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On the Marquee for the Week of Aug. 18, 2014
This week's cinema covers all ranges from adolescence to adulthood.

Tuesday, August 19: Y tu mama tambien and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! both released on DVD

Available at all finer local media retailers. Check individual stores for pricing.

Two sexy works of genius from two master filmmakers (Pedro Almodovar and Alfonso Cuaron) make their bow this week, thanks to the Criterion collection. If you haven’t seen these provocative works before, this is the perfect chance to get acquainted. Before his dalliance in the Harry Potter universe and extraordinary contribution to the world of cinematic long takes with Children of Men and Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron made this magnificent coming-of-age tale that introduced American audiences to Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal as two teenage boys venturing a road trip with the older Luisa (the remarkable Maribel Verdu). As for Almodovar, this is his first film to make its way into the Criterion collection – a controversial tribute to Stockholm syndrome as Antonio Banderas’ former mental patient tries to convince Victoria Abril’s former porn star and addict to marry him by any means necessary. Instrumental in bringing the NC-17 rating into existence (it originally was slapped with an ‘X’), this is a great entry into the brightly-colored, melodramatic world of Almodovar. It’s a great double feature for adventurous film lovers.


Tuesday, August 19: Frozen

Dusk @ Hart Park Performance Stage, 6600 River Pkwy, Wauwatosa (FREE!)

I think Frozen has retaken the lead in the “most times played during the summer” derby. It’s not exactly surprising. As Milwaukee’s most elegant film critic had previously said, Frozen is “funny, moving and filled with a murderer’s row of ear worms that you will be humming for the foreseeable future.” Kids love it. You love it. We all love it.

Wednesday, August 20: The Merry Widow ‘52

7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)

Continuing their summer program of original films followed by their remakes, we get the 1952 Lana Turner-led version of The Merry Widow this Wednesday. Restructured to suit her talents (singing wasn’t among them), and decked out with lavish interior set and costume design (nabbing Oscar noms for both), this Merry Widow might not be the effervescent entertainment that the previous vintage version was, but it’s still a sumptuous feast for the eyes.

Friday, August 22: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay and When the Game Stands Tall open in wide release

Check local listings for showtimes and pricing.

Not the most awe-inspiring slate of new release this weekend, but being the eternal cinematic optimist I am, let’s be hopeful anyway. Nine years seems like it might have been too long of a sabbatical between Sin City pictures – is there really an audience demand to return to the universe after so long? – but it makes sense when you consider Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller would happily return to one of their biggest successes after a forgetful stretch of filmmaking in the interim. And adding Joseph Gordon-Levitt has never harmed a film’s chances of entertainment. The original Sin City was too much of a good thing, with spectacular visuals and a hard-boiled flavor that became overbearing thanks to its two hour-plus run time. Since they’ve shaved a solid 20 minutes off for the sequel, perhaps they’ve learned from their mistakes.

Based on Gayle Forman’s novel, If I Stay is packed with strong performers (Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos and Blair Witch Project’s Joshua Leonard and Stacy Keach) which can hopefully make the dramatic stakes feel earned here. The fact that this movie is seeing a major release would suggest we already know what decision our protagonist has made as she determines whether to come back to life or slip away after a car accident that robbed her of her parents and left her comatose. But good performers can always elevate familiar material (see my review of last week’s What If for proof of that), so there’s a chance this will put you through the emotional wringer.

Speaking of generic, When the Game Stands Tall definitely has all competition beat this weekend. Sports movies rarely stray from their well-worn path, but I’ll be damned if they don’t work like gangbusters when the performers and material are well-crafted. We’ll have to see if this Jim Caviezel-led story about a high school football program dealing with impediments both small (record-winning streak broken) and large (coach having a heart attack, losing a teammate to gun violence) as they navigate the rough waters of both life and sport is one of such well-crafted sports tales.

Saturday, August 23: Cars

Dusk at Gift of Wings Kite Store in Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive (FREE!)

I’m pretty sure we’ve been over this before in On the Marquee, but this whole Cars universe of films creeps me out in a major way. Where are the humans? How does this planet inhabited by vehicles repopulate? Kids don’t seem to tune in to the ‘existential terror’ wavelength these films operate on. Chances are they’d be delighted (if you can grit your teeth through the philosophical nightmares this produces) to watch this on a most enjoyable summer night.

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