the true spirit of thanksgiving means jason statham, godard, and vince vaughn: denver premieres for 11/28

They are los- uh, wizards.

Our man Pike Bishop is on the scene for films opening this week in the Mile High:

Milk- A biopic about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to city office in the state of California. Elected first as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and then later as City Supervisor, Milk fought for civil rights for the GLBT community and in so doing became and inspiration and a motivator of a movement that is still, 30 years latter, fighting for its basic civil rights. The film is directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna and James Franco. If this film looks a little too much like Oscar-bait to you, go check out the fantastic 1984 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk that covers the same material without the guaranteed holiday ham. As a side note: Harris Savides, the cinematographer of Milk, is taking a second swing at recreating the look and feel of San Francisco in the 1970s albeit in a less stylized manner than in his previous film, Zodiac.

Australia- Baz Luhrmann capped off a pseudo-trilogy in 2001 with Moulin Rouge that also included the films Strictly Ballroom and Romeo+Juliet. Apparently Luhrmann, like Lars von Trier, likes to develop movies in threes because his new film Australia is supposedly the first part of a trilogy of epics. It sounds like the structure of the film is framed like Titanic in that the first half is a falling-in-love story while the second half is a disaster movie. The movie includes the following: a cattle drive, a surprise Japanese attack, a grand finale child rescue/exodus, and some tut-tuting of Australia’s treatment of the indigenous Australians. It stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Vivre Sa Vie- Godard turns Anna Karina into a whore in 12 scenes. If you like Godard before he started pontificating, then give this film a try. A splash of Brecht, a shot of verite, Karina in a bob and a little Dryer to wash it all down, makes this movie a pleasant enough aperitif before his latter, more bloated affairs. It is showing in a new 35mm print at the Starz FilmCenter.

Ballast- This won the directing and cinematography awards at the Sundance Festival this year. It looks to be shot with hand held camera, but some of the shots in the trailer are amazing looking. This film is getting a lot of buzz from the critics and the first time director, Lance Hammer is getting his fair share of acclaim. The synopsis from the official site reads:

In the cold, winter light of a rural Mississippi Delta township, a man’s suicide radically transforms three characters? lives and throws off-balance what has long been a static arrangement among them. Marlee is a single mother struggling to scratch a living for herself and James, her 12-year-old son, who has begun to stumble under drug and violence pressures. So when the opportunity to seek safe harbor at a new home arises, she grabs it, though the property is shared by Lawrence, a man with whom Marlee has feuded bitterly since James’s birth. With circumstances thrusting them into proximity, a subtle interdependence and common purpose emerge for Marlee and Lawrence as they navigate grief, test new waters, and tentatively move forward.

Ballast is playing at the Starz FilmCenter.

Four Christmases- Man-child Vince Vaughn finds himself in a strained relationship again, and yes it’s for laughs again. This time he has to go visit four sets of parents having four different Christmas get-togethers to get enough high-lair-e-us material to last 90 minutes. This stuff almost writes itself. Directed by Seth Gordon whose last film was the documentary King of Kong.

Let the Right One In- A Vampire and her boy. Dex and I have different takes on this movie. Go see what you think of it. It begins its run at the Starz FilmCenter tonight. If nothing else, I can guarantee it’ll be better than Twilight.

Transporter 3- More transporting.

We Are Wizards- I’m speechless. Watch the trailer and die a little inside.

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