What’s playing in Madison theaters: Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2014


All week

Singalong Frozen” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Your kids are walking around the house singing “Let It Go” anyway, so you might as well taken the back to the theater to see this new “Singalong” version, with full lyrics on the screen. Just follow the bouncing snowflake! Although, youngsters, I would like to solo on “In Summer,” okay?

That Awkward Moment” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan are respected young actors. Zac Efron is not. But a bad rom-com screenplay is the great leveler in this comedy about three players who get their comeuppances.

Labor Day” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Once a critical darling, Jason Reitman is getting savaged over this melodrama, in which escaped convict Josh Brolin kidnaps Kate Winslet and her son and teaches them about love and peach pie. Starting to see the critics’ point here.


The Act of Killing” (6 p.m., Union South Marquee, 1208 W. Dayton St.) — My full review is here. Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated documentary looks at atrocities in Indonesia by inviting the perpetrators to reenact their killings as if they were characters in a movie. FREE!

“Bursting at the Seams”: Restored Avant-Garde Films (7 p.m., UW Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall) — Restored films from the Academy Film Archive tend to be established classics, and they’re coming to Cinematheque later this semester. But Friday’s offering is especially fun, a selection of restored experimental short films from James Benning, Chick Strand and others that push the very notion of what film is. The Archive’s Mark Toscano will be on hand to talk about the films and their restoration process. FREE!

Much Ado About Nothing” (7 p.m., Alicia Ashman Public Library, 733 N. High Point Blvd.) — My full review is here. Joss Whedon put his fancy L.A. home to good use, filming a canny and fun adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy with a few friends, including Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion. FREE!

Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (8:30 p.m. Union South Marquee) — Oh, it’s definitely Lee Daniels’ The Butler, all right. Nobody else’s. Daniels puts his fever-dream style in the service of a strangely tidy survey of civil rights in America, from the cloistered point of view of a longtime White House butler who always seems to walk into the Oval Office just as the President is discussing race relations. It’s a weird mix that doesn’t come together, although John Cusack is a flat-out hoot as President Nixon. FREE!

Boogie Nights” (11:15 p.m., Union South Marquee) — The rise and fall of a ’70s porn star is told in Paul Thomas Anderson’s wildly entertaining ensemble film. FREE!


Despicable Me 2” (10 a.m., Point and Eastgate) — My full review is here. Marcus’ Kids’ Dream Winter series kicks off with the sequel that made a pile of money last summer, but lacked the naughty charm of the original. C’mon, where’s the panda bear rug, Gru? Well, admissions only two bucks, and concessions are similarly cheap.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Union South Marquee) — See Friday listing

Try and Get Me!” (7 p.m., UW Cinematheque) — A noir double bill kicks off with Lloyd Bridges as a smooth-talking psycho who coaxes a sad sack into a life of crime. FREE!

Crashout” (8:30 p.m., UW Cinematheque) — Six criminals break out of prison and vow to stick together as they look for a cache of stolen loot. Yeah, that turns out well for them. FREE!


Boogie Nights” (11 p.m., Union South Marquee) — See Friday listing


Despicable Me 2” (11 a.m., Point and Eastgate) — See Saturday listing.

“The Lady Vanishes” (2 p.m., Cinematheque at the Chazen) — A woman befriends an elderly lady on a train journey, who mysteriously disappears. Even more mysteriously, nobody on the train remembers she was ever there. Even more mysteriously, how did that Jodie Foster movie “Flightplan” get away with completely stealing this plot? Anyway, the Cinematheque at the Chazen’s Hitchcock series continues. FREE!

Lee Daniels’  The Butler” — See Friday listing.


Before Midnight” (12, 5, 10 Eastgate, 1:40, 7 Point) — My full review is here. Richard Linklater returns to Jesse and Celine of “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” but this time the film isn’t about romantic possibilities, but the hard work of romantic reality in a long-term relationship. It’s a brilliant idea, but a bit of cold water to the face for those of us who swooned over the first two films.

Blue Jasmine” (2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Eastgate, 4;25 p.m., 9:45 p.m. Point) — My full review is here. Cate Blanchett has to have the Best Actress Oscar all sewn up, right? She plays a former Manhattan socialite who flees in disgrace to her blue-collar sister in San Francisco, where she slowly loses her grip on reality.


Blue Jasmine” (12, 5, 10 Eastgate, 1:40, 7 Point) — See Monday listing.

Before Midnight” (2:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. Eastgate, 4;10 p.m., 9:30 p.m. Point) — See Monday listing

Touching the Void” (7 p.m., Union South Marquee Theatre) — This too-incredible-to-be-true documentary tells the story of two climbers on a Peruvian mountain and their incredible ordeal to survive. FREE!


Before Midnight” (12, 5, 10 Eastgate, 1:40, 7 Point) — See Monday listing

Blue Jasmine” (2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Eastgate, 4;25 p.m., 9:45 p.m. Point) — See Monday listing

The Abolitionists” (7 p.m., Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State St.) — The historical society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with a four-film series, starting with this acclaimed documentary from the makers of the “Poisoner’s Handbook” PBS documentary, about the people who fought to end slavery. FREE!


Blue Jasmine” (12, 5, 10 Eastgate, 1:40, 7 Point) — See Monday listing

Before Midnight” (2:30, 7:30 Eastgate, 4:15, 9:35 Point) — See Monday listing

Blow-Up” (6:30 p.m., Madison Central Library) — Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic film follows a mod photographer (David Hemmings) who thinks he’s found something suspicious in the fashion photos he’s taken. FREE!

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2014” (7 p.m., Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave.) — Fly fishing films from across the globe come together for cinephile anglers.

Blue is the Warmest Color” (9 p.m., Union South Marquee) — My full review is here. Much talked about for its sex scenes, this intimate Cannes-winning drama about a love affair between a teenager and a more worldly art student is more memorable for how it shows a relationship growing and changing over time. FREE!

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