New Hong Sang-soo, The Long Goodbye, and Marvel Studios gets serious about superheroes
Right Now, Wrong Then (9:30p — Union South Marquee)
Foregoing Choose Your Own Adventure‘s promise of an actual choice, Hong Sang-soo picks two paths at once, offering up different endpoints in this would-be romance between a painter and a director. South Korea’s master of the mundane spins his commonplace interests with this split narrative, emphasizing artistry and jarring honesty against possibilities both glum and, thankfully, much happier. WUD Film’s more obvious oddity this weekend is the Icelandic rivalry in Rams, but don’t sleep on what looks like a fun exercise in shot blocking. (FREE.)
All freakin’ weekend
Captain America: Civil War (Sundance, AMC Star, Point)
For all of the posturing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when the dust settles and Iron Man’s shot down another alien whale thing, nothing’s really changed. Well, leave it to the second Captain America sequel to wash away the stale taste of Age of Ultron. Now it’s Iron Man shooting at the “First Avenger” as infighting breaks out and factions form over whether all that destruction they caused last time should put them on a watch list or something. The MCU has been spinning its wheels since credits rolled on the first Avengers movie, so at the very least it’s nice to see its heroes fighting characters we care about: themselves.
The Long Goodbye (7:00p — 4070 Vilas Hall)
As Raymond Chandler’s broadly-adapted gumshoe Philip Marlowe, Elliott Gould chain-smokes his way through Los Angeles to get to the bottom of a friend’s alleged suicide. Robert Altman plays an understated style against sunny, amoral squalor, drifting from the Mexican border to jails to the beach house of Sterling Hayden’s volcanic Roger Wade. A story about answers despite the fact that it never really looks for them, The Long Goodbye is solitary poetry lost in its search for an overarching good, and fans of The Big Lebowski and Inherent Vice would do well to pay their respects to one of the great spiritual predecessors. (FREE.)
Police Story (10:00p — Union South Marquee)
WUD’s FREE “After Dark” program is going out with a bang, shattered glass, punches and a multi-storey pole jump through a tapestry of burn-inducing lightbulbs. And that’s just in one scene. Jackie Chan’s stunt performances are unparalleled in modern cinema and 30 years later, those same death-defying action sequences Police Story was literally written around still impress and shock. Roguish inspector Chan Ka-kui embraces the chaos around an undercover investigation of a crime boss with car chases and haphazard set pieces, and as both star and director, Chan highlights the action over and over again with multiple angles that function like glorious instant replay footage.
A Morning Light (7:00p — 4070 Vilas Hall)
In the process of filming his last feature in 2013, an experimental self-portrait titled after the year of its completion, MMXIII (which also had its Midwest premiere a couple years ago as part of Colvin’s series), Clark began to document the organic developments that led to the formal conception of A Morning Light. Regarded as a sort of spiritual sequel to MMXIII, this film continues a skyward curiosity about “celestial bodies, movements, and meaning” that simultaneously intersects with Clark’s scouting of real public testimonies in the realm of alien abduction. Discourse from prominent figures like the Canadian Minister of Defense, Paul Hellyer, and Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. John Mack, influenced the director’s conclusive vision that considers humanity’s damaging ecological impact as a catalyst to extraterrestrial visitation.
In Search of America (7:00p — Mystery to Me Bookstore, 1863 Monroe St)
Marc Kornblatt is a busy guy. Having just screened his self-meditative exercise Still60 at the Wisconsin Film Festival, the Madison-based director now turns his focus to a country-spanning travelogue that leaves from Oneida territory and eventually touches the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and both U.S. coasts. Still a work-in-progress, the hour-long document of the director’s six-month trip is also a testament to Kornblatt’s tenacious work ethic. Presumably, audiences notes are welcome. (FREE.)