It’s a cycle familiar to Madison movie fans. We pick up the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly or some other national publication and read a review of some cool independent movie on the way. A Jim Jarmusch vampire movie starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston? A comedy about three Swedish middle-school punk rockers? A new Roman Polanski movie based on an acclaimed off-Broadway play? Can’t wait to see it when it comes to Madison.
And then it doesn’t. For reasons only booking agents can understand, the films don’t open in Madison.
But in comes the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Spotlight Cinema series, which has rescued eight of those acclaimed films from VOD and DVD purgatory for your big-screen entertainment. The series kicks off next Wednesday, Sept. 17 in the screening room of the museum, 227 State Street. Admission is $7, or free if you are a museum member.
Wednesday, Sept. 17 — “Only Lovers Left Alive” — Jim Jarmusch’s take on the vampire genre is, as you might expect, very different than you might expect, with Tilda Swinton and Todd Hiddleston as elegant immortals who take roost inside the desolate city of Detroit. Spotlight Cinema will be rocking a 35mm print for this one!
Wednesday, Oct. 1 — “We Are the Best!” — They have one song and no talent, but the three teenage girls who form a punk ban in early ’80s Stockholm are the rock ‘n’ roll cinematic heroes of 2014 in Lukas Moodyson’s coming-of-age tale.
Wednesday, Oct. 15 — “Venus in Fur” — Roman Polanski follows up “Carnage” with another stage-to-screen adaptation, this time the tale of an unlikely and combustible collaboration between a theater director (Mathieu Almaric) and a mysterious actress (Emmanuelle Seigner).
Wednesday, Oct. 22 — “Jealousy” — A man leaves his family and causes all kinds of tectonic disturbances in his wake, all minutely observed by the great French post-New Wave filmmaker Philippe Garrels in his latest film in a 50-year career.
Wednesday, Oct. 29 — “Eastern Boys” — A discreet gay man picks up a teenage boy at a train station, only to have the wrong boy show up at his house the next day in this film that’s part thriller and part drama.
Wednesday, Nov. 5 — “The Strange Little Cat” — The simple act of a Berlin family sitting down to dinner takes on strange and forbidding dimensions in this playfully weird debut feature.
Wednesday, Nov. 12 — “Force Majeure” — An avalanche in the French Alps spares lives but ends up bringing emotional ruin to a couple staying in a nearby chalet in this 2014 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner.
Wednesday, Nov. 19 — “Zero Motivation” — It’s “Clockwatchers” with Israeli soldiers, as a group of bored female soldiers working in human resources find creative ways to alleviate their tedium (mostly pranks and casual sex). MMOCA is getting a sneak peek at a film that will be released theatrically in 2015.