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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


Wilmington on DVD: America, I gave my best to you

You would think that the appearance of a clear-eyed celebration of the national and personal sacrifices it took to defeat international fascism might become easy tools for cheerleaders for the Iraq war. But Ken Burns and Lynn Novick prove how different the two wars were in The War. The fact that the Iraq conflict has now lasted longer than America's involvement in World War II seems more and more absurd. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Our Blue Marble

The cinematography of Planet Earth, by 40 camera teams in over 200 locations, is absolutely staggering, beyond praise. The musical score by George Fenton, eclectic and lyrical, is an ideal match for the incredible images; Bernard Herrmann himself couldn't have done better. But the movies are also masterworks of storytelling, editing and narrative structure. And they're politically meaty as well. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Where do babies come from?

Seth Rogen is shaggily hilarious and so are his slacker buddies; Katherine Heigl plays a woman who might believably put babies and wedding bells in anyone's mind. Knocked Up is not only a very funny (if gross) movie, but it's also a sweet one: warmly humane and sharply observant. Apatow is the new American movie laugh auteur these days -- and he deserves to be. At least for the moment. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Man in Black

Few singers can generate the kind of casual menace Cash poured into the line "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die" (in "Folsom Prison Blues") or the desperate yearning of "On a Sunday mornin' sidewalk, Lord, I'm wishing I was stoned (in Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down"), or get the breezy quality of "My name is Sue, How do you do?" (in "A Boy Named Sue"). >More
 Wilmington on DVD: You're trying to seduce me!

Mike Nichols cast the short, dark, ethnic Dustin Hoffman in a role better suited on the page for the young Robert Redford -- and Hoffman helped turn the story into a comic nightmare of lust, love, alienation and humiliation. Meanwhile, Mrs. Robinson, in Anne Bancroft's sly hands, became a chic, icy-hearted monster. Few movie seduction scenes are ringed around with as much comic dread as theirs -- and it suited the time. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Have you said your prayers?

If you remember the sectarian splits and violence of Madison in the '60s, the film will ring a disturbing bell; if you want to feel the sting and explosion of social chaos, Loach and Laverty are the artists to guide you there: to the hell that erupted in towns and fields, or, as the old song puts it, to the troubles in the green land where the wind shakes the barley. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Blood, chills, and good cheap thrills

A bevy of cult horror directors -- from Joe (Gremlins) Dante to John (Halloween) Carpenter, from Dario (Suspiria) Argento to Takashi (Ichi the Killer) Miike, from John (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) McNaughton to Tobe (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) Hooper and from Larry (It's Alive!) Cohen to ex-UW and Broom Street Theater phenom Stuart (Re-Animator) Gordon -- ply their gory craft for the recent Showtime TV series. Full of blood, chills, creep-outs, sardonic humor and good cheap thrills, a nice idea very well executed. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: A cop Karl Rove could love

Better than the two shallow, thudding sequels it spawned, not to mention its many hapless imitators, the first RoboCop is a terrific science fiction action movie, partly because it's so obviously about its own contemporary time. Verhoeven, the unbuttoned Dutch director who was just going Hollywood, makes lusty dark comedy out of the stuff of our social and political nightmares, violence and depravity. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: You talkin' to me?

I've never bought the ending with Travis going free and Betsy at the cab. Dream? Nightmare? It just doesn't make any sense, except as then gun-nut Schrader's wish-fulfillment fantasy. But then, neither does Xanadu and its pleasure domes and milk of paradise. Taxi Driver gives us pain domes and the milk of hellfire. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The King

This smoky show, with Elvis in his youthful prime as jailbird-turned rebel-rocker Vince Everett, has its flaws. But it's still his best fiction movie (along with Flaming Star and King Creole) and a real pop culture landmark: an early unabashed, no-apologies rock movie celebration. It also has one the greatest rock movie musical numbers ever: Elvis burning down the house with the wipeout Lieber-Stoller title number "Jailhouse Rock." >More
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