Sundance Screening Room extends into November with “Goodnight Mommy,” “The Amazing Nina Simone” and “Coming Home”

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Sundance Cinemas will extend its fall Screening Room Calendar of independent, foreign and documentary films into mid-November, starting off with one of the most talked-about horror movies of 2015.

The current calendar finishes up with “Testament of Youth” opening this Friday. (And I should mention that I’m doing hosting a post-show talk after the 7 p.m. show on Tuesday — come by and chat!) Then the next one kicks in on Oct. 9, and it’s the Austrian horror film “Goodnight Mommy,” about a violent war of wills between a mother covered in bandages and her two young sons, who don’t believe she’s really their mother.

Here’s the remainder of the screening room calendar:

Oct. 16: “Meet the Patels” — In this affable personal documentary, a first-generation Indian-American man tries to find the woman of his dreams while still keeping his parents happy.

Oct. 23: “The Amazing Nina Simone” — The second documentary of 2015 about the enigmatic and tumultous jazz/soul singer (after “What Happened Miss Simone?“) looks at Simone’s life and legacy, with extensive interviews with friends and associates.

Jimmys Hall - Written by Paul Laverty, Directed by Ken Loach, Produced by Rebecca O'Brien

Jimmys Hall – Written by Paul Laverty, Directed by Ken Loach, Produced by Rebecca O’Brien

Oct. 30: “Jimmy’s Hall” — The great director Ken Loach makes another film about Ireland’s past, this time set in a 1921 dance hall that becomes a flashpoint of controversy from both local politicians and the Catholic Church.

Nov. 6: “Coming Home” — A Chinese man returns home after years in a forced labor camp, only to find his wife no longer remembers him in the latest from director Zhang Yimou (“Raise The Red Lantern”).

Nov. 13: “Labyrinth of Lies” — In 1960s Germany, a young prosecutor stirs the buried guilt of the nation when he prosecutes a former Auschwitz guard turned schoolteacher.

 

 

MMOCA Spotlight Cinema brings world cinema heavyweights to Madison

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Was it only a few weeks ago that the only new movies we had to choose from were “Sinister 2” and “American Ultra”? Now that fall is underway, it’s an embarrassment of riches for the movie lover in Madison, from the Sundance Cinemas Screening Room series to the UW-Cinematheque fall series to the WUD films at Union South. And the big Oscar contenders are just starting to hit theaters.

Add to the list the Spotlight Cinema series at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The series, programmed by Tom Yoshikami and Mike King, has been invaluable in bringing acclaimed new films to Madison that might not have gotten here by other means. This year’s eight-film series looks especially strong, including the new films by celebrated foreign directors Jafar Panahi, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

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Nine reasons to get excited about the UW-Cinematheque Fall 2015 calendar

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I don’t know how it got to be mid-August already, but the long lines of college students at the Hilldale Target confirm it; fall is just around the corner.

By all means, savor those last humid drops of summer while you can. But don’t get too bummed out about autumn. First of all, you look great in that sweater from last year! And, secondly, it means a lot more good movies coming to Madison thanks to the just-announced UW-Cinematheque Fall 2015 calendar. Add in Spotlight Cinema at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the programming at Union South’s Marquee Theatre, the Tales from Planet Earth Film Festival, the return of the Screening Room Calendar at Sundance Cinemas and all the Oscar contenders coming to theaters, and the fall harvest should be a bountiful one.

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Post-show Sundance chats set for “Phoenix” and “Testament of Youth”

August .2013 Dreharbeiten zum CHRISTIAN PETOLD Film PHÖNIX mit Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld und Nina Kunzendorf Verwendung der Fotos nur in Zusammenhang mit dem Film PHÖNIX von Christian Petzold ( Model release No ) © Christian Schulz Mobil 01723917694

August .2013
Dreharbeiten zum CHRISTIAN PETOLD Film PHÖNIX
mit Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld und Nina Kunzendorf
Verwendung der Fotos nur in Zusammenhang mit dem Film PHÖNIX von Christian Petzold
( Model release No ) © Christian Schulz
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Just a quick update that I’ve scheduled the post-show chats for the next Sundance Cinemas Screening Room Calendar for September and October. The full Screening Room calendar is here. The chats have been really fun this year, and I’m looking forward to talking about these movies after the lights go up.

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, I’ll be doing a post-show chat after the evening performance of “Phoenix,” Christian Petzold’s Hitchcockian World War II drama starring Nina Hoss. And then on Tuesday, Oct. 5, we’ll be talking after “Testament of Youth,” a World War I drama starring Alicia Vikander of “Ex Machina” and Kit Harington of “Game of Thrones.”

The talks are free — just hang around in the theater after the lights go up. I think they’re both movies that will give us a lot to talk about. Hope to see you there!

Sundance Screening Room returns with “Infinitely Polar Bear,” “Phoenix” and “Uncle John”

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After the usual summer break to make room for all those superheroes, Sundance Cinemas will launch its next Screening Room Calendar next week.

The series, for the uninitiated, sets aside Cinema 2 at the theater for a scheduled list of independent, foreign and documentary films. One of the nice things about the calendar is that it locks in some of these smaller films that have less publicity behind them, so you can see them coming and plan accordingly. And, unlike other Sundance offerings, the Screening Room movies are exempt from Sundance’s amenities fees.

Here’s a rundown of what’s coming, starting next week. I’m looking forward to doing post-show chats with a couple of these films — I’ll get back to you soon when I know which one, and when.

Aug. 14 — “Infinitely Polar Bear” — Writer-director Maya Forbes’ warm and personal film is based on her own experiences growing up in a biracial family in 1970s Boston with a bipolar father (wonderfully played here by Mark Ruffalo). Here’s my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Aug. 21 — “Lambert and Stamp” and “Saint Laurent” — A real-life two-fer, one a documentary and the other a biopic. Rockists will enjoy learning how aspiring filmmakers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert ended up managing The Who, while fashionistas will want to see how the famous designer Yves St. Laurent transformed style in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, Sundance says they’ll be showing the Jennifer Connelly drama “Aloft” during the week, and have down on their online calendar that James Ponsoldt’s David Foster Wallace biopic “The End of the Tour” also opens this week. Busy!

August .2013  Dreharbeiten zum CHRISTIAN PETOLD Film PHÖNIX mit Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld und Nina Kunzendorf Verwendung der Fotos nur in Zusammenhang mit dem Film PHÖNIX von Christian Petzold ( Model release No ) © Christian Schulz Mobil 01723917694

August .2013
Dreharbeiten zum CHRISTIAN PETOLD Film PHÖNIX
mit Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld und Nina Kunzendorf
Verwendung der Fotos nur in Zusammenhang mit dem Film PHÖNIX von Christian Petzold
( Model release No ) © Christian Schulz
Mobil 01723917694

Aug. 28 — “Phoenix” — Director Christian Petzold reteams with “Barbara” star Nina Hoss in this tense World War II drama about a Jewish-German nightclub singer who tries to uncover whether her husband betrayed her to the Nazis.

Sept. 4 — “Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine” — Michael Fassbender is nowhere to be found in documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney’s look at the world of Apple’s Steve Jobs.

Sept. 11 — “Queen of Earth” — Writer-director Alex Ross Perry reteams with Elisabeth Moss from “Listen Up Philip” in this tale of a grieving woman who falls into delusion and madness.

Sept. 18 — “Uncle John” — I’m really excited that this Wisconsin-made film, about a farmer (Josh Ashton) trying to cover up a deadly crime, is getting a theatrical run in Madison. Here’s an interview with the filmmakers from this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival.

Sept. 25 — “Listen to Me Marlon” — A documentary about Marlon Brando would be interesting enough, but this film draws from a wealth of private audio and video recordings Brando made that have never been shown before.

Oct. 2 — “Testament of Youth” — Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones”) star in this luminous World War I drama.

 

I’m a huge James Bond fan, and I’m not going to watch the ‘Spectre’ trailer

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The first full trailer for the next James Bond movie, “Spectre,” was released on Wednesday. I am a monumental James Bond fan — own all the movies, read all the books (even the non-Fleming ones), played the video games. I could not be more excited for “Spectre” to come out on Nov. 6.

And I’m not going to watch the trailer.

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Lakeside Cinema’s new film series provides vehicle for summer fun

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Even if you’re not going anywhere this summer, the UW-Madison’s Lakeside Cinema series, which projects free movies on the UW Memorial Union Terrace every Monday night through the summer, will set you in motion.

That’s because the theme of this summer’s series, announced this week, is all about vehicles. Planes, trains, automobiles, spaceships, balloon-powered houses, Snowpiercers — you name it, it’ll be gassed up and ready to go at dusk every Monday night this summer. If you’ve never been to Lakeside before, it’s a really fun way to watch a movie — the screen’s set up on the stage against the water, prizes are given away before the show, and everybody shouts out their favorite lines during the flick.

I imagine you’ll hear “Those aren’t pillows!” shouted out pretty loudly during the opening film, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” on Monday, May 25. While it may seem strange to see a Thanksgiving movie on Memorial Day Weekend (though maybe not so strange if these low temperatures keep up), John Hughes’ comedy is a stone-cold classic.

Here’s the rest of the Lakeside Cinema schedule. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film Committee’s site at wudfilm.com.

June 1: “Speed”

June 8: “North by Northwest”

June 15: “Cars”

June 22: “Mad Max” (the original!)

June 29: “The Fast and The Furious”

July 6: “Up”

July 13: “Thelma and Louise”

July 20″ “WALL-E”

July 27: “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”

Aug. 3: “Con Air”

Aug. 10: “Snowpiercer”

Aug. 17: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl”

Aug. 24: “Airplane!”

Aug. 31: “Top Gun”

Come talk about “Misery Loves Comedy” at Sundance Cinemas Tuesday

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What drives somebody to stand up in front of a roomful of strangers and try to make them laugh? Kevin Pollak’s new documentary “Misery Loves Comedy” asks a whole lot of funny people that question, including Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, Lewis Black and many more.

“Misery Loves Comedy” opened Friday at Sundance Cinemas Madison, and although it skates a little lightly over its subject matter (Pollak might have done better to pick 10 comedians and go deeper with them) — it’s a fun, breezy film. Pollak comes across some intriguing insights, especially when he gets the comedians to respond to his central question: Do you have to be miserable to be funny?

Here’s my full review. I’m hosting a post-show chat after the 7:35 p.m. Tuesday show at Sundance Cinemas, 430 N. Midvale Blvd. In a way, I think this fits in with our last two chats after the films “Mr. Turner” and “Seymour: An Introduction,” both of which also looked at the intersection of being an artist and being a human being.

“Comedy” will have more laughs, though. Hope to see you there!