This week, a well-received documentary about the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous plays the Downer for one-night only, the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network enlists a local filmmaker and critic to discuss the “challenges and differences between making films and stage plays for actors and directors,” a number of new titles debut on DVD and Blu-ray, a Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney classic plays the Charles Allis Museum, and Superman makes his (hopefully) triumphant return to the big screen in the Christopher Nolan-produced/Zack Snyder-directed, Man of Steel starring British actor Henry Cavill as the title character.
Monday, June 10: A one-time only screening of the Alcoholics Anonymous documentary, Bill W., plays the Downer
7 p.m. @ Downer Theatre (2589 N. Downer Ave.) Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for Seniors (65+), and $8 for Students (with valid ID).
At 7p.m. tonight, the Downer Theatre will screen Bill W. which tells the story of William G. Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Wilson was chosen as one of Time Magazine's "100 Persons of the 20th Century." The documentary uses a mix of interviews, recreations, and rare archival material the documentary shows how Wilson went from being “a hopeless drunk near death from his alcoholism” to “[finding] a way out of his own addiction …[forging] a path for countless others to follow. With Bill as its driving force, AA grew from a handful of men to a worldwide fellowship of over 2 million men and women – a success that made him an icon within AA, but also an alcoholic unable to be a member of the very society he had created. A reluctant hero, Bill Wilson lived a life of sacrifice and service, and left a legacy that continues every day, all around the world.”
Tuesday, June 11: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, How To Survive A Plague, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow all debut on DVD and/or Blu-ray
Check local retail stores for prices and availability.
Some serious fare and some decidedly non-serious fare debuts on DVD and/or Blu-ray this week, including this year’s revisionist take on the Grimm’s fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton which fared slightly better at the domestic box office than last year’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s far from great, but it’s a guilty pleasure nonetheless.
The Oscar-nominated, feature-length documentary, How To Survive a Plague, tells the amazing true story of how outspoken (some might say, militant) activists and organizations like ACT-UP and TAG fought a seemingly insurmountable battle to sound the alarm and raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic in its early years starting back in the 1980s. At the time, the disease was considered a death sentence, and most people were under the false impression that HIV/AIDS only affected the gay community, particularly gay men. These activists fought to bring about a meaningful government and medical community response to what quickly became a serious public health problem.
Oz the Great and Powerful, director Sam Raimi’s prequel to The Wizard of Oz, stars eccentric Oscar nominee James Franco (127 Hours) as Oz, and Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week With Marilyn) as Glinda the Good Witch. Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis co-star.
Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow, 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, the film was shown in an abbreviated version for the first time in 1980 in New York, and the following year in London. That version was released on Betamax (the precursor to VHS) and later on laserdisc (the precursor to DVDs and Blu-rays). This full-length version of the concert film is finally available on DVD and Blu-ray with fully restored picture and remastered sound (including a 5.1 mix for the first time). Rockshow contains more than a dozen songs are performed from the McCarthy, Wings and Beatles catalogs, in addition to some bonus tracks.
Tuesday, June 11: The Milwaukee Artist Resource Network presents MARNmovies IV - Acting and Directing with Local Filmmaker and Critic Graham Killeen
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. @ Milwaukee Art Museum (700 Art Museum Dr.)Tickets are $5 at the door, FREE for students with valid ID.
This month’s MARNmovies workshop and screening series will touch base on the joys, challenges and differences faced when acting and/or directing for the stage versus the screen.
Local filmmaker Graham Killeen, who has directed for the stage and screen, will be the guest speaker. Killeen wrote, produced, directed and edited the 2007 western short, Six Bullets, starring local stage actor Steven Koehler. He recently directed The Hartford Players’ well-received revival of the classic Noel Coward play, Blithe Spirit. A freelance film critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Killeen won the Shepherd Express’ Best of Milwaukee award for “Best Milwaukee Filmmaker” in 2006.
Killeen’s presentation will be followed by screenings of local short films and demo reels. Filmmakers and actors are encouraged to bring their completed or work-in-progress projects to the event in order to share them with the rest of the audience, and to network with other artists in attendance.
Wednesday, June 12: The 1946 classic The Razor’s Edge with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney screens at Charles Allis
Doors open at 6:30 p.m./Screening starts at 7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Museum (1801 N. Prospect Ave.) Tickets are $7 for adults/$5 for Seniors & Students.
In this 1946 Oscar-winning classic, Tyrone Power plays Larry Darrell, a young man from Chicago who decides to travel the world in order to find himself, breaking things off with his young socialite fiancée, Isabel (Tierney). They cross paths again 10 years later in Paris, Larry has achieved his aim and Isabel is married to another man. Only Isabel has never gotten over Larry and wants him back and will stop at nothing to make that happen. Anne Baxter (who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance) and Clifton Webb (who was nominated for best supporting actor for his role) co-star.
Local film historian Dale Kuntz will be in attendance at the screening in order to screen the film from his personal 16mm, reel-to-reel collection, and to share facts about the film and the stars.
Friday, June 14: Man of Steel opens in theaters nationwide
Check local listings for showtimes and ticket pricing.
I spoke with Man of Steel director (and Green Bay native) Zack Snyder a little over a week before it was officially announced that he would direct this Christopher Nolan-produced Superman reboot. He was promoting another film at the time (2010’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole), and I wasn’t aware that he was in the running. Otherwise I would have certainly asked him about it. At the time, I was hearing that Tony Scott, Ben Affleck, Darren Aronofsky and Duncan Jones were among those being considered. Warner Bros. (the film’s distributor) chose Snyder who had scored a massive hit for the studio with the 2006 film, 300, starring Gerard Butler.
Man of Steel casts British actor Henry Cavill as Superman, and his mild-mannered alter ego Clark Kent, who must confront his otherworldly heritage after members of his own Kryptonian race, led by the evil General Zod (Michael Shannon), invade Earth and start to wreak havoc. Amy Adams co-stars as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane (sporting cut-off shorts) play Clark’s adoptive parents, Laurence Fishburne is Perry White, and Russell Crowe is Jor-El, Superman’s birth father who sent his only child to Earth so he wouldn’t perish along with everyone else on Krypton when it ceased to exist.
If the film is a success – and for all intents and purposes it appears that’ll be the case – will it finally convince the suits at Warner Bros. to finally move forward with their long-gestating Justice League film?