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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

A man tries to reclaim his identity from himself in The Double

I feel for Simon James, protagonist of The Double. A meek fellow prone to anxiety and self-doubt, he's adrift in a bleak dystopian world. People constantly forget his name. Sometimes they forget he exists. He throws himself into his job, as if to justify his existence, but he's mired in the role of worker bee. It's a predicament that would drive many people mad, and it gets a whole lot worse. >More
 Kids try to return a cute, lost alien to his planet in Earth to Echo

Stop me if you've heard this before: A bunch of suburban kids befriend an alien entity and must avoid parents and authorities alike in their mission to send it back home. Earth to Echo makes no secret of its foremost influences, which include E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Batteries Not Included and any number of similar adventures produced during Steven Spielberg's Amblin heyday in the '80s, with a little of his Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Joe Dante's Explorers thrown in for good measure. >More
 Melissa McCarthy sells herself short as an unapologetic buffoon in Tammy

It's rare for audiences -- so fickle, so prone to judge " to rally behind a single movie star for very long, but ever since Melissa McCarthy's coming-out party in 2011's Bridesmaids, she's basked in the benevolent glow of the people's goodwill. >More
 A nun-in-training meets a ruthless relative in Ida

Ida is about dislocation and shifting identity, and this explains all the arty camera setups. That's my interpretation, anyway. Cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal work in gorgeous black-and-white, and in the narrow Academy aspect ratio. >More
 The broken jukebox of Jersey Boys

In the opening credits of Jersey Boys, there's something unusual for a modern movie: an overture. And in the closing credits, the entire cast gathers in a curtain call. If you watched only these two moments, you might think director Clint Eastwood knows how to turn a Broadway musical into a movie, something few filmmakers have mastered. >More
 In The Rover, Australia is a wasteland filled with bloodshed and mystery

A guy walks into a bar. Everything else that occurs in The Rover flows from this one happenstance. The guy is Eric (Guy Pearce) and the "everything else" is his bloody and protracted chase through the Australian Outback to retrieve his car, which was stolen while he was inside the bar having a drink. >More
 Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche steam up the screen as damaged prep-school instructors in Words and Pictures

Words and Pictures has a pretty creaky storyline, but who cares when actors Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche are so sublime together? Even though the film creates an artificial construct that rings hollow, the two central characters generate great heat and interest. Their presence is enough to keep the film's nattering foolishness at bay. >More
 Citizen Koch provides perspective on the 2011 Capitol protests and money's role in politics

The documentary Citizen Koch attempts to elucidate the relationships among the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the influence of billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch, the tea party and the epic protests that took place in Madison in February and March of 2011, after Gov. Scott Walker introduced the "budget repair bill" that stripped public employee unions of much of their power. >More
 Cancer looms over two teenagers in The Fault in Our Stars

Teenagers are prone to hyperbole, but when 16-year-old Hazel calls herself a grenade in The Fault in Our Stars, she's not far off the mark. Diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in her early teens, she (Shailene Woodley) has gained a few years with the aid of an experimental drug, but she's still a terminal case. >More
 In Edge of Tomorrow, a man discovers how to fight and love by reliving an alien invasion

Doug Liman, director of the terrific new sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow, is best known for propulsive action movies like Go and the original Bourne Identity. But what he really wants to be, it seems, is contemporary cinema's foremost chronicler of relationships under pressure. >More
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