LiC’s pick of the week: Leap Year (Ano bisiesto)

It’s getting hotter outside, but not in the multiplexes. If you live in New York and you like quiet, challenging foreign films that probe the human condition, please seek out Leap Year. In wide release there’s a feature length Pixar toy ad. Other than that, it’s a good weekend to catch up on movies you may have missed. The Tree of Life (review) is doubling its screen real estate so if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, this might be a good weekend to have a look. Also expanding is the terrific documentary Buck (review) and the well reviewed Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times.

Check out LiC’s Now Playing page for the best and worst of what’s in theaters now including synopses plus showtime, review and trailer links.

  • Leap Year (Ano bisiesto) (****). Here’s another gem of a small foreign film that deserves to be found by adventurous audiences. It tells the story of Laura Lopez, a woman from a small town in Oaxaca now living a life of isolation in Mexico City. It’s February during a leap year and Laura has conspicuously blotted out the 29th day of the month on her calendar. What is it about that day that fills her with such dread? It’s one of many mysteries about Laura that pull you through this quiet, observational and sexually frank look at loneliness filmed entirely from within Laura’s tiny apartment. She makes up stories about her social life to her mother and brother on the phone. She spies with a crushing sadness at her neighbors carrying on with their ordinary lives. She brings home the occasional stranger for unfulfilling sex. One stranger, a married man named Arturo, likes it rough and this seems to ignite something within Laura. Their relationship escalates, growing more and more intense and violent until… well you’ll just have to watch to find out. Leap Year opens in New York this weekend. I’ll have a review of it next week prior to its opening in LA. (NY)


  • Cars 2. Larry the Cable Guy is the illustrated for dummies version of those tiresome Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck if…” routines. The fact Larry’s tow truck character Mater is the focus of this cynically conceived (“It’s already pre-sold and will move a shit pot of merchandise!”) though no doubt artfully and lovingly presented Cars 2 pretty much guarantees it to be the first completely missable Pixar movie in the company’s 25 years. Up until now, Pixar’s secret has been that they make movies for adults disguised as movies for children. This time they’re aiming right at the kids who just can’t get enough of Mater. The kids can have it. (Wide)
  • Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. If all the people who made a fuss after Conan O’Brien got canned from The Tonight Show had actually watched The Tonight Show when he was the host, dude wouldn’t have gotten canned. Yes, Leno sucks, but I’m just saying. Anyway, here’s a doc about the post-canning comedy tour O’Brien launched to help pick himself up off the mat. (Limited)
  • A Better Life. About a Boy and American Pie co-director Chris Weitz takes a career turn with this indie story about a Mexican immigrant struggling to carve out his little slice of the American dream while raising his son alone in East Los Angeles. The film was well received upon its world premiere at the LA Film Festival. (Limited)
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. This Sundance doc looks at the rise and fall of the environmentalist organization tagged by the FBI in 2005 as the #1 domestic terrorist threat to the United States. (Limited)
  • Bad Teacher. Like Bad Santa except written by TV sitcom writers (Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg)? Cameron Diaz is a foul mouthed, self absorbed and generally terrible school teacher who sees a chance to get out of her dire life by hooking up with the rich and handsome new teacher Justin Timberlake. R-rated hijinx ensue. (Wide)
  • Passione. John “Nobody fucks with the Jesus” Turturro takes a documentary look at the music, people, culture and volcanoes of Naples Italy. (Limited)
  • General Orders No. 9. Bob Persons spent eleven years making this experimental documentary about man vs. nature told through images, music and poetry. (NY)
  • The Names of Love. Lets cut to the official blurb for this French comedy: “Young extrovert Baya Benmahmoud lives by this classic motto: “Make love, not war.” In order to convert them to her cause, she sleeps with her political enemies – which means a lot of men, because every conservative is her enemy. So far, she’s gotten good results. Until she meets Arthur Martin, 40-something. She figures that with such a common name (there are more than 10,000 Arthur Martins in France), he’s bound to be a real conservative and thus hard to convert. Yet, names are treacherous and things aren’t always what they seem. Bahia and Arthur are as different as two people can be. So when they fall in love, sparks fly…” (Limited)
  • Turtle: The Incredible Journey. A nature documentary that follows a loggerhead turtle on her life’s journey from a beach in Florida to the North Atlantic to the coast of Africa and back to Florida again. If she’s lucky, she’ll be among the 1 in 10,000 turtles who survive the trip to procreate and start the process all over again. (Limited)

One Response to “Weekend Forecast: The dog days of summer”

  1. General Orders No. 9–Didn’t they already make this as the much more lyrically titled Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka? Someone should let the guy know.

    Nothing good I haven’t seen already at the theaters here. Sigh. Tis that time of year.

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