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Crooks: ‘Art of the Steal’ and ‘A Prophet’

Crooks: 'Art of the Steal' and 'A Prophet'

February ends on a high note. After last weekend’s terrific The Ghost Writer, there are two films from last year’s festival circuit making their way to theaters (and, in one case, VOD) this weekend. Don Argott’s documentary, The Art of the Steal, is the one available via your Movies On Demand channel as well as in limited theatrical. IFC is releasing the documentary day-and-date, allowing the masses to see it at the same time as the big-city arthouse crowds. In an unintentional way, this plays into the film’s commentary on the tug-of-war between a city government and a private art community. A piece of obscure history put into the spotlight, the documentary portrays the “stealing” of the legendary Barnes Collection of modern art located in suburban Philadelphia. It’s a sensational story, full of rich characters and plenty of twists. You also find yourself conflicted about which position to take: should the most amazing art collection in the world be made available for the public? What if that’s missing the whole point? Or is it? Here’s trailer:

Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet ends a massive festival run (Cannes -> Telluride -> Toronto -> Sundance), and some heavy acclaim, to start its theatrical roll-out on the eve of the 82nd Academy Awards, where it is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The French prison thriller is a dense and epic experience, punctuated with Tahar Rahim’s impressive lead performance. As a man who may or may not deserve to be in jail, he soon becomes entrenched in the day-to-day hostility between the various sects within the walls. His loyalty comes into question, especially within himself, and Audiard’s patient eye captures one of the best crime films in years. It’s sort of like Goodfellas meets Midnight Express, and manages to earn a place next to both of those films, rather than become a mere extract. Make sure you see A Prophet soon. Here’s the trailer:

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