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.
Opening March 24 at the Chelsea
Coming to the Chelsea this weekend (and Silverspot next weekend), the European import Return to Seoul tells the story of free-spirited twentysomething Frédérique Benoît. Born in South Korea and raised in Paris, Freddie follows an intuitive impulse to return to her birthplace and seek out her biological family.
The film is getting very strong reviews, with writer-director Davy Chou earning accolades for his heartfelt examination of tricky thematic material – identity, communication and the enduring power of family. Emotional quest stories featuring characters in their twenties are always intriguing, I think. There’s something about the energy of that time of life; the fearlessness of it all. The film’s official trailer gives a good sense of the vibe.
Return to Seoul is the kind of quality art house film that’s getting harder to find in theaters these days, what with all the fanboy franchise blockbusters. Not that there’s anything wrong with those movies, necessarily. For instance…
Opening March 31 at Silverspot and the Lumina
The latest attempt to make a movie out of the venerable Dungeons & Dragons franchise, Honor Among Thieves finally finds the proper wavelength for this material: It doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The movie opens locally March 31, but I happened to catch a sneak preview last weekend. I can dutifully report that this thing is a lot of fun – especially if you grew up playing the tabletop game or its many videogame iterations. The filmmakers have structured the movie like a kind of light-fantasy heist comedy, with wizards and barbarians instead of safecrackers and getaway drivers.
Led by Michelle Rodriguez and Chris “Captain Kirk” Pine, the ensemble cast is clearly having fun, and the feeling is contagious. The tone is similar to The Princess Bride or maybe Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not a spoof, it has real emotional stakes, and overall the movie is way better than films like this are typically required to be. Highly recommended for the nerdcore crowd.
The Chelsea’s Kino Korner film-and-discussion series will present a double feature on March 31: the 1960 British horror thriller Peeping Tom and the 2003 Korean crime thriller Memories of Murder. Tickets are free with a student ID. Heads up that these are heavy films – better read up on them first.
The Lost King, the latest comedy/drama from legendary British filmmaker Stephen Frears, opens Friday at Silverspot. Based on a true story, the film features the great Sally Hawkins and the bones of Richard III. No, really.
Don’t forget that the Lumina is now hosting regular late-night screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with audience interaction and live performers, as per tradition. This is a noble community service – thanks, Lumina! Check the website for details.
Glenn McDonald is a Chapel Hill freelance writer and contributing film critic with Indy Week.