This week in the local film world: Kenosha celebrates Orson Welles, the Oriental gets "Haunted," Charles Allis screens "Ball of Fire," and much more.

Wednesday, May 6: Back to the Future

4:15 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!)

There’s not much that you can say about Robert Zemeckis’ all-timer – great director, performances, and one of the best scripts ever crafted for a Hollywood blockbuster all combine to make this a movie worthy of the ‘classic’ distinction.

Wednesday, May 6:  Rifftrax Live! The Room

7 p.m. @ Local Marcus Theaters (Check here for listings)

A modern cult classic gets the Rifftrax treatment here. I don’t necessarily think The Room necessitates people making jokes over it, the film itself is weird and hilarious enough without any punching up, but these guys are pros and this should be a blast to watch. Just be sure to have seen Tommy Wiseau’s masterwork in its originally intentioned glory before you see this version!


Wednesday, May 6: Ball of Fire

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

One of my very favorite films has a special screening this week in Milwaukee, and I can’t encourage you enough to check it out. Try this on for size: a film directed by Howard Hawks, with cinematography by Gregg Toland, a screenplay from Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder (in fact, the last thing Wilder wrote before he became a director himself), a Gene Krupa musical interlude and performances from Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in the lead roles. Pretty formidable, no? This is an unfortunately forgotten screwball comedy that holds up to repeat viewings – trust me; I’ve seen it over a dozen times. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch this film locally!

Thursday, May 7: Heaven Adores You

7 p.m. @ Local Marcus Theaters (Check here for listings)

A documentary that looks into the life and times of musician Elliott Smith and the impact his music continues to have after his death.

Thursday, May 7:  Haunted State – Whispers from History Past

7 p.m. @ Oriental Theatre (BUY TICKETS HERE)

Go on a journey through some of Wisconsin’s most famous historical sites and the paranormal history each of them contain in this extensive documentary. Filmed over the course of 30 months, you’ll get a fascinating look at a state that some have claimed may have more ghosts per square mile than any other.

Thursday, May 7: The Hungarian Cube

7 p.m. @ Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (FREE)

A documentary portrait of Israel Prize-winning composer Andre Hajdu, who balances avant garde artistic work with an Orthodox religious life.

Thursday, May 7: 6th Annual Student Zen Film Festival

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!)

Short films crafted by students who took the Zen and the Art of Filmmaking class screen in this program, students whose work is influenced through practicing the art of Zen.

Friday, May 8: Student Film and Video Festival

7 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!)

The best work from UWM students is compiled for your viewing pleasures this Friday evening.  The best works of film, video, animation and other experimental forms will all join together and show just how vibrant and thriving the film community is in Milwaukee for film students.

Friday, May 8: Hot Pursuit opens in wide release

Check local listings for theaters/showtimes

Because you demanded it: Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon have finally combined their powers in support of a buddy action comedy wherein Witherspoon’s police officer must protect Vergara’s widow of a drug dealer from crooked co-workers and criminals who wish her dead. Everyone is still leery of hopping in the wide release pool in the wake of The Avengers making a cannonball, so this is all you have to choose from this weekend.

Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9: Citizen Welles – A Community Celebration of Kenoshan George Orson Welles on the occasion of his 100th birthday

Check here for programs and events (all events this weekend FREE!)

Orson Welles was Kenosha-born and although he moved out of Wisconsin shortly thereafter, his seismic contribution to the cinematic arts is worthy of celebration. Friday’s kick-off event at Carthage College features short films made in his honor, a compilation of his career highlights and a presentation from local film historian Patrick McGilligan who has a book (Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane) coming out later this year about Welles.

Saturday, May 9:  The Westerner

7 p.m. @ The Church in the City, 2648 N. Hackett Ave. ($3)

Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper square off in this classic western, a film that netted Brennan an Oscar for his performance as the infamous Judge Roy Bean.   William Wyler brings verve to this highly fictionalized portrait of Bean’s life, with Cooper’s drifter running afoul of, making friends with, and eventually reaching a tragic conclusion with Bean’s self-appointed judge, jury and executioner.