Tuesday, March 11: Inside Llewyn Davis released on DVD/Blu-Ray
Available at all finer local media retailers
The further we get away from the 2013 Oscars, I think we'll find that the most egregious snub to be Inside Llewyn Davis, a genuine masterpiece from the Coen Brothers. It's a movie whose profundity isn't immediately available to you (multiple viewings are a must, if only to fully appreciate the story structure they've constructed), but whose emotion blooms like a flower the further you examine it. It's a Coen Brothers movie through and through, so there are dazzling moments of wordplay intermixed with the cosmic ennui that has run so thoroughly through their work of the past decade plus. If you didn't catch it while in theaters, this is a blind buy candidate for sure, and it may with time prove to be my favorite film to come out of 2013.
Wednesday, March 12: The Harvey Girls
7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)
I feel like we've gotten to know each other a bit over the time I've been bringing On the Marquee to you here on the Moviegoers blog, so I'm going to level with you: I, for quite some time, have had a thing for Angela Lansbury. It started with her role as the saucy housemaid Nancy in Gaslight and has continued unabated. (I was inconsolable when she dropped out of Wes Anderson's latest.) Even if you don't have an inexplicable obsession with the star of Murder, She Wrote, it's safe to say that The Harvey Girls has something to offer to you. This is a great MGM musical, with one of the most jaw-dropping numbers you could ever hope to see visualized on the big screen – I of course am speaking of On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe, winner of 1946's Best Song Oscar. This is peak Judy Garland on display here, knocking it out of the park, and well worth a revisit or first time viewing for any serious film fan.
Thursday, March 13: Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony
7 p.m. @ Times Cinema ($9)
A documentary that continues to garner acclaim everywhere it screens, Following the Ninth looks at the historical impact of Beethoven's final symphony and how it continues to be brought forth as an exemplar of human achievement and in conjunction with people asserting both freedom and love for their fellow man the world over. Charting the lives of four people whose lives has been healed by this musical masterwork, we travel over five continents and 12 countries in search of how this one piece of music has (and will continue to, as long as we stake claim in the universe, I reckon) endured as one of the most humanistic accomplishments in the history of artistic expression.
Thursday, March 13: Dumb and Dumber
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!)
Before the Union Theatre goes into a mini-hibernation over spring break, they're going out in style with the Farrelly Brothers opus Dumb and Dumber. The only surprising thing about the forthcoming sequel (let's all agree to permanently expunge the prequel from the historical record) that reunites Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey is that it has taken this long – for comedy fans this is one of the most quotable works to come out of the ’90s and it's no surprise Carrey's career took off like a rocket after his turn as Lloyd Christmas here. Is there even a corollary to his Ace Ventura/The Mask/Dumb and Dumber all coming out in the same year? Will Ferrell had Elf, Old School and Anchorman all come out in short succession, but even that was spread out over two years time. Quite the historical run that was, especially for an impressionable kid on the cusp of teen hood who thought a man talking out of his butt was nearly Wildean in its wit.
Friday, March 14: House of Wax 3-D
Midnight @ Times Cinema ($8)
The very first color 3-D picture made in America remains one of the very best examples of the format being correctly utilized – with effects both hacky (a carnival barker playing with a paddle ball kicks off the in your face proceedings) and unsettling (a shadow creeps into frame in one unforgettable moment), House of Wax is a phenomenal theater-going experience. While it may not feature Paris Hilton and a host of other disposable 20-somethings being hacked to bits (the 2005 remake has pretty much nothing in common with this, itself a remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum), the atmosphere crafted by director Andre de Toth and fantastic performance from Vincent Price make this one of the best American-made horror films of all time. Plus, you get to actually see it in 3-D! How awesome is that?
Friday, March 14: Tim's Vermeer
Opens @ Oriental Theatre (Check for showtimes/pricing)
Films that deal with the idea of perfect reproductions of original art generally tend to traffic in attempts at conning the general public and art historians alike, which makes Tim's Vermeer something of a unique cinematic portrait of replication. Tim is an inventor at heart, and is attempting to create a duplicate of Vermeer's work as a means of testing a hypothesis he had about just how this master painter was able to capture such photo-realistic portraiture. While this may sound like an attempt at lowering the work of a great master to the level of a layman (Tim had never picked up a paintbrush before he undertook this task), it instead proves a testament to the diligence and hard work required to make beautiful art that is so often forgotten when we opt for the more romantic view of the genius artist. It's an intriguing and entertaining documentary, and one I will be writing a little more about later this week.