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Tuesday, July 29: WISCONSIN’S MINING STANDOFF 7 p.m. @ Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center 1500 E. Park Place (Free!) Kick off your week with some local flavour from our very own 371 Productions. Director Brad Lichtenstein (As Goes Janesville) has made a short documentary (for the Al Jazeera series ‘Fault Lines’) surrounding the contentious battle […]

Tuesday, July 29: WISCONSIN’S MINING STANDOFF
7 p.m. @ Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center 1500 E. Park Place (Free!)

Kick off your week with some local flavour from our very own 371 Productions. Director Brad Lichtenstein (As Goes Janesville) has made a short documentary (for the Al Jazeera series ‘Fault Lines’) surrounding the contentious battle over potential iron mining in the pristine Penokee mountain range in Northern Wisconsin. With our polarizing governor signing legislation that paved the way for mining to take place, Native American tribes, local residents and local politicians worried about environmental and water damage clashed with those excited by the jobs this mining project would produce. Rarely does a documentary so wildly relevant to our particular locale play in Milwaukee, so this is a great chance to get informed on a hot-button issue that continues to rage on today.

Thursday, July 31: THE PRINCESS BRIDE
1:30 p.m. @ The Times Cinema ($2!)

This is just the continuation of the screenings for The Princess Bride that took place late last week. A man once labelled as “film criticism’s rebel poet” described it thusly: “One of the most beloved motion pictures of all-time, The Princess Bride needs little in the way of introduction from me. Based on the equally-celebrated novel from William Goldman, it enchants and delights audiences young and old, both embracing and gently teasing fairy tale traditions in its story of pirates, princesses, giants, true love and revenge.” Smart words from an amazing man.

Friday, August 1: CADDYSHACK plays as the second selection of the Point Fish Fry and a Flick series

Now that’s more like it.  After opening up the Fish Fry and a Flick series with the resolutely mediocre American Hustle, we move on to an all-time comedy classic in Caddyshack. One of the best variations on the slobs versus snobs theme, classic performances from Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Ted Knight are all in service of what should be a great audience experience, comprised largely of diehards who could recite the film by heart. Eat some fried food, drink some beer, and watch some classic comedy. What could be better?

***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Friday, August 1: BOYHOOD and I ORIGINS open in limited release, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY open in wide release

After a false alarm two weeks ago, Boyhood finally makes it way to the big screen in Milwaukee this weekend. Richard Linklater has been working on this film over the course of a 12-year period as actor Ellar Coltrane grew from the age of 6 to 18, and the film looks to chart the titular transitional period wherein a boy grows into a man. It currently rests at nearly 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is being hailed as unlike anything you’ve seen on the big screen before, enjoying an almost consensus rapturous response from the critical elite. There’s something ineffable that Linklater appears to be capturing here about growing up, where memories sort of congeal into a general sort of ‘past’, so the idea of watching the incremental growth of a human being sounds anthropologically/cinematically glorious, like a time-lapsed version of Apted’s Seven Up or Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series.

 

Also dropping at the Landmark theaters this weekend is the new film from the darlings of the indie science fiction scene, Mike Cahill and Brit Marling. They first burst onto the scene with Another Earth and they’ve returned with another similarly contemplative premise, this time focused on a group of scientists (played by Marling and lead Michael Pitt) doing ocular research that leads to some possibly profound discoveries about the soul and reincarnation when Pitt discovers his deceased wife’s exact eyes have shown up again on a homeless Indian girl. Cahill and Marling both tend to gravitate toward intellectually-challenging material, and advanced word suggests this is more of the same.

Last, but certainly not least this week, is a movie that made my most anticipated of 2014 list earlier this year, James Gunn’s Marvel Comics-based space opera, Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on what to the mainstream is a beyond-obscure corner of the Marvel characters stable, this general lack of familiarity allows Gunn and co. a bit more leash in terms of how they choose to personify this particular team. Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) is a bonafide movie star, and his performance as Peter “Star Lord” Quill is the proof. I won’t give much away in advance of my review that will run this Friday, except to say that this is possibly the most complete package Marvel has put together yet, visually or narratively, and Gunn has made the most surprisingly emotional entry into the superhero genre with this story of a misfit team comprised of a sentient tree and talking raccoon.

Saturday, August 2: HOOK continues the Summer Throwback series at the Times
10:30 a.m. @ The Times Cinema ($2!)     

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. I am morbidly curious as to how the work done by Robin Williams and Julia Roberts here has aged, so let’s all head out to the Times this weekend and chant ‘Rufio’ until our voices disappear.

Saturday, August 2: THE LEGO MOVIE plays as part of the Film on the Hill series in Humboldt Park
Dusk @ Bandshell inside Humboldt Park 3000 S. Howell Ave (Free!)

The Lego Movie is fast catching up to Frozen this year as the most replayed summer movie option, this time taking place at the bandshell in Humboldt Park in Bay View. To reiterate what some handsome local film critic previously said 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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