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Critic Picks Searching for Sugarman at Turner Hall
On the Marquee for the first week of spring
searching for sugarman at turner hal
Searching for Sugarman at Turner Hall is our critic's pick of the week.

This week – just in time for the eagerly anticipated start of spring – there’s enough cinematic goodness happening to appease just about every taste.

This Tuesday, March 19, Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning follow-up to 2009’s The Hurt Locker (an Oscar winner in its own right) debuts on DVD and Blu-ray. The same with the first chapter of director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. And it bears mentioning that Criterion is releasing director Terrence Malick’s much-lauded big screen debut about a young couple on a cross-country killing spree.

This Wednesday, you can catch Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne in a 1939 classic cinematic love story in all its 16mm reel-to-reel glory, or head out to one of four local Marcus Theatres to enjoy an encore performance presented by the Metropolitan Opera.

And this Friday, Turner Hall is offering another opportunity to catch Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s masterful, Oscar-winning documentary, Searching For Sugar Man, which was the best film of 2012.

Tuesday, March 19: Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debut on DVD and Blu-ray; Criterion releases Terrence Malick’s Badlands on Blu-ray

Check local retail stores for availability.

The best narrative-driven film of 2012, director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, winner of the Academy Award for sound editing (in a rare tie with Skyfall) debuts on DVD and blu-ray this Super Tuesday – my nickname for the day of the week when most new home entertainment titles are released – starring two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as a CIA operative who leads the charge in what would become a decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. We already know the outcome of the story, but the thrill of the film is watching how it all unfolds culminating in a harrowing third act that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. And yes, Chastain as well as the film itself, Mark Boal’s brilliant script and Bigelow’s even more-brilliant direction (which was stupidly overlooked) were all robbed a few weeks back on Oscar night. The film contains four featurettes about the making of the film, but – in a questionable move – contains no audio commentary by any of the principals.

The first installment in director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released to mixed reviews last December. Those expecting a masterwork on par with Jackson’s handling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy were expecting way too much too soon – even that trilogy started out slow and exposition-heavy then built to its epic conclusion. It’ll be interesting to see what how this return to Middle Earth fares once the two other films in the Hobbit trilogy (The Hoobit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again) are released in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Special features include 10 production videos about the making of the film which will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and 3-D Blu-ray.

And 21 years before director Oliver Stone and writer Quentin Tarantino mined similar territory with 1994’s Natural Born Killers with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, director Terrence Malick broke onto the scene with Badlands starring a young Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as two star-crossed lovers who go on a cross-country killing spree in the late-1950s. The hypnotic film, which even critics of Malick’s subsequent work have to admit is a damn impressive debut, is loosely based on a real events. In 1958, a young couple, Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, went on a two-month killing spree across the Great Plains (in Nebraska and Wyoming) before eventually being captured and convicted. Considering its being issued on Criterion, the film is going to look and sound amazing, probably better than it ever has. Plus, there’s the cool cover art and extras.

Wednesday, March 20: Marcus Theatres and the Metropolitan Opera present an encore performance of Richard Wagner’s last opera Parsifal on the big screen, and Love Affair (1939) screens at the Charles Allis Art Museum

Music critic David Patrick Stearns says of Wagner’s Parsifal: “Nobody goes to Wagner operas for the plot. So don't be taken aback that the redemption parable that is his opera Parsifal becomes a mere skeleton for a network of mythology-inspired poetic images in [this] new Metropolitan Opera production. The composer's expansive final work has a muted beauty unlike anything in the repertoire; two of its three acts feel more like ceremonies than opera.”

This one is strictly for the true opera devotee, or dare I say, the true Wagner devotee. Clearly we’ve got them among us here in Milwaukee. The encore screening starts at 6:30 p.m. Four local Marcus Theatres are taking part: the Majestic in Brookfield, the Menomonee Falls Cinema, Mequon’s North Shore Cinema and Oak Creek’s South Shore Cinema. Check theaters for ticket prices.

If a five-hour opera isn’t your cup of tea, how about a beloved romantic drama from the late-1930s (Love Affair) that spawned an even more beloved 1950s remake (An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr) that served as inspiration for a beloved, 1990s romantic comedy (Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) that the late, great Nora Ephron wrote and directed?

The Charles Allis Art Museum will screen the 1939 big screen version of Love Affair starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne as part of the Movie Time’s Winter 2013 program, “Leading Men of the 1930s” in the museum’s Margaret Rahill Great Hall. Milwaukee film historian Dale E. Kuntz will share details about the film prior to the screening which will be projected in all its 16mm, reel-to-reel glory by him personally.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the screening starts at 7:30 p.m. The admission price is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.

Friday, March 22: Turner Hall’s BAAM presents Searching For Sugar Man

Screening as part of Turner Hall’s Beer and a Movie (BAAM) showcase, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary, the recipient of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary - Feature, is about a little-known 1970s American folk-rock singer-songwriter whose music inspired an entire generation on the other side of the world, resulting in two diehard fans joining forces to find out whatever became of their hero. I’ve told everyone and their mother about this film since I caught a screening of it completely unaware of its subject matter last September. The less you know about the film and its subject matter, the better. I wouldn’t normally advise this but skip the reviews and skip the trailers – just go see the film. There’s a reason it’s got a 100 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, a rare feat. Find out for yourself.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the film shows at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 (or free with a valid College ID), Beer is $15 (all you can drink, until movie ends).

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