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Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche star in the French thriller "Cache," showing this week at the Wheeler Opera House. (Los Films du Losange/Sony Pictures Classics)
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In French filmmaker Michael Haneke’s thriller “Cache,” a well-to-do, intellectual couple (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) is being watched in a manner that is both Hitchcockian and 21st century. From the unsettling opening shot, the Parisian pair is being video-stalked; the videos, made by someone with apparent knowledge of the husband’s present and past, are left on the couple’s doorstep. As a thriller, “Cache” is too subtle and too restrained by a hair (not to mention deeply unsatisfying in one aspect that won’t be revealed here). However, how Haneke manages to pack observations on numerous contemporary issues – race issues in Western Europe, the merging of reality and film, marital stress – makes “Cache” a noble effort. And the film’s ultimate theme, that the past never stays buried, is explored in a multidimensional way that virtually assures that “Cache” will also stick with the viewer. The film shows at the Wheeler Opera House Tuesday and Wednesday, March 14-15.

The North Mississippi Allstars burst onto the music scene with their Allmans-style mix of rock and blues. But the Allstars – a trio of brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, and their childhood friend Chris Chew – had more than boogie-blues up their sleeves; in fact, the Dickinsons had started out as punk rockers in the Black Flag mold. With the 2003 release “Polaris,” the band broke from the roots with a promising mix of pop, rock and blues. Last year’s “Electric Blue Watermelon” is the band’s best album to date, a further refinement of the potent blues-rock they had started with. “Hurry Up Sunshine,” featuring singer Lucinda Williams, is both breezy and gritty, a sure pick-me-up. While the band has appeared locally at the Wheeler Opera House and Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day Festival, they haven’t abandoned the clubs. The Allstars play a two-night stand at the Belly Up Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13-14. Opening, in their Aspen debut, is Vermont’s Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, led by singer and organist Potter. The band’s second CD, “Nothing but the Water,” released last year, is outstanding, low-key soul-rock.

The live performances are over, but there are still some last laughs to be had on the big screen. The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival’s Film Discovery Program has a slate of movies to show Sunday, March 12. Paul Weitz’s “American Dreamz” (1:15 p.m.) may have a title reminiscent of an earlier film Weitz wrote, “American Pie.” But it is a far different kind of film. Here, Weitz has created a dark satire of American life, revolving around a televised singing contest. Hugh Grant stars as the show’s host; co-starring are Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Marcia Gay Harden. “A Prairie Home Companion” (4:15 p.m.) is a fictionalized account of Garrison Keillor’s radio show (which had a special presentation in Aspen this week). Director Robert Altman’s version is set on the eve of the show’s final broadcast, and features Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly and others. Also getting encore screenings Sunday are the festival award-winners. All shows are at the Isis Theater.


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