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Fish Fry and a Flick kicks off with 'Beetlejuice,' 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' plays at Veterans Park, and 'Minions,' 'Amy,' 'Self/Less' and more open locally.

Tuesday, July 7 & Thursday, July 9: Night at the Museum

10 a.m. & 1 p.m. @ The Times Cinema/Avalon Theater ($2)

Coasting by on the strength of its premise (something that literally every child that has ever set foot in a museum has considered), Night at the Museum is a fun family trifle. Stiller gives good everyman, and the plot moves briskly enough.

 

Thursday, July 9: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

Dusk @ Fowler Park in Oconomowoc (Pre-Movie activities @ 6 p.m.) (FREE)

This one got past me on its initial release, but between its director (Miguel Arteta, of The Good Girl & Youth in Revolt) and the recent run of films based on slim children’s tomes that have proven excellent (Where the Wild Things Are & Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) I’d be more than willing to give it a try.

 

Friday, July 10: Self/Less, Minions and The Gallows open in wide release

Check local listings for showtimes/pricing

You wouldn’t know that Self/Less is from the visually audacious director Tarsem by looking at it and that is slightly worrisome. Hopefully he has enough visual histrionics up his sleeve to compensate for what looks like a relatively by-the-numbers sci-fi plot. It matters little anyway, because Minions will steamroll any competition at the box office this weekend in their continued dominance of the pop culture landscape. I don’t much care for the Despicable Me movies, but it’s hard to argue with the notion that the minions are the best part of those films. We’ll see if they have enough juice to carry their own story this weekend.

And finally, another found footage horror movie drops this weekend. This time out, kids break into their school at night to sabotage a play and find that the deceased child who the play is being performed in honor of doesn’t care how noble their intentions are. Maybe it will be good, it will certainly be profitable, and the Earth will continue its ceaseless orbit.

Friday, July 10: Testament of Youth and Amy open locally in limited release

Check local listings for showtimes/pricing

There are some good options for the more discerning filmgoer this weekend. Testament of Youth continues 2015’s Vikandermania, with the actress (so phenomenally good in Ex Machina) taking on the role of Vera Brittain, the WWI nurse whose memoirs this movie is based on. Kit Harrington (Jon Snow, y’all) and Taron Egerton (Eggsy something or another, y’all) help round out the cast.  It has received quite rapturous praise from critics and I can’t wait to see it.

I have seen Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary from filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Senna) and I can tell you it’s a great work of documentary filmmaking regardless of your familiarity with Winehouse’s career or tabloid exploits. Rescuing her from the crude purgatory public opinion felt so confident casting her into, Kapadia allows us to see the overwhelmed young woman at the center of this media maelstrom, completely taken by surprise by her immediate ascent into the music stratosphere. We are well acquainted with how the numerous family members failed her (and even worse, exploited her) by the film’s end as we experience every peak and valley of her far-too-short career (including a number of painful relapses). Kapadia lets the footage do most of the heavy lifting, as Winehouse is one of the first celebrity documentary subjects to have come of age in an era where we’re constantly filming ourselves. It’s a heartbreaking exploration of our modern fame culture and how one massively talented woman was eaten alive by it.

Friday, July 10: Paddington

Dusk @ Ellsworth Park in Bayside (600 E. Ellsworth Ln) (FREE)

Paddington is still one of the very best films I’ve seen this year and there’s little chance it won’t be on my “best of” list at the end of the year. It’s just magnificent family filmmaking, funny and touching in equal doses (in a classical way too, no references to pop culture to be seen, just a large amount of slapstick silliness) and well worth checking out if you missed it on its initial release.

Friday, July 10: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Dusk @ Malone Park (16400 W. Al Stigler Parkway, New Berlin) (FREE)

A little weirder option for families presents itself this Friday in Willy Wonka. Gene Wilder is great here, and there are plenty of memorable moments even if the film doesn’t hang together quite the way you’d hope it would.

Friday, July 10: Despicable Me 2

Dusk @ Veteran’s Memorial Park in Port Washington (FREE)

If you want to make it a Minions weekend, then you have the sequel to Despicable Me playing this weekend as well.  Chances are you might not like it, but your kid probably will.

***CRITIC’S CHOICE***

Friday, July 10: Beetlejuice kicks off Fish Fry and a Flick

Dusk @ Discovery World (500 N. Harbor Dr.) (FREE)

Probably the most popular outdoor movie option the Milwaukee area has to offer finally makes its return this Friday, with Tim Burton’s delightfully macabre Beetlejuice. A million childhood crushes were cemented overnight with Winona Ryder’s performance here, and it’s hard to deny Michael Keaton’s force of nature work as the titular demonic presence. It’s a hoot, and you can enjoy some tasty brews and fried goods while you’re at it.

Saturday, July 11: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Dusk @ Veterans Park (1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive) (FREE)

Wrap up this whirlwind week of movie options with one of the all-time classic adventure pictures this Saturday evening. Spielberg’s homage to adventure serials is just as fun as you remember it being and if your kids are in the right age range for this one, they’ll be transported like we all once were upon first seeing Indy try and outrun a giant boulder.

 

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