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On the Marquee for the Week of Nov. 11, 2013
There are some nice options this week we honor military veterans' bravery.

This Veterans Day, Marcus Theatres pays homage to a group of local WWII vets who make the trip to visit the World War II Memorial.

The UWM Union Theatre is hosting a series of free screenings for all to enjoy.

And Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto jockey hard for Oscar gold both having lost over 30 pounds to convincingly portray HIV+ patients turned unexpected allies in the indie film, Dallas Buyers Club, co-starring Jennifer Garner, which opens in local theaters this Friday.

Monday, Nov. 11 - Thursday, Nov. 14: Five local Marcus Theatres present special screenings of the WWII doc Honor Flight
Check listings for times @ Marcus Theatres (the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge, and South Shore) Tickets $5.

Just in time for Veterans’ Day, five local Marcus Theatres will be showing Honor Flight, a documentary about four World War II veterans from Wisconsin who make the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial due to the fundraising efforts of a group of devoted volunteers. The emotional highpoint of the film is when these American heroes arrive at the memorial and share stories about the war, for some, it’s the first time they’ve ever spoken about their wartime experience.

When I attended a high school journalism conference in Washington, D.C., in April 1995, visiting the war memorial a day or two following the Oklahoma City bombing was one of the highlights of my six-day stay. I spoke with a veteran there who had made the trip with his wife, his adult children and his teenage grandchildren specifically to visit the memorial. He had lost countless friends and some family as well during the war. As I read the names at the memorial, I realized how fortunate I was that my father (a retired military veteran who served in Vietnam) fought and managed to come home because so many others did not.

Tuesday, Nov. 12: Experimental Tuesdays at the UWM Union Theatre presents an Evening of Film and Video by Peggy Ahwesh
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE

Considered one of the most respected filmmakers of her generation, Peggy Ahwesh started her filmmaking career in the 1980s – the era of “punk, feminist art practice, and post-minimalism,” according to the theater’s description of the Experimental Tuesdays event. “A preeminent bricoleur, Ahwesh finds revelation in a gamut of genres, modes and materials – found footage, horror, porn, melodrama, documentary, adaptation. Her heterogenous body of work engages questions of embodiment, sex, female desire, the archive, language and performance. At once playful, conceptual, political, and formally challenging, these films plumb the detritus and fragments of moving image culture for serendipity, sublimity and anarchic surplus.”

This event is being co-sponsored by the UWM Art History Department, the Center for 21st Century Studies, the UWM Film Department and the Film Studies Program.

Ahwesh will be in attendance to take part in a discussion of her work.

Wednesday, Nov. 13: The Matt Damon-dystopian thriller Elysium plays the Union, as does the environmental-themed doc, Trashed
5:15 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE

In the event you missed writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium in theaters this summer – or you want to experience it on the big screen again – the Union is showing it for free this Wednesday, Nov. 13 (at 5:15 p.m.), and this Saturday, Nov. 16 (at 5 p.m.). Oscar winner Matt Damon stars as a factory worker whose dystopian existence has gone from bad to worse following an industrial accident with potentially fatal repercussions. He goes to great lengths in order to receive the medical treatment he needs which pits him against a high-ranking official (Oscar winner Jodie Foster) who will stop at nothing to prevent him.

And British filmmaker Candida Brady’s thought-provoking documentary, Trashed, chronicles Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons’ travels around the world in order to see firsthand the extent and effects pollution has had on beautiful, once-pristine destinations that have been sullied by the growing global waste problem we all face. Trashed is screening as part of the theater’s “Share the Earth Environmental Film Series.”

Thursday, Nov. 14: Far From Vietnam screens as part of the Union’s Documentary Frontiers screening series
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE

Screening as part of the UWM Union Theatre’s “Documentary Frontiers” screening series, this landmark anti-Vietnam war documentary from 1967 was a collaboration between legendary filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Alain Resnais, Agnés Varda and Chris Marker (who initiated and supervised the project).

Per the Union Theatre’s website, the film was made “in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam” as well as “to affirm, by the exercise of their craft, their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in struggle against aggression.”

The film runs 115 minutes and is in French with English subtitles.

Friday, Nov. 15: Dallas Buyers Club starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner opens in Milwaukee
Check local listings for details.

Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club casts likely best actor Oscar contender Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a hard-living, straight, homophobic, real-life Texan who contracted HIV in the mid-1980s and was told he would die within a month’s time. Initially angered and distraught over his diagnosis, due to then-commonly held belief that HIV/AIDS was a “gay man’s disease.” After accepting his diagnosis and doing his homework on available treatments, Woodroof eventually smuggles drugs from Mexico suggested to him by a doctor there and sells them to his fellow HIV+ patients who can’t get a hold of the one drug (AZT) being used in clinical trials stateside that appeared to effectively treat the disease. AZT wasn’t FDA-approved at the time therefore it wasn’t readily for doctors to prescribe to their patients, and the Reagan administration was anything but proactive during the early days and years of the AIDS crisis.

Another Oscar hopeful Jared Leto (making a welcome return to acting after a four-year, self-imposed hiatus) co-stars as a HIV+ transvestite hooker that Woodroof teams up with in order to distribute the drugs to as many people who need them as possible. And Jennifer Garner is cast as a doctor who follows the rules yet can’t help but support Woodroof’s enterprise.

Friday, Nov. 15 - Sunday, Nov. 17: Harmony Lessons and The Last Time I Saw Macao play the UWM Union Theatre
7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE

Both Emir Baigazin’s Harmony Lessons and João Pedro Rodrigues’ The Last Time I Saw Macao are screening over the weekend as part of the Union Theatre’s “World Cinema” screening series.

Baigazin’s film, the winner of the New Director’s Showcase Awards at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, was cited for the following reason:

“Emir Baigazin's astounding debut feature Harmony Lessons set the bar for all the films that the Narrative Jury watched before and after. On one level, it's the simple tale of a bullied Muslim boy in rural Kazakhstan. But as no single child's life is ever as simple as adults believe, from the moment we meet the dark-eyed, pimply hero chasing down a family sheep to slaughter with his aging babushka, to his ultimate act of vengeance in his struggle for survival, his confrontation with bullies at his local school spirals into a larger tale of societal dominance and submission. Power relations based on intimidation and violence flow from boy to sheep, alpha boy to beta, local police to accused criminals, and ultimately an entire society defined by a hierarchy of male bullying male. Visually exact, transparently acted by a mostly juvenile cast, and quietly terrifying, this Kazakhstan/Germany/France co-production is a hard-won lesson in how brutal life can be that is told with spellbinding assurance by a visionary young talent.”

The 120-minute film is in Kazakh with English subtitles. It gets encore screenings at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17.

You can also catch The Last Time I Saw Macao, a cinematic hybrid of sorts from directors João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra de Mata. These two filmmakers venture to the title city which is described as “the Las Vegas of the East” after one receives a troubling letter from a long lost friend who may or may not have gotten themselves in something of a pickle.

The 85-minute film is in Portuguese with English subtitles. It gets encore screenings at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17.

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