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The Daily


The Counterfeiters: Faking it

What we call the moral compass often fails to operate in the fog of war. This is the subject of the Austrian film The Counterfeiters, winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Film. >More
 Chapter 27

It's déjà vu all over again. The ink still isn't dry on my review of The Killing of John Lennon, which purported to take us deep inside the disturbed mind of Mark David Chapman, and now here's Chapter 27, which purports to do the same. I regret to say it doesn't find very much on its exploratory mission, having neglected to take along a flashlight. Of course, neither did The Killing of John Lennon. We all want to know why Chapman, a huge Lennon fan, felt compelled to kill the thing he loved, but we may never get a satisfactory answer, least of all from Chapman, who kept going on about Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger's novel about the world's most sensitive bullshit detector. >More
 Smart People

Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid), a widowed professor of Victorian literature at Carnegie Mellon, is the central "smart person" in Smart People. He's a guy who would be able to spell "dysfunctional" with ease but never recognize the word as a description of himself and his family. Lawrence is acerbic and demanding, yet wholly uninterested in his students, family and career. He's remote toward his two nearly grown children, James (Ashton Holmes) and Vanessa (Ellen Page), a high school senior whose character traits are even worse than her old man's. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival: A perfect 10

Like the thawing of the lakes, the Wisconsin Film Festival has become an annual rite of spring around here. Having been cooped up all winter, we nevertheless consign ourselves to a few more hours of darkness in order to catch up with what's happening in the wide world of film beyond the multiplexes. >More
 Stop Loss: War without end

What if Johnny never comes marching home again? That's the tragic idea that runs throughout Stop Loss. What if you gave an endless war and no one ever got off the tour bus for longer than it takes to go AWOL, or go mad? Stop Loss takes its title from the military's term for its loophole policy that can require soldiers to serve multiple back-to-back tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. >More

 Run Fatboy Run

 Horton Hears a Who!: Dust in the wind

Somewhere on the other side of Who-ville, Dr. Seuss must be spinning in his grave, because Hollywood can't seem to leave his stories alone and can't seem to get them right. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, and The Cat in the Hat, starring Mike Myers, were both so overproduced you felt like you'd landed in a theme park from hell. >More
 The Violin: Guns and music

"Calm down, boy, or you'll drop your taco," an elderly man says to his young grandson early on in The Violin, Francisco Vargas' movie set amidst the peasant uprisings in 1970s Mexico. It's one of those throwaway lines that, you realize later, sums up the movie's theme. >More
 Funny Games: Power plays

Part of the "fun" of watching Michael Haneke's movies is wondering exactly what he's up to. I just wrote about him a few weeks ago when the UW Cinematheque began a series called "Michael Haneke: A Cinema of Provocation." I called him "the thinking person's Hitchcock," by which I meant that he likes to take the kind of stories that Hitchcock used to tell - thrillers, basically - and deconstruct them a bit. >More
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