1. “The French Connection” (7 p.m. Friday, UW-Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall) — The car chase, sure. That iconic car chase, in which Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) is barrelling underneath a New York City subway train containing his prey, is one for the ages. But the rest of William Friedkin’s 1971 film (kicking off a Friedkin retrospective at the Cinematheque) is a stone-cold classic, from the driven, unlikable Doyle’s pursuit to that bravura cat-and-mouse game between Fernando Rey and the cops in midtown Manhattan. But, yes, also the car chase. FREE!
2. “The Drop” (all week, Sundance and Eastgate) — Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) turned his short story “Animal Rescue” into both a screenplay and a novel, both out this week, and the movie retains his gritty poetry. It stars Tom Hardy as a sad-sack bartender and James Gandolfini as his boss who get into big trouble with some Chechen gangsters. There’s also a puppy.
3. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (7 p.m., Wednesday, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) — It just made me pleased as punch to see the MMOCA Spotlight Cinema schedule this week and see that museum was opening with Jim Jarmusch’s stylishly odd vampire movie, starring Tilda Swinton as a vampire roosting in a decaying Detroit. Tilda Swinton as a vampire. How does that not play theatrically in Madison? Thankfully, it will, part of an eight-film MMOCA series this fall that also includes the Swedish punk rock movie “We Are the Best!” FREE for members, $7 for everyone else.
4. “The Trip to Italy” (all week, Sundance) — My full review is here. I loved the original “The Trip,” in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon drove around the north of England, eating good food and doing great Michael Caine impressions. I like the follow-up just fine, in which the British comedians are now exploring Italy. It’s good fun with lots of laughs, even as I was hoping for a bit more than more of the same.
5. “Suspicion” (2 p.m. Sunday, Chazen Museum of Art) — Hitchcock’s back. The spring Sunday Cinematheque at the Chazen series of Alfred Hitchcock films was so successful that C’tek decided to keep it going through the fall, starting off with Cary Grant’s first collaboration with the master, as a playboy whose reasons for wooing a wealthy heiress may not be entirely kosher. FREE!
Only Lovers Left Alive
The Trip to Italy