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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 22.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


Romanian Film Festival: A country with a camera

Cold Mountain was shot there. So was Borat, in part. But most of us don't think of Romania as having a film life of its own. Our mistake, because this former Warsaw Pact country, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has crawled its way to cinematic respectability, even greatness. >More
 Be Kind Rewind: Homemade Hollywood

Whimsy's a hard tone to pull off in a movie. You need to keep things light, but there's the danger of the movie just floating away, so you need to ground everything as well. At first, I resisted Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry's lark of a movie about our need to feel connected to one another through the movies we watch. But just when the movie would start to float away, Gondry would pull it back to the ground, anchor it in emotion. Some of you may have trouble getting on Gondry's wavelength, especially if you're not a big Jack Black fan. But there's a sweetness here, a nostalgia for the good ol' days of VHS - you heard me, VHS - that's hard to resist. >More
 The Business of Being Born: Special delivery

 Taxi to the Dark Side: Shock treatment

 Here, Kitty Kitty claws into cat killing in Wisconsin

"Do you favor the DNR take steps to define free roaming feral domestic cats by the previously mentioned definition and list free roaming domestic feral cats as an unprotected species?" Using the firestorm of anger and ridicule that was touched off by this question as a starting point, the new documentary Here, Kitty Kitty explores the debate over how to reduce feral cats in Wisconsin. >More
 Taxi to the Dark Side highlights work of UW-Madison prof Alfred McCoy

UW-Madison history professor Alfred McCoy describes viewing the Academy Awards Sunday night as a "euphoric moment." The winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature award was Taxi to the Dark Side, a film by Alex Gibney about the history of torture in American policy. McCoy is featured in the film, speaking about the findings in his 2006 book A Question of Torture. >More
 Jumper: Going nowhere fast

Hayden Christensen racks up the frequent-flier miles in Jumper, Doug Liman's sci-fi thriller about a guy who can teleport himself anywhere at any time. But the movie itself never quite leaves the ground, though not for lack of trying. On the contrary, it seems sweaty with anxiety, as if it's in a big hurry to get somewhere. >More
 Putting words in their mouths

"Did you hear about the dim-bulb actress who was up for a part? She slept with the scriptwriter." Yeah, it's an old joke, but I needed a lead, and they don't pay me extra for original material. Besides, is there a better way to describe the scriptwriter's place in the Hollywood food chain - well fed, often, but a very weak link when it comes to anything resembling actual influence? >More
 Teeth finds an unusual route to female empowerment

Perhaps the worst date movie of all time, Teeth would have Sigmund Freud himself screaming in horror. The teeth in question are what Freud referred to as vagina dentata -- teeth "down there," a myth shared by the male half of many cultures. Freud saw the myth as an expression of man's castration anxiety. Writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein has decided to see it as an expression of female empowerment. >More
 In Bruges: Stop, you're killing me

Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Mr. and Mrs. Smith - hit men have become so domesticated that it almost seems rude to ask them to go out there and, you know, kill somebody. That's what made the two hit men in Michael Clayton so refreshing. They just did their jobs. They didn't feel they had to explain or redeem themselves. The two hit men in Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, however, do feel the need. And I was prepared to write it off as an Analyze This or That retread, but writer-director McDonagh managed to hold my interest all the way through, thanks in part to some snappy dialogue but also to a tone that seems unique in the annals of crime movies. >More
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