Late August is supposed to be kind of a dumping ground for movies, an in-between time straddling the summer blockbuster season and the fall awards season. Yet there are five movies opening in wide release in Madison this week, four of which I’ve reviewed and are really good. And the one I haven’t seen is getting great reviews too. Oh, well — the One Direction documentary is coming next week, so I assume things will even out.
“The World’s End” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — My full review is here. The “Shaun of the Dead” boys return for one (supposedly last?) go-round, this time in a science-fiction comedy about five middle-aged men who go back to their hometown for an epic pub crawl, only to find everything has changed.
“Blue Jasmine” (Point, Star Cinema, Sundance) — My full review is here. Woody Allen’s best drama since “Match Point” tells of a disgraced New York socialite (Cate Blanchett) who retreats to her sister’s home in San Francisco, slowly losing her grip on reality as she attempts to start a new life.
“You’re Next” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — This home-invasion horror film is getting surprisingly great reviews for its mix of indie family drama and terror, as a mysterious houseguest turns the tables on three masked killers menacing a family.
“The Spectacular Now” (Sundance) — My full review is here. Two high school seniors fall in love in a movie that’s not just a great teen romance, but a great romance.
“The Act of Killing” (Sundance) — My full review is here. In this strange and disturbing documentary, men who took part in mass murders during the Indonesian coup of 1966 proudly re-enact their crimes as if they were starring in their favorite movies. I’ll be doing a post-show chat at Sundance after the 6:50 p.m. Tuesday screening.
“The Producers” (7 p.m., Marquee Theater at Union South) — My review of the Blu-ray edition is here, but to get the full force of Mel Brooks’ cheerfully transgressive comedy, you need to see it with a crowd. FREE!
“Simon of the Desert” (9:30 p.m., Madison Museum of Contemporary Art rooftop) — MMOCA is doing one last Rooftop Cinema screening for the summer in honor of its Los Grandes del Arte Moderno Mexico exhibit with this Luis Bunuel film. FREE for MMOCa members, free for everyone else.
“Total Recall” (9:30 p.m., UW Memorial Union Terrace) — Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a ordinary guy who discovers that his entire life is a lie, and that he’s really a trained killer who must go to Mars to lead a revolution. It’s the “ordinary guy” part of that that I don’t buy. FREE!
“Closed Circuit” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Two lawyers (Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall) find themselves on either side of a terrorism case in this espionage thriller.
“Pulp Fiction” (1:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., Sundance) — Quentin Tarantino’s eminently quotable, time-jumping crime film kicks off the next round of Sundance Classics movies.