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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 40.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

A seasoned tank commander mentors a terrified rookie in Fury

I wish I'd gotten to watch Fury without knowing it was written and directed by David Ayer. I like to think I would've been able to identify his handiwork without this information. >More
 A dad pretends his slain son's songs are his own creations in Rudderless

If you're like me, you fell in love with Billy Crudup as the charismatic rock guitarist in Cameron Crowe's marvelous 2000 film Almost Famous. Crudup honors that memory with a fine performance in the musical drama Rudderless, even if the musician he plays is not so much charismatic as he is pathetic. >More
 A defense attorney must help his estranged dad fight a murder charge in The Judge

While watching The Judge, I found myself pondering how reviewing a movie resembles being a member of a trial jury. You know you're supposed to consider the matter at hand rationally and objectively. Yet filmmakers, like effective attorneys, often want to shift your sympathies by appealing to a particular emotional response. >More
 Sex, drugs and grimy bathroom fixtures enthrall Wetlands' troubled heroine

John Waters fans will recall the plot of Pink Flamingos, in which warring factions compete for the title of Filthiest Person Alive. Helen, the heroine of Wetlands, could make a strong claim for the honor. Played by Carla Juri, Helen is at the center of this ambitiously disgusting German film, which is based on Charlotte Roche's controversial 2008 novel. >More
 An odd couple explore Iceland's wonders in Land Ho!

It seems that the road movie has entered a new era, one in which the destination and the progression of the characters don't matter very much. I'm thinking of movies like The Trip to Italy, which features English funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Their colorful personalities drive the film, not their adventures. Land Ho! is a similar type of movie. >More
 Gone Girl is a gripping drama about a man accused of murdering his wife

David Fincher knows how to keep audiences from zoning out during opening credits. The director shares them in an unsettling way in his adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. He immediately makes it clear what he's going to deliver: the cinematic equivalent of a page-turner. >More
 Pay 2 Play examines money's role in union busting and Citizens United

Thank Michael Moore for inaugurating the modern era of the lefty polemical documentary. Various imitators have come along in the wake of successful films like Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Moore promoted progressive causes. I see elements of Moore's style in Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes, about money's corrupting influence in politics. >More
 Beloved old songs loosen dementia's grip in Alive Inside

The remarkable documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory artfully weaves together material about two topics, one inspiring, one discouraging. The inspiring topic, and the main focus, is the restorative power of music when it is played for people with memory loss. >More
 Pilgrims journey to higher ground in Walking the Camino

Walking the Camino is, it seems, a good way to have a spiritual awakening while viewing incredible natural splendor and forming important human connections. And then there are the staggeringly huge blisters. >More
 Kevin Smith's Tusk is a horror-comedy set in a creepy mansion

I'll begin with the ending. I don't like it. Of course I won't reveal any substantial details of the conclusion to Tusk, the horror-comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. I will say that I had developed mixed feelings by the time the finale rolled around, and my unhappiness with it tips this review into pan territory. But there are facets of the movie that I admire. >More
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