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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


Body of Lies: Leo's on the case

Political thrillers have gotten a shot in the arm from Islamic terrorism, which replaced Soviet Communism as our favorite geopolitical bogeyman. But it's surprising how quickly the effect has worn off. Body of Lies, which takes us all over Europe and the Middle East in search of a radical cleric who likes to make things go kaboom, is a bit of a bomb itself. >More
 Trouble the Water: Big uneasy

As far as Katrina documentaries go, you may have felt like there was nothing left to say after Spike Lee's epic lamentation When the Levees Broke. But there are as many stories as there were victims, and each one of them has the utter fascination of an individual life torn to shreds. Kimberly Rivers Roberts' life was already a little ragged when the storm started slashing the Ninth Ward home she shared with her husband, Scott. >More
 An American Carol: Comedic conservatism

Does political humor have to align with your politics before you can find it funny? That's the question I kept asking myself while watching An American Carol, David Zucker's comic skewering of the American Left in general and Michael Moore in particular. Admittedly, I laughed only rarely, but was it because Zucker's taking his pot shots from the right side of the aisle or because the pot shots themselves, in a purely esthetic sense, were so lame? >More
 Appaloosa: Way out west

Appaloosa has been made with such quiet authority that its charms may be lost on modern audiences, who expect a certain amount of commotion, no matter what the genre. Of course, Westerns have traditionally taken their time. They're like baseball games, as much about the in-between moments as they are about the major shoot-outs. >More
 Blindness: The vision thing

In the increasingly grand tradition of Children of Men, 28 Days Later and I Am Legend, Blindness takes us to the end of civilization and just keeps going, showing us what it'll be like when all the things that hold us together have disappeared. This time, it's an epidemic of "the white sickness" that sends the world into...well, not darkness, exactly, since the afflicted perceive a sea of milky whiteness. >More
 Flow: Parched

Did you know that over one billion people lack access to fresh, clean water? Well, it's true -- an inconvenient truth, you might say. And as with global warming, things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. We are smack dab in the middle of a water crisis that could make the oil crisis look like a day at the fair. >More
 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
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