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On the Marquee for the week of June 9, 2014
Summer screening options pile up.

Monday, June 9: Drive
Dusk @ Brocach Irish Pub, 1850 N. Water St. (FREE!) Call to make reservations: (414) 431-9009

Through Labor Day, Brocach Irish Pub will show a free movie on their patio every Monday at dusk, and this week’s option is the Ryan Gosling/Nicolas Winding Refn exercise, Drive. With its laconic protagonist, Drive feels like a movie that clawed its way out of someone’s dream of the ‘80s and onto our big screens. There’s no denying that their work here is stellar.

 

Wednesday, June 11:  The Black Swan
7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)

If you’re a fan of movies with pirates beyond those featuring a fey Johnny Depp, then know this: The Black Swan is the gold standard, and not having seen it is a problem that must be quickly rectified. As the trailer says, this is Power’s ‘lustiest role,’ and it’s my personal favorite among his performances. The Black Swan is exactly what you want out of a pirate picture – the narrative fat is trimmed leaving a lean and succinct narrative, and you can bet your bottom dollar that plenty of buckles will be swashed.

  

Thursday, June 12: Frozen
Dusk @ Fowler Park in Oconomowoc Festivities begin 6 p.m. (FREE!) Click here for more information.

Summertime means outdoor screening, and outdoor screenings means you’re going to get a whole lot of kids singing “Let it Go.” The Frozen backlash finally occurred, with attacks on its being visually lackluster (somewhat justified) and narratively inert (musicals let the musical numbers do the emotional heavy lifting), but now we can move past trifling criticisms and accept that it has brought back the classic Disney formula from the dead, something we can all agree is a good thing. It’s funny, moving and filled with a murderer’s row of ear worms that you will be humming for the foreseeable future.


Friday, June 13: How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street open in wide release
Check local listings for showtimes and pricing.

The efficacy rate for summer blockbuster sequels is not, shall we say, confidence inspiring. But this week is special in that we’re being gifted two sequels (a review for coming later this week!) that buck that trend and continue to be benchmarks of quality in both children’s animation and R-rated comedy.  How to Train Your Dragon was not necessarily a surprise hit, but even so, the narrative and animated sophistication on display in the first film rivaled the best form has to offer. And in the mode of all great sequels, How to Train Your Dragon 2 expands the scope and deepens the emotional connection with its characters instead of trying to replicate exactly what made the first film so great. And it’s the rare film that I’ll go all in on recommending 3D for, with numerous stunning sequences that place you right in the heart of the film’s many and varied kinetic action sequences.

Meanwhile, Phil Lord and Chris Miller are warlocks.  What other explanation can there be for how they’ve managed to spin cinematic gold out of what appeared to be a series of poor ideas? Like: a 32-page children’s book, a comedy reboot of a 1980’s television series and a movie based off a product line. Now they set their sights on a movie sequel, creating in 22 Jump Street what is being billed as one of the most meta pictures of all time, digging into the creative bankruptcy that plagues so many sequels every year. Miller and Lord are on fire right now, and I’ll follow their fine-tuned comedic minds in whatever direction they choose to lead me.

 


***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Friday, June 13: Ida and Citizen Koch open in limited release at Oriental and Downer Theatres, respectively
Check Landmark Theatres website for showtimes and pricing.

If sequels to summer movie hits aren’t what you’re looking for this weekend, we have one of the best reviewed films of the year, and a MiFF alum documentary both making their bow. Lauded for its gorgeous, stark black-and-white cinematography and haunting minimalist performances, Ida continues to garner acclaim with every stop it makes throughout its limited platform release. Pawel Powlikowski has returned to his native country to make his first Polish film, a wholly effective story of a young nun-to-be and the life-altering discovery she makes about her family history on the eve of taking her vows. Since the sweepingly positive word has begun trickling out about this picture, there have been few I have been anticipating as eagerly.

If you missed out on the opportunity to take in Citizen Koch during last year’s Milwaukee Film Festival, a new opportunity has arisen. Taking an in-depth look into the havoc wreaked by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, documentarians Carl Deal and Tia Lessin look at how the profligate private funding from billionaires flooding the political arena has turned democracy into a product for sale to the highest bidder. The film is of interest to anyone worried about the state of politics in the age of corporate influence. Knowing this film deals heavily with the battle between our governor and the unions he has sought to bust makes it appointment viewing for any impassioned Wisconsinite.





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