Our Critic's Pick for the week: Sign Painters
There’s some choice cinematic offerings happening in town this week: on Tuesday, the love-it-or-hate-it sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, among others, makes its home-entertainment debut; on Wednesday, director J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness debuts at midnight in theaters nationwide; on Thursday, Paul McCartney and Wings’ Rockshow gets a rare public screening; Milwaukee native Faythe Levine (along with co-director Sam Macon) will be in town to screen and discuss her latest effort, Sign Painters; and the UWM Film Department’s Senior Screening gets underway.
Tuesday, May 14: Cloud Atlas debuts on DVD and Blu-ray
Check local retail stores for prices and availability.
One of the last year’s most talked-about films, Cloud Atlas features an acting ensemble of four Oscar winners (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Susan Sarandon) along with the likes of Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Keith David and others, with each member of the ensemble given the unique opportunity to play multiple roles (including different ethnicities and genders) in different stories over several different time periods. If you know anything about summer stock, this isn’t a novel concept. But in film, unless you’re a comedian, it’s a rare that an actor gets a chance to inhabit multiple characters in one project.
This ambitious big screen adaptation of David Mitchell’s best-selling novel is perhaps the first film ever directed by three people (Lana & Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer). Some called it a masterpiece, while others were less than impressed.
Some of the make-up and prosthetics work is laughable, especially when you take the film’s $100-plus million budget into account. That aside, it’s really an actors’ showcase more than anything else, and in that vein it mostly delivers. And admittedly, some stories work better than others, the best of them being Berry’s Luisa Rey San Francisco-set mystery, and the Neo Seoul chapter with Japanese actress Doona Bae playing a human clone who’s released from her forced servitude by a high-ranking officer (played by Sturgess) of an anti-big-brother-government movement known as the “Union.”
Special features include seven production videos about the making of the film.
Wednesday, May 15: Star Trek Into Darkness screens at midnight in theaters nationwide
Opens in all major local theaters, check listings for showtimes and ticket pricing.
Director J.J. Abrams’ eagerly anticipated follow-up to his wildly successful 2009 reboot of the Star Trek film franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, plays at midnight in theaters across the country on the eve of its nationwide release on Thursday. Early buzz surrounding the film has been very promising for fans hoping that Abrams’ second installment in the franchise would live up to the first.
Here’s the official plot summary from the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures:
“When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.”
Thursday, May 16: Milwaukee native Faythe Levine’s Sign Painters screens at the Oriental Theatre, followed by a post-screening Q&A with Levine and co-director Sam Macon
7 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre ($10)
Sign Painters is the first anecdotal history of the craft and features testimonials from over a dozen working sign painters from throughout the United States. Filmmakers Faythe Levine (a Milwaukee native) and Sam Macon’s four-year collaboration “documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship” has also yielded a well-received book (which shares the film's title) that was published in November 2012 by Princeton Architectural Press.
The film runs 90 minutes and is not rated, but contains some adult language. Levine and Macon will be in attendance at the screening and will take part in a post-screening Q&A.
Thursday, May 16: Paul McCarthy and Wings’ rarely seen rock doc Rockshow screens
8 p.m. @ Bayshore’s iPic Theaters (Check the theater for ticket prices.)
This rarely seen concert film features footage from Sir Paul McCartney and Wings’ epic 1975-1976 “Wings over the World” tour, a tour that was specifically designed to be the world tour to top all previous world tours. Filmed at the enormous Kingdome in Seattle, Rockstar was shown in an abbreviated version for the first time in 1980 in New York, then in 1981 in London. That version was released on Betamax (the precursor to VHS) and later on laserdisc (the precursor to DVDs and Blu-rays).
Now for the first time, this full-length version of the concert is finally available with fully restored picture and remastered sound (including a 5.1 mix for the first time). More than a dozen songs are performed from the McCarthy, Wings and Beatles catalogs, in addition to some bonus tracks.
You can also catch an encore screening of Rockstar at Bayshore’s iPic Theaters at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.
Thursday, May 16 & Friday, May 17: Senior Screening at the UWM Union Theatre
7 p.m. - 9 p.m. (free)
Playing out over two nights, this annual showcase of short films and videos made by soon-to-be-graduating seniors from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee’s film department (which is apart of the school’s Peck School of the Arts), usually draws a big, receptive crowd hoping to find talented, up-and-coming filmmakers to keep an eye on.