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Friday, November 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

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
 A seaside village tries to lure a doctor in The Grand Seduction

The Grand Seduction takes place in the small sea harbor of Tickle Head, Newfoundland, where the fishing industry has dried up. People line up once a month for welfare checks, cash them, and then return to their idle ways. >More
 Strangers band together to survive a night of government-sanctioned crime in The Purge: Anarchy

When it came out last summer, the horror flick The Purge struck an unlikely chord. The outlandish yet provocative premise -- that the government maintains social order with a free-for-all of lawlessness once a year -- was a hook worthy of both Shirley Jackson and the Occupy movement, couched within a standard hide-and-seek home-invasion thriller. >More
 A troubled record exec helps a shy musician find her voice in Begin Again

Back in 2007, there was a magical musical called Once. Set in Dublin, it was the tale of two emotionally damaged musicians whose lives intersected just enough for them to start healing through a collaborative project. >More
 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
 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
 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
 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
 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
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