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Don't Shoot the Messenger

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According to my contact at the production company, New York Times-touted film The Messenger will finally hit Burlington on January 22, not January 8 as I was originally told. It'll actually be in South Burlington at the Palace 9. Let's hope we can see it — and other potential nominees — before the Oscar telecast.

In the mean time, we will be able to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (pictured) starting this Friday at the Roxy. This one has semi-good reviews, not raves. But if you have a creepy posthumous crush on Heath Ledger, you'll definitely want to see it (er, not talking about anyone I know or anything). Plus, this is director Terry Gilliam doing what he does best: old-fashioned showmanship with all the trimmings. It's set in modern day, yet all the stills I've seen seem positively Victorian, which is intriguing.

Also this week, Youth in Revolt at the Palace. Michael Cera of Superbad and Juno, who's pushing a wispy 22, somehow plays a 14-year-old looking to lose his virginity in this adaptation of the popular Nick Twisp novels. The AV Club gave it a B-plus (good grade for them) in this report from the Toronto Film Festival.

Also new this week, a romantic comedy and a vampire film. Another one.

I'm sure I deserve to be ridiculed for this, but I thought the trailer for Daybreakers looked pretty good. It's not based on a comic book or video game (as I initially assumed), so it'll probably bomb. And it stars Ethan Hawke, which is never good unless the film is directed by Richard Linklater. And it comes off as a bastard child of Blade and "True Blood." But still. My trashy-B-movie-loving self is intrigued.

But what about Vermont film?

Well, speaking of much-touted, long-anticipated stuff, producer/co-writer Gerianne Smart has announced that The Summer of Walter Hacks is nearing completion. A labor of love for Waterbury Center writer/director George Woodard, who's been working on it since the summer of '04, the period piece now has a score composed by local musician Pete Sutherland and recorded by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The movie's premiere is scheduled for this March 19 at the Green Mountain Film Festival.

I've been hearing interesting things about a head-trippy sci fi movie called Tin Can that's currently shooting in Milton. (How often does that happen?) I wasn't able to accept director Logan Howe's invitation to come be an extra on New Year's Eve, but I'll be keeping tabs on it. Among the actors is Tim Kavanagh of the late lamented "Late Night Saturday."

Finally, check out Michael Fisher's latest short film, Widow, featuring Andy Butterfield and Sally Olson. It may not quite put you in the mood for Valentine's Day, but hey, tragic yearning can look pretty damn good on screen.

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