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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast with Haze
The Daily

MOVIES

It's hard to tell the characters apart in the flawed football drama When the Game Stands Tall

As a teamwork training manual for young athletes, When the Game Stands Tall may be useful viewing, but as a gripping drama, it's dodgy at best. Loosely based on sportswriter Neil Hayes' book about high school football coach Bob Ladouceur, who led his De La Salle Spartans to a historic 151-game winning streak, the script (by Scott Marshall Smith) wisely includes the game that broke the streak. >More
 A not-so-charming Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen. These are two of the most contentious words in contemporary movie-fan circles. From the scandals and accusations in his personal life to his homogenous character demographics, there is no neutral ground in conversations about the writer and director. >More
 A teen receives all of civilization's memories in The Giver

Teen dystopias are as hot as can be at the cineplex these days, as demonstrated by the massive popularity of the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises. The Giver certainly fits into the trend, but it's no latecomer to the party. The material on which it's based, Lois Lowry's Newbery Award-winning young-adult novel, has been celebrated and reviled since its release in 1993. >More
 UW Cinematheque hosts four Madison premieres in fall 2014

With back-to-school season just around the corner, the UW Cinematheque has rolled out its fall 2014 film lineup. All Cinematheque events are free and take place at 4070 Vilas Hall, the Marquee Theater at Union South, and the Chazen Museum of Art. >More
 Life Itself is an honest, compelling tribute to Roger Ebert's life and work

What surprised me most about Life Itself? Seeing just how genuinely Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel must have disliked each other. The movie critics' bickering was part of their television shtick, of course, but in the documentary we see outtakes in which the two are fiercely, profanely hostile in their interactions. These scenes are hard to watch, and they're not the only ones. >More
 Filmed over a 12-year period, Boyhood examines the small but essential details of growing up

With Boyhood, Richard Linklater has created the ultimate coming-of-age film. Many other movies in this genre present one big event as the kick-in-the-rear that propels a character toward maturation or a greater sense of the world beyond oneself. >More
 Philip Seymour Hoffman leads a German spy group in A Most Wanted Man

An espionage thriller adapted from John Le Carré's 2008 novel, A Most Wanted Man opens on a battered sea wall in Hamburg, Germany, a port city on high alert after Mohamed Atta and his co-conspirators plotted the Sept. 11 attacks there, undetected by German intelligence officers. >More
 Guardians of the Galaxy puts the 'comic' back in comic book characters

Heroes have been introduced to us in many ways since Marvel started to take over the multiplex over the last several years. They've been bad-asses and screw-ups and tormented scientists, but they've all more or less felt the way superheroes are supposed to feel. >More
 Zach Braff reflects on the messiness of his 30s in Wish I Was Here

I'm not one of Garden State's belated haters. Zach Braff's portrait of generational anomie and mid-Aughties indie-film mores was on point when it was released in 2004. But a decade's gone by, and things change. Whether Braff has changed too is another matter. His latest film, Wish I Was Here, provides some clues. >More
 A tenderhearted woman tussles with an ornery widower in And So It Goes

In the opening moments of And So It Goes, Oren Little (Michael Douglas) visits the grave of his beloved wife, who has died of cancer. This scene is supposed to humanize Oren, who is horrible to most of the people he interacts with. Unfortunately, director Rob Reiner wants us to spend 90 more minutes figuring out that deep down, Oren's a sad guy, not a bad guy. >More
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