Movie Tickets: “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” “5 Broken Cameras,” “Ballplayer: Pelotero”

Our picks for the best in film over the next seven days.
A still from Shut Up and Play the Hits, a movie about LCD Soundsystem’s last concert. Image courtesy of Pulse Films.
A still from Shut Up and Play the Hits, a movie about LCD Soundsystem’s last concert. Image courtesy of Pulse Films.

Shut Up and Play the Hits

LCD Soundsystem went out with a bang during the spring of 2011 when frontman
James Murphy decided to let his longtime
project go out at the height of its popularity, closing the book on the
band in a massive one-night-only
concert at Madison Square Garden. Appropriately enough, the
concert film covering both that night’s festivities and the lead-up
to and aftermath of the show is also seeing a special
one-night-only release, which happens at select cinemas nationwide this
Wednesday. Writer
Chuck Klosterman shows up to provide some
background in the form of an interview he conducts with Murphy, and the
filmmakers combine that
with observational footage of Murphy preparing for the show as
well as traditional concert-film portions of the show itself.

View the trailer. One night only, Wednesday July 18 at 9:30 PM at the AFI.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

Despite a career filled with lush artistic provocations, no other film in
Peter Greenaway’s oeuvre reaches quite the
heights he achieved with this, his best-known work, in 1989. The dark,
rich, painterly cinematography
lends an air of refinement to a story that’s all about the
basest inclinations of its characters and, in the end, just as
shocking and stomach-churning as any grindhouse or exploitation
Helen Mirren stars as the wife of a crime boss (Michael Gambon) who’s taken over a local
restaurant, frequenting the place with her and his entourage. Mirren’s
character falls for a bookshop
owner who also comes to the restaurant a lot, and the two
engage in an affair, their subterfuge aided by the staff of the
restaurant. But when her husband finds out, things start to go
bad in a hurry, leading up to one of the most memorable scenes
of revenge ever captured on film.

View the
Monday at 8 PM at
McFadden’s, presented by the Washington Psychotronic
Film Society
WPFS screenings are free, but a $5 donation is

Celine and Julie Go Boating

Jacques Rivette, the late bloomer of the French New Wave, made only three films during the movement’s most active period in the 1960s, and
his masterwork,
Celine and Julie Go Boating, didn’t come out until
1974. The epic fantasy (clocking in at more than three hours) looks at
the meeting, developing friendship,
and adventures of the two title characters, who first encounter
each other on the street in Montmartre, wind up living together,
and embark on a number of odd plots, often involving magic,
identity switching, the suggestion of time travel, and alternate

View the trailer. Saturday at 12:30 PM at the National Gallery. Free.

5 Broken Cameras

Emad Burnat is a Palestinian resident of
Bilin, a small town that was ripped apart—literally—when the Israeli
army bulldozed olive groves
to build a barrier between the town and a neighboring Jewish
settlement. In 2005, coinciding with the birth of his son, he
got a video camera and began recording both life at home and
what was going on outside his house with the conflict over the
barrier and the ongoing protests and clashes between
Palestinians and Israelis. The title of the film refers to the total
number of cameras he went through in shooting what became a
multi-year project. He eventually teamed up with Israeli filmmaker
and co-director
Guy Davidi to go through the hundreds of hours of footage to develop a narrative that effectively combines the personal and the political
and shows the way those entities interact and intertwine for the people of his town.

View the trailer. Opens tomorrow at E Street.

Ballplayer: Pelotero

Possibly unknown to all but the biggest of baseball fans, Major League Baseball operates a massive recruitment operation in
the Dominican Republic, which is part of the reason 20 percent of all players in the league hail from the tiny nation.
Ballplayer looks at the story of two hot young
prospects coming up through the ranks of the league’s grooming system,
both about to
turn 16—the age at which they can sign on to a team’s farm
system and begin chasing the dream of playing in the majors for
real. But this look inside baseball isn’t such a pleasant one,
and is one the majors would probably rather people didn’t see—they
declined to participate in the film. The process the film looks
at has been described as “unsettling” by Salon and akin to
seeing how sausage gets made by the
Village Voice.

View the trailer. Opens tomorrow at West End.

Blu-ray/DVD Pick of the Week:


Kenneth Lonergan’s troubled second feature was nearly
buried by its studio after years of legal wrangling over his inability
to decide on a final cut of the film. When it finally did hit a
handful of theaters at the end of last year, it was with little
fanfare and even less marketing muscle from the studio, who
acted as if it was just happy to satisfy whatever contractual
obligation it might have had to put it in a couple of theaters
and forget the whole episode had ever happened. But in an unprecedented
case of critical activism having a measurable impact in
resurrecting a dead movie, the dogged efforts of a small group of
critics who felt the movie deserved a bigger audience actually
prompted a wider release for the film.

Even the film’s boosters will be the first to admit
that the movie—which follows multiple threads of lives affected by a bus
accident early in the film—is messy and has its problems. But
the general consensus is that even if the film isn’t always
successful, the unbridled scope of its ambition makes it an
essential experience. Some also hoped that when a longer cut of
the film was released, some of those problems might be
rectified. This week’s Blu-ray release does offer up that longer
cut, though early reviews indicate that the longer version
magnifies both the film’s considerable strengths and its weaknesses.
If you missed
Margaret during its local theatrical run, here’s your chance to see what all the fuss was about.

Special Features: Not much in the way of extras here; the extended cut itself is sort of the “special” feature on tap here.

View the trailer.


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