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Sunday, September 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 61.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

Miracle at St. Anna: Second-class soldiers

"Why die for a nation that doesn't want you?" That's the question a platoon of African American soldiers hears over a radio loudspeaker as it's approaching the Serchio River in the hills of Tuscany toward the end of World War II. Posing the question is the Tokyo Rose of the European Theater of Operations, Axis Sally. And you can tell by the looks on the soldiers' faces that she's getting through to them. >More
 Nights in Rodanthe: Wan weepie

A hopeless romantic, Nicholas Sparks seems to have Hollywood's number. Four of his novels have been converted into movies, one of which, The Notebook, I actually liked. And now here's Nights in Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane as two ships who pass in the night, then dock in each other's harbor. >More
 Brick Lane: Scenes from a marriage

In the West, we have starter marriages. In the East, they have arranged marriages -- not everywhere, but the practice continues. And wouldn't you know it, they often work out, deepening into love over the years. That's what happens in Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane, sort of, emphasis on "sort of." Based on Monica Ali's celebrated novel, Brick Lane is the story of a Bangladeshi girl who gets married off to a Bangladeshi man twice her age who lives in London. >More
 War, Inc.: War is sell

If satires are what close on Saturday night, as George S. Kaufman once wrote, then political satires are lucky if they make it to Friday afternoon. Yet they keep popping up, like sniper fire. And here's War, Inc., another one. Luckily, it hits its target more often than most do. >More
 The Last Mistress: Vive la nudité

She's been called "the reigning terror of French cinema," "the high priestess of highbrow provocation" and "a dauntingly courageous connoisseur of carnality," but I prefer to think of Catherine Breillat as Simone de Bouvoir with a strap-on dildo. Highly theoretical, but in a very sexy way, her films are like porno for eggheads, turning sexual desire - especially female sexual desire - into a thesis topic while holding on to its tumescence. >More
 Choke: Madness and longing

Sam Rockwell is magnificently scuzzy in Choke, where he plays a sex addict who fakes the need for a Heimlich maneuver in restaurants so that people will hold him for a few moments and perhaps send cash later out of concern for his well-being. >More
 Righteous Kill: Masters at work

It could have been a dream match-up: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro strapping on the gloves and going 15 rounds, may the best man win. Who would win, Serpico or Travis Bickle? >More
 The Edge of Heaven: Between worlds

A man without a country or a man with two countries? That's one of the many questions posed by The Edge of Heaven, Faith Akim's wonderful film about a world where borders are so porous we don't know who we really are anymore. >More
 Frozen River: People mover

If you thought Erin Brockovich was too user-friendly, in that old Hollywood way, then you might want to check out Frozen River, where Melissa Leo plays a working-class mom without Julia Roberts' million-dollar smile. Leo's Ray Eddy doesn't take on an entire power company all by herself. She has enough trouble just feeding her kids, who are getting by on popcorn and Tang for breakfast as it is. They all live in a single-wide trailer that Ray hopes to trade in for a double-wide. But the man of the house, a gambling addict, has run off to Atlantic City with the next payment. Ray's broke. >More
 Burn After Reading: Mission: Improbable

The Coen brothers reached the pinnacle of success with No Country for Old Men, and it must have scared the crap out of them, because with Burn After Reading they're back to their old tricks again, mixing and matching movie genres with film-school glee. >More
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