Another week, another set of interesting film events happening in and around the Milwaukee area – let’s get right to it:
Monday, March 25th: Django Unchained
7:40 p.m. @ Oak Creek Value Cinema runs at least through Thursday ($2.75)
If for some reason you missed out on Tarantino’s epic Spaghetti Southern (and his attempt at an Australian accent), there may be no more ideal a locale for checking out his great work of ode-sploitation than at the second-run theater. The film prints have always seen better days by the time they make it to the budget theaters, and something tells me Quentin would not be opposed to his rough-around-the-edges film to be made slightly more rough-around-the-edges.
Tuesday, March 26th: Lincoln
DVD on sale everywhere (prices may vary)
And why not make a Django/Lincoln double feature? For a movie as acclaimed as Spielberg’s tribute to our 16th president was, it seems like it slipped under the radar due to its quiet awards season. Instead of taking the boring born/lived/died structure of so many biopics that buckle under the weight of their own intentions, Tony Kushner’s script (vaguely based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals) focuses in specifically on Lincoln’s time spent trying to bolster (and in some cases buy) support for ratification of the 13th amendment in a highly divided congress and is all the better for it. Daniel Day Lewis is Abraham Lincoln (only Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Freddie Quell in The Master could match it last year), and the movie brings history from the dull pages of textbooks into the realm of art through Spielberg’s measured storytelling.
Thursday, March 28th: Side by Side
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (free)
It should come as no surprise that I, a major film wonk, am very excited about this documentary about the process of filmmaking. This doc in particular is exploring the digital revolution in cinema and what it means to the filmmaking apparatus on the whole. Have the gains made by democratizing the film process (the technology has never been more affordable/available) been matched by losses in terms of richness of visual quality? Filmmaker Christopher Kenneally, with the help of his spirit guide Keanu Reeves, aim to examine the process of digital versus photochemical filmmaking, with the help of numerous burgeoning and well-established names in cinema.
Friday, March 29th: NO
The Oriental Theatre (check website for showtimes)
The most stylistically audacious of all of this year’s crop of foreign language Oscar nominees (shot entirely on a video format from the late ’80s, giving the entire enterprise the sheen of an era-authentic found footage picture despite being framed and assembled in a formally standard fashion), NO follows the 1988 referendum on dictator Augusto Pinochet’s claim to permanent power. Gabriel Garcia Bernal stars as Rene Saavedra, a young advertising executive tasked with making the most of their limited resources (the tiniest sliver of airtime was given to this opposition movement, as compared to the government controlled programming that aired all other hours of the day) in order to convince the electorate of making the choice that will ultimately set them free: no. (Review forthcoming on the Moviegoers blog later this week!)
Saturday and Sunday, March 30th and 31st: The Sound of Music
10:30 a.m. @ Times Cinema ($4)
The Times Cinema’s “March Musicals” series wraps up with yet another perennial, a movie that you can’t help but be swept up in. With an endless cavalcade of memorable musical numbers and fantastic lead performances from Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, Robert Wise’s epic of love and war is just as good now as it was at its release nearly 50 years ago. Support repertory cinema screenings and check out this old classic at the Times, so we can see more series of its ilk make its way to our local theaters.
That’s all for this week – happy theater-going!