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Shut up and sit down

Take a seat for a fabulous fall film festival lineup


Courtesy photo

 Seasonal shifts in this community don’t just mean swapping sundresses for sweaters, but adding a layer of depth to stimulation.
    It’s a time of moving away from the grass underfoot and music’s sweeping embrace to books and cinema to complete the shifting outdoor backdrop.
    It means that a spate of movies specially packaged for the coming weeks as part of the Magic Lantern Fall Film Festival is on in Ketchum to ease the transition and connect with humanity in a different way.
    “There are two classes of movie fans—moviegoers and movie watchers,” said Magic Lantern owner Rick Kessler. “Goers understand what going to the movies is all about. Watchers grew up with video tape and DVDs. I don’t care how great a home theater you have, going to the movies is a social experience. People need to go to the movies.”
    This summer, the theater converted to state-of-the-art digital projection to enhance the movie-going experience. The lobby is scheduled to be increasingly buffed out in the future as well.
     Kessler said he enjoyed rounding up this year’s films and was hard pressed to find a bad review in the bunch. Having viewed them, he offers two Rick picks with these accolades:
    “‘Safety Not Guaranteed.’ Go to this movie and thank me later.” And, of Frank Langella’s role as a retired cat burglar, “‘Robot and Frank’ is meant to be seen by the Sun Valley film-going audience.”
    Here are the synopses of films being shown from Sept. 14 through October. The times and availability are subject to change, so be sure to consult the theater’s weekly ad in the Idaho Mountain Express or contact the Magic Lantern at 726-4274 or stop by First Avenue and Second  Street in Ketchum for the current information. There is also a schedule at
    “Give up your cell phone, turn it off and take some time to immerse yourself and enjoy detaching yourself from life at the movies,” Kessler said. “It’s worth it and necessary.”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Rated PG-13. 1 hour and 42 minutes

Hushpuppy is a 6-year-old girl whose imagination far exceeds her isolated life with her ailing father in a bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee. Her slender shoulders bear the world’s weight when an unstoppable catastrophe strikes and she navigates survival. Shot in Louisiana with nonprofessional actors, this film triumphs from a junkyard set. The Miami Herald called it a “beautiful, strange tone poem about childhood and innocence.”

“Safety Not Guaranteed”
Rated R. 1 hour and 32 minutes

“Safety Not Guaranteed,” about three cynical Seattle magazine employees and a classified ad that piques their curiosity is worth a look. Filled with characters too weird to believe, but too decent to not cheer for, this film is said to be smart, hilarious and heartfelt.

“Ruby Sparks”
Rated R. 1 hour and 49 minutes

“Ruby Sparks doesn’t try to pretend to be more than it is: a sleek, beautifully written and acted romantic comedy that glides down to earth,” declared The New York Times of the film about a young novelist named Calvin, an early bloomer now struggling to be relevant until a breakthrough creation of a character named Ruby. This film stars Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan and Elliott Gould.

“Robot & Frank”
Rated PG-13. 1 hour and 37 minutes

Frank Langella plays a retired cat burglar named Frank whose kids think he requires some living assistance. His son decides that a robot could do the job as well as any caregiver. It’s described as a story of finding friends and family in unexpected places. James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon round out the cast of the film, which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “a hard, funny and realistic movie about the future.”

“Easy Money”
Rated R. 2 hours and 10 minutes

Slate magazine said “Easy Money’s big heist scene is the only action set piece so far this year that was so suspenseful I could feel my heartbeat in my ears.” says it will be the crime film of the year, at least. This Swedish crime thriller is based on the international best-selling novel by Jens Lapidus. A sexy heiress, a business student and a mafia enforcer entangle in a dramatic struggle for life and death.
“Your Sister’s Sister.” Rated R.
1 hour and 37 minutes.
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt and Mark Duplass star in a comedy about grief and sibling rivalry. USA Today said this twisted tale of complicated relationships with an all-star cast is “nailed with grace, humor and winning charm.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called it a “smart, moving film that’s also very, very funny.”

“Al Wei Wei-Never Sorry”
Rated R. 1 hour and 36 minutes

This is the documentary story of China’s most celebrated contemporary artist and bureaucratic nightmare, who has endured government shutdowns and detention to perpetuate his art. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to the charismatic artist as well as his family and others closer to him while working as a journalist in Beijing. Winner of a special Sundance 2012 jury prize, the film has been called inspirational and enthralling.

Rated R. 1 hour and 37 minutes

Sandra is the high-strung manager of a busy suburban fast food joint in Ohio who is directed by a police officer to begin investigating a pretty young employee who has stolen money from a customer. Inspired by true events, “Compliance” raises the question of how far can authority push and how far should it be pushed. Los Angeles Times called it “harrowing” and “not easily forgotten.”

Rated R. 1 hour 42 minutes

Maggie Gyllenhaal had fans enjoying her sexually exploratory side first in the cult hit “Secretary” and critics are hailing her scampish romp this round in “Hysteria,” the story of how Mortimer Granville invented and field tested the world’s first electromechanical vibrator in the name of medical science. The film stars Academy Award winner Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones, and is said to be more mischievous romantic comedy than erotic journey set in the 19th century.

“Sleepwalk With Me”
Rated R. 1 hour and 30 minutes

From the producers of the popular NPR program “This American Life” comes the story of an aspiring standup comedian who fails to express his true feelings about his girlfriend and his stalled career, resulting in anxiety-induced sleepwalking. The film features Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”), Carol Kane (“Taxi”), James Rebhorn (“Meet the Parents”) and Cristin Milioti (star of Broadway’s “Once”), plus comedians Marc Maron, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Jesse Klein, Henry Phillips and David Wain.

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