“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sundance Cinemas) — Even though Steven Spielberg doesn’t even have a new movie this summer, it just wouldn’t be summer without him. And so, by sheer coincidence, three different venues are showing three different Spielberg classics in the same week. First off is Indiana Jones’ first and indisputably greatest outing, which I saw at Sundance last summer with a sold-out crowd and was a total blast (33 years later, the bit with the swordsman still draws a laugh.)
1. “Chef” (Point, Sundance) — Before he became Mr. Blockbuster with the first two Iron Man movies (and less so, much less so, with “Cowboys and Aliens”), Jon Favreau made small comedies like “Made.” He gets back to those indie roots with his new film, in which he plays an arrogant chef who learns a little humility when he loses his job and starts running a food truck. I hear it’s really good, and that the food in the film is so mouth-watering that if you don’t have a meal beforehand, you’ll start gnawing on the arm of your seatmate.
“Godzilla” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance) — After the 1998 Roland Emmerich debacle, it’s understandable to have cringed at the thought of Hollywood taking another crack at everybody’s favorite radioactive lizard. But early reviews suggest this latest incarnation comes the closest to the somber chills of the allegorical 1950 Japanese original. (Love the idea that the A-bomb tests in the Pacific didn’t create Godz, but were part of an attack to try and stop him.) Gareth Edwards of the cult hit “Monsters’ directs.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance) — It’s a rainy Friday with a high of 57 degrees, which can only mean one thing — it’s summer movie season in Wisconsin! After months of promos (and some not very kind early reviews), the sequel to the reboot of the film version of the comic book is here. For Madisonians, the big draw is that hometown by Marc Webb returns as director — the first “Amazing” was most notable for its sweet and funny relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. In the sequel, which has at least three villains and all sorts of connections to the larger Marvelverse, I hope that doesn’t get lost in the CGI shuffle.
“Need for Speed” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Reviews have been all over the map for this action movie — most critics think it’s a loud, dumb videogame adaptation, but some think it’s a genuinely good film, with real (not CGI) stunts and Aaron Paul in an effective lead role.
“300: Rise of An Empire” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance, Cinema Cafe) — Not a sequel, but a “sidequel” to the 2007 shirts-and-skins action epic, looking at another battle supposedly going on concurrently to the one in the first movie. Un-huh. But signifcantly, this is the first film screening in Point’s new Ultrascreen DLX that was recorded in the amazing Dolby Atmos. So it’ll seem like there are hot shirtless guys all around you!
“The Wind Rises” (Point) — Don’t miss legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki’s supposedly final film, the true-life story of a nearsighted man who becomes an influential plane designer.