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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

DVD

Wilmington on DVD: The Hobbit, Lawless, Killing Them Softly, Battleship

Nine years after Peter Jackson's The Return of the King, the third of his Ring trilogy, seemed to close the book on his movie Middle Earth, back he comes with his company's (WingNut) version of Tolkien's prelude novel from the '30s: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Hurrah. This new movie, which only a goblin would call a prequel, is a delight. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Hitchcock, Rise of the Guardians, Holy Motors, Chasing Mavericks, Red Dawn

The movies changed after Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and so did the director himself -- as we see in the compelling but not always satisfying new movie Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi and starring Anthony Hopkins as the Master of Suspense and Helen Mirren as his longtime wife and most important collaborator, Alma Reville Hitchcock. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Master, Skyfall, Sinister

The Master is Paul Thomas Anderson's dark tale of post-war America, of a master (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a follower (Joaquin Phoenix), and the master's wife (Amy Adams). It's the epic yarn of how a con job became a big cult, and of how the seemingly placid Eisenhower-era '50s planted the seeds that grew later into the Abbie Hoffman '60s -- the story of an explosive friendship between a charlatan and a drunk, between a preacher and a hell-raiser, sabotaged by the preacher's determined wife. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Argo, The Sessions, Flight

Based on fact -- although it's fact run through the usual big-movie embellishing machines -- Argo tells the story of a CIA "exfiltration" expert (director-star Ben Affleck as real-life operative Antonio "Tony" Mendez), who joins forces with an Oscar-winning makeup man (John Goodman as the real-life studio legend John Chambers) and a few other movie people, to cook up a real-life great escape. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Seven Psychopaths, The Possession, For a Good Time Call...

Martin McDonagh mixes the worlds of "real life" crime and the movies in Seven Psychopaths, a lively dark comedy about the perils of being an Irish screenwriter named Martin, writing a crime thriller screenplay called "Seven Psychopaths" in modern L.A., where your best friend is a psychopath, and at least six other certifiable psychos are hobnobbing around. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Farewell, My Queen, Taken 2, Hit and Run

It is July 14, 1789, in France, the day the Bastille was stormed and fell to an angry revolutionary mob. In Farewell, My Queen, though, we are not with the revolutionaries, nor with the king's soldiers fighting them, or giving up before the fight. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Searching for Sugar Man, To Rome With Love

One of my favorite movies of the past year is a documentary by a new young Swedish filmmaker about a little-known (at least here) American musician of the '70s. It's called Searching for Sugar Man -- and it's a rock 'n' roll chronicle of a great singer/guitarist/songwriter about whom you've probably never heard named Rodriguez. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Frankenweenie, Samsara, The Words

Two of the best things Tim Burton ever did were a couple of black-and-white cartoons he made for Disney back in the early '80s, when he was a lad in his 20s. One of them, Vincent (1982), was the tale in rhyme of a little boy who adored Vincent Price. The other gem, Frankenweenie, was a Frankenstein parody set in a sit-commy stop-motion suburb, about a child named Victor Frankenstein who revives his dead pet dog with electricity. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Trouble with the Curve, Pitch Perfect, Total Recall

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese conceptual artist and subject of Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, is a heavy-set guy with a frizzy mustache and beard, who has 40 cats and a taste for Carnegie Deli pastrami sandwiches, developed when he lived in New York City. Now back in China, he blogs and tweets all the time and is probably, right now, the word's most famous living artist -- as well as the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for his brave and outspoken activism and protests against the Chinese government and its anti-democratic policies. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Ted, The Bourne Legacy, Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ted is a vulgar, irreverent, dirty-mouthed comedy about a vulgar, irreverent, dirty-mouthed teddy bear named, of course, Ted -- a fuzzy horny little stoner who is the best friend of a sweet, somewhat Peter-Pannish Boston guy named John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg, as likeable and undangerous as he can get). >More
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