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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
The Daily

MOVIES

Damaged souls attract in Silver Linings Playbook

Matthew Quick's 2008 novel The Silver Linings Playbook is a funny, unsettling account of a man trying to recover after a mental breakdown. Writer-director David O. Russell (The Fighter) turns it into something completely unexpected: one of the best romantic comedies in years. It's not as though Russell tore up the source material and started over from scratch. >More
 This Is 40 is funny but desperately needs an editor

I have a dream that, one of these days, Judd Apatow is going to make a 100-minute comedy so packed with hilarity that I'm not going to be able to breathe from the laughing. Luckily for my windpipe, this hasn't happened yet. From The 40 Year Old Virgin to Knocked Up to Funny People, Apatow knows how to deliver laughs. The thing is, he doesn't understand the concept of less is more. >More
 UW Cinematheque screens Studio Ghibli anime, new David Cronenberg film in spring 2013

UW Cinematheque will host the Madison premieres of several new films this winter at 4070 Vilas Hall. Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg's futuristic drama starring Twilight's Robert Pattinson, will hit the screen Saturday, Jan. 19, and The Loneliest Planet, a minimalist account of a backpacking trip starring Gael Garcia Bernal, will be shown Friday, Feb. 22. These are just a few of the films on Cinematheque's spring 2013 calendar, which will be unveiled today. >More
 The Hobbit struggles to build a backstory for The Lord of the Rings

"All good stories deserve embellishment," says the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He says it with a twinkle, as though he knew snarky critics would quote it. "Embellishment" characterizes The Hobbit's journey to film, from the expansion of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings prequel first to two movies and then to three, and to the decision to shoot the movies in a new 48-frames-per-second format. >More
 Hitchcock oversimplifies the legendary director's quirks and contradictions

Alfred Hitchcock, the undisputed master of movie suspense, is given a fairly fanciful treatment in Hitchcock, which is supposed to be based on Stephen Rebello's book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho'. In actuality, this film written by John J. McLaughlin and directed by Sacha Gervasi is a love story about Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), not an accurate backstage look at the creation of his groundbreaking horror film and its enduring role in the American psyche. >More
 In Another Country examines cultural barriers and cinematic illusions

At the start of In Another Country, the newest dramedy by Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo, we meet a Korean film student distraught about a situation involving her uncle. "He's not even a human being," she insists to her mother, who, in turn, pledges to fix the problem. This promise does not satisfy the young woman. >More
 A Late Quartet stars Christopher Walken as a musician in decline

If you long to see Christopher Walken play a character other than a wacky eccentric who speaks with a weird cadence, get yourself to the cinema to see A Late Quartet. But beware: This is the most interesting part of the movie, despite its intriguing premise and stellar cast. A Late Quartet remains earthbound when it should soar. >More
 UW's Odyssey Project fights poverty with humanities classes and a new documentary film

When professor Emily Auerbach hears the word "Madison," she doesn't immediately picture the glowing granite Capitol or the most postcard-worthy scenes on the UW campus, where she teaches English and co-hosts Wisconsin Public Radio's University of the Air program. Instead, two Madisons appear in her mind's eye: one filled with opportunity and another sorely lacking it. >More
 Anna Karenina brings theatrical energy to a stolid movie genre

Historical costume dramas based on literary classics are all over theaters during the awards-baiting winter months. They fill their casts with great actors, place these actors in meticulously decorated rooms and have them speak the words of the world's greatest writers. Also, a whole lot of them suck. >More
 Killing Them Softly stars a menagerie of criminal characters

Killing Them Softly -- the new crime caper from writer-director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) -- is set in 2008, during the panic over the financial collapse and the run-up to Barack Obama's election. You might miss that crucial bit of subtext if you're completely out to lunch. >More
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