Pick of the week: “Rooftop Cinema: From Puppets to Pixels” (9 p.m., Friday, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) — Late August is a rough time of year for moviegoers, especially in Madison; not only are we getting the dregs of the summer movie season, but we’re waiting impatiently for the UW-Madison on-campus film series to get rolling in early September. Thank heavens for MMOCA’s Rooftop Cinema series, which returns for one last summer night this weekend, presenting additional short films from all four of the animators featured in the June programs. It’s free for museum members, $7 for all others, and part of an evening of festivities that will include a gallery talk by artist Jason Yi about his new installation “A Fragile Permanence.”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Hercules,” (9 p.m. Saturday, Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson) — Speaking of al fresco moviegoing, make sure you hit one of our fine local drive-ins at least once before the summer gets away. Madison Film Forum is making that extra easy this weekend by organizing a “caravan” to Saturday night’s double feature, leaving from Maduro at 7 p.m. Get all the details here. (I can vouch for “Hercules,” which is surprisingly fun, but you’re on your own with the Turtles.)
“Back to the Future” (9 p.m. Monday, UW Memorial Union Terrace) — Still speaking of outdoor moviegoing, there’s only two weeks left in the Lakeside Cinema free movie series on the Terrace, and this week’s offering may be one of the quintessential summer movies. The 1985 time-travel sci-fi comedy remains terrifically entertaining nearly 30 years later. FREE!
“The November Man” (starts Wednesday, Point, Eastgate and Star Cinema) — Okay, this could be trash. But I’ve had a soft spot for Bill Granger’s Devereaux spy novels since I was a teenager, so it’s exciting to see them finally make it to the big screen with Pierce Brosnan as the veteran spy, protecting a witness (Olga Kurylenko, who was one of Daniel Craig’s Bond girls in “Quantum of Solace”) from his former protege.
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance) — Robert Rodriguez reteams with comic book auteur Miller for another crack at his brutal noir graphic novels, with an all-star cast that includes returning players Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis along with newcomers Josh Brolin and Eva Green. The first movie was junk, but it was visually arresting junk. Which is about the best we can hope for in the dog days of August.