The five movies you need to see in Madison: Dec. 5-11, 2014

homesman

1. “The Homesman” (all week, Sundance) — I really liked Tommy Lee Jones’ last film as a director, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” and this Western also looks strong. Jones plays a drifter helping several women driven mad by pioneer life head back east, but the path is difficult and dangerous.

2. “The Passenger” and “Apocalypse Now” (6 p.m. Friday, Union South Marquee Theatre) — Kudos to the WUD Film Committee for scheduling such a great double bill of ’70s cinema. In Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Passenger,” Jack Nicholson plays a journalist who tries to inhabit another man’s life, with tragic consequences. And “Apocalypse Now” is Francis Ford Coppola’s epic Vietnam film, with Martin Sheen heading upriver into Vietnam’s heart of darkness. You can also catch “Passenger” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and “Apocalypse” at 3 p.m. Sunday. FREE!

3. “The Conformist” (7 p.m. Saturday, UW-Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall) — Bernardo Bertolucci’s gorgeous 1970 classic follows a troubled man (Jean-Louis Trintignant, who decades later played the old man in “Amour”) who joins Mussolini’s Fascists in Italy. FREE!

4. “Spellbound” (2 p.m. Sunday, Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.) — The Cinematheque at the Chazen series is running out of Hitchcock films, but they still haven’t yet shown this classic 1945 film, in which a doctor (Ingmar Bergman) investigates the troubled dreamscape of Gregory Peck. Dreamscape courtesy of none other than Salvador Dali. FREE!

5. “A Christmas Carol” and “Christmas In Connecticut” (1:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sundance Cinemas) — Still haven’t quite caught the holiday spirit yet? Then supercharge those glad tidings with a double feature presented by Turner Classic Movies, featuring the 1938 “Christmas Carol” with Reginald Owen as Scrooge and the 1945 comedy “Christmas in Connecticut” with Barbara Stanwyck.

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