Film Clips: Sept. 24
Critically acclaimed and grossing more than $250 million, it was a foregone conclusion that the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs would spawn at least one sequel. However, chapter two re-“hashes” the original’s plot, and seems overly familiar. Inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) is back, now happily working with his idol Chester V at The Live Corp Company. Lockwood’s dreams of bettering the world become a nightmare after he discovers that his infamous food-making machine is still operating and churning out predatory “foodimals” (food-animal hybrids). It would be nice if the story persuaded rugrats to concentrate on their veggies, but it’s more likely the production will cause theater pizza sales to double. (Lisa Miller)
Don Jon R
In this contemporary iteration of the Don Juan legend, the stud is a Brooklyn boy, Jon Martello (played by director Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Although he’s the king of one-nighters, he finds the real deal less enjoyable than watching porn (and masturbating). He’s a porno junkie. A rude and raunchy comedy with many explicit glimpses of the hard stuff, Don Jon sets up Jon’s new girlfriend Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) as the methadone to his sex addiction. Or will an older woman, Esther (Julianne Moore), be the one to talk sense? In keeping with Hollywood procedures as old as Cecil B. DeMille, Don Jon revels in the thing it moralizes about. (David Luhrssen)
Il Futuro Not Rated
If film noir can flourish in an entirely contemporary register, it may look something like Il Futuro. Directed by Chilean filmmaker Alicia Scherson, the orphaned 18-year-old narrator, Bianca (Manuela Martelli), is left with her parents’ Rome apartment and the care of her younger brother. The brother falls in with a pair of thugs who move into their apartment and plan to rob a crumbling mansion off an expatriate American actor (Rutger Hauer), a blind man who starred in C-minus Italian flicks from the ’60s. In a scheme constructed from odds and scraps of pulp fiction, Bianca insinuates herself into the actor’s life, searching for the money but finding emotion instead. Suspenseful, erotic and flecked with fantastic imaginings and a vague sense of dread, Il Futuro is as elliptical and unsettled as the 21st century. (D.L.)
7 p.m., Sept. 27-28; and 5 p.m., Sept. 29, UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre.
Narco Cultura Not Rated
The bloody struggles between Mexican drug cartels, with decapitated bodies and mass graves, are familiar to anyone who watches the news. Shaul Schwarz’s documentary returns from the crime scenes of Juarez with disturbing images of the routinization of slaughter. Perhaps more chilling is Schwarz’s exploration of the “narcocorrido” musical subculture. The bloodthirsty songs, music videos and action flicks (produced in the U.S. for a young Hispanic audience and sold at WalMart) celebrate the carnage and elevate the killers as heroic outlaws, embodiments of potency. Schwarz interviews Mexican police, who live in fear; gangsters, some of them troubled by conscience; and activists, protesting for a better future. (D.L.)
9:30 p.m., Oct. 4 and 10:15 p.m., Oct. 5, Fox Bay Cinema Grill; 1 p.m., Oct. 10, Oriental Theatre, Milwaukee Film Festival.
Fueled by the rivalry between Britain’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austria’s Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), Europe’s Formula One race scene grew increasingly popular during the 1970s. Public imagination is ignited by the grudge matches between freewheeling pretty boy Hunt and by-the-books tactician Lauda. Each is determined to earn the world championship title on a series of inconsistent courses while driving notoriously dangerous cars. They are shown taunting one another and tempting fate on the track while juggling their personal lives and wives (Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara). Less concerned with racing action than with the atmosphere surrounding the sport and its fearless stars, Ron Howard’s film recreates this time and place, while dropping viewers into the racer’s milieu. (L.M.)