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Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 58.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

Crazy Horse takes a backstage look at a Paris cabaret

Unlike most of the "gentlemen's clubs" in the U.S. (not that I've been to that many, but still...), Paris' famed Crazy Horse saloon has been an ongoing erotic attraction for tourists and locals alike since 1951. The place has been a rich and endlessly creative bastion of pure French showmanship, and it harbors a deep, Parisian reverence for all things female. >More
 The Hunger Games soars when it focuses on its heroine

With The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins mines familiar dystopian ground, building around the kind of public-spectacle blood-and-circuses concept that has fueled everything from Death Race 2000 to The Running Man. Yep, there's little new under the dome of the battle arena -- except the character at the center. >More
 A girl finds her way in Pariah

Pariah encompasses the personal and the universal with its emotionally engaging story about a Brooklyn teenager who struggles to find a place to fit in. The film is fresh yet familiar, raw yet polished, particular yet generic, and wholly original. >More
 Tales from Planet Earth is an eco-themed film festival

The Lorax may be a Hollywood ecology hit, but Madison is doing its own part with a weeklong environmental film festival starting Sunday, March 25. The event, named Tales from Planet Earth, will present more than 30 new and classic films at venues around the city. >More
 21 Jump Street takes an inspired approach to recycling

What do we really expect at this point from movies that cash in on nostalgia for old TV shows, cartoons, toys and board games? Every once in a while, a filmmaking team comes up with a quirky enough perspective that the revival of a title seems not just forgivable, but almost inspired. >More
 A man fumbles with the divine in Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Co-directors Mark and Jay Duplass filmed Jeff, Who Lives at Home in their native New Orleans and its surrounding areas, but they mostly abstain from framing more scenic places and promenades. Instead, they favor the lusterless, eyesore environs of contemporary American life: a chain motel, a Hooters bar, a chain-linked basketball court, the breakfast table of a limply appointed apartment. >More
 John Carter gives familiar sci-fi material a spark of energy

John Carter could tip the scales over to silly, but it somehow manages to stay just on the right side of fun. Adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel A Princess of Mars, director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and his co-screenwriters (including novelist Michael Chabon) introduce us to Capt. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a Confederate Civil War veteran whose death in 1881 brings his nephew Ned (erstwhile Spy Kid Daryl Sabara) to New York for a reading of his will. >More
 A community comes together in Le Havre

A fulsome optimism has crept into the world of Aki Kaurismäki, the Finnish director whose films have always been marked by their distinctive blend of deadpan humor and quotidian melodrama. To Kaurismäki's panoply of underdogs, outsiders and bohemians, Le Havre now adds a sense of people's willingness to do good. >More
 Affluent New Yorkers duke it out in Carnage

Roman Polanski's entertaining Carnage gestures at sharp satire, but I'm not entirely satisfied with the big insight. The film begins with a bloody confrontation between kids on a playground. Later, a glib corporate lawyer named Alan (Christoph Waltz) says, "I believe in the god of carnage," and then he talks smugly about the horrific strife in Congo, where the combatants include child soldiers. >More
 We Need to Talk About Kevin profiles a demon child

Based on Lionel Shriver's 2003 novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a hybrid, and not an appealing one. Lynne Ramsay's film has horror elements, but it lacks the gleeful, bloody guilelessness of that genre. At the same time, it's not the nuanced indie drama it aspires to be. >More
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