Monday, April 7 through Thursday, April 10: UWM's 36th Annual Latin American Film Series continues
April 7, 8, 10 at 7 p.m. and April 9 at 7:30 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (Free!)
I told you last week about the great chance to catch recent Latin American cinematic fare for free through UWM's 36th annual film series, so I won't bore you with trying to sell you on how great of an opportunity this is. You already know. Monday offers the documentary triumph that is The Tiniest Place, and Tuesday offers the wry Cuban comedy, Melaza, with its story of a strapped-for-cash family renting out their domicile to the local prostitute. The festival wraps up with the intimate music doc Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America on Wednesday and sensation of the festival circuit Gloria on Thursday, a crowd-pleasing portrait of a middle-aged woman's hopeful attempts at finding love in her golden years. Not a bad choice to be found throughout the festival, with every evening providing a different facet of Latin American filmmaking worth exploring.
Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13: Big Bad Wolves
7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre
Judged to be the best picture of 2013 by Quentin Tarantino, Big Bad Wolves is a gorgeously-shot revenge picture. The plot follows a grieving father and enraged policeman's efforts toward justice after a lead suspect in a child murder case is let go because of technicality. Mixing rage-filled violence with dark absurdist humor, it's no wonder this Israeli picture reverberated so loudly in Tarantino's mind after seeing it. It exactly the type of thing he himself loves to craft!
Friday, April 11: The Raid 2
Check local listings for showtimes
Action fans (and your very own Moviegoers blog) have been salivating for this action sequel ever since it was announced. Gareth Evans made a major name for himself with the original Raid (which had the befuddling U.S. title The Raid: Redemption), crafting a relentless action picture with endless scenes of show-stopping violence. The dial is turned down slightly from '11' in The Raid 2 – with a two and a half hour running time. There is much more plot to digest here than was ever featured in the lean and efficient original. That said, Evans peppers this operatic tale of crime and corruption (think The Departed but with way more Achilles being slashed) with explosive moments of action and then finishes with a flourish – a nearly 45-minute long conclusion that ups the ante on action films forever more with numerous sequences that will have to be considered all-timers when it's all said and done. Not to be missed for fans of action cinema.
Saturday, April 12: The Blue Dahlia
7 p.m. @ The Church in the City ($3)
The Focus Film Society returns this weekend with a choice film noir cut in George Marshall's The Blue Dahlia, featuring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake and William Bendix. Notable for being the only original screenplay produced from legendary mystery writer, Raymond Chandler, the film has splashes of his trademark crackling dialogue mixed into its tale of marital woe as Alan Ladd's Lieutenant Commander returns home from the war effort only to become embroiled in a murder mystery that he finds himself heavily implicated in. Few remember the work of Ladd, Lake and Bendix in today's film landscape, but they were major players in the Hollywood scene at that time, and this project is proof as to why.
Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13: The Wizard of Oz with live symphony accompaniment
Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday April 13 at 2:30 p.m. @ Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
All other events this week are just prelude to this truly special event, as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra delivers another production performing the entire musical score of The Wizard of Oz alongside the film. I've gone to their “Film with Orchestra” program in the past for Chaplin's City Lights, and it remains one of the absolute favorite film-going experiences of my lifetime. The chance to have such an experience again, with one of cinema's all-time great works no less, is something not to be missed. I'll be there Saturday, and I certainly hope local movie fans will take the time out as well to take in this fantastically unique event.