It's a big week here at W2W. Not only do we finally get a look at Hugh Jackman's return to vein-popping fury and crazy acrobatics as the X-Man named Wolverine, but we also get to sample a couple of time-honored summer movie sub-genres: the teen sex comedy and the coming-of-age story. Not only are both The Way Way Back and The To-Do List set at public swimming pools (a summer movie staple), but both feature some great character work from tremendous comedy actors.
If you haven't had enough to laugh with, at, or about this summer, this might just be your week. Not so much with the giant monsters and robots. Time to relax. Time to chill. Well, that and watch Wolverine kill stuff.
Fruitvale Station (Savoy 16 IMAX): This film, made for just under two million dollars, tells the story of Oscar (Michael B. Jordon), a young man taking the subway home on New Year’s Eve 2008, and the tragic true events of his fatal shooting.
Why to Watch: While the premise of this film may not immediately seem compelling, there’s definitely a lot going on with this character. Usually, when a film is purported to be a true story, I am hesitant to get emotionally invested, but I have confidence in Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Chronicle) as a leading man to make Oscar’s journey a memorable one. Also noteworthy is the presence of Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother.
Showing @ 12:30, 2:35, 4:40, 6:45, & 8:50 p.m.
The Way Way Back (Savoy 16 IMAX): Awkward, teenage Duncan spends a summer with his mother and her new boyfriend in this smart, quirky coming-of-age tale from the writers of Oscar-winner The Descendents.
Why to Watch: A type of film genre that I have grown to love in recent years is the coming-of-age drama. When a film shows us a new side of how a person can grow or change, it often reminds us of how we changed as a person back then. This film from the trailers alone seems to be doing exactly that. It boasts a strong set of supporting players, including Toni Colette, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, and Sam Rockwell, and, most surprisingly, Steve Carell as the jerk boyfriend who turns Duncan’s life upside-down.
Showing @ 11:25 a.m., 1:50, 4:15, 6:40, & 9:05 p.m.
The Wolverine (Savoy 16 IMAX): Our favorite comic book antihero is back for another round, this time with slightly less invulnerability, some shiny villains, and a new locale.
Why to Watch: By now, Hugh Jackman has become so ingrained in the collective consciousness as the berserker Logan that it’s nothing new to see him ripped and righteous on magazine covers. However, this film boasts a classy director in James Mangold, and it has a lot to prove after the debacle that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Sheeeesh.) Taking a page from the comics (no pun intended), the filmmakers set the action in Japan, fulfilling many a fanboy wish by delving into this part of Logan's history. Watch out for some cameos by familiar faces from X-Men films past.
Showing in 2D @ 11:00 a.m., 12:50, 1:50, 3:40, 4:40, 6:30, 7:30, 9:20, & 10:15 p.m. In 3D @ 1:20, 4:10, 7:00, & 9:50 p.m.
The To Do List (Savoy 16 IMAX): Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation plays Brandy, a virginal high school valedictorian determined to experience every sexual act she has previously avoided. In other words, all of them.
Why to Watch: In the wake of Bridesmaids, the raunchy, female-driven comedy is now a bankable genre. A strong supporting cast, a premise that all but screams “this will go too far,” and a likable star in Plaza make this worth at least a look. And hey, it’s summer; aren’t we due for a crazy sex comedy? And did I mention the supporting cast? Donald Glover, Bill Hader, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Rachel Bilson, Alia Shawkat, and Clark Gregg. Nice.
Showing @ 12:15, 2:35, 4:55, 7:15, & 9:35 p.m.
Much Ado About Nothing (The Art Theater Co-op): Joss Whedon's modern take on Shakespeare's classic comedy continues its residence at The Art all this week. Whedon sets the action in the present and ... in his own house. The romantic misadventures of Benedick, Beatrice, Claudio, Hero, and their circle of friends come to life in smashing black-and-white.
Why to Watch: In addition to being a smart, fast-moving adaptation of Shakespeare, this film makes for a great game of "Which Whedon Thing Was This Actor In?" See actors from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods, and The Avengers bring the Bard's swift, witty comedy of romantic errors into the modern age.
Showing Monday through Thursday @ 5:00 & 7:30 p.m.
Vertigo (The Art Theater Co-op): A profound, disturbing classic about obsession, revenge, and love.
Why to Watch: Hitchcock has always had something to say about psychology. Films like Psycho, Rear Window, and this dark, trippy classic use the conventions of film to peel away layers of the human psyche to great effect. James Stewart gives one of his finest, eeriest performances in this stunning work, considered by some to be the best film ever made. And one must point out the great work of Kim Novak as the object of Stewart's desire. This is a classy, hypnotic movie that is no less powerful for showing its age. As an extra incentive, this is the last film to be shown in glorious 35mm at The Art before they make the switch to digital. Send the format out in style.
Showing Wednesday @ 2:00 & 10:00 p.m. and Thursday @ 10:00 p.m.
Smurfs 2 (or, What the Smurf Happened to Hank Azaria’s Career?)
2 Guns (or, Did Denzel Get This Script Confused With Something Else?)
Blue Jasmine (or, Woody Directs A Streetcar Named Desire … sort of … with Louis CK)