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Friday, August 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 68.0° F  Fair
The Daily

MOVIES

An educated freeman is forced into servitude in 12 Years a Slave

Brutal yet elegant, 12 Years a Slave is a beautifully rendered punch to the gut about the most shameful chapter in American history. It's based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, an educated freeman from Saratoga, N.Y., who endured a nightmare of involuntary servitude after being kidnapped. >More
 In Ender's Game, a teen tries to keep alien insects from destroying the planet

Set in the future and focused on outer-space warfare, the 1985 novel Ender's Game seems tailor-made for a movie treatment. But the book is better, as is often the case. For Orson Scott Card's novel to be as beloved as it is, there's gotta be some heart lurking somewhere in the story. The film Ender's Game engages the mind in some uncomfortable ways, but it does not engage the heart. >More
 I'm So Excited! is a zany comedy about an airplane waiting to land

Here's one movie I can guarantee you'll never see on an airplane. Even with opening disclaimers that it is a work of fiction and bears no relationship to reality, Pedro Almodóvar's I'm So Excited! presents an unsettling portrait of mile-high behavior. >More
 Johnny Knoxville poses as an elderly man to prank bystanders in Bad Grandpa

After three successful feature films, the Jackass gang have added a whisper of a plot to their documentary stunt-mélange formula in their newest offering, Bad Grandpa. This little storyline doesn't get in the way of the dumb pranks, but, for the most part, the jackassery is gentler and less life-threatening than in previous outings. >More
 A family of musicians crumbles in I Used to Be Darker

I've played some live music, and a quick scene in I Used to Be Darker makes me cringe in recognition. It's a forlorn load-out. Some musicians led by a singer named Kim (Kim Taylor) have finished a show, and after the club owner says how much he enjoyed the performance, he tells them that they need to vacate the dressing room right away. >More
 The Fifth Estate examines the strained relationship behind WikiLeaks

The Fifth Estate feels like a weak-tea knockoff of The Social Network, the 2010 movie about online pioneers Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. Director Bill Condon and screenwriter Josh Singer tell the story of the infamous whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks by zeroing in on the contentious relationship between two early contributors. >More
 Escape From Tomorrow satirizes Disney World with creepy cinematography

The story of how Escape From Tomorrow was made is at least as compelling as the film itself. To create his debut feature, writer/director Randy Moore and his crew did extensive surreptitious filming at Walt Disney World in Florida. >More
 In Captain Phillips, a sailor must outsmart the pirates who've hijacked his ship

In the opening scenes of the harrowing, true-life drama Captain Phillips, the titular captain (Tom Hanks) and his wife (Catherine Keener) discuss their son's academic difficulties. Phillips is headed to a job where his ship will be hijacked by Somali pirates seeking ransom. >More
 Wisconsin Rising is a powerful documentary about the protests against Gov. Scott Walker

You hear the wail of the vuvuzela, and it all comes rushing back. Most of us who lived through the 2011-12 protests against Gov. Scott Walker will have an emotional response to the sights and sounds of Wisconsin Rising, an hour-long documentary from the protesters' point of view made by Sam Mayfield. >More
 Spotlight Cinema's fall 2013 series to screen five local premieres at MMoCA

The Spotlight Cinema series returns to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art this fall with five films that have never been shown at area theaters. The program, co-curated Tom Yoshikami and Mike King, includes films from four different countries and genres ranging from documentary to noir. All films are screened on Thursdays at 7 p.m. >More
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