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On the Marquee for the week of March 31, 2014
A local festival begins its 36th iteration this week, along with a blockbuster superhero release.

Monday, March 31 through Sunday, April 6: Go see Noah
Opened nationwide Friday, check local listings for showtimes

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go check out Noah and even though that didn't leave me with enough time to report back to you with my findings, I would like to encourage you to check out this intellectually challenging blockbuster while it's in theaters. It's rare that a movie is willing to delve into issues of faith open-heartedly (while filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is himself a non-believer, I believe theists and non-theists alike will be fascinated equally by what he's made here) and for a major studio blockbuster to do so is almost unheard of. It takes what has essentially been boiled down to parable and brings it screaming to life, with a great performance that reminds us that, oh yeah, this Russell Crowe guy is actually pretty good at acting. And while there are moments where the CGI doesn't fully convince that might occasionally pull you out of the experience, Aronofsky pulls a rabbit out of his hat like the mid-film sequence that combines the creation story with the birth of the universe in a way that can only be described as jaw-dropping. Noah is as emotionally complex a blockbuster as we're likely to see in quite a long time, so I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

Wednesday, April 2 & Saturday, April 5: Lone Survivor
Wednesday: 5:15 p.m. and Saturday: 4:30 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (Free!)

This film just didn't do it for me the first time around, although I'm the first to admit that some of the harrowing work accomplished here by Peter Berg is amongst the best of his career and the camaraderie established between his cast members (Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Taylor Kitsch) is engaging. That said, he pinballs too frequently between realistically depicting the horrific brutality and then depicting sequences in a tone more befitting a DTV offering. That said, it did connect with audiences in a pretty major way, so for some this may be a great opportunity to catch this film on the big screen.

Wednesday, April 2: Can't Help Singing/The Harvey Girls double feature
6:30 p.m.  (note the earlier start time!) @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)

Thanks to the beauty of inclement weather rescheduling, you're being gifted with a movie musical double feature at the Charles Allis this week, with both Can't Help Singing and The Harvey Girls comprising the duo. Since I've already played hype man to both of these selections, let these choice cuts from my earlier columns be your spirit guide – on Can't Help Singing: “Here, Durbin plays a senator's daughter who runs away with her beau only to find herself falling for the wagon master who's heading their excursion. A nice taste of old Hollywood to cure the midweek malaise.” And The Harvey Girls: “...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. “

Friday, April 4:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens nationwide
Check local listings for showtimes

Although I am now a tried and true movie geek, I was a Marvel comics geek long before that. Sure, there were dalliances with Superman and Batman, but the House of Ideas has always been where my allegiance has lain (just ask the nifty knitted Spider-Man jacket I used to rock on the daily) and to see the stuff that literally comprised my childhood  be reinterpreted and brought to the public in such a major way has been extraordinary to witness. Marvel is on a financial hot streak that has continually rewarded unique decision-making on their part: their biggest successes (Iron Man 3 and The Avengers) were both given to second-time directors (Shane Black and Joss Whedon, respectively), not seasoned veterans who others might assume would be more up to the task on wrangling such mega-budgeted pictures. And while Captain America 2 is the third directorial outing for the Russo Brothers, it's no less unique a choice given the previous two films would indicate no affinity for a major action picture (the delightful Welcome to Collinwood and the decidedly less so You, Me, and Dupree). Early indications suggest they've knocked it out of the park, and I can't wait to let you know if that's the case later this week.

Friday, April 4: The Goonies (Stand-Up Cinema)
10 p.m. @ Times Cinema ($10)

Far be it for me to repeat myself, but I think I've pretty well exhausted the reservoir of my Goonies-related feelings, so forgive me for reminding you that Stand-Up Cinema's second performance surrounding this ’80s favorite is screening again this week by quoting myself: “Every generation has a movie that is largely poor that still struck a collective chord amongst its audience during their developmental years, and since I was not the target audience for The Goonies upon initial release it's hard for me to see the movie as anything other than kids yelling for an hour and forty-five minutes. Luckily, you won't have to sit through The Goonies and allow it to entertain you via its own merit, this is the debut screening of a new Milwaukee venture known as “Stand-Up Cinema”, a sort of MST3K/sketch comedy hybrid that will comment on and add to the film experience throughout. A promising combination of cinema and live comedy, and a local film/performance option worth seeing develop.”

Friday, April 4 through Sunday, April 6: UWM's 36th Annual Latin American Film Series begins
All screenings @ UWM Union Theatre (Free!), click here for movies and their respective showtimes

For decades now, UWM has been offering this annual festival of subtitled films free of charge to public in an effort to spread the word about some of the newest voices in Latin American cinema. It runs through next Thursday, so you can be sure I'll highlight some more picks in next week's On the Marquee, but for now know that there's five options worth seeking out this weekend. Friday brings the artistic documentary Tropicalia (7 p.m.) and the socially conscious romance of Maydays (9 p.m.), while Saturday showcases the father/son drama of Route of the Moon (7 p.m.) alongside the devastating MFF 2013 documentary about the Haitian recovery effort Fatal Assistance (9 p.m.), wrapping up this Sunday with the harrowing portrait of one family's encounter with a Nazi in hiding in The German Doctor (7 p.m.). The opportunity to see so many foreign films at one time on the big screen is a rare one locally (and for free, no less!), so this festival should definitely be appointment viewing for cinephiles.

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