The five movies you have to see in Madison: Aug. 1-6, 2014

1. “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (7 p.m. Friday, Union South Marquee) – The UW-Cinematheque summer season is a great way to keep abreast of classic cinema, and that’s certainly true of this screening of Russ Meyer’s 1965 camp classic about three supervixens taking revenge on the leering men around them. Hey, audience? My eyes are up here.

2. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance) – My full review is here. August is usually considered a dead zone in the summer blockbuster season, but “Guardians” may be the rare exception. It walks, talks and fights like a Marvel movie, but at heart it’s a goofy comedy about a gang of misfits trying to save the galaxy. You’ll never feel more affection for a walking tree and a drunken talking raccoon.
3. “Get On Up” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) – My full review is here. This biopic on the life of James Brown avoids the usual narrative arc for a non-chronological jumble, rocketing from Brown’s 1988 address to his iconic performances in the ‘60s to his hardscrabble upbringing and back again. The result is a more interesting sort of biopic than usual, the main attraction being Chadwick Boseman’s phenomenal performance as the Godfather of Soul.

4. “Alphaville” (5 p.m. Saturday, Union South Marquee) – I missed this one the first time around, but there were technical problems with the initial screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s stylish and odd sci-fi noir. So you can make this make-up screening, and then stick around for Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Nostalghia” at 7 p.m.
5. “The Big Lebowski” (1:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., Sundance Cinemas) – The definition of a cult classic, the Coen Brothers’ 1998 comedy, with Jeff Bridges as an aging hippie Sam Spade, was a flop in theaters and a huge hit on home video. It’ll be fun to see on the big screen – this may be the first movie to require a “Quote-Along” version.

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