If you’re a Shakespeare nerd and you haven’t seen “The Tragedy of Macbeth” yet, get thee to the Kiggins Theatre, where something wicked that way goes for one more weekend.
“Macbeth” features Denzel Washington as the Scottish warrior who drives himself mad with ambition to become king — and madder still after he attains the throne and starts going after possible rivals. He’s hurried along by his ruthless wife (Frances McDormand) and the paradoxical predictions of a trio of witches, all played by the contorted Kathyrn Hunter and filmed with cunning weirdness.
That’s the real star of this black-and-white version of “Macbeth,” which was directed by Joel Coen and photographed by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel: the styled settings, lighting and design. The Brutalist look of Macbeth’s castle — a stark maze of stairways, corridors and battlements that reflect his increasingly claustrophobic, delusional mind — recalls the fantasy architecture of M.C. Escher. The way the witches’ final, impossible vision comes true — that the forest itself will attack Macbeth’s castle — is imaginatively vivid.
McDormand gives an understated performance as the thirst for power behind the throne. Washington is note-perfect as the driven, weary murderer. Their plain American speech might be a relief to curious moviegoers who haven’t tried Shakespeare.
Fantasy fans will do a double take over the grown-up face of actor Harry Melling as the gallant Malcolm. A much younger Melling played the spoiled-rotten kid Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films.
‘New Worlds,’ old world
In Camas, the Liberty Theatre’s February schedule is packed with artsy features you won’t see at the cineplex, like documentaries and live-on-stage ballet performances.
Screening at the Liberty Friday night only is “New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization,” a music documentary and concert film without any shredful guitar solos or crowd-surfing fans. It features eccentric actor Bill Murray with an international trio of classical musicians merging literature, song, a little comedy and whole lot of heart.
Murray reads poetry, dances and sings with his signature blend of grace and goofiness. He’s accompanied by cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez playing material ranging from Bach to Van Morrison.
Directed by Andrew Muscato, “New Worlds” captures one live 2018 performance at the 2,000-year-old Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The film is a heartwarming, high-minded tribute to the artistic spirit.
Opening Saturday at the Liberty is “Delicious,” a new French film (with English subtitles) that should satisfy anybody’s hunger for a grand costume dramedy about food. It follows a chef in pre-revolutionary France who loses his chateau job along with his will to cook until an unlikely protege helps him rally and return to even greater things in the kitchen.
Rand Thornsley, the Liberty’s owner and programmer, said this foodie film is what you get when you cross “Downtown Abbey” and “Babette’s Feast.”
Flap your arms
If you’ve been feeling cooped for two years now, you can find outdoor adventure when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour stops at Kiggins Theatre on Feb. 11 and 12. The slate of movies will take you snowboarding down slopes, climbing up ice sheets, cycling over mountains and flying across the sky in a wingsuit.
As always, this year’s festival gets creative about including some amazing nonathletes too: a Tibetan Sherpa who reflects on also being a mom; a Chicago bike messenger who sees his city as a living being; an amateur violinist who busks his way across Spain.
The Banff festival goes on tour every winter after premiering at the arts-and-recreation mecca in Canada. It’s always a super-popular event at Kiggins, according to programmer Richard Beer, so pick up advance tickets through the website if you’re determined to experience vertigo from the comfort of a movie seat.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy feeling cooped up in the dark, try the Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller “Notorious.” It was considered a breakthrough for the director in 1946, a turning point in his telling of mature stories about real grown-ups and their complicated hearts.
The three grown-ups in “Notorious” are icy spy master Cary Grant, lovesick trickster Ingrid Bergman and their target, Nazi collaborator Claude Rains. His mansion in Rio de Janeiro becomes a prison for Bergman but also for Rains, who’d rather be her lover than her captor.
Sweeping Hitchcockian photography inside the mansion teases us with key clues. Has there ever been a longer, more suspenseful staircase? A passionate, two-minute-long necking scene between Bergman and Grant is oddly chopped into smooches and nuzzles, which was reportedly Hitchcock’s clever way of circumventing production codes that required screen kisses to last no longer than three seconds.
“Notorious,” the latest in Kiggins’ monthly Noir Nights films, screens only on Valentine’s Day.