Michael Douglas is the principal reason to see this neatly written character study/cautionary tale about a junior league Gordon Gekko gone to seed. Douglas plays onetime New York auto mogul Ben Kalmen, whose creative bookkeeping nearly costs him his entire fortune after chronic womanizing destroyed his marriage long ago. Co-directors/writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman do much stronger work with their actors and script than they do as visual artists: Their film has all the cinematic pizzazz of a cable flick. But Douglas fans itching for the release of September's Wall Street sequel are sure to relish the Oscar-winning actor's finest screen performance since 2000's under-appreciated Wonder Boys. The first-rate supporting cast includes Susan Sarandon, Mary Louise Parker, Danny DeVito, Jenna Fischer, and Jesse Eisenberg as a college student who makes the unfortunate mistake of choosing Ben as his mentor. Opens Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre. *** (Milan Paurich)
Come and Go
Director João César Monteiro plays a widower whose search for a cleaning lady takes on a new dimension when he decides the right candidate could also fulfill his base desires. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24.
Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Chaos reigned when singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen took the stage at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. The crowd of 600,000 had grown unruly, resulting in near-riot conditions. So when Cohen came out to deliver his sparse folk tunes at 2 a.m. one morning, it was antithetical to what was going on. "Everyone had been sitting there in their own filth and squalor for five days," recalls Kris Kristofferson in this concert film/documentary by Murray Lerner. Still wearing his pajamas, Cohen quells the masses with his poetic songs about blue raincoats and mysterious strangers. The crowd even responds favorably to his request for everyone to "light a match so that you'll sparkle like fireflies." It's a truly mesmerizing performance, as the quiet beauty of tunes such as "Bird on the Wire" and "Suzanne" takes on new dimension. Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. *** (Jeff Niesel)
It's safe to assume that if a film begins with a quote about human suffering from the 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, it's going to be some high-minded stuff. That's the case with this PBS-like documentary about the power of myth that uses stop-motion animation to revisit centuries-old myths about demons and such. We see recreations of old fables involving Asian emperors and Native American warriors. We learn things like "the mind works by analogy and story," "myths reflect the human experience," and "a myth is a false thing that tells us the truth." The talking heads assembled here don't particularly come to any new conclusions about life and how to live it. People like new-age spiritualist Deepak Chopra are intensely smart, but he's the exception rather than the rule. Predictably, musings on prophecies and an impending apocalypse make up the bulk of the spiritual speculation in this heavy-handed flick. Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. At 7 p.m. Friday, June 25. ** (Niesel)
F.W. Murnau's silent film shows in a new 35mm print. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 8:45 p.m. Friday, June 25, and 7:15 p.m. Saturday, June 26.
Waking Sleeping Beauty
In the early '80s, animated films were on the decline. So when Walt Disney Studios decided to embark on a new venture with a group of young animators, most of which came out of the Cal Arts program, it was a big risk. As Jeffrey Katzenberg leaves Paramount Pictures to try to right the Disney ship, he finds the young animators working on The Black Cauldron, a $44 million film based on a five-book series. A "very dark and troubled movie," it was beaten at the box office by a Care Bears movie. The studio didn't rebound until 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That, in turn, led to The Little Mermaid, a film Katzenberg said would be a "renaissance period for the artists themselves," and then Beauty and the Beast, both huge hits. The story of how Disney reoriented its animation department has a natural arc to it. Even if the film comes off as a love letter of sorts, director Don Hahn (a producer on many Disney projects) has meticulously researched the subject and culled a stunning collection of archival material. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Friday, June 25, and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 26. *** (Niesel)