Film Clips: X-Men: First Class, Hesher, Tree of Life and more

This weekend's openings


  • ©2010 Wrekin Hill Entertainment
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Hesher

HESHER (R) TJ's life is torn apart when his mother dies in a car accident. Living with his elderly grandmother and a father who solves his problems with pills, TJ's situation could not get more strange. That's when Hesher comes in. This tattooed young man with long greasy hair takes up residence in the family garage uninvited and brings his sense of anarchy along. Natalie Portman plays the opposing role of caring young grocery clerk who steps in to become TJ's protector.

The half-century partnership between two men is revealed in this documentary directed by Pierre Thoretton. Yves Saint-Laurent left behind not only a legacy, an incredible art collection, but also a lover. Through interviews, archival footage and more, Thoretton begins to reveal the bits and pieces of art, fashion and love that make up a life story.

QUEEN TO PLAY (NR) Oscar-winner Kevin Kline stars in this French film about a chambermaid (Sandrine Bonnaire) who unexpectedly discovers a passion for chess and seeks lessons from a reclusive American doctor (Kline). Based on Bertina Henrichs’ acclaimed novel La Joueuse d’echec (The Chess Player).

TREE OF LIFE 3 stars (PG-13) Famously enigmatic director Terrence Malick meditates on childhood and God’s relationship to humanity in his alternately breathtaking and stultifying coming-of-age film. Loosely autobiographical, Tree of Life primarily follows young Jack (Hunter McCracken) growing up in 1950s Waco, Texas, to a stern Dad and nurturing mom (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, both excellent), with interludes of Jack as an angsty adult (Sean Penn) as well as scenes of the evolution of life on Earth, complete with dinosaurs. At well over two hours Tree of Life’s whispery voice-overs and lack of conventional narrative puts your patience to the test, but as a beautifully-photographed tone poem, it’s undeniably impressive. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. — Holman

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS 4 stars (PG-13) Mutation researcher Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and vengeful Holocaust survivor Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) unite to find other super-powered individuals and thwart the scheming Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from provoking the Cuban Missile Crisis. McAvoy, Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence (as shape-shifting Mystique) ground the angst and racism metaphors in credible, affecting relationships. Director Matthew Vaughn revitalizes the X-Men franchise by flashing back to the “Mad Men”-era 1960s, so for much of its running time, it feels more like a fast-paced, retro spy flick than yet another superhero movie. — Holman

CANDY DARLING (NR) This documentary profiles Candy Darling, a male-to-female transsexual who starred in several of Andy Warhol’s films and inspired the Velvet Underground’s song “Candy Says.” May 31-June 5, 7 p.m. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.

THE DARK CRYSTAL (1982) (G) “The Muppet Show” creators Jim Henson and Frank Oz directed this superbly-designed, occasionally down beat fantasy story in which the evil, vulture-like Skeksis try capture the last of the elfin Gelflings as part of their world-conquering scheme. Tuesday’s performance features an art opening with the work of Brian Colin. Art Opening and a Movie. Tue., June 7, 9:30 p.m.; Fri., June 10, Midnight; Sun., June 12, 3 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.

IMITATION OF LIFE(1959) Douglas Sirk directs this classic melodrama about two mothers — one white, one black — who each struggle with rebellious daughters. Screen on the Green. Thu., June 9. Free. Piedmont Park.

ROCK AND ROLL MONSTER BASH(NR) The annual event rocks out by day to such bands as Brimstones and Spooky Partridge, then screens a triple-feature of Japanese fight films: Godzilla 2000 starring the famed irradiated reptile; Ringu, the original tape of the haunted videotape; and Hausu, a famously nutty haunted house epic purportedly worth the price of admission alone. Sun., June 5. Movies begin at dusk. Starlight Six Drive-In, 2000 Moreland Ave.

ROLLING THUNDER (1977) (R ) William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones star in this highly-regarded revenge thriller about Vietnam war veterans who return to clean-up stateside corruption. Shown on a double bill with American Grindhouse, a retrospective of the gloriously sleazy era of U.S. exploitation films. June 6-19. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.