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On the Marquee for the week of April 28, 2014
The evils of Disney, men with the proportionate strength of a spider and the long-awaited return of Banevoice mark this week in local cinema.

Tuesday, April 29: Escape from Tomorrow released on DVD
Check local media retailers for availability or purchase here

While Escape from Tomorrow unfortunately never made its way to Milwaukee during its limited theatrical run, the story behind its creation certainly made its way here.  Shot covertly in Disneyland using hidden microphones and walkie talkies without the Maushaus' knowledge, writer/director Randy Moore created a subversive look at one man's crumbling psyche over the course of his family vacation at the happiest place on Earth. There are some who say the film itself doesn't live up to the wild story behind its formation, but we now have the chance to be the judge of that with its DVD release. Fans of surrealist cinema should take note of this particular release.

Tuesday, April 29: special NY Film Critics Series screening of Locke
Pre-show: 6:30 p.m., Movie: 7 p.m. @ Fox-Bay Cinema Grill

Speaking of audacious movie premises, here's the new film Locke from Steven Knight (writer of Eastern Promises), starring Tom Hardy. Taking place inside of a car driving down a dark highway for its entirety, and featuring only Hardy in conversation with himself and numerous people on speakerphone, the film has been hailed as an exemplary thriller with a tour de force performance from its handsome lead. Able to bounce between affable blockbuster cinema and small experimental works with ease, Hardy is one of the most gifted actors of this generation. And as a special point of interest, his well-enunciated Welsh accent here sounds a lot like his Bane character from The Dark Knight Rises, just with the echo and reverb from the sleep apnea mask-like contraption he wore there. Any actor capable of making a decision as resolutely odd as Banevoice is worthy of following anywhere he chooses to go. As an added bonus, there will be a live Q&A broadcast into the theater after the screening featuring Hardy and Knight as part of this special NY Film Critics Series screening.

Wednesday, April 30: Cafe Metropole
7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)

Charles Allis continues their Power-trip with another spring screening of the works of Tyrone Power, this time the romantic dramedy Cafe Metropole. Power plays a ne'er-do-well here, a restaurant owner in deep debt who will go to jail for embezzlement if he doesn't quickly come up with the money owed. A plan is hatched. He'll play the part of a Russian prince and seduce an American socialite (played by Loretta Young) to get the funds from her wealthy father. But wouldn't you know it, actual Russian royalty and true love are just a couple of the obstacles that get in the way. Power generally wasn't known for performing in fare this light, so this is a rare opportunity to take in one of those performances at the Charles Allis Art Museum.

Wednesday, April 30: Liv & Ingmar
7:30 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!)

The Passion of Anna. Autumn Sonata. Persona. The collaboration between actress Liv Ullman and director Ingmar Bergman yielded some of the most indelible filmmaking that history has to offer us, and this documentary helps to illuminate the relationship at the core of this artistic entanglement. Combining behind-the-scenes footage alongside film clips and excerpts from Ullman's autobiography, alongside a film-long interview with the acclaimed actress, we get a touching portrait of these two artists and the 12 films that resulted from their 42-year friendship. For students of cinema history, this is a must see.  

Friday, May 2: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Opens nationwide, check local listings for showtimes

It's odd that we live in such a boom era for comic-book adaptations, there is a mega-budgeted Spider-Man film hitting theaters this weekend, and I'm extraordinarily lukewarm about the entire enterprise. Long my favorite superhero, Spider-Man has remained one of the richest characters in all comic mythology – a man continually tasked with doing the right thing despite the world conspiring against him on a daily basis. He's the rare hero that was equally interesting outside of his costume as he was when inside of it. Unfortunately, Marc Webb's first film was dreadfully dull and poorly constructed at that. Beyond good chemistry between leads Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, there was literally nothing in that film to recommend. Mixed reviews suggest there was much more in this adaptation but with many of the same problems that plagued the previous entry in the series. If anything, the 40-odd minutes of footage that has played between film clips and trailers over the past few months suggest a brighter color palette and finely staged action if nothing else. I still eagerly await a movie more in the line with the brilliant Sam Raimi films that captures the spirit of the character instead of glibly capturing its surface value.


Friday, May 2: Only Lovers Left Alive
Opens @ Landmark Oriental (Click here for showtimes)

Luckily for us moviegoers, there awaits a far better option opening locally this weekend. Jim Jarmusch is back after a four year hiatus (his last film was the tepidly received Limits of Control) and he brings with him one of the finest works of his entire career. I'll remain brief (a more full-bodied review will come later this week), but Only Lovers Left Alive is a perfect match of director and subject matter. Featuring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a centuries-old vampire couple navigating the murky waters of modern life while remaining in the shadows, Jarmusch has made what is easily one of the coolest and most romantic movies of his storied career here. Hiddleston and Swinton have immediate and immense chemistry, and supporting turns from Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt and Anton Yelchin all flesh out and add color to the periphery of this wonderful film.



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