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On the Marquee for the Week of Dec. 10, 2013
A week for classic and modern favorites.

Tuesday, Dec. 10 - Thursday, Dec. 12: Marcus screens the Chevy Chase classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and the Judy Garland classic Meet Me in St. Louis
Check listings for times @ Marcus Theatres (the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge, and South Shore) Tickets $5.
Remember when Chevy Chase was the man? Me neither. Which is why it’s so refreshing to know that the good folks at Marcus Theatres are giving us all the rare opportunity to see the Chev-ster back on the big screen in all his goofy glory as Clark Griswald in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989).

After hitting the open road to LA to visit Walley World in the first film, and winning an all-expense paid family vacation to Europe in the second film, the Chicago-based Griswolds decide to ring in the holidays at home this time around. And what would the holidays be without the in-laws coming from out of town to join in the celebration?  Beverly D’Angelo returns as Clark’s loving (and long-suffering) wife, a young Juliette Lewis and a younger Johnny Galecki play their kids. The PG-13 rated film runs 97 minutes.

Marcus is also screening the 1944 Judy Garland-led classic, Meet Me in St. Louis, this week through Thursday as well. Meticulously directed by Vincent Minnelli (who went onto marry Garland shortly after filming wrapped), the film casts Garland as one of four daughters of a St. Louis businessman in 1903 St. Louis, a year before the 1904 St. Louis-set World’s Fair took place. She falls in love with a new boy next door who barely notices her at first. Looking forward to taking part in the pending World’s Fair, the Garland and her sisters are sent for a loop when their father receives a job opportunity too good to pass up…in New York City.

A young Margaret O’Brien co-stars as Garland’s baby sister, Tootie, and she was awarded a special Oscar for her performance. Also, this is the film in which Garland first sings the holiday standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The film is G-rated and runs 113 minutes.

Wednesday, Dec. 11: The Spectacular Now & In Transition 2.0 at the UWM Union Theatre
5:15 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE
In case you missed it this summer in local theaters, the UWM Union Theatre is screening The Spectacular Now as part of its “Hollywood Series” program. Independent Spirit Award winner Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) star in the big screen adaptation of Tim Tharp’s best-selling novel of the same name. In the film, Teller plays Sutter Keely, a hard-drinking high school senior with a unique, philosophical take on life. As he sees it, he lives in “the spectacular now” and doesn’t think or worry about what lies ahead. After being dumped by his girlfriend, he gets hammered and wakes up on a lawn with “nice girl” Aimee Finicky (Woodley) observing him. Unlike Sutter, Aimee doesn’t have a substance abuse problem, dreams of her future and is goal-oriented. Despite their philosophical differences, or perhaps because of them, these two polar opposites are drawn together.

Directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and written for the screen by (500) Days of Summer’s Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, the film played in competition earlier this year at Sundance where Woodley and Teller both won a special jury prize for acting. Additionally, Woodley received  best actress nominations from the Gotham Awards as well as the still-pending Independent Spirit Awards.

Emmy winner Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights“), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Bob Odenkirk co-star. The film runs 95 minutes.

The Union hosts an encore screening of The Spectacular Now this Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.

And screening as part of the Union Theatre’s “Share the Earth Environmental Film Series”, filmmaker Emma Goude’s In Transition 2.0 gives the unenlightened a crash course on the Transition movement, a seemingly new way of existing in this ever-changing world that is quickly gaining popularity around the globe. I say “seemingly” because the Transition movement is in essence a potpourri of ideas and philosophies that have endured for thousands of years even if they weren’t widely in practice or considered “the norm.”

Thursday, Dec. 12: Catch John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever on the big screen
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE
Before filmmaker Quentin Tarantino cast John Travolta in the iconic role of hitman Vincent Vega in the 1994 classic Pulp Fiction, Travolta was perhaps best known for his equally-iconic, Oscar-nominated turn as Tony Manero, a simple guy from Brooklyn with a dream who lives for Saturday night and burning up the disco floor in Saturday Night Fever (1977). The opening shot of Travolta strutting down the block to the beat of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” is as cool a movie moment as you’ll ever likely see, and reason enough to see the film the way it was intended – on the big screen. Keep an eye out for a young Fran Drescher, long before she hit it big with “The Nanny.” The film runs 118 minutes.

Friday, Dec. 13: Marcus Theatres presents “The Hobbit Marathon in 3-D!”
8 p.m. @ Marcus Theatres (the Majestic, Menomonee Falls, North Shore, Ridge, and South Shore) Tickets $15.
You say you’re a J.R.R. Tolkien fan, huh? Prove it. This Thursday night, Marcus Theatres is giving diehard Tolkien fans (not to mention diehard Peter Jackson fans) the unique opportunity to catch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) in a double-bill with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second chapter in Jackson’s three-film adaptation of Tolkien’s wildly popular tome, “The Hobbit” which officially opens in theaters this Friday.

Watching both films back-to-back is not for the faint of heart or the easily exhausted, Journey has a running time of 2 hours and 49 minutes, while Smaug runs approximately 2 hours and 41 minutes. The Rosebud Cinema (6823 W North Ave.) is running this same double-bill as well. Check with that theater’s box office for times and ticket prices.

Friday, Dec. 13: The 65th Annual Student Film and Video Festival at the Union
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE
For those of you who appreciate locally grown film fare, you’re in for a treat. Co-sponsored by UWM’s co-ed film society, Rho Eta Xi, the Student Film and Video Festival is a juried showcase of the best shorts and videos from students studying film and video in UWM’s world-renowned film school.

Here’s a listing of this year’s official selections (in alphabetical order):

Bike Trip - Sam Kirchoff, director

The Corn Man - Harper Robison, director

Into the Unknown - Michael Neumann, director

Illuminate - Jake Wollner, director

P-Day - Spencer Ortega, director

Room 323 Diaries - Jake Mizener, director

Steppin' Into a New Me - Kristyne Ward, director

'Tis the Season - Kirsten Stuck, director

The Umbrella Man - Michael A. Kuznar, director

Water Off My Back - Rashid Mumin, director

The Wonderfuls - Vincent Maslowski, director

Saturday, Dec. 14: Senior Screenings at the Union
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.) FREE
Is the next Spielberg, Scorsese, Fincher or Aronofsky days away from graduating UWM’s film school?Find out this Saturday night when graduating seniors screen their films and videos. The program is 90 minutes long.

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