What’s Playing, Madison? — Sept 21 through Sept 26 2016


The poles of big screen De Palma, Goat, Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, an Artist-in-Residence collaboration, and Perfect Strangers


Perfect Strangers (7:00p — 1000 Bascom Mall, Rm L196)

During a dinner party, seven friends all agree to divulge to one another the deepest, dirtiest junk crowding their message screens. In a premise that’s destined for an American remake, the secrets that are publicly exorcised from the privacy of each guest’s phone are increasingly scintillating, from breast augmentations to talk of putting a loved one in a retirement facility. The escalation takes things from scintillating to genuinely discomforting. And all of this is foregrounded by dinner host Kasia Smutniak finding contraceptives in her daughter’s purse. If you’ve ever drawn “Read your last text” in a drinking game, Perfect Strangers ought to hold some appeal for you. Or terror, depending on whatever that text was. (FREE admission.)

Repulsion (7:00p — Bos Meadery)

(FREE admission.)


The Happening (6:30p — Central Library, Rm 302)

However cheeky his opinion may be, Filmspotting‘s Josh Larsen believes M. Night Shyamalan’s notorious B-movie homage will go down as a cinematic touchstone about “killing ourselves” via environmental degradation. The odds that anyone looks fondly upon Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel’s panicked retreat from killer trees seem slim — including the actors. With The Last Airbender, this 2008 “thriller” relegated the “Next Spielberg” to schadenfreudian new lows. As it should have. The Happening‘s genuine terror of a pollen-driven toxin causing mass suicides is erased by universally terrible performances and an ending that turns everything into a shaggy dog story. “Bad Cinema” will seat you now. (FREE admission.)

Charulata (7:00p — Union South Marquee)

WUD Film presents a 2K transfer of Satyajit Ray’s 1964 tale of romance and expression, told through a solitary wife’s creative awakening after a poet comes to stay with her and her husband. (FREE admission.)

All freakin’ weekend

Goat (Sundance)

Just as he’s about to begin his college career, Ben Schnetzer is left both physically and emotionally damaged after a savage assault, the scars of which linger on as he rushes his older brother’s (Nick Jonas) fraternity. Problematic “Greek life” culture and the toxic ways in which masculinity can manifest itself are on full display in this adaptation of Brad Land’s 2005 memoir.


Presenting Princess Shaw (6:00p — Meadowridge Library)

A musical fairy tale possible only in the YouTube generation, this Wisconsin Film Festival alum embraces the serendipitous magic that comes after Israeli producer/polymath Ophier Kutiel punches up Stephanie “Princess Shaw” Montgomery’s solo vocal videos. Ido Haar employs a vérité style in his narrative documentary, and even if the construction of his “narrative” rings a touch unethical, he never strays too far from Montgomery’s very humbling, human story. Rob Dz will add to that humility by sharing his personal experiences making independent music. (FREE admission.)

Mission: Impossible + The Untouchables (7:00p + 9:00p — 4070 Vilas Hall)

Brian De Palma’s big-screen launch of the Mission: Impossible movie franchise gets overshadowed by its flashier, explodier sequels, likely because even De Palma’s proponents would have a hard time recalling exactly what happens. A list of secret agents gets leaked. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is chased down by the agency he once worked for. Faces get swapped. Spies get capped. The internet is magic. The basic M:I template is there from the beginning, never mind the details. Far more straightforward gangster stuff follows with The Untouchables, tying a bow on Cinematheque’s appreciation of the director with one of his least and one of his most accessible projects. (FREE admission.)


Paprika (7:00p — 4070 Vilas Hall)

For his final feature, the late Satoshi Kon and writer Seishi Minakami imagine a world in which therapists provide the ultimate in hands-on treatment by directly entering the dreams of their patients. Dr. Atsuko Chiba however, also uses the technology to help those outside of her practice as well, exploring those dreams by way of her red-head alter ego “Paprika.” A sexual idyll, manic pixie vigilante, and subconscious terrorist, Atsuko uses Paprika to move between reality and dream with ease, a cavalier methodology that comes under fire when a sinister force steals the technology and uses it to invade the minds of others. An “Inception before Inception,” if you will. (FREE admission.)


The Bad and the Beautiful (2:00p — Chazen Art Museum)

(FREE admission.)


Bowing to No One (5:00p — 800 University Ave, Rm L160)

With its politicized cartoon superhero, Sarah K. Khan’s Adventures of Amrita series introduces viewers to various agrarian subjects, most of whom, like in this first edition, are women. Bowing to No One looks at the discrimination as well as more field-focused hardships faced by Satyavati, a farmer from Central India. Khan will appear in-person to discuss the issues surrounding her short film, as an extension of Meeta Mastani’s fall residency at UW. (FREE admission.)