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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


The Island President fights to save his country

At the very end, with a title, the documentary The Island President conveys what is probably the most important piece of information: The island president isn't the island president anymore. Mohamad Nasheed led the Maldives from 2008 until earlier this year, when he left office under disputed circumstances. >More
 Snow White and the Huntsman mines folklore's elemental urges

The hunger for fairy tales never wanes, but appetites refine. Snow White and the Huntsman -- ambitious, brutish, ruthlessly unromantic -- has the right idea casting its heroine as a Joan of Arc-type crusader. Its evil queen is a dissertation, albeit first draft, on beauty as the most direct path to power for the disenfranchised female. >More
 The Kid With a Bike is a sad story about foster care

I'm really moved by the work of first-time film actor Thomas Doret in The Kid With a Bike. He plays Cyril, a Belgian boy of about 11. Cyril lives with a lot of hurt, but he doesn't dare let on. Instead, he gets angry. He broods. He flinches violently when anyone gives him a comforting touch. >More
 A workplace romance unfolds in Delicacy

Watching the French romance Delicacy, I thought of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry can't follow a movie plot. Who's that guy? What just happened? There's a randomness to Delicacy that reminds me of irksome American indie comedies like Gigantic and The Good Heart, which ask us to laugh when characters drolly act in ways that don't resemble actual human behavior. That makes me antsy, and I was ready to give up on Delicacy. But I was smiling by the time it was over. >More
 Retirees make a home at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

In a fluid opening montage, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel introduces seven aging Brits who, for one reason or another, have decided to move to Jaipur, India, and take up residence in what is being advertised as a newly restored retirement home. The first of the film's many predictable surprises is that the hotel is a fixer-upper, a dilapidated shell of its former glory and hardly anything that qualifies to be called the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. >More
 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
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