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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 14.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


Finding Mrs. Claus wallows in Christmastime greed and lust

Our cynical age will never be able to turn out a convincing movie about a Christmas miracle, like It's a Wonderful Life. Filmmakers keep trying, though, especially in December TV movies. It's refreshing that Finding Mrs. Claus declines to play this losing game, instead embracing 21st-century cynicism. >More
 Witness follows journalists into dangerous conflicts

"Rio" is the last episode in the documentary series Witness, which follows war photographers into hotspots around the globe. Rio de Janeiro's conflict is internal: police vs. drug gangs in the Brazilian city's 900 slums. Photographer Eros Hoagland ventures into dangerous neighborhoods to find the real story, despite the fact that journalists tend to turn up dead in a horrific manner of execution known as "The Microwave." >More
 The Rolling Stones evolve from villains to heroes in Crossfire Hurricane

With Crossfire Hurricane, the Rolling Stones have produced a worthy 50th-anniversary documentary. It chronicles their journey from being "the band everybody hated to the band everybody loves," in Mick Jagger's words. >More
 Wedding Band charts the pathetic path of aging rockers

Wedding Band is a wonderful new comedy series that combines Spinal Tap and School of Rock in a satire of the wedding-band biz. The band in question is made up of four aging musicians with day jobs and, in one case, a family, but the wedding circuit allows them to keep their rock 'n' roll dreams alive. >More
 Start-Ups: Silicon Valley features nerds on the move

Bravo usually focuses its reality series on good-looking socialites or business people. With Start-Ups: Silicon Valley, the network has the inspired idea of focusing on nerds. They're programmers and bloggers in the Silicon Valley's go-go tech industry, and they're pretty good-looking themselves (especially after an application of spray-on tan to mask the pale skin). >More
 Happy Endings takes the sitcom to weird extremes

Last year, I panned the pilot of Happy Endings, calling it "another would-be hip, fresh young sitcom about six friends dealing with relationships." While I wasn't looking, though, Happy Endings actually turned into the hip, fresh young sitcom it wanted to be. Now, in its new season, I proclaim the series one of TV's best comedies. >More
 You can't trust anyone in the brilliant thriller Hunted

Forget the overrated Homeland. If you're looking for an international spy thriller on premium cable, Hunted is the one to watch. The pilot messes with your head so skillfully that you're woozy by the 30-minute mark. And thoroughly intrigued. >More
 Emily Owens, M.D. stars Mamie Gummer as an insecure doctor

On Emily Owens, M.D., Mamie Gummer plays a young doctor just starting out at a Denver hospital. Emily still bears the scars of being a high school nerd, and she's dismayed to learn that hospitals are the grown-up equivalent of high school. There are the cute guys who don't notice you, the mean girls out to get you, and the hundreds of others judging your every move. >More
 As Goes Janesville details a homegrown economic crisis

Independent Lens' As Goes Janesville takes an up-close look at the Wisconsin city devastated by the closing of its GM plant in 2008. The documentary goes into the kitchens of laid-off workers, who are scrambling to remain in the middle class. It also goes into the boardrooms of Janesville's corporate executives, who desperately brainstorm ideas for creating new jobs. >More
 Homeland is just too silly to take seriously

Everyone -- including President Obama -- has jumped on the bandwagon for Homeland, Showtime's melodrama about a mentally ill CIA agent named Carrie (Claire Danes) on the trail of a brainwashed U.S. congressman (Damian Lewis) who's secretly working for al-Qaida. I appear to be the only holdout, and nothing in the second-season premiere has changed my mind. >More
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