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Saturday, November 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 23.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

Pay 2 Play examines money's role in union busting and Citizens United

Thank Michael Moore for inaugurating the modern era of the lefty polemical documentary. Various imitators have come along in the wake of successful films like Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Moore promoted progressive causes. I see elements of Moore's style in Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes, about money's corrupting influence in politics. >More
 Beloved old songs loosen dementia's grip in Alive Inside

The remarkable documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory artfully weaves together material about two topics, one inspiring, one discouraging. The inspiring topic, and the main focus, is the restorative power of music when it is played for people with memory loss. >More
 Pilgrims journey to higher ground in Walking the Camino

Walking the Camino is, it seems, a good way to have a spiritual awakening while viewing incredible natural splendor and forming important human connections. And then there are the staggeringly huge blisters. >More
 Kevin Smith's Tusk is a horror-comedy set in a creepy mansion

I'll begin with the ending. I don't like it. Of course I won't reveal any substantial details of the conclusion to Tusk, the horror-comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. I will say that I had developed mixed feelings by the time the finale rolled around, and my unhappiness with it tips this review into pan territory. But there are facets of the movie that I admire. >More
 James Gandolfini is a Mafia target, not a Mafioso, in the crime drama The Drop

James Gandolfini's wintry silences and bitter outbursts are just enough to merit seeing The Drop, director Michaël R. Roskam's slice of crime life set in Brooklyn. In a way, this is Tony Soprano's swan song, but there's one important difference: Here the late Gandolfini plays Cousin Marv, a beaten-down dive-bar owner who owes the local Chechen Mafia a lot of dough. >More
 British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon show off their sharp wit in The Trip to Italy

They're back, and they're still doing Michael Caine impressions. In the picaresque 2010 comedy The Trip, British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon toured England's Lake District. Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, they ate fancy meals and engaged in very funny, apparently improvised conversations. >More
 The Identical asks what might have happened if the King's twin had lived

Elvis Presley's legacy weighs heavily on The Identical, even though he is only mentioned once. Rather than obtaining the rights to make a proper biopic, the filmmakers imagine what might happen if the rock 'n' roll legend's stillborn twin brother survived and went on to achieve fame as a professional Elvis impersonator. >More
 Night Moves follows two eco-terrorists plotting to blow up a dam

Night Moves is probably the only suspenseful thriller you'll see this year in which someone explains what a CSA box is. The remarks on community-supported agriculture come at a fraught moment, one of several. >More
 In Calvary, a man of the cloth must figure out which parishioner plans to kill him

Named after the hill where Jesus was crucified, Calvary makes its intentions clear from the start. Father James (Brendan Gleeson) sits in the confessional of his church in a rural Irish town. An unseen man arrives and shares a horrible secret: He was sexually molested by a Catholic priest for five years, starting when he was 7 years old. >More
 Happy birthday, Ghostbusters

Nostalgia can seem self-indulgent to those witnessing it rather than experiencing it. But age does things to our relationship with memory. As Ghostbusters rolls into theaters for a one-week-only 30th anniversary re-release, I can't help but wax rhapsodic about the summer of 1984. It's the reason I'm writing about movies today. >More
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