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There's This Little Best Picture Winner: What to See This Week In Lawrence


Well, the Oscars are over, and "The Artist" cleaned up, as expected. Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor all went to the little silent-French-film-that-could, thanks at least in part to the persistence of Harvey Weinstein.

Actually, I feel bad giving "The Artist" such a hard time. It's a fine film -- a nice, feelgood, romantic comedy that just happens to be a silent film. Mostly (No spoilers!) It's just that there were so many better movies with more artistic merit. "The Artist" took chances with its format, but that's where the risk-taking ends.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it, Liberty Hall is still showing "The Artist" and it really is something any movie lover should see. I can't stress this enough: DO NOT BE AFRAID OF IT BECAUSE IT IS SILENT. Nobody I know has walked away from "The Artist" without being charmed. Not even this guy:

Also at Liberty Hall this weekend is David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," a complex drama starring Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, and Kiera Knightley as the mental patient that challenges them both.

Cronenberg may be more well known for his "body-horror" movies "Dead Ringers," "The Fly," and "Videodrome," but his films always have a philosophical bent and this one is no different. Knightley is way over the top while everybody else is restrained and there are no obvious visual Cronenberg flourishes. In fact, it's a downright subdued, yet still strangely powerful movie.

Tuesday, March 6, 7 p.m. at Woodruff Auditorium on campus is part two of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning film series. "Objectified" is the second of director Gary Hustwit's "design trilogy," and it looks at industrial and product design, and our relationship with the manufactured objects that surround us. Using documentary vérité footage and in-depth interviews, the film looks at the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and how the things they make impact our lives.

"Objectified" had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2009, and has been touring the country ever since. The film is free and open to the public, and on April 9 when his latest documentary "Urbanized" is shown, Hustwit will be there for a post-film Q&A.

Friday and Saturday, the Campus Movie Series is showing Clint Eastwood's messy biopic of the most famously embattled FBI director ever. "J. Edgar" isn't necessarily a bad movie, it's just a tough one to enjoy. Besides the historical aspect, Eastwood tackles the personal side of the FBI man. J. Edgar Hoover was a fiercely private person who abused his authority to harass activists and blackmail political leaders. In the film, he’s also portrayed as a closeted homosexual who hates himself and has serious mommy issues.

Such a wildly divergent story might have been told more effectively with a heaping helping of style, but Clint Eastwood plays it safe while the screenplay from Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black is full of all kinds of innuendo and subtle dark humor. "J. Edgar" is a frustrating watch for sure, and its pace flags several times due to some heavy-handed narration that struggles with these historical themes, but the fact that it’s always fighting itself is kind of fascinating too.


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