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On the Marquee for the Week of March 17, 2014
The biggest week yet in 2014 for mainstream releases is coming at 'ya!

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Monday, March 17 through Thursday, March 20: Cabaret
Click here for showtimes @ Marcus Majestic & North Shore Cinemas ($5!)

Start off your week by combating incoming Nazism with song as the classic Cabaret plays through Thursday at a pair of local Marcus theaters. Massive performances from Liza and Michael York accompanied by evocative musical numbers peppered throughout combine to make this a movie worthy of the all of the Oscars it netted (even considering it was going against The Godfather that year). A rare opportunity to take in on the big screen locally!

Wednesday, March 19: The Grapes of Wrath
2 p.m. & 7 p.m. @ AMC Mayfair 18 (click here for pricing)

John Steinbeck's Dust Bowl masterpiece is masterfully adapted by John Ford, with one of Henry Fonda's all-time iconic performances (this and The Lady Eve for me, personally) as Tom Joad. This adaptation is every bit the equal of its source material (many would argue it betters it, in fact) and can be counted as a highlight in the immense career of John Ford. Much like Cabaret, there really aren't many opportunities to see this specific movie on a big screen around here, so you definitely should carve a little time out of your schedule this Wednesday and check it out.

Friday, March 21: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Opens @ Landmark Oriental, click here for showtimes & pricing

Wes Anderson's films have only been getting better with every outing lately – both Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom represented career-best outings, and early indicators suggest Grand Budapest continues this wild upward ascension. While his earlier outings would immerse you in his dollhouse aesthetic and only bring in a strong emotional component for short stretches, his recent work has been suffused with beauty and melancholy in a manner that suggests nothing less than cinematic mastery. If you're not on-board with Wes Anderson, there's very little chance this film (being called his most Wes Anderson-y yet) is going to convert you. But for fans of his work, this is the movie event of early 2014.

Friday, March 21: Divergent
Opens nationwide, check local listings for pricing & showtimes

For every Twilight and Hunger Games phenomenon that takes the cinematic world by storm, there are 10 times as many failed tween franchises littering the Hollywood highway (oh hai, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising), and while Divergent is a wildly popular book it's hard to say if it will translate to cinematic success. I feel incredibly elderly whenever I've come across the trailer in theaters – the movie appears to be about a girl who takes future-SATs and finds out she doesn't fit in with everybody else? And there's dreams with running wolves? And CW-style hunks with body tattoos? And Kate Winslet? There's every chance this will congeal into something excellent when I catch it in theaters (Shailene Woodley is a wonderful, wonderful actress), and hopefully my massive confusion will be allayed come this Friday.

Friday, March 21: Muppets Most Wanted
Opens nationwide, check local listings for pricing & showtimes

The Muppets return to movie theaters was a very pleasant surprise back in 2011, with director James Bobin showing the deft comedic touch that had been missing from the franchise for over a decade, ably complimented by some really fantastic songs from Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie. And now that the Muppets have been reintroduced to a new generation, there really isn't the need for a human connection (handled well by Jason Segel and Amy Adams in the previous film, but we're not really coming to these movies for the human element) so we can dig into some Muppetastic hijinx with reckless abandon. Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais were born to be cast in a Muppet movie, and hopefully this newest entry into the franchise will be delightful for adults and children alike.

Saturday, March 22: It's Only Money
7 p.m. @ The Church in the City, 2648 N. Hackett Ave. ($3) 

Jerry Lewis combined with director Frank Tashlin seems like a match made in over-the-top comedy heaven, and while I haven't seen It's Only Money, I can assume scenery is chewed, gnawed and possibly devoured while the camera rolls. How well you take to non-subtle comedic schtick will determine if you should check this madcap detective spoof out, but if that level of lunacy appeals to you, this is definitely something to catch over the weekend.

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