What’s playing in Madison theaters: April 12-18

Yeah, that’s fair. The week that the Wisconsin Film Festival begins is the same week that two of the films I’ve most looked forward to seeing so far in 2013 open at Sundance. Why not open Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder” as well and really twist the knife in?

Well, I suppose I should just be happy that Danny Boyle’s “Trance” and Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines” are here, and assume they’ll be around after the eight-day festival ends next Thursday.


All week

 “Trance” (Point, Sundance) – Danny Boyle seems to rocket back and forth between Oscar contenders (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours”) and gleeful genre fare (“28 Days Later,” “Sunshine”), and the appropriately named “Trance” definitely seems to fall in the latter category. It’s a trippy crime film about an art heist where the audience is never sure what’s real and what isn’t. It looks cool, anyway.


The Place Beyond the Pines” (Sundance) – Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to “Blue Valentine” is a similarly bleak drama, this time an epic crime drama about a cop (Bradley Cooper),  a robber (Ryan Gosling), and the connection between their two sons. Reviews suggest Cianfrance may have bitten off more than he can chew, but I’m more than curious.


42” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Cinema Café) – Writer-director Brian Helgeland’s biopic about Jackie Robinson looks earnest and inspiring – and would you want it to be any other way? Harrison Ford, playing crotchety baseball owner Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson and cross the color barrier when nobody else would, looks like he’s a ball of fire in this one.


Scary Movie V” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) – David Zucker, who recently slapped Robert Hays with a fish in the new Wisconsin Department of Tourism ad, goes back to the horror-movie-parody franchise yet again. And by “parody,” I mean “obvious references to recent horror movies that even people who just saw the trailer will get.” Sigh.




Girl Rising” (7 p.m., Union South) – Back by popular demand, the inspiring anthology film, looking at girls in eight different developing countries and their struggles to get a good education, has a free screening on campus. Highly recommended – here’s my reported from a packed Gathr screening last month.


Banff Mountain Film Festival (7 p.m., Barrymore Theatre) – The touring film festival features nature and environment documentaries from all across the countries, so much so that it’s spread across two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) this week with different film programs each night. Tickets are $12 in advance ($14 at the door) for a single-day ticket or $20 for a two-night pass; buy advance tickets at barrymorelive.com and check out the film line-up for each night.



Banff Mountain Film Festival (7 p.m. Barrymore Theatre) – See Tuesday listing.




Zero Dark Thirty” (7 p.m., Union South Marquee Theatre) – Kathryn Bigelow’s fact-based thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden doesn’t preach for or against the “enhanced interrogation” techniques – i.e. torture – used along the way. But it does put ownership of those incidents in the lap of the American audience. If we want to cheer Osama’s death, the movie implicitly says, we have to own everything else as well. One of the best films of 2012. Free!

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