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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 21.0° F  Fair
The Daily


Fill the Void is a fascinating peek inside Orthodox Jewish culture

Are these two going to get together or what? That's the question posed by the remarkable Israeli melodrama Fill the Void. The same question is posed by Hollywood romantic comedies, and that's basically where the similarities end. >More
 Coworkers are hot for each other in Drinking Buddies

Joe Swanberg built his brand on the novelty of naked bodies doing unglamorous things like shaving pubic hair and masturbating in the shower. He's still making small-scale, experiential films, but in Drinking Buddies, his most polished film to date, his observational prowess has swerved away from shock value and sharpened considerably. Here, a side eye can speak volumes. >More
 Writing about Nazis: Hannah Arendt portrays the perils of this sensitive subject

Roger Ebert once observed that movies about writers are hard to make, because the act of writing isn't especially cinematic. I thought of that as I watched the interesting, not altogether satisfying docudrama Hannah Arendt, in which there is a whole lot of typing going on. >More
 A father investigates the disappearance himself in Prisoners

In earlier generations, extended riffs on totalitarian communism (Animal Farm) and the Red Scare (The Crucible) worked thanks to their literary merits. These days it's getting harder to find that sweet spot where an audience clearly understands what you're trying to say, yet doesn't feel bludgeoned by a Very Important Message About Society. >More
 Travel companions clash while procuring a psychedelic cactus in Crystal Fairy

The backpacker travel scene is amazing. All around the world, there are locales so stunning, so breathtaking, that young people will trek thousands of miles for the purpose of visiting them and " taking drugs. Couldn't they just take the drugs at home and save the money? >More
 Austenland lacks its namesake's brains and wit

For such a deft wit, Jane Austen sure has inspired some nitwitted entertainment. Actually, her influence in Austenland is negligible, save some thin ribbons of plot snipped from her catalog, including Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. >More
 Sarah Polley questions her family history in Stories We Tell

The further details recede into the past, the knottier the truth becomes. Reality is multifaceted, and a devil of a thing to pin down in a documentary. Acknowledging all this, Sarah Polley plunges ahead with Stories We Tell, a very personal and inventive inquiry into the true identity of her biological father. >More
 UW Cinematheque books Joe Swanberg premiere, Werner Herzog classics and Jill Soloway visit for fall 2013

Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the fall 2013 season at UW Cinematheque. As autumn transitions into winter, the university film society will screen four Madison premieres, as well as works by such masters as France's Jean-Pierre Melville, Germany's Werner Herzog, and Americans Emile de Antonio and Howard Hawks. >More
 An alien attack resembles a corporate takeover in The World's End

Many film critics get frustrated when a cinematic landscape feels overwhelmed by superheroes, giant robots and crashing spaceships, but that's still the kind of stuff that turned a lot of us into movie lovers. In other words, genre movies never need to be guilty pleasures. >More
 An escaped con makes his way home in Ain't Them Bodies Saints

We don't learn a lot about the characters in the stylish drama Ain't Them Bodies Saints. We know little more than what motivates them. Love. Money. Fear. In some cases, compassion. The story is simple. A man (Casey Affleck) breaks out of prison and tries to make his way home to his wife (Rooney Mara) and their young daughter. Does he make it? Ain't telling. >More
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