Movie Night! Cartoons, Catapults, and Corporatocracy

Daniel Zolghadri stars as Robert in Funny Pages, an offbeat coming-of-age movie. Photo courtesy of A24 Films.


By Glenn McDonald

Every other week, our Movie Night! column previews the best upcoming films showing in Chapel Hill theaters – for those who still like to go out to the movies. While Covid remains an issue, all local venues have taken measures to make their spaces safe. Also please remember that bookings and schedules change all the time, so always check online before heading out.

Funny Pages

Opening September 9 at the Chelsea

There are few things in the moviegoing universe as satisfying as a good coming-of-age movie – especially if it’s a comedy with a sense of humor about the genre itself.

Funny Pages, a highly regarded indie just in from the festival circuit, promises to be just such a film. The gist: 17-year-old aspiring cartoonist Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) hopes to join the world of underground comics, in the tradition of Robert Crumb and Mad magazine. Predictably, he encounters strange characters and weird dilemmas.

Director Owen Kline presents an adolescent anti-hero in a story that tweaks the usual inspirational mode of the coming-of-age movie. The tone is playfully misanthropic and oddly appealing, in a mischievous kind of way. You can feel the vibe in the trailer, here. Bonus points: The film was shot in old-school Super 16mm film, which seems exactly right.


Opening September 9 at Silverspot

History enthusiasts may want to seek out this action film import, based on the actual and quite fascinating story of 15th century Czech folk hero Jan “One-Eyed” Žižka. Legend holds that Žižka, a renowned tactician, never lost a battle in his long and bloody career.

Medieval is a mud-and-guts combat action movie, aimed at those who like Gladiator or Braveheart or the messier bits in Game of Thrones. Ben Foster stars as the stalwart military leader, caught in the chaos of succession disputes within the Holy Roman Empire. Early reviews suggest that the Czech Republic filmmakers deliver the goods, and this kind of off-Hollywood period movie can provide an interesting alternative perspective on world history.

The Good Boss

Opening September 9 at the Chelsea

This intriguing Spanish film, starring Javier Bardem as a beleaguered CEO, is being billed as an anti-capitalist comedy. I’ll take that. Life in our current corporatocracy is getting awfully grim. We should take our laughs wherever we can find them.

Bardem plays Blanco, a slick and soulless executive preparing his factory for a government inspection. Happily for the viewing audience, everything goes wrong, and Blanco bounces from crisis to crisis – in the boardroom, in the bedroom, on the picket line. Director Fernando León de Aranoa (Loving Pablo) is one of Spain’s leading filmmakers and he wrote his own script for this one. Looks like fun.

Quick Hits

Spider-Man: No Way Home is back in theaters with something called “The More Fun Stuff Version.” From what I can tell, it’s basically an extended cut re-release, with 11 minutes of extra content sprinkled throughout and an introduction from multiverse Spider-Men Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield. Now playing at Silverspot and The Lumina.

On September 16, the Chelsea will open the comedy/murder mystery See How They Run, set in 1950s London, with Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, and the planet’s best movie star: Sam Rockwell. Also look for the much-heralded David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream

Glenn McDonald is a Chapel Hill freelance writer and contributing film critic with Indy Week.


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