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Weekend Movie Guide 04/15: The Princess and The Scream

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Hollywood's recent royal renaissance has been fantastic - but a bit bromantic. The King's Speech centers on Colin Firth's & Geoffrey Rush's close friendship, while Your Highness is bogarted by James Franco & Danny McBride's two questing brothers. The French epic The Princess of Montpensier, fittingly opening at Laemmle's Royal Theatre, stems this tide with the lovely Mélanie Thierry at the heart of its sensual core.

Of course, the film offers so much more than Thierry playing dress-up. The Princess of Montpensier is a tale of resistance through romance. Thierry's Marie de Mezieres challenges the social order when her father betroths her to a prince she hasn't even met. Spirited away to a secluded castle (for her "protection", natch), Marie begins to educate herself and ignites smoldering love triangles as she steers herself towards self-reliance.

Set during a time of great religious wars, The Princess of Montpensier is surprisingly violent. At the same time, it sports a modern sensibility in medieval times, and doesn't glamorize battle or romanticize its setting. In an NPR interview, writer/director Bertrand Tavernier stresses that this disenchantment keeps the story fresh & focused: "in many period films, you have the impression that the director is very happy because he got a good Renaissance table...but for the people there, it wasn't a Renaissance table - it was just a table."

Continuing the notion that well-behaved women rarely make history is Robert Redford's latest as director, The Conspirator. The first offering from The American Film Company, the historical drama follows the trial of Mary Surratt, the only woman tried in association with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It stars Robin Wright as Surratt, alongside James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood & Justin Long.

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What's your favorite scary movie? If it's Scream, the movie you've been waiting for all decade is here! Wes Craven & Kevin Williamson return for the 4th installment of the meta-slasher series, as do original stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox & David Arquette. Nouveau scream queens include Anna Paquin (True Blood), Kirsten Bell (Veronica Mars) & Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), all of whom have experience with mysterious stalkers. Fresh faces to fear Alison Brie (Community), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Shenae Grimes (the new 90210) & Emma Roberts (Julia's niece) round out the Ghostface bait. Speak of the devil, wonder who's under the mask this time? Hope it's not a monkey...

Want to see something further off the beaten path? Check out LAist's Film Calendar, which covers what's playing in midnight screenings, specialty theatres and revival houses this weekend. See you at the movies!

Wide Release
The Conspirator (Showtimes)
The Princess of Montpensier (Laemmle Theatres)
Rio (Showtimes)
Scream 4 (Showtimes)

Limited Release
American: The Bill Hicks Story (Laemmle Sunset 5)
Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (The Regent Theatre)
Fly Away (Laemmle Music Hall 3)
Footprints (Laemmle Sunset 5)
Henry's Crime (Laemmle Playhouse 7) (Laemmle Town Center 5) (The Landmark)
Le Quattro Volte (Nuart Theatre)
My Perestroika (Laemmle Sunset 5) (Laemmle Town Center 5)

Featured Trailers
The Princess of Montpensier

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Scream 4

The Conspirator

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That's all for this week. Should Ghostface call, tell him your favorite scary movie is Aerobicide. He'll leave you alone.