With the weather still keeping everyone indoors, it’s another good weekend to take advantage of Madison’s busy movie scene. Here’s what’s playing around town:
“Snitch” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seems to be in about 15 movies this year, judging by the Super Bowl ads. But reviews say this might be the best, a surprisingly gritty and thoughtful action picture about a dad who tries to save his teenage son from a hefty prison sentence for drug possession by going undercover for the feds.
“Dark Skies” (Point,, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Another suburban home, another family under siege by some malevolent force (I’m guessing aliens?) and another movie that apparently wasn’t screened for critics in advance.
“A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” (Sundance) — Bill Murray. Jason Schwartzman. Writer-director Roman Coppola (“CQ” and co-writer of several of Wes Anderson’s movies. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, pretty much everything.
“My Neighbor Totoro” (2 p.m. Sunday, Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.) — The UW-Cinematheque’s free Sunday afternoon series of films from the master Japanese animators at Studio Ghibli has been a howling success, with audiences lining up over an hour early. Get there extra early for this charmer from Hayao Miyazaki — I’ll bet the theater will be full by 1:15 p.m.
“The Loneliest Planet” (7 p.m. Friday, UW Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall) The Cinematheque is also hosting the Madison premiere of this lush and unnerving film about a young couple backpacking through the Caucasus mountains, and how one brief incident completely upends their relationship. Here’s my review, and the free screening will be preceded by some trailers for movies coming to the 2013 Wisconsin Film Festival.
“The Lady Eve” (7 p.m. Saturday, UW Cinematheque) — The series of Preston Sturges’ classics as a writer-director concludes with this hilarious but surprisingly elegant 1941 film with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda as a con artist and her patsy on a luxury ocean liner. Free!
“Argo” (7 p.m. and 9:30 Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Union South Marquee Theater, 1208 W. Dayton) Catch the frontrunner for Sunday’s Oscars for free at Union South. I’m still rooting for “Silver Linings Playbook” to pull an upset, but “Argo” is terrific filmmaking that shifts from drama to comedy to white-knuckle suspense. Here’s my review from October. Free!
“The Raid: Redemption” (midnight Friday and Saturday, Union South Marquee) — If you like action, stay up late for this nonstop shoot- and punch-em-up from Indonesia, about a team of police officers trapped in a high-rise apartment building full of bad guys. Here’s my review from last April. Free!
“Miami Connection” (7 p.m. Monday, Union South Marquee) — Once a month, UW-Cinematheque programs a “Marquee Monday” film that’s not highfalutin’ enough for the regular series. That’s certainly the case with “Miami Connection,” a joyfully inept ’80s action film featuring tae kwon do master Y.K. Kim that delivers inept action, synth rock, and, in the words of C’tek, “the single greatest scene of somebody checking their mailbox in the history of cinema.” Free!
“Funny Face” (7 p.m. Tuesday, Union South Marquee) — After a pair of documentaries on Diana Vreeland and Bill Cunningham, this series of fashion-related films co-sponsored by the Textile and Apparel Student Association features the darling 1957 film by Stanley Donen, starring Audrey Hepburn as a shopgirl-turned-supermodel. Free!
“Stand Up and Cheer” (7 p.m. Thursday, Chazen Museum) — In conjunction with the Chazen’s new exhibit “1934: A New Deal For Artists,” Cinematheque is presenting a new Thursday night series of films from (or set) in that year. First up is this Depression Era charmer about a government “Secretary of Amusement” trying to cheer up the country with the help of entertainers (including Shirley Temple.) Free!
“Skyfall” (9:30 p.m. Thursday, Union South Marquee) Catch James Bond’s latest outing (and one of his best), as Daniel Craig’s 007 roots out a threat to M (Judi Dench) in a former MI6 agent (a wonderful Javier Bardem). It’s the perfect blend of classic 007 elements with a deeper psychological and emotional undercurrent than we’ve ever seen before. Free, and it’ll play all next weekend at the Marquee too.