On the Marquee for the Week of August 4 2014

***CRITIC’S CHOICE*** Monday, August 4 through Sunday, August 10: See Boyhood at the Oriental Theatre Check the Landmark Theaters website for showtimes/pricing This space will be updated when my review goes live tomorrow, but I highly encourage you to check out the Linklatest work from Richard at any point this week. I feel confident this will be hanging around the Oriental for quite some time, but this is a film where you can surely believe the hype: a beautiful exploration of the passage of time with beautiful performances that move at the speed of life. Tuesday, August 5 and Thursday,…

***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Monday, August 4 through Sunday, August 10: See Boyhood at the Oriental Theatre
Check the Landmark Theaters website for showtimes/pricing

This space will be updated when my review goes live tomorrow, but I highly encourage you to check out the Linklatest work from Richard at any point this week. I feel confident this will be hanging around the Oriental for quite some time, but this is a film where you can surely believe the hype: a beautiful exploration of the passage of time with beautiful performances that move at the speed of life.

Tuesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 7: Hook
1:30 p.m. @ Times Cinema ($2!)

I can’t top the Blues Traveler reference I made in last week’s column, so why even try? Milwaukee’s very own “Kierkegaard of the keyboards” spoke so eloquently last week, let’s just remind you of his beautiful musings: “Hook is not a good movie, but it has acquired a Goonies-esque following amongst those young enough to be dazzled by the (admittedly impressive) set design and costumes upon its initial release that continues to bang the drum for it to this day. Spielberg hasn’t been at the center of many misfires over his career, but this is certainly one of them.”

***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Wednesday, August 6:  The Merry Widow (1934)
7:30 p.m. @ Charles Allis Art Museum ($7/$5/free for adults/seniors and students/museum members)

Ernst Lubitsch is on my Mount Rushmore of filmmakers – a filmmaker whose uncanny ability to make sophisticated comedies that refuse to speak down to their audience with a career of masterpieces to show for it (Ninotchka, To Be or Not to Be, The Shop Around the Corner, Trouble in Paradise). In addition to this, Lubitsch can also be credited as one of the pioneers of the Hollywood musical, of which category this most definitely belongs. Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier and Edward Everett Horton bring all of their charm and wit to bear in this adaptation of Franz Lehar’s operetta of the same name. The opportunity to see work from Lubitsch on the big screen locally is so rare; I highly recommend you take Charles Allis up on this opportunity.

Thursday, August 7: The Wizard of Oz screens as part of Oconomowoc’s Moonlit Movies series
Dusk @ Fowler Lake Park (Free!) Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m.

Before The Wizard of Oz took America/the planet by storm, it had its world premiere in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin – a pretty awesome slice of local trivia. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of that occasion, the Moonlit Movies series will be screening Oz alongside an entire day of festivities this Thursday evening. Come early (the last time this was screened attendance numbered in the thousands) and enjoy one of the greatest movies ever made.

Friday, August 8: Magic in the Moonlight opens at the Oriental Theatre
Check the Landmark Theaters website for showtimes and pricing.

The twilight of Woody Allen’s career has established a very Star Trekian pattern of quality – with a great entry being followed up with something less than stellar, so one would expect that Magic in the Moonlight would be one of those unfortunate entries following in the footsteps of the very good Blue Jasmine of the previous year. Luckily, this trend is bucked – despite a flabby middle portion. Magic in the Moonlight is a very charming bit of fluff with lovely lead performances from Colin Firth and Emma Stone. The movie’s dealings with faith and belief in the face of rational thinking move in a pretty predictable direction given the filmmaker, but there’s a sort of love-based agnosticism at play here that makes the movie warmer and gentler than one has come to expect from his previous work. Plus, when a film ends as note-perfectly as this one does, you’re willing to overlook deficiencies in other areas. A solid choice for light-hearted entertainment this weekend.

Friday, August 8: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Into the Storm, The Hundred-Foot Journey and Step Up All In open in wide release
Check local listings for showtimes and pricing.

This is quite the eclectic bunch making their bow in theaters this week, with a lot of specific interests being catered to. Any 10-year-old storm chasing, dance/Indian food enthusiast is going to be getting the most Venn Diagram overlap out of these releases. People are slightly agitated by this latest Ninja Turtles reboot, as though the beautiful storytelling prowess that previous iterations have provided will be diluted by this attempt. I was OBSESSED with TMNT as a kid, but even I am not foolish enough to argue for the integrity of a series that has been used to sell toys ever since the original Eastman/Laird comics were brought to the small screen in animated form way back when. So forgive me for not being overly concerned that Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production shingle is going to take a wrecking ball to my childhood memories. If the turtles do karate and like pizza, they’ve pretty much nailed it. In any event, I’m sure kids will dig this and hopefully I will, too.

Tornadoes and found-footage films will be combined this weekend with Into the Storm, a Twister for the millennial-set. For all the movies where apocalyptic evil threatens our existence it’s nice to be reminded that nature is still a one seed in the serial killer bracket, and since we don’t live on the coasts, tornadoes tend to be the most immediate and visceral example of nature exerting itself we have. Hopefully the film embraces its roller-coaster ride premise and just amps up the thrill factor throughout.

As a bit of counter-programming to that sound and fury is Lasse Hallstrom’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, a Helen Mirren-led picture about rival restaurants (one Indian, the other traditional French cuisine) opening across the street from one another in France and the conflict that rises when these people from different walks of life butt heads. Don’t worry, there’s certain to be a resolution both heart-warming and delicious in this bit of cinematic comfort food.

I personally love the Step Up series – it’s the closest thing we have to the structure of old Hollywood musicals left, always taking the most bare-bones of stories and filling it with kinetic and amazing dance numbers throughout, so you know I’m excited that there are now five entries in the Stepupiverse and even more excited that this one is bringing the gang back together from many of the previous films. You know there’s a dance competition, you know this rag-tag group of kids need to win it, and you know it will be AWESOME even at its stupidest.

Friday, August 8: The LEGO Movie concludes New Berlin’s ‘Movies in the Park’ series
Dusk @ Malone Park, 16400 W. Al Stigler Parkway (Free!)

Will I ever cease telling you about screenings of The LEGO Movie?  Yes, the outdoor screening season is fast winding to a close, so the opportunities are narrowing down. But let’s throw it to the film critic some describe as “the rollerblading Baudelaire of the Midwest” to tell you that The LEGO Movie “had no right to be as good as it ended up being. Based on a narrative-free toy line, the idea that it could be one of the funniest, most entertaining and simultaneously subversive movies of the year would’ve been laughable just a year ago. But such is the alchemy of co-creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have proven themselves the master of making brilliance out of movies that probably never should’ve been greenlit in the first place.”

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Tom Fuchs is a Milwaukee-based film writer whose early love for cinema has grown into a happy obsession. He graduated with honors in Film Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has since focused on film criticism. He works closely with the Milwaukee Film Festival and has written reviews and ongoing columns for Milwaukee Magazine since 2012. In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs at home (watching movies), taking day trips to Chicago (to see movies), and reading books (about movies). You can follow him on Twitter @tjfuchs or email him at tjfuchs@gmail.com.