Sure, you could see Mark Wahlberg tape wads of cash to those famous abs in this weekend's blockbuster release, Contraband. But here's three things we'd watch first:
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians
If you're a smug atheist like me, you'll come into Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians looking to shake your fist and roar "Hypocrisy!" at the screen, as you watch this team of evangelicals (of the young, trendy, tattooed, prolific-use-of-the-word-"awesome," members-of-shitty-rock-bands variety) winning millions of dollars at blackjack tables in Vegas while babbling about "glorifying God." But you won't, because this is a pretty good documentary, and so by the halfway mark, these kids will have probably converted you with their genuine niceness, strong moral convictions and infectious positivity—as evangelicals are wont to do... [read the full review here] RUTH BROWN
Clinton Street Theater at 7 and 9 pm Friday-Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 13-15 and 17-19.
The Godfather on 35 mm
Every possible aspect of The Godfather has been thoroughly assayed and diagramed—in some college library, there is surely a term paper titled Woltz Up, Doc?: Khartoum the Horse and the Art of Non-Verbal Communication—but I'll still point out my personal-fave performance. It's Sterling Hayden, who gets about six minutes of screen time as corrupt Capt. McCluskey, and makes him the most repugnant policeman before the pepper-spray era. Hayden made a magnificent career out of self-loathing tough guys, but for two scenes he makes us loathe him, until we can't wait for Michael Corleone to send his soul to damnation on a plate of veal Parmesan. The Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark St.
Treasures From the UCLA Film and Video Archive
The NW Film Center plundered some heavy material from the UCLA Film and Television Archive for this week's screenings—This is Your Life: Holocaust Survivors (yup) and Native Land ("paean to the labor movement")—but it scored some perfectly aged Cecil B. DeMille Cheez Whiz as well. The Crusades (7 pm Sunday, Jan. 15), DeMille's 1935 follow-up to Cleopatra, saddles up with King Richard the Lionheart as he throws in with the holy warriors of the Third Crusade in order to dodge an arranged marriage. It's not giving too much away to say that he eventually falls in love with the comely spawn of a cattle farmer, because it's fairly common knowledge at this point that the Crusades were all about scoring strange. The film is a crosshatched mess of silly romance, macho pageantry and throne-room intrigue. In other words, it's precisely what you want from a lavish historical epic that blows its load on double entendres before hurriedly tacking spiritual redemption to the tail end. I suggest taking notes during the screening, as The Crusades is chock full of great pickup lines. I call dibs on this one: "This sword will enter Jerusalem and rest on the tomb." Hot. CHRIS STAMM. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, 934 SW Salmon St. Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 14-15