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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Wilmington on DVD: The Pirates! Band of Misfits, A Separation, Darling Companion

Pirates! In real-life, most of them were probably scurvy gangs of sea-going psychopaths, but in the irresistible world of Aardman Animations, they're cute and funny and as lovable as a hungry pussycat. Utter contentment. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Dictator, Headhunters, Tonight You're Mine, The War Room

Sacha Baron Cohen is no Charlie Chaplin, but at least he's willing to give his comedy a shot of social and political consciousness, like Charlie did. The Dictator, an heir to the agility and impudence and political courage of Chaplin's great 1940 The Great Dictator (in which Adolf Hitler was sent up as "Adenoid Hynkel"), shows us Baron Cohen in that mood of mildly terrorist hilarity and cheerful bad taste that infused Borat. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Shallow Grave

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is a big, bouncy, computerized cartoon feature with its heart in the right place about nature and resources and how important it is to shepherd them in the right ways -- and how important it is not to let greed and selfishness and the lust for money and exploitation of those resources set the agendas, blight the landscapes and ravage the earth. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Le Havre

The wondrously ragtag people of Le Havre -- Aki Kaurismaki's bluesy neo-realist fairytale of a film about class solidarity, kindness and international brotherhood, are a community of grand allusions, walking. And the film, both melancholy and sweet, is their dreamy, broken boulevard of references. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: American Reunion, Casa de Mi Padre, Silent House

American Reunion is indubitably the best of all the American Pie series. Don't think I don't know how much that last judgment is a case of damning with faint praise, or praising with faint damns, or whatever. But what can you expect from a franchise whose original premise consisted of losing your virginity in high school, with pies? In Michigan? >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Artist, 21 Jump Street, And Everything Is Going Fine

The Artist, a movie about the Golden Age of Hollywood, is a superb throwback: a silent film in black-and-white by the French writer-director Michel Hazanavicius. It's an utterly wonderful show: a gloriously anachronistic little film with actors who don't talk and pictures that sing -- and a story full of romance and coincidence, pathos and slapstick, and beautiful people erupting in spasms of comedy and tragedy on sun-splashed Los Angeles streets. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, In Darkness, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

There's a level of sheer frantic busy-ness and glib chaos in director Guy Ritchie's and star Robert Downey Jr.'s second Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, that makes it, by turns, easy to enjoy and hard to stomach. This rock-'em-shock-'em-and-Sherlock-'em Victorian slam-banger from the irrepressible Ritchie (the director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) is one of those movies that keep blowing up in your face every 10 minutes or so. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: Coriolanus, John Carter, Safe House, Act of Valor, The Woodmans

Here we have another film treasure taken from the vast and wonderful dramaturgy of William Shakespeare: Coriolanus, bitter, bleak, murderous play of the hell of warfare, of deadly comrades in arms, of the masses and the few, of the ties of blood and the evils of politics -- now made into a movie set in the age of bombs and the land of ethnic cleansing (Serbia), directed by and starring, in the title role, that fine melancholy actor Ralph Fiennes, with a performance so extraordinary by Vanessa Redgrave, as Volumnia, the ultimate warrior's mother, that it takes your breath away. >More
 Wilmington on DVD: We Need to Talk About Kevin, Man on a Ledge, David Lean Directs Noel Coward

We Need to Talk About Kevin, based on the novel by Lionel Driver, was directed and co-written by Lynne Ramsay. Her films, sometimes set in poverty, sometimes on the fringes of society, often dealing with death and guilt and morality, are grim -- none grimmer than this one, which takes place in comfort and suburban ease, a scary movie about the pain of bourgeois parenthood, a noir in sunlight >More
 Wilmington on DVD: The Secret World of Arrietty, Red Tails, The Woman in Black, This Means War

The everyday beauty and transcendent charm of The Secret World of Arrietty -- the latest feature cartoon import from Japan's master animator-writer-director Hayao Miyazaki -- is a balm to the restless spirit, a tonic for the troubled heart. >More
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