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The Daily


Prisoners flee a gulag in The Way Back

Filled with overpowering landscapes and spectacular desolation, and based on a supposedly true story, Peter Weir's The Way Back gives us an often riveting vision of escape and the wilderness. >More
 UW Cinematheque's spring 2011 season is a dream come true

January is the pits for Hollywood releases, unless for some reason you're excited about Nicolas Cage's Season of the Witch. Over at the UW Cinematheque, however, you'll find no shortage of stimulation. The cineastes who run the free program at 4070 Vilas Hall have planned a typically ambitious spring season, kicking off this weekend with two black-and-white classics from the 1950s. >More
 The nuanced Rabbit Hole mourns a child's loss

Rabbit Hole is pretty modest, dramatically speaking, and that is its virtue. Watching this very good melodrama about grieving parents, I kept thinking, not with kindness, of another melodrama about grieving parents: Robert Redford's Ordinary People, which is emotionally flamboyant to the point of camp. >More
 The Dilemma is a complex look at emotional responsibility

Being lifelong friends can be difficult. Those relationships are tough, lovely work. Marriages are even more fraught, primed for passion or peril or plain old deceit. Ron Howard's The Dilemma looks unpromising, with its opening in January's movie wasteland and a listless ad campaign that practically preordains an unaware audience. >More
 Cut! Wisconsin's moviemaking tax incentive didn't get a fair chance

When legendary horror star Lon Chaney shot his last silent film, Thunder, near Green Bay during a harsh winter, Wisconsin gave him a gift. We gave him pneumonia. He died soon after. That film was about a train, with Chaney as the engineer. It was the state's first brush with big-league filmmaking. >More
 Casino Jack jazzes up the Jack Abramoff story

Casino Jack moves with such manic determination it all but reaches out from the screen and shakes you by the collar: "See, movies about lobbyists can be fun!" It's all so "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can" that eventually I just gave in -- from sheer exhaustion, really -- and mostly enjoyed the late George Hickenlooper's dramatization of the sensational rise and then super-splat of K-Street conman Jack Abramoff. >More
 Sundance 2010 Short Films includes tasty treats

Sundance 2010 Short Films, a 103-minute sampler platter, features nine shorts from the 2010 festival. It covers everything from documentary (Mr. Okra, profiling a New Orleans mobile produce vendor), to drama (The Six Dollar Fifty Man, a New Zealand entry about a troubled grade-school kid), to comedy (Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle in the self-explanatory Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln). >More
 The best films of 2010

If any concept connected many of the best films of 2010, it was "reality." Sometimes the films themselves addressed our tenuous connection to reality; sometimes external commentators questioned the films' connection to reality. But for all the puzzling out what was real and what wasn't, one reliable reality emerged: 2010 was a pretty good year to be challenged, delighted and flat-out impressed at the movies. >More
 True Grit is the Coen brothers' most deeply felt movie

Here's why I'm prepared to call the Coen brothers the greatest living American filmmakers: After 25 years, they not only continue to make great movies, but they keep finding new ways to surprise me. >More
 A hesitant monarch comes to power in The King's Speech

The King's Speech is a "keep calm, carry on" wartime melodrama of the first order, and stiff though it may be, it is never less than brilliantly done. This is no simple elocutionary lesson. It is, instead, a peerless period drama featuring a stammering, unsure and borderline ordinary (as ordinary as a duke can be) man forced into greatness by history. >More
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