May 13: Her released on DVD/Blu-Ray
at most local media retailers.
If you missed out on Her during its extended stay in
theatres during the now-standard, post-Oscars victory lap, now’s your chance to
snap it up on your media weapon of choice. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that
Jonze’s first sole-credit screenplay is as warmly-sketched and fully-fleshed
out as it was, working with Dave Eggers and Charlie Kaufman on previous films
shows an affinity for great writing talent. But as wonderful as the work Jonze
did here was (his direction in this film has gone needlessly unheralded, it’s
brilliant work at making what could’ve felt claustrophobic feel massive and
alive), it’s Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson who make this into the
masterpiece it is. Johansson creates a fully-formed character out of thin
air while Phoenix is on screen almost every second the movie unspools and is
never less than captivating. A beautiful film.
May 14: Rose
of Washington Square
7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art
Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)
Charles Allis’ springtime Tyrone Power programming continues
with this musical drama based on the life of Fanny Brice (whose lawsuit against
20th Century Fox for making this film was settled out of court),
with Power playing the con-man whose shady dealings threaten Alice Faye’s
career in the Follies. Al Jolson shows up as well to remind us of a ‘simpler’
time when incredibly racist material was able to propagate freely onscreen. That
said, there is plenty of entertaining material to be seen here if you can
stomach the questionable standards of an earlier era.
May 15 & Friday, May 16: Stand-Up Cinema presents Back
to the Future
5/15 & 5/16 @ The Times Cinema ($10)
Where you’re going to watch Back to the Future on the
big screen this week, you will need roads – specifically Vilet Street as
Stand-Up Cinema returns to The Times with one of the very best audience movies
one could hope for. There are few screenplays around that could be described as
perfect, but BTTF is one of them, a movie whose set-ups and pay-offs cascade
like one of those attempts at setting a dominoes world record. Back to the Future is wonderful
(and the sequels aren’t derivative and terrible. What a concept!) and even if I’m lukewarm on
anybody providing live commentary over something so pristine, this is still
May 16: Godzilla & Million Dollar Arm open nationwide, Fed Up opens @ the Downer Theatre
local listings & landmarktheatres.com for showtimes.
You have three solid options opening in the Milwaukee area
this weekend, all of which make good on their goals according to early word –
so plan accordingly on whether you want uplift, Spielbergian awe or good ol’
social outrage from your cinema over the weekend. Million Dollar Arm could
be considered dismissively generic if not for two things: Jon Hamm and Tom
McCarthy. Hamm has been content to only participate in bit roles on the big
screen since Mad Men’s success first took root. With the biggest being his
supporting role in The Town, this feels like the opening salvo in his continued
career as his show begins to wind down. Tom McCarthy is the big selling point,
though. His work on Win Win, The Station Agent and The
Visitor (all of which he wrote and directed) makes him one of the
finest observers of unexamined corners of American life, gifting amazing actors
with rare lead performances. I find it hard to believe McCarthy wouldn’t be
able to spin gold out of this ‘true’ story, or anything for that matter, so Million
Dollar Arm becomes must-see because of it.
Speaking of must-see, Godzilla needs no selling. If you’re
on board, the fact that all the promotional material makes the film look great
is just the cherry on top— you were already going to see this film based on your
love for giant monsters. The cast is comprised almost entirely of brilliant
performers (Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, Elizabeth Olsen,
David Strathairn, etc.) and the work from Gareth Edwards in the director’s
chair suggests something more considerate of awe and the building of
anticipation than anything we’ve had in years during summer blockbuster season.
My review will be up later this week to let you know if the positive buzz
surrounding Godzilla is accurate or not.
But if generated monster-on-monster destruction showdowns aren't your cup of tea, perhaps this sobering new documentary look at
the health epidemic running roughshod over our nation will be more your speed.
Narrated by Katie Couric and from the same producers who brought you An Inconvenient Truth, Fed Up is a searing expose into the
truth behind why our children remain unhealthy despite efforts at ramping up
exercise and teaching healthier eating habits. Previously-held wisdom as to why
we gain weight and how we lose it are detonated here, making a documentary that
aims to start important conversations about what we’re allowing the food
industry to shovel down our throats.