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Monday, October 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 52.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


With The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen goes beyond pranks

With The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen finds himself addressing a situation no entertainer wants to confront: What do you do when the shtick that was your bread-and-butter just can't work anymore? >More
 Bernie charts a bizarre May-December romance

If I hadn't already read Skip Hollandsworth's 1997 Texas Monthly article recounting the tragicomic tale of assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede, I'd swear this film adaptation was based on one of Joe R. Lansdale's East Texas gothics. As ever, truth proves itself stranger than fiction in this film by Richard Linklater, who co-scripted with Hollandsworth. >More
 The Burton/Depp collaboration flatlines in Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows marks the eighth collaboration between director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and you could say the partnership has been fruitful. They've made some wonderfully original films like Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, and they have made rolling-around-in-it-like-Scrooge-McDuck money. But the creative marriage has grown less and less creative. >More
 In Darkness tells a devastating Holocaust story

Based on actual events, the claustrophobic epic In Darkness is as emotional as they come: a Holocaust story shot through with darkness both literal and figurative. Set mainly beneath the streets of Lvov, Poland, In Darkness uses the dank, horrific sewers to great and terrible effect. >More
 The Avengers save the world in style

It's probably impossible for people who grew up loving the superhero comic books to separate that love from The Avengers, the film writer/director Joss Whedon has created. That's a vibe Whedon embraces unapologetically. >More
 Whit Stillman disappoints with Damsels in Distress

How big a Whit Stillman fan was I in the 1990s? I followed the short-lived ABC sitcom It's Like, You Know... only because its lead was Chris Eigeman, who was so indelible in the three films Stillman wrote, directed and produced that decade, Metropolitan (1990), Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days of Disco (1998). >More
 Wisconsin filmmaker makes gun-free gangster movie Secret Life, Secret Death

While the budget for even the most humble Hollywood movie runs into millions, an area artist has just completed her first feature film for $4,500. That includes post-production. The actual shooting cost was $1,700. The Madison premiere of the 84-minute film is at the Barrymore Theatre on May 2. >More
 The Pirates! delivers high-quality animated entertainment

Americans who fell for Nick Park's charming Wallace & Gromit shorts know that Aardman Animations, the little British studio that made its name in stop-motion Plasticine, isn't just some esoteric outfit. The wit and cinematic sensibility of these adventures could certainly translate into mainstream success. >More
 Norwegian Wood wallows in youthful tragedy

I admire the drama Norwegian Wood, but I didn't really enjoy watching it. Tran Anh Hung's film of Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel is handsomely photographed, and it is, yes, novelistic in the way it takes on so many intense themes, including tragic romance, mental illness and violent political turmoil. >More
 Kill List is a flabbergasting genre-bender

Viewers will find themselves well into the intriguing Kill List before they get a sense of what it's about and where it's going. And even then, they'll never correctly predict the film's outcome or foretell its bizarre ending. Kill List is thoroughly unpredictable and derives a great deal of its disquieting power from that very fact. >More
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