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Tuesday, September 2, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 78.0° F  Partly Cloudy
The Daily


Small worlds: Oscar-nominated 2012 shorts lack storytelling heft

It's always charming to watch obscure filmmakers as they receive Oscars for their short subjects. They look dazed and grateful as they accept their due in front of a massive television audience. But charm notwithstanding, viewers generally don't tune in for the shorts. >More
 Daniel Radcliffe never ignites in spooky The Woman in Black

Oh, where's that boy wizard from Hogwarts when you need him? It turns out that Daniel Radcliffe did not bring his sorcerer's wand with him when he graduated to his first adult film role since the conclusion of the Harry Potter series. Too bad. Magic powers would have come in handy when dealing with the malevolent ghost that haunts The Woman in Black, the first film in 35 years to be shot in Great Britain under the venerable Hammer banner. >More
 With great power comes great irresponsibility in telekinesis tale Chronicle

From out of left field comes Chronicle, a PG-13 thriller breathing new life into the found-footage formula that has become so popular in the dozen or so years since The Blair Witch Project. Like a marriage of Cloverfield and Carrie, Chronicle blends its faux nave techniques with a teen telekinesis plot to create something that feels fresh and authentic. >More
 Glenn Close plays a suffering cross-dresser in Albert Nobbs

There's a priceless moment in Albert Nobbs in which an alcoholic physician turns to his hotel's servant, the titular Nobbs, and utters the classic male complaint: "Women." The brief scene is a hoot because, unbeknown to the doctor, the singular Mr. Nobbs is in reality Miss Nobbs, played with permanently repressed panic by a remarkable Glenn Close. >More
 A Dangerous Method looks at the origins of psychoanalysis

Hear the words "David Cronenberg" paired with "erotic drama," and you might feel a sudden shudder of unease, thinking back on the Canadian filmmaker's earlier works like Crash or Dead Ringers. This isn't that kind of Cronenberg picture, however. In fact, it's a period piece about the origins of psychoanalysis and the sexual confusions of its progenitors. It's eloquent and handsomely made, if never quite revelatory. >More
 Haywire star Gina Carano is a knockout

Steven Soderbergh has a knack for finding talent in unlikely places. In casting The Girlfriend Experience, he looked to porn and found the appealing Sasha Grey. Now, with the action thriller Haywire, he has looked to mixed-martial-arts fighting and come up with Gina Carano, a glowering fighter who is a lovely, lively presence. >More
 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close avoids melodrama

Some look at the story elements in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and see rich dramatic possibilities: the 9/11 attacks; a grieving mother and son; a mysterious, mute neighbor; a quest to find the lock that fits a key. Others see a recipe for emotionally manipulative preciousness. You know which one you are. >More
 With Haywire, screenwriter Lem Dobbs completes a Steven Soderbergh 'trilogy'

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Madison filmgoers get a treat, an opportunity to see director Steven Soderbergh's new film, Haywire, before it opens Jan. 20. And that's not the only treat. In attendance at Sundance Cinemas Madison will be Lem Dobbs, who wrote the screenplay for the action thriller. >More
 The Iron Lady offers too little, despite Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep has become so predictably astonishing in her versatility that her name is practically a verb -- a way of describing a performer disappearing into a role. The opportunity to see America's answer to Shakespearean acting royalty play Margaret Thatcher, that quintessentially British figure, is the main reason for checking out The Iron Lady -- and, as it turns out, it's really the only reason. >More
 Joyful Noise is a mess, and that's the gospel truth

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton have built up much goodwill, and it carries them through the regrettable Joyful Noise. There are some appealing moments in writer and director Todd Graff's overlong backstage musical about a gospel choir, but the film collapses under too many dull characters and too many silly plot threads. >More
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