So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past — in 3D!
The big release this weekend is Baz Luhrmann’s glitzy 3D version of “The Great Gatsby,” which came pre-trashed for a lot of critics. It’s also the last weekend for a lot of film series on campus, so there are options in case you don’t want to see Daisy Buchanan coming right at you!
“The Great Gatsby” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance, Cinema Cafe) — It’s hard to think of a more unlikely summer movie than this all-star adaptation. I highly enjoyed both Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge,” but is he chasing the glamour of “The Jazz Age” at the expense of the tragedy?
“Peeples” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Tyler Perry put his stamp on this domestic dramedy, although he isn’t more than a producer for this film about a suitor (Keith Robinson) stuck with his uptight future in-laws on vacation. But it’s getting a little better reception from critics than Perry’s usual fare.
“Koch” (Sundance) — My full review is here. Not the Wisconsin Film Festival hit “Citizen Koch,” this documentary is about Ed Koch, the combative former New York mayor who embodied both the strengths and the flaws of his city.
“West of Memphis” (Sundance) — The latest and most extensive documentary to look into the case of the West Memphis 3, three Arkansas teenagers railroaded into a conviction for a supposedly “Satanic” murder. This installment focuses on DNA evidence that strongly pointed to another suspect.
“Gimme Shelter” (6:30 p.m., Union South) — The death of the ’60s can be charted in this gritty tour documentary, which follows the Rolling Stones to their disastrous Altamont show. Free!
“Max Et Al Ferrailleurs” (7 p.m., UW Cinematheque) — In Claude Sautet’s largely neglected 1971 crime masterpiece, a bored detective lures a gang into committing a big bank robbery. Free!
“Trainspotting” (8:30 p.m., Union South) — Danny Boyle’s exuberant and raw 1996 film about a bunch of cheery lowlifes in Edinburgh. Free!
“Django Unchained” (11 p.m., Union South) — Tarantino’s best since “Jackie Brown,” this intense and funny mash-up of spaghetti Western and blaxploitation uses its genre influences to make a surprisingly direct and powerful indictment of the legacy of racism in America. Free!
“Django Unchained” (5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Union South) — See Friday listing
Communication Arts Showcase (7 p.m., UW Cinematheque) — A showcase of the work done by this semester’s Comm Arts students. Free!
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (midnight, Union South) — The eminently quotable 1974 riff on the Arthurian legend, with killer rabbits, horny nuns, and rude Frenchmen is a comedy classic. Free!
“Howl’s Moving Castle” (2 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art) — Cinematheque at the Chazen’s immensely popular series on Studio Ghibli concludes with Hayao Miyazaki’s wonderful animated film, in which a teenager is trapped in a magician’s walking castle and must find the spell to set her free. Free (the movie, that is), but these have almost all sold out, so get there early.
“Billy Elliot” (3 p.m., Union South) — You’ve seen the musical at Overture Hall, now enjoy the original movie, with Jamie Bell as a Welsh boy who yearns to put down the boxing gloves and pick up the unitard and join the ballet. Free!
“Free the Mind” (all day, Sundance) — In honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Madison, Sundance is screening this documentary about Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the UW, and his research into the power of meditation. The film also plays all day Thursday.
“Blazing Saddles” – (1:40 and 7 p.m., Sundance) — The Sundance Classics series features Mel Brooks’ zany Western classic, with Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance, Cinema Cafe) — J.J. Abrams’ second film in the rebooted franchise gets an early jump on the weekend, with Benedict Cumberbatch reportedly Khan-level good as the bad guy.