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Friday, March 6, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

MOVIES

Oscar-nominated shorts are a mixed bag

Judging from this year's Oscar-nominated animated shorts, animators are learning the wrong lesson from Pixar. The studio has perfected a style of big-screen digital animation that emphasizes busy-ness: frenetic action, vertigo-inducing camera movements, frames packed with detail. And let's not forget the cutesy, bug-eyed characters. >More
 The Messenger is an anguished war story

The funeral march from Chopin's second piano sonata is a very sad piece of music. In The Messenger, it is also a very sick joke. When Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) is called on to notify a slain soldier's next of kin, his pager beeps a discomfitingly chirpy rendition of the familiar tune. That pager is one of many precise and telling details in a graceful film. >More
 Giant cast can't sustain Valentine's Day

Three-quarters through Valentine's Day, director Garry Marshall pops in for a seconds-long cameo as a mariachi band player. At the sneak screening, you could feel a little ripple go through the crowd -- sort of a "ha!" coupled with an "aww!" >More
 Bodies pile up in From Paris With Love

When we think of Paris and the movies, we think perhaps of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, of songs by Edith Piaf or Django Reinhardt. Not in From Paris With Love, though -- however the title may fool us. >More
 Dear John's war romance is a bore

I don't mean to argue that all romantic figures in the movies should conform to the same ideal -- variety is the spice of life, after all -- but was the world really begging for a leading man in cropped cargo pants? >More
 Rock icon Cherie Currie recalls the Runaways at Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. screening

Cherie Currie is a native of California's San Fernando Valley, where the weather is pleasant all year. For the former lead singer of the 1970s all-girl rock band The Runaways, Wisconsin in January is an adjustment. "How you guys brave the weather, I don't know," a grinning Currie told an audience Thursday night at Sundance Cinemas Madison. >More
 Jeff Bridges is brilliant in Crazy Heart

You'd never guess that Crazy Heart is the work of a first-time filmmaker, but it is, and while the story is as old and true as the broken-down country-and-western balladeer at the heart of it, nearly everything about Scott Cooper's debut feels intimate and immediate and as emotionally raw as every country song that ever mattered. >More
 Mel Gibson shows his age in Edge of Darkness

Adapted from a BBC television drama, Edge of Darkness is Mel Gibson's first major film since his scandalous roadside ranting and arrest in July 2006. >More
 Broken Embraces is too interesting for its own good

Let's get this out of the way. Penélope Cruz is stunning. Ravishing. To sit in the dark and gaze at her image on a giant screen -- that's why God made the movies. >More
 A dad seeks a cure in predictable Extraordinary Measures

It's unsurprising that the first film to hit the screens from the new film production outfit CBS Films is something that looks and tastes an awful lot like a TV movie of the week. A fatal juvenile disease, heroic parenting, a recalcitrant collaborator, a ticking clock and near-insurmountable odds give Extraordinary Measures all the dramatic arcs necessary for this type of thing. >More
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