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Ty's picks for Groundhog Day, 2007

Posted by Ty Burr  February 2, 2007 08:51 AM

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Rent "Groundhog Day," what else? Or watch the real thing, even if it's not the profound Buddhist inquiry into causation the movie is. And Bill Murray's not in it.

Other than that, the pickings are slim. What else can you say about a weekend where the best two new movies in town are both old: the 1964 Russian science-fiction thriller "Planet of Storms" at the MFA -- pretty cool for Communist space=fantasy propaganda says Janice -- and the just plain fantastic 1991 Jacques Rivette drama "La Belle Noiseuse" (above) at the Harvard Film Archive. It's four hours long, yes, but you'll rarely find a more probing and charming and troublesome look at the process of creation. Michel Piccoli plays an aging painter tempted back to the canvas by the "beautiful nut" of the title, an argumentative and rapturously beautiful Emanuelle Beart (who spends much of the running time nude, so there's that. I'm not being sexist; she's an astounding aesthetic experience no matter where you're coming from).

The movie's about art as work, and, like all Rivette's films, it can put you into a fugue state in which time gracefully glides to a halt (especially when seen on a large screen). "Noiseuse" plays tonight (Friday) and Sunday, hardcore Rivetteaholics will want to check out the two-part, three-and-a-half-hour "Joan the Maid," with Sandrine Bonnaire as Joan of Arc, on Saturday and Monday. Bring a cushion.

(Here's a chatty and rather surprising 1998 interview with Rivette in which he discusses movies he loves and loathes. He calls "Showgirls" "one of the great American films of the last few years." It must sound better in French.)

There's also the new Diane Keaton/Mandy Moore movie, but it's poisonous per Wesley. And "The Messengers" is a disappointment from HK twin horror auteurs Danny and Oxide Pang: a warmed-over haunted farmhouse spookathon with interesting camerawork, no pulse, and mysterious continued employment for John Corbett.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.

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