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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 12.0° F  Fair
The Daily


Cyrus tells a comic tale of psychological incest

With Cyrus, the transition of brothers Jay and Mark Duplass from their Austin, Texas, filmmaking roots into full-blown Hollywood filmmakers is complete -- even though the new comedy they wrote and directed, Cyrus, will not be mistaken for any studio-generated yukfest. The addition in their work of an Oscar-tier cast raises the Duplasses' off-kilter material to a new high. >More
 A supervillain tries to one-up his peers in Despicable Me

Everyone knows that the villains are usually the most interesting characters in any movie. So the makers of Despicable Me were wise to cut to the chase and make the megalomaniacal Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) the central character in this animated film. >More
 A fisherman lands a beauty in Ondine

I delight in the eerie opening scene of the Irish film Ondine. A commercial fisherman (Colin Farrell) raises his trawl and is surprised to find it holds the limp body of a beautiful young woman. He is even more surprised when she stirs to life. That is Ondine (Alicja Bachleda), the mysterious woman at the center of this moving, assured romance written and directed by Neil Jordan. >More
 Bella's suitors tussle in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I would've pegged high-schooler Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) as a Sylvia Plath fan -- this is a girl with daddy issues, for sure -- but it's Robert Frost she quotes in the beginning minutes of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight series. >More
 Knight and Day lacks both logic and sex

They say everything old is new again, which I suppose must explain the popped collar and Members Only-style jacket that Tom Cruise, peacocking, sports in Knight and Day's opening minutes. It's unclear if the filmmakers meant for our collective brain to jog back to the mid-'80s, when Cruise first began making a name for himself in pictures, but so it does -- the effect made all the more unnerving given the actor's seeming agelessness. >More
 Despite great acting, Mother and Child sinks into banality

If the mother-child bond is the core human relationship, then this movie implies that we are an emotionally doomed species, though I do not think this was writer-director Rodrigo Garcia's intent. >More
 Please Give puts normal life onscreen

Writer and director Nicole Holofcener's Please Give is a fine, quiet, compassionate movie in the Rohmer mode. It concerns two New York families drawn together for a reason that's perfectly straightforward, but also fundamentally horrifying. >More
 Vincere: The woman left behind

As Ida Dalser, the wife Mussolini spurned, Giovanna Mezzogiorno is remarkable in Marco Bellocchio's Vincere, which tells a sad story of an extraordinary injustice. She is adoring and devoted, then despairing, then calmly furious. >More
 Arts Beat: Film series gives viewers a look at the Madison Masonic Center auditorium

This weekend you can watch John Wayne on the big screen, "taming a woman the way you tame the land," according to the original poster for North to Alaska. The real attraction, though, is where the 1960 film will be shown: one of the city's most unusual venues, the auditorium of the Madison Masonic Center. >More
 Agent seeks his man in OSS 117: Lost in Rio

The French spy spoof OSS 117: Lost in Rio made me laugh, but it has problems, including the one Mel Brooks struggled with in his Hitchcock sendup High Anxiety: How do you make fun of films that don't take themselves all that seriously in the first place? >More
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