filmmaker whose movie is bankrupting him and whose mother is battling Alzheimer’s. “The two lead performances anchor the film,” says the Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Farber, who also called the movie “superb.” Tickets ($11) are available at Filmfest DC’s Web site.
Friday, April 15 Friday marks the opening of Robert Redford’s The Conspirator at Landmark Bethesda Row, a film profiling the only woman accused of collaborating in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The movie boasts an all-star cast, including Robin Wright as Mary Surratt and James McAvoy as the attorney who defends her, as well as Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, and Kevin Kline in supporting roles. Tickets ($10) are available at Landmark’s Web site.
Saturday, April 16 Whole Foods Market’s traveling “Do Something Reel” film festival comes to the AFI Silver Theatre April 16 through 20. Tonight’s film is Vanishing of the Bees, an Ellen Page-narrated documentary that investigates why honey-bee populations have been plummeting and what the long-term consequences may be. Tickets ($8) are available at AFI Silver’s Web site.
Sunday, April 17 In memory of the unforgettable Jane Russell, who died in February, take a trip to the AFI Silver Theatre to catch a screening of a special 35-mm print of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the 1953 musical co-starring Marilyn Monroe. Loosely based on the novel by Anita Loos, the film is famous for its big number, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Tickets ($11) are available at AFI Silver’s Web site; the film runs through April 20.
Monday, April 18 Lunch Line, at AFI today, takes a close look at the science and history of the school-lunch program through the prism of an inner-city Chicago school. The free-school-lunch program, which began in 1946, feeds an estimated 31 million children a day, but the quality of the lunch has long been questioned. Filmmakers Ernie Park and Michael Graziano follow six kids on their campaign to improve the meal, all the way from Chicago to Washington. Tickets ($8) are available at AFI Silver’s Web site.