On the Marquee for the Week of Sept. 8 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 10 & Saturday Sept. 13: Oculus 4:15 p.m. 9/9 & 9 p.m. 9/13 @ UWM Union Theatre (FREE!) I rather dug Oculus when it came out earlier this year in wide release, and thanks to the UWM Union’s Hollywood Film Series, you’ll have a chance to as well. It makes the most of its limited budget with sympathetic lead performances (Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan is quite good) and a genuinely unnerving hook that combines notions of inherited mental illness alongside the paranormal. Well worth checking out! Wednesday, Sept. 10:  Create Option C: My Journey with Cancer 6 p.m. @…

I Streamed a Stream- September Edition

INEQUALITY FOR ALL (2013, dir. Jacob Kornbluth) Available on Netflix. With Labor Day (and not the one where Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin sensually make pies) just past, what better way to celebrate the prosperity born off the backs of hard-working Americans than with this sobering portrait of the ever-widening income gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else? Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich provides impish charm throughout the doc as our guide into this heart of financial darkness, imbuing what could be a despairing look at the haves and have-nones with a sense of unflagging optimism and a…

On the Marquee for the Week of Sept. 1 2014

Monday, Sept. 1 through Wednesday, Sept. 3: UWM Union Theatre’s Fall Welcome series continues 7 p.m., see below for list of films (FREE!) We already dug deep into what UWM’s Union Theatre had in store for its returning students, but that program continues through Wednesday this week, so here is how it wraps up. Monday at 7 p.m. Godzilla (reviewed here by yours truly) Tuesday at 7 p.m.  The Grand Budapest Hotel (reviewed here by yours truly) Wednesday at 7 p.m. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (reviewed here by yours truly) Tuesday, Sept. 2: Citizen Koch released on DVD Check…

A Man for No Seasons

As we try to navigate our way through an increasingly complex world where the line between those sworn to protect and those who wish to destroy becomes ever blurrier, it makes sense that the movies in our cineplexes reflect that reality. And while that can lead to masterpieces painted in shades of grey (No Country for Old Men) it can also lead to crude finger paintings like The November Man, a movie that wants to operate as a Jason Bourne movie, where instead of having the protagonist struggling to remember his past, he tries to forget it one finger of…

Reviewing ‘Expendables 3’

The good news for the Expendables series is this third installment marks the first to closely resemble a real movie. The two previous films felt more akin to a live telethon with their cavalcade of celebrities performing bit-parts, slapdash and stilted dialogue. There’s character motivation, passable action sequences and an actual reason for the eponymous mercenaries to lay siege to the barren third-world locale of its finale (here named Azmanistan, whose initial pronunciation made me believe it to be the first country ever named after a license plate from Seinfeld). Even so, it closely resembles a bad movie – which,…

On the Marquee for the Week of Aug. 25 2014

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…

Reviewing ‘Calvary’

Calvary, from writer/director John Michael McDonagh (brother of writer/director/playwright Martin McDonagh, creator of Seven Psychopaths and In Bruges) shares a lot in common stylistically with his brother’s previous work – an adherence to the blending of pitch-black comedy alongside drama, along with a deeply playful metatextual streak unafraid to indulge in dialogue that toes the line of unraveling the very dramatic construction we’re meant to buy into. And while John Michael doesn’t navigate the hairpin tonal shifts with the ease of his brother, some of the humor and more broadly sketched characters graze the traffic cones of believability here. He has…

Reviewing ‘Land Ho!’

Like What If, Land Ho! isn’t a film attempting to disguise its familiarity to audiences. We’ve all seen road trip cinema before and know what to expect: scenic vistas, moments of turmoil between travelers soon resolved, epiphanies reached while basking in the glory of Gaia’s vast expanses. Where Aaron Katz and Martha Steven succeed with their jazzy variation on this theme is in the small details – warm lead performances, dialogue and conversation whose unstructured feeling gently indicate hidden reservoirs of emotion instead of accessing them directly and a delicate pacing that doesn’t overstate its case, simply content to follow…

On the Marquee for the Week of Aug. 18 2014

***CRITIC’S CHOICE*** Tuesday, August 19: Y tu mama tambien and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! both released on DVD Available at all finer local media retailers. Check individual stores for pricing. Two sexy works of genius from two master filmmakers (Pedro Almodovar and Alfonso Cuaron) make their bow this week, thanks to the Criterion collection. If you haven’t seen these provocative works before, this is the perfect chance to get acquainted. Before his dalliance in the Harry Potter universe and extraordinary contribution to the world of cinematic long takes with Children of Men and Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron made this…

Reviewing ‘What If’

Despite the best intentions from the filmmakers behind What If to differentiate itself from the traditional rom-com formula, they have still crafted a movie that is, by and large, generic. However, one definitely gets the sense that writer Elan Mastai and director Michael Dowse (adapting a stage play) are making bold moves that aim to subvert unsavory elements of the cinematic romantic pursuit. Luckily for them, what separates a by-the-numbers storyline in movies like this are charismatic performers and clever dialogue, two attributes this film has in spades. Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe bring liveliness and energy to their roles…