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Curse befalls theater this week

“The Pyramid,” a horror flick following a group of archaeologists, opens at AMC on Friday.
“The Pyramid,” a horror flick following a group of archaeologists, opens at AMC on Friday.

(Posted Tuesday) If you thought last week’s slate of cinematic offerings was dismal, this week’s is even more of a letdown. We’re right in the middle of Oscar season, and yet we’ve only got one new wide release to look forward to this Friday (and it’s a low-budget horror film that isn’t being screened in advance for critics, so I think its Oscar chances are low).

Luckily, the Magic Lantern, always a dependable source for offbeat cinema, is adding a couple of interesting documentaries to their slate.

The openings are as follows.

At AMC: “The Pyramid” – It’s hard to tell from the trailer, but this looks like it might be another one of those found footage horror movies – just when you thought it was safe to go back into the theater. In this one, produced by Alexandre Aja, a group of archaeologists fall victim to a supposed “pharaoh’s curse,” unearthing (and then later getting trapped in) a tomb filled with vicious undead things and booby traps that would make Indiana Jones weep.

At the Magic Lantern: “Happy Valley” – This is a fascinating but gut-wrenching documentary is set amidst the 2011 Penn State sexual abuse scandal, when retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation. Directed by Amir Bar-Lev ( “My Kid Could Paint That,” “The Tillman Story”), “Happy Valley” is as much about the media circus that followed as it is a community being stripped of its innocence. (Note: The film is only playing for a special one-week engagement.)

“Pelican Dreams” – Another bird-centric documentary from director Judy Irving ( “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”), “Pelican Dreams” chronicles the story of Gigi, a wounded brown pelican who was captured on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008. Irving’s primary focus is to document the majesty of our feathered friends, but she also deals with such issues as oil spills and assimilating rehabilitated animals back into the wild.

Nathan Weinbender

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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