The five movies you need to see in Madison: Aug. 8-14, 2014

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Boyhood” (all week, Sundance) — My full review is here. The long-awaited new film from Richard Linklater is finally here, and its a masterpiece of everyday life, following a boy as he grows from 6 to 18, Linklater and his actors filming a few scenes each year. As we see Mason and his parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) grow older, becoming the sum of their choices, Linklater strings ordinary events together like Christmas lights to make an entrancing portrait of an extraordinary, average life. See it this weekend, or wait until Tuesday when the Mad Film Forum will host a special meetup for the 8 p.m. show, preceded by drinks and music from DJ The Real Jaguar up on the Rooftop at 6 p.m.

Life Itself” (3 p.m. Saturday, Union South Marquee) — My full review is here. The final weekend of the UW-Cinematheque summer series is a doozy, starting off with the Madison premiere of this terrific documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, no stranger to Madison. The rare film critic who could write about difficult movies in a way that made mainstream audiences want to go see him, and mainstream movies in a way that made viewers want to look deeper, Ebert was an inspiration to film writers and film lovers. But it’s how he faced the end — with dignity, humor and grace — that should be an inspiration to everybody. FREE!

This is Spinal Tap” (7 p.m. Friday, Union South Marquee) — Hard to believe that Rob Reiner, who just made “And So It Goes” with Michael Douglas and a cute kid, made this wildly funny mock rockumentary about England’s loudest band, aging heavy metallers giving it one last go before an indifferent America. Of course, the joke’s on Spinal Tap — they were supposed to be about 40 at the time of the film, which is a youngster by today’s “legacy rocker” standards. Thirty years later, it’ll still have the crowd rolling. FREE!

Kind Hearts and Coronets” (7 p.m. Saturday, Union South Marquee) — The UW-Cinematheque is going to feature a salute to Alec Guinness this fall, so get a sneak preview with this classic comedy in which Guinness plays all eight members of a wealthy family, offed one by one by a banished nobleman looking to regain his title. FREE!

Deepsea Challenge 3D” (all week, Star Cinema) — At this point, James Cameron seems like a deep-sea enthusiast who occasionally makes movies, and he combines both his passions in his latest documentary, in which the “Avatar” filmmaker descends seven miles into the Marianas Trench in a submersible he built himself. In 3D, natch.

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