Film

CinemaDope: Afternoon Delight

The joys of the matinee

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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Laurence Cendowicz/ The Weinstein Company Photo
Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark, Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller and Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

Who doesn't love a matinee? In the summer, it's the ideal respite from the sun and heat—a couple of hours spent in the dark with an escapist adventure and a cold drink the size of an infant and I'm a new man, ready to walk out the doors to sweat anew. And against common logic, winter matinees are even better—not because they get you out of the weather, but because, when they return you to the outside world, there is still light in the day. In the depths of our darkest months that can feel like a kind of miracle.

So there is cause for celebration this week in Brattleboro, where the town's historic Latchis Theatre is beginning a new program of matinee screenings on Monday afternoons. Theater manager Darren Goldsmith notes that demand has been high for more matinees—the cinema had already been showing them in the summer and during the holidays—and that the theater felt "ready to give it a try." To quench the people's cinematic thirst, the Latchis will screen all four of its regularly scheduled films at the new 4 p.m. showing.

It helps that Brattleboro has become something of a movie town, with the Latchis as its nexus. Next month, the theater will once again host screenings for the annual Women's Film Festival, now in its 21st year, and it has also branched out to host opera screenings and the community film night BrattFlicks. But it is the everyday crowd that provides the lifeblood of the scene: the Latchis has sold over 40,000 tickets since July, despite being closed for almost two months following the floods brought by Tropical Storm Irene.

The upcoming slate was unavailable at press time, but current and planned offerings include Oscar hopefuls The Artist and Hugo as well as the Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) penned animated feature The Secret World of Arrietty. For schedule updates and more information, visit latchis.com or ring the box office at (802) 246-1500.

Head south to Northampton's Pleasant Street Theater, and you'll find Michelle Williams lighting up the screen as a film icon in My Week with Marilyn. Set in the summer of 1956, the film explores a tiny bit of Hollywood history, during which a young Marilyn Monroe traveled to England to film The Prince and The Showgirl with Sir Laurence Olivier. Newly married to American playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), the beautiful star also caught the eye of 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), who was trying to break into the film business as an assistant on the set.

The film is the account of the pair's "lost week" following Miller's departure from England. While Miller was gone, Clark escorted Monroe around the British countryside, providing a relief from the pressures and occupations of her Hollywood life. As directed by Simon Curtis, the film has met with a mixed reception, but Williams is an extraordinary actress who manages to bring something new to someone we all thought we knew.

*

Also this week: It's back—Tommy Wiseau's film The Room is either one of the worst movies ever made or one of the craziest, most deadpan black comedies in the history of film. Either way, it's an experience so unforgettable that it returns to the Midnight Movie Series at Pleasant Street for the second time in three months. Catch it this Friday, and be sure to save the rest of your weekend for trying to make sense of what you've just seen.

Jack Brown can be reached at cinemadope@gmail.com.

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