What’s playing in Madison theaters: Nov. 1-7, 2013

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All week

Ender’s Game” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Cinema Cafe) — My full review is here. Audiences who expect a sci-fi action movie might be surprised to be served up a thought-provoking morality play instead, as a gifted boy is trained to lead Earth forces against an alien threat.

Last Vegas” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance, Cinema Cafe) — Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline who reunite in Vegas for a bachelor party. Put your money down now on who makes the first Cialis joke — I’ve got $20 on Douglas.

Free Birds” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Cinema Cafe) — This holiday animated comedy has at least two premises too many, as a turkey gets pardoned by the White House on Thanksgiving and also travels back in time to the pilgrim days.

12 Years a Slave” (Sundance) — Reviews couldn’t be stronger for Steve McQueen’s wrenching historical drama, about a free black man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Big Sur” (Sundance) — My full review is here. The second of three Jack Kerouac films playing in Madison this year (after “On the Road” and before “Kill Your Darlings”), this one adapts Kerouac’s novel of his mordant post-“Road” drift.

Inequality for All” (Point) — It’s the rise and fall of the stirred Reich, as former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich explains the growing inequality gap in the United States.

Man of Tai Chi” (Star Cinema) — Keanu Reeves directed and starred in this martial arts action film, much grittier than the upcoming “47 Ronin.”

Krrish 3” (Star Cinema) — The sequel to the popular Bollywood sci-fi film about a man with extraordinary powers battling a mutant threat.

Friday

Tales From Planet Earth Film Festival (7 p.m., Marquee Theater) — Read my preview story here, and my interview with “Sleep Dealer” filmmaker and festival programmer Alex Rivera here. The entertaining and unpredictable festival put on by the UW’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies kicks off with an opening night at the Marquee. including an opening roundtable talk (7 p.m.) that includes Go Big Read author Ruth Ozeki and Rivera, “Before Tomorrow” (9 p.m.), a film based in Inuit storytelling, and the sci-fi classic “Planet of the Apes” (midnight). Visit nelson.wisc.edu tales for a full schedule. It’s all FREE, you damn dirty apes.

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Tales of Manhattan” (7 p.m., UW Cinematheque) — Some very different Tales, as a who’s who of ’40s film stars (including Rita Hayworth, Henry Fonda, and, in a bonus episode cut from the original release, W.C. Fields) star in a serious of short episodes in which a mysterious coat brings bad luck to its wearers. FREE!

Saturday

Tales From Planet Earth Film Festival (Noon, Marquee Theater, UW-Cinematheque, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) — The festival expands to three more venues for a full day of programming. Highlights include “Pandora’s Promise” (7 p.m., Marquee Theater), which takes a nuanced look at the issue of nuclear power, “Rio 2096” (9 p.m., MMoCA), an animated film that looks at the last 400 years of Brazilian history — and the next 100, and the post-apocalyptic action classic “The Road Warrior” (midnight, Marquee Theater). Visit nelson.wisc.edu/tales for the full schedule. FREE!

Sunday

Tales From Planet Earth Film Festival (1 p.m., Marquee Theater, UW-Cinematheque, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) — Highlights of the third and final day of the festival include “Transfer” (1 p.m., MMoCA), a sci-fi film about the promise of eternal life, “Powerless” (3 p.m., Marquee), a documentary about a Robin Hood-like electrician who steal power for poor people in India, and “Trash Dance” (5 p.m., Marquee Theater), an utterly delightful documentary about a choreographer organizing a dance piece using garbage trucks. Visit nelson.wisc.edu/tales for the full schedule. FREE!

Dirty Harry” (1:35 p.m., Sundance) — Before he turned into a cartoon character, Clint Eastwood’s iconic vigilante cop was a more complex figure in this original action film, back for Sundance Classics.

Monday

Frances Ha” (12 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 9:40 p.m. Point, 4:50 p.m., 9:40 p.m. Eastgate) — My full review is here. Greta Gerwig plays an aimless young dancer who slowly accepts responsibility for her life in Noah Baumbach’s sharp but generous comedy.

The Big Lebowski” (2:10 p.m., 7 p.m., Point and Eastgate) — Has it really been 15 years since almost nobody saw Joel and Ethan Coen’s comedy classic in theaters, thus assuring its cult status forever? It’s still a great, endlessly watchable and quotable movie worth watching and quoting again.

Tuesday

Frances Ha” (12 p.m., 2:10 p.m., 7 p.m. Point, 2:10 p.m., 7 p.m. Eastgate) — See Monday listing.

The Big Lebowski” (4:20 p.m., and 9 p.m., Point and Eastgate) — See Monday listing.

Wednesday

Dirty Harry” (1:50 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.), Sundance — See Sunday listing.

Frances Ha” (3:10 p.m., 5:20 p.m., Point and Eastgate) — See Monday listing.

The Big Lebowski” (12 and 9:50 p.m. Eastgate, 12:25 and 9:50 p.m. Point) — See Monday listing.

Thursday

The Big Lebowski” (11:50 a.m. Point and Eastgate) — See Monday listing.

Let the Fire Burn” (7 p.m., Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) — MMoCA’s Spotlight Cinema returns with this gripping documentary about a 1985 standoff between Philadelphia police and a radical urban group. FREE for museum members, $7 for everyone else.

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