Volume 11 Tavern—Finnish, Swedish, Italian, Canadian and, uhh, Winston-Salem-ian metal all gather between these inferno-red walls. Finland's Ensiferum (that's Latin for "sword bearer," which has to be a double entendre here) headlines with a mix of Scandinavian folk, bludgeoning death metal and arena-rock anthems so sweet they'd give Warrant a headache. "On battlefields, fight, don't run" goes their tune "Smoking Ruins." Well, unless you're slow dancing to this metal ballad, that is... Some 20 years in, the long-running Swedes of Hypocrisy are much less forgiving. Their ironclad death metal is dynamic and often noisy, seemingly open to any possibility except growing soft. Also, Italy's Ex Deo, Canada's Blackguard and Winston's Cynonyte. Early start at 7 p.m. for $20. Spear www.volume11tavern.com for more. —Grayson Currin
The Fog of War
Rialto Theater—In 1960, newly elected President John F. Kennedy tapped the hard-charging president of General Motors to serve in his cabinet. Robert McNamara had worked in the Army Air Forces during World War II; at that time, and for the previous 158 years, the military was subject to civilian oversight by the Department of War before a triumph of Orwellian newspeak replaced it with the Department of Defense. The new secretary of defense, and the accuracy of his job title, would soon be tested by the "conflict" in Vietnam.
In The Fog of War, Errol Morris subjects McNamara to his usual treatment: the Interrotron interviewing machine, Philip Glass music, slow-motion closeups of symbolic props. McNamara's a good interview, almost excessively animated and dramatic. His apparent frankness makes it difficult to tell how much of the interview is forthcoming and how much is self-serving. In the end, he declines to discuss ultimate questions of guilt and responsibility: "I'm not going to say any more than I have. These are the kind of questions that get me in trouble. You don't know what I know ... about how inflammatory my words can appear." With his death in July, this film will have to serve as his last word.
Those old enough to remember Vietnam will, like Morris, search for an apology among the many explanations and justifications. Viewers too young to be familiar with McNamara will see eerie echoes of Donald Rumsfeld, another autocratic former business leader in charge of delivering, and selling, a war based on questionable provocation. The 7 p.m. screening is part of the Cinema Inc. series, for which tickets are $20 for 12 films monthly films. Season tickets can be reserved at www.cinema-inc.org, or call 787-7611 for more information. —Marc Maximov