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What to go see this week

THURSDAY may 16

The Kid With A Bike

This little 2011 gem from France and the brothers Dardenne (The Son, L'Enfant) centers on a boy, Cyril, lately abandoned by his father. He's living in a group home and generally cultivating his aptitude for bad behavior when a chance encounter lands him with the local hairdresser who agrees to let Cyril stay with her on weekends. The two establish something sort of a like a family, even as Cyril tries to win back his father's affections and gets entangled in the petty thefts of his neighborhood's ne'er-do-wells. The movie's a pretty compelling portrait of the obstinance and emotional volatility of children left to fend for themselves. Strong performances from the youngster and from the gorgeous Cecille De France (High Tension). One or two bumpy editing choices, but overall, The Kid With a Bike is one of those polite, domestic character-based narratives without frill or flash that France does very, very well. The film shows tonight at 8:50 and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. (Sam Allard)    

11141 East Blvd., 216-421-7450,

cia.edu/cinematheque

Rock Show

In the early '70s, former Beatle Paul McCartney had yet to become the schlocky singer that he is today. His band Wings played music that had real bite. The group staged a massive world tour in 1975-76 that was filmed and eventually released theatrically as a concert video in 1980. The tour — McCartney's first U.S. performances in a decade — came in the wake of the success of Wings' Oscar-winning tune "Live and Let Die," the title song to the 1973 James Bond film of the same name.  The full 30-song set which includes Wings' hits such as "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "The Long Winding Road" as well as Beatles tracks like "Lady Madonna," "Blackbird" and "Yesterday," has only been available on home video in an abbreviated version. The full concert film that screens tonight runs 141-minutes long and includes a 12-minute interview with McCartney that didn't appear on the home video version. It shows tonight at 7 at Shaker Square Cinemas and at Cinemark Valley View. (Niesel)

13116 Shaker Square, 216-921-9342,

clevelandcinemas.com

6001 Canal Road, Valley View,

216-447-8820, cinemark.com

FRIDAY may 17

At Any Price

Not sure what it says about the film, its cast, or Zac Efron in particular, but be advised: the High School Musical heartthrob is improbably the strongest actor in At Any Price, a poorly-written indie film about families and farms. Efron has lately dipped his toes in the indie circuit, starring in last year's Paperboy alongside Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConnaughey. In this agro-trash, the supporting cast is weak. Dennis Quaid is almost unwatchable as Efron's seed-peddling father, losing customers and the respect of his family. Efron is Dean, a racecar enthusiast with NASCAR aspirations. He does his best with the directionless script that seems to always be tackling a hundred story lines and minor conflicts at once. It attempts to unpack the toils of fathers and sons, but does so with considerably less elegance and restraint than Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines from earlier this year. It lacks even tenuous strands of authenticity, but does feature a cameo from Chelcie Ross, who played the veteran pitcher Eddie Harris from Major League. The movie opens today at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. (Allard)

2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5411, clevelandcinemas.com

Black Rock

When three flirty fortysomethings — Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) — end up on a remote island for a weekend getaway, you just know something is about to go terribly wrong (and not simply because Sarah and Lou have a longstanding beef). When the three run into a group of hunters, their weekend of bonding momentarily turns into a big party after they befriend the guys and start drinking while sitting around a campfire. But when one of the guys comes at Sarah a little too aggressively, tension mounts and the women find themselves fighting for their lives as the hunters — a group of dishonorably discharged military men who've been trained to kill — use their skills as soldiers to literally hunt the women down. From that point, the plot proceeds rather predictably. Aselton directed and her husband, actor and director Mark Duplass, wrote the screenplay. A hit at Sundance, the movie opens today at Tower City Cinemas (and simultaneously arrives on VOD). (Jeff Niesel)

230 W Huron Rd., 216-621-1374,

clevelandcinemas.com

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Leave it to veteran filmmaker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) to find beauty in a remote place like Siberia, where this documentary is set. Herzog and co-director Dmitry Vasyukov follow a couple of trappers who live in the village of 300. We see the rugged individuals make their own skis and build their own canoes (they're not completely antiquated, however, and they make good use of snowmobiles). The plot has no real arc (other than the obvious one of seasonal changes) and the film, as its title implies, is more like a day-in-the-life. But there's still something redeeming in that as Herzog and Vasyukov show just how self-reliant these villagers have become and capture the region's rough beauty. The film screens tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Niesel)

11150 East Blvd., 216-707-2465,

clevelandart.org/film

The Iceman

In this terrific biopic from director Ariel Vromen, Michael Shannon completely inhabits hit man Richard "Richie" Kuklinski and all his contradictions, turning the film into an intriguing portrait of a dispassionate man who led two completely different lives (Kuklinski was a cold-blooded killer by day and a fiercely loyal family man by night). While Kuklinski was abused as a child and reportedly logged his first kill when he was still in a teenager, Vromen's film doesn't focus on that part of his life. Rather, it centers on the period during which Richie worked for mob man Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta) and shows just how he was able to hide his secret identity from his wife (Winona Ryder). Chris Evans has a nice turn as a fellow hit man who drives around in an ice cream truck (and stores the bodies in the truck's freezers), and Shannon is terrific as Richie. In the film's final sequence Shannon evokes the serial killer/hit man perfectly reenacting an interview that was featured in the HBO documentary that made Vromen want to make the movie. The film opens today at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. (Niesel)

2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5411, clevelandcinemas.com

In the House

Here we have a mesmerizing and unexpectedly thrilling film about high school literature and amateur voyeurism. A teacher, Germain (Fabrice Luchine) at a pilot school in France — aptly called "Lycee Gustave Flaubert" — discovers in his sophomore class a gifted writer whom he adopts as a pet project. Germain has the romantic idea that he will transform his students' lives with the study of literature. The student, a shy but incisive fellow named Claude, writes essays at the behest of Germain detailing his ventures into the house of one of his classmates, under the guise of a tutor. Claude's presence catalyzes a series of events, while Germain, enamored of the conflict and the tension, urges Claude to dramatize his prose (a la Chekhov, a la Dickens, etc.) until reality and fiction are complexly (and still engagingly) blurred. The film is low-key and high-stakes at the same time. This one's like a good book, hovering on the cusp of being smitten with its artifice, but sneaky and inventive and often funny. It opens today at the Cedar-Lee Theatre. (Allard)  

2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5411, clevelandcinemas.com

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