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Monday, August 25: Doctor Who’s season premiere episode “Deep Breath” screens in cinemas 7 p.m. @ AMC Mayfair 18 and the Marcus Majestic, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore cinemas Click here to buy tickets.  My allegiance to Doctor Who was already made plain when I geeked out for the special big-screen appearance of the […]

Monday, August 25: Doctor Who’s season premiere episode “Deep Breath” screens in cinemas
7 p.m. @ AMC Mayfair 18 and the Marcus Majestic, North Shore, Ridge and South Shore cinemas Click here to buy tickets. 

My allegiance to Doctor Who was already made plain when I geeked out for the special big-screen appearance of the 50th anniversary special last year, so it should come as no surprise that I’d encourage you to check out the season premiere which is being screened nationwide tonight. This screening is the inaugural adventure for Peter Capaldi (In the Loop, World War Z) in the role of The Doctor, whose alien heritage allows him to regenerate instead of die, which has allowed the series to run for as long as it has, frequently rebooting its lead actor. And to give a little bit extra juice to my movie nerds, this premiere episode is directed by British director Ben Wheatley, creator of such cult oddities as A Field In England, The Kill List and Sightseers.  It’s a great introduction to the new series with its slightly sharper edges and darker tones (I’ll only say this: hot air balloon made of human skin) and should be a blast to take in amongst fellow Whovians.

***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Wednesday, August 27 through August 31: UWM Union Theatre’s Fall Welcome week screens Godzilla ’14, House Party, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Roommate, Divergent and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
Showtimes listed below (FREE!)

With a truly uncanny ability to sense the depressing lull release calendars have been sucked into in the middle of August, the UWM Union Theatre returns with a full slate of free screenings to welcome students for the fall semester. And while attending functions specifically aimed at college-aged students may leave me feeling a little bit like this –

 

-when the schedule is as appealing as this one, I’m willing to take that chance. A mixture of classic and recent releases round out the lineup, and here’s how it shakes out this week:

Wednesday: Godzilla (reviewed here by yours truly) @ 9 p.m.

Thursday:  House Party @ 7 p.m. and The Grand Budapest Hotel (reviewed here by yours truly) @ 9 p.m.

Friday: The Roommate @ 7 p.m. and Divergent (reviewed here by yours truly) @ 9 p.m.

Saturday: House Party @ 7 p.m. and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (reviewed here by yours truly) @ 9 p.m.

Sunday: The Roommate @ 8 p.m. and Divergent @ 10 p.m.

It’s a stellar lineup in what looks to be a stellar season’s worth of programming at UWM, and a welcomed respite from the late-summer doldrums that mainstream releases have been mired in the last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 27: The November Man opens in wide release
Check local listings for showtimes and pricing.

I’m a sucker for movies that appear as though they should’ve been Direct-to-Video releases that somehow snake their way out into theaters, so this Pierce Brosnan-led spy games thriller is right up my alley. The production company has already started work on a sequel (this film is based on a series of novels of the same name) so it’s clear that they’re confident in the quality of what they’ve made. Roger Donaldson has made some solid genre entertainment before (The Bank Job, Species) so I’m willing to give this flick a shot.

Wednesday, August 27: “Frozen”
Dusk @ LaFollette Park – 9418 W. Washington St., West Allis (FREE!)

The quotes are only there because The Friends of LaFollette Park are not able to literally name what they’re screening due to licensing issues, but unless their description of the film being screened as “a movie about two really chilly girls” leads to a last minute, rug-pulling screening of The Last Days of Disco, then Frozen will continue its endless parade that started in our theaters and has cascaded out into the streets and parks that we call home. Can no one stop its rampage?

Friday, August 29: The Trip to Italy opens at the Oriental Theatre
Check the Landmark Theaters website for showtimes and pricing.

Fans of the original Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon pairing in The Trip will be happy to see they’ve reunited with director Michael Winterbottom for a sequel to that perfectly agreeable amble. The original film (chipped away into movie length after being commissioned as a TV series, the same as this sequel) found Coogan and Brydon playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves as they toured restaurants of northern England. This time the pair will try to out-do each other comedically as they take a gastronomic jaunt through Italy. The chemistry is magnificent, as I’m sure the scenery and food will also be. Reviews suggest that if you had any affinity for the original release, this will be a welcome second helping.

Friday, August 29: As Above, So Below opens in wide release
Check local listings for showtimes and pricing.

Wherever there’s a week in the national release calendar that is on the anemic side of things, you can be sure a found-footage horror movie will be there – like the barnacles that attach themselves to the jaw of a whale, this genre trope has struck up some awful symbiotic relationship with the box office that we’ve yet to destroy. On the bright side, As Above, So Below takes place inside the catacombs beneath Paris, an unusually rich location to set a horror film in, with the leads experiencing visions of their past as they venture further into the final resting place for over six million citizens. And (we’re reaching, now) that’s a pretty decent title in terms of remaining generic but not feeling quite so much so as The Quiet Ones or The Marked Ones or The One.

 

Sunday, August 31: Back to the Future
Dusk @ Gift of Wings Kite Store in Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive (FREE!)

You don’t need no credit card to ride this outdoor screening train when Back to the Future screens this weekend in Veterans Park (note: it’s Sunday this week, not Saturday). Robert Zemeckis’ pristinely crafted time-travel yarn is always worth checking out, a testament to perfect screenwriting structure with a cast of awesome performers (Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover). What better place to share an all-time classic with friends than along the lakefront?

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