This Week in Movies
What to watch: Time travel, vibrators and romance on Austin screens
Beat the heat by skipping the standard Hollywood summer fare in favor of something a bit more refined. This weekend you'll find a pair of romantic comedies — one about time-travel and the other about the invention of the vibrator — on Austin screens.
This Week at Regal Arbor Cinema
In 1997 a classified ad appeared in "Backwoods Home Magazine" that read, "Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed."
Using this strange ad, which became an internet meme after being featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the new film Safety Not Guaranteed is about a trio of magazine employees who set out to investigate the man behind the classified.
When they find Kenneth, the author (Mark Duplass), he takes a shine to the awkward Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and the two begin making plans for their trip to the past. Deftly juggling laugh-out-loud humor with resonating, unforced drama, Safety Not Guaranteed is a gem of an indie feature.
This Week at Violet Crown Cinema
A young 19th century doctor, Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), disillusioned with the industries unwillingness to advance and accept new technologies and methods takes a job assisting Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) who specializes in curing women of their hysteria which involves intense massage of the vulva.
Finding the treatment to be the cause of hand and wrist pains, Mortimer makes a breakthrough when he teams with Lord Edmund (Rupert Everett) to turn an electric feather duster into the world's first vibrator.
As he begins to achieve success, he gets swept up in the struggles of Dr. Dalrymple’s daughter, Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is fighting to keep a school for the underprivileged open. Hysteria is a period romantic comedy with just enough sex to keep things edgy. (Hysteria also opens Friday at Regal Arbor Cinema.)
Beyond the Weekend
The incredible Film Foundation Series continues at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Monday (6/18) with actor Charles Laughton's only directorial effort, The Night of the Hunter.
Robert Mitchum is Harry Powell, a religious zealot who learns of a stash of money from a man with whom he is sharing a jail cell. After that man is put to death and Powell is set free, he finds the man's widow (Shelley Winters), marries her and proceeds to terrorize her children, the only two who know where the money is.
The Night of the Hunter is impeccably crafted, a Southern gothic, horrific fairytale that stands as one of the greatest American films ever made.