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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

The joke's on who?

I was still trying to recover from Becoming Jane, where Jane Austen gets turned into one of her characters, and now here's Molière, where pretty much the same thing happens to France's greatest playwright. With no letters, diaries or memoirs to work with, Molière's biographers have had to comb the plays for clues to his personality. >More
 Cinematheque curators Heather Heckman and Karin Kolb talk movies

his autumn marks a changing of the guard at Cinematheque, the UW film coalition dedicated to screening rare, foreign, archival, and restored films on weekends at Vilas Hall. After helming the projectors for three years, Tom Yoshikami is passing the baton. Karin Kolb, who served as a co-programmer last spring, is working with Heather Heckman to curate Cinematheque this year. >More
 Watching the clock

Having just watched Christian Bale crawl through the jungle in Rescue Dawn, I was kind of hoping he'd take a desk job in his next movie outing, but here he is, in 3:10 to Yuma, crawling through the American West, circa 1875. In James Mangold's remake of the 1957 movie that starred Glenn Ford as a sadistically charming outlaw, Bale has the Van Heflin role of the poor cattle rancher who agrees to escort America's Most Wanted to prison in order to reclaim his land and his self-respect. And Bale, working from the inside out, as always, makes us meet him halfway, which we gladly do. But it's Russell Crowe, as the legendary Ben Wade, who walks off with scene after scene - quoting the Bible one minute, jabbing a fork in someone's throat the next. The 1957 version built up its tension by keeping an eye on the clock. (Would Wade be on that 3:10 to Yuma?) The remake adds a layer of psychotic mayhem. And although the movie's enjoyable enough, especially when Crowe's sweet-talking someone he plans to gut and de-bone, you have to wonder whether graphic violence is all we're capable of coming up with these days. >More
 Breaking the rules

Naked Gun meets Waiting for Godot in The Ten, David Wain's collection of short films inspired by those stone tablets Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. Combining movie/TV-show spoofs with Beckettian absurdity, Wain and his co-scriptwriter, Ken Marino, work their way through the various "thou shalt"s and "thou shalt not"s, and the particular blend of comedy they've come up with may be a little too rarefied for some people's taste. >More
 It's a man's world

Kurosawa, with his flair for the grand gesture, always had crossover appeal. Ozu, with his penchant for tatami-mat realism, was a tougher sell, but cineastes adore him. And Mizoguchi? >More
 Recipe for a gory good time

I love making fake intestines and watching actress Kelly Kiorpes get entangled in them. I am referring to the scene in my upcoming short film Massacre (The Musical), wherein Discordia (played by Kiorpes) gleefully disembowels her drunk would-be assailant, Hounddog (played by Nick Kaprelian), with a bottle opener and proceeds to wrench the intestines from his body in the Grand-Guignol tug-of-war that follows. >More
 Blame Society gets to work on Chad Vader Season 2

August was a busy month at Blame Society Productions, the short film and video shop run by Madison-based filmmakers Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda. Over two consecutive weekends, they auditioned nearly 100 people for potential casting in a variety of upcoming productions, including Chad Vader season two. This was followed by a trip to Toronto for Fan Expo Canada over the final weekend of the month, a multi-day frenzy of sharing their work, meeting fans, and giving interviews. >More
 How we lost the war

With everybody holding their breath, waiting for Gen. Petraeus' report on our "progress" in Iraq, this may be the perfect time to see No End in Sight, Charles Ferguson's own report on our "progress" in Iraq. A dot-com millionaire with a Ph.D. in political science, Ferguson is the opposite of Michael Moore. He doesn't grandstand. He doesn't tar-and-feather the Bush administration. He doesn't go for laughs, nor does he get any. >More
 On the road

Gypsies, many of whom prefer to be known as Roma, have been on the move for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, fanning out from their base in northern India to the far reaches of Europe and North America. (There are a million in the United States alone.) But rarely have their wanderings followed such a tried-and-true path as they do in Gypsy Caravan, Jasmine Dellal's documentary about a 2001 concert tour that sent five groups from four countries traveling across this great land of ours. >More
 All the wrong moves

Remember teenpics of 50 years ago, when even the cool guys were having trouble getting laid? Now it's just the nerds who have to pull every trick in the book -- lying, cheating, stealing and, when those don't work, paying. You'd never know from today's movies that teenagers are (supposedly) having less sex than they used to. And I have to believe there's a sperm whale of a comedy to be made from their relative lack of interest, but Superbad isn't that comedy. It's the other kind -- Revenge of Nerds for the Age of Internet Porn. >More
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