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Movie Tickets: “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” DC Caribbean FilmFest

Our picks for the best in film over the next seven days.

Catch Wes Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, in theaters tomorrow. Photograph courtesy of Focus Features.

Moonrise Kingdom

I’ve watched
Wes Anderson’s new film,
Moonrise Kingdom, twice now. After the first
screening, I really liked it, as you can read in my review for

After the second, last night, I can upgrade that feeling to a
very nearly unconditional love. Anderson takes a memory of his
own past—the sort of memory we all have, of the first stirrings
of something resembling love in our preadolescent hearts,
destined to almost always go unrequited—and spins it into a
left-of-reality fantasy that acts as wish fulfillment for the
12-year-old romantic in all of us, as well as a serious
investigation of how love manifests itself at different parts of our
lives. He does so through the story of Sam and Suzy, two kids
living on a remote New England island who decide, at the age
of 12, to run away with one another, out of both love and a
sense that they are severely misunderstood by the adults in their
lives. Much of the movie is devoted to a full-scale search of
the island by Suzy’s parents (Frances McDormand and
Bill Murray), Sam’s scout leader (Edward Norton), and the island’s lone law enforcement officer (Bruce Willis), all of whom are in various states of despair or melancholy over the loneliness of their own love lives or lack thereof.

For those who’ve already decided they hate the fussy, quirky Anderson aesthetic, there may not be much here to change their
mind on that front, as this is as quintessentially Andersonian as
The Royal Tenenbaums or
Rushmore. But I’ve always found that to be a shallow reading, as Anderson’s whimsical constructions almost always rest atop a deeply
affecting well of emotion, which is as near to the surface as ever in
Moonrise Kingdom. I used to think that if I could go
to any cinematic place and time, I’d be driving a Citroën down the
streets of Paris in
a Godard feature. Feel free to mock that particular personal
cliché all you wish, but his visions were both romantic and tough,
welcoming and a little dangerous. Wes Anderson’s worlds are
much sweeter, and the dangers are more from the surplus of melancholy,
but they’re just as vivid, romantic, and inviting. I want to
spend time on his made-up island of New Penzance just as intensely.

View the
Opens tomorrow at E
Street and Bethesda

2012 DC Caribbean Filmfest

For the 12th year, the AFI is teaming up with a number
of local Caribbean organizations and associations to present a
of films from all over the West Indies. This year’s selection
of 11 titles comes from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti,
Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Barbados, and Belize. Things
get started tomorrow night with
Fire in Babylon, a British documentary about the
“Windies,” a cricket squad that collects players from across the nations
of the Caribbean
into one team, which dominated the sport in the ’70s and ’80s.
The rest of the festival showcases both narrative and documentary
features, many dealing with the rich musical tradition of the
islands as well as the often rocky political background of many
of their nations.

View the trailer for Fire in Babylon. Starts tomorrow and runs through Monday at the
AFI. See the

for complete listings and showtimes.


Washington audiences don’t often get to see the work of local filmmakers on the big screen outside of some of the smaller
festivals. But Silver Spring native
Rohit Colin Rao’s
Ultrasonic, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the DC
Independent Film Festival earlier this spring, is getting a theatrical
run at West
End starting tomorrow. The film, shot in and around DC, centers
on a struggling young musician who discovers he can hear a
sound no one else can: an ultrasonic signal that the government
is using to control people’s minds. The film becomes a thriller
in which he and his brother-in-law attempt to find the source
and purpose of the signal.

View the trailer. Opens tomorrow at West End Cinema.

Snow White and the Huntsman

The second of this year’s two Snow White films, this version of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale trades in the lighter
touch of
Tarsem Singh’s earlier
Mirror Mirror in favor of a much darker adventure.
Twilight’s tortured teen
Kristen Stewart stars as the titular princess, and
Charlize Theron as her evil stepmother the
Queen, determined to take out her younger, soon-to-be-fairer
stepdaughter once her mirror clues
her in that the girl will eventually usurp her throne. So she
does what any reasonable magical tyrant would do and seeks to
cut out Snow White’s heart and eat it in exchange for
immortality. What she doesn’t necessarily count on is that the brutish
huntsman she sends out after Snow White (Liam Hemsworth) will fall for her and train her—and the diminutive companions who have taken her in—to start a revolution and defeat the

View the
Opens Friday at
theaters across the

Turn Me On, Dammit!

Norwegian director
Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s debut narrative feature works as a nice companion piece to Wes Anderson’s new film as it deals with the full sexual awakening
of adolescence that the characters in
Moonrise Kingdom are only just beginning to
experience, and shares some of the wit and fantasy of its American
counterpart. The film centers
on Alma, a 15-year-old girl in a small town who is just
beginning to discover her sexuality, in a rather more obsessive fashion,
it seems, than most of her peers. Or perhaps her peers are
feeling things just as intensely, but it seems she’s alone since
we only see things from her perspective. In that way, Jacobsen
effectively distills one of the defining qualities of being
a teenager: experiencing exactly what everyone else is, but
feeling utterly alone while it’s happening. The comedy here tends
to be more acidic than in Anderson’s work, appropriate to the
more advanced age of the protagonist, but has a similarly sensitive
understanding of the difficulties of its young characters. You
can read my full review at

View the
Opens tomorrow for
one week only at E Street

DVD Pick of the Week:

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I’ve covered
Lynne Ramsay’s most recent work in this column
before, when the film opened locally back in

Now that it’s available for home viewing, it bears repeating
that this is one of the finest, most powerful, and most unfairly
overlooked films of 2011. The difficult sell is understandable
on the one hand: This is a film about unspeakable violence
committed by a teen, told in bold yet often impressionistic
strokes. It’s a film that refuses to hold the hands of its viewers,
and forces thought and serious contemplation of the reasons its
characters act the way they do. It’s also a film that looks
at motherhood in some of the most frightening terms imaginable;
just picture watching the being that came out of you slowly
developing into a manipulative psychopath and being powerless
to stop it, even as your Pollyanna-esque husband refuses to
acknowledge the problem—mostly because the kid is smart enough
to never let his dad see his darker side. It’s an utterly mesmerizing
masterpiece from Ramsay, who very nearly quit the movies some
years ago. With works like this to offer, we should be thankful
she chose to fight through the difficulties of balancing art
and commerce that can be so oppressive for filmmakers. You can
check out my more comprehensive thoughts on the film in this
piece at the

Special Features: A making of documentary, more footage from the “La Tomatina” tomato festival that features prominently in
a visually unforgettable early scene, an interview with star
Tilda Swinton, and an essay from psychoanalyst
Mark Stafford.

View the trailer.