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Monday, September 15, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 52.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily


UW Cinematheque leads a growing downtown film scene

It's been a good year for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, and also for its first director of programming, Jim Healy. The organization has two gorgeous new venues, at the Chazen Museum of Art and Union South. Celebrated director Joe Dante just paid a three-day visit to screen Gremlins, as well as his personal favorites. Attendance for the summer series was up 70%. >More
 Too much timeline, not enough life in J. Edgar

Director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have as a subject one of American history's most enigmatic, polarizing figures in J. Edgar Hoover, and yet J. Edgar almost never offers the buzz of discovery. It's merely a 50-year kaleidoscope of American history, with the founder of the FBI serving as Forrest Gump. >More
 Higher Ground can't settle on a tone

It's a chilling Bible verse, Psalm 137:9: "Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rocks." Really? God says killing children could be associated with happiness -- or blessedness, as it's sometimes rendered? >More
 A building manager seeks revenge in Tower Heist

Alert to the righteous rage of the 99-percenters and canny about how to mine it for laughs, Tower Heist is like Ocean's Eleven meets class consciousness. Ben Stiller plays Josh Kovacs, the manager of a luxury condo building in Manhattan called the Tower. >More
 Same-sex romance Circumstance rises above sappy melodrama

Any film that employs Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to underline teenage Sapphic longings has one strike against it already. But the cookie-cutter clichés that plague Iranian director Maryam Keshavarz's debut feature, Circumstance, are leavened considerably by the fact that the teens in question reside in Tehran -- not a place where Bonnie Tyler has much of a following, one would think. >More
 Funny, messy The Rum Diary brings art-house Johnny Depp to the multiplexes

Johnny Depp spent years building the kind of résumé that keeps actors from being movie stars, roles featuring weird hair and silly voices. Then he changed exactly nothing in his approach and scored a few blockbusters. Now those same movies Depp was making years ago, instead of opening in art houses, are opening on 2,000 screens. >More
 Moving The Future brings fantasy elements to a brave drama

Watching The Future, I flashed back to the night in 1997 when I saw Breaking the Waves. As Lars von Trier's magic, tragic romance unfolded, I got impatient, then angry. But by the end I was weeping. Turned out I was watching something extraordinary. >More
 Margin Call is an anatomy of Wall Street greed

When the catastrophe on Wall Street began to unfold a few years back, I read and reread newspaper articles about it, trying to understand it. Much of what I knew about finance I'd learned from an old Leave It To Beaver episode in which Ward tries to get the boys into the stock market. So I had some catching up to do. >More
 AIDS wracks a South African town in Life, Above All

People are dying of AIDS. Ashamed and frightened, sufferers keep their illness a secret. The ailment is said to be a curse, a divine punishment visited on sinners. That sounds like America a generation ago, at the height of the U.S. HIV/AIDS crisis. But it is South Africa, circa now, as depicted in the wrenching melodrama Life, Above All. >More
 Footloose returns, more revival than remake

You probably weren't expecting a profound existential enigma in the new Footloose, co-writer/director Craig Brewer's remake of the affectionately remembered 1984 film. But during the opening credits, characters dance and sing along to Kenny Loggins' familiar theme song. >More
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