Monday, Dec. 16-Thursday, Dec. 19: Bad Santa
Check showtimes @ local Marcus Theatres (Majestic, North Shore, Ridge, South Shore) ($5)
If you're looking for a little spice to go with the sugar and everything nice this holiday season, the Marcus theaters are showing the holiday classic Bad Santa starting today and running through Thursday. Terry Zwigoff's pitch black comedy is a perfect for those who find this time of year to be anathema. Billy Bob Thorton has never been better, and if you're willing to dig beyond surface level, you'll find a redemption story underneath all the layers of snark and darkness that makes this perfect Christmastime viewing.
Tuesday, Dec. 17 – Ain't Them Bodies Saints
Click here to purchase on DVD & Blu-Ray
If you missed its one night only screening at this year's Milwaukee Film Festival, you missed the only local opportunity to catch David Lowey's contemplative look at a pair of doomed lovers: Casey Affleck's Bob Muldoon, freshly escaped from prison and journeying through the Texas hillside to reunite with his wife Ruth (Rooney Mara, completing her ethereally unobtainable wife trilogy alongside Side Effects and Her this year) and the daughter he's never met. With strong performances across the board, and some lovely magic hour cinematography this is a definite rental at the very least as it makes its way onto DVD/Blu-Ray in time for Christmas. Have a Terrence Malick fan in your life? This makes for a great gift this holiday season.
Tuesday, Dec. 17 – Anchorman Marathon
7 p.m. @ all local Marcus Theatres ($10)
If you're anything like me, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a DEFCON 1-level comedy event. A perfect confluence of comedic talent made for what I consider to be our modern heir to the Airplane! throne, so of course I'm on board to see the gang get together again. While I'm definitely cognizant of the sub-replacement level batting average that comedy sequels carry to the plate, I'm confident that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are only bringing Ron back to the big screen to tell new jokes instead of rehashing the same ones we enjoyed from the original. I'll very unhappily eat my words if it turns out to be a tired retread, but early indications suggest this is your best bet for belly laughs in the month of December.
Thursday, Dec. 19: Inside Llewyn Davis
10 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre
Just by virtue of existing, a new Coen Brothers picture will always be the cinematic event of whatever week it occurs. Perhaps our greatest living American filmmakers, the Coens return with this portrait of both the Greenwich Village folk scene of early ’60s as well as a young man's grief in the aftermath of his creative partner's suicide. With a soundtrack already drawing favorable comparisons to their Grammy-winning O Brother Where Art Thou effort, and near-unanimous placement on year-end best of lists. (Speaking of which, you'll see mine go up this Friday morning on Moviegoers.) This is an absolute can't miss event. I was sold the second I saw John Goodman's hair in the first trailer.
Friday, Dec. 20 – Sunday, Dec. 22: Elf, A Christmas Story & It's a Wonderful Life
10/10:30 a.m. @ Times & Rosebud Cinemas (A Christmas Story: 20&22 10 a.m. @ Rosebud, It's A Wonderful Life: 21 10 a.m.@ Rosebud, Elf: 22 10:30 @ Times) (All $5)
The Times and Rosebud cinemas are spreading the cinematic Christmas cheer with these three holiday classics that play over this weekend and carry over into next week Monday, with nary a stinker amongst them. It's A Wonderful Life in particular is a brilliant piece of work from Frank Capra, and goes to far darker places than you might remember. But if you're looking for more modern seasonal entertainment, Elf and A Christmas Story are well up to the task. Instead of spending the weekend cooped up with family and watching the tension increase like some sort of low stakes Captain Phillips, why not get out and catch a classic that demands no discussion or eye contact with your loved ones!