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Thursday, October 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
The Daily

MOVIES

All Is Lost shows a yachtsman's primal struggle to survive

We never learn the name of the grizzled yachtsman (Robert Redford) whose eight-day fight to survive on the open sea is chronicled in J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost. In a prologue set before we flash back eight days, we hear the content of a letter written to family members, referring obliquely to the mistakes of his life. But we never know anything more about the nature of those mistakes, or his relationships, or anything beyond his immediate need to keep his head above water. >More
 An Avenger chases a villain through space and time in Thor: The Dark World

Here's a recipe for geek gumbo. Put some elves in a Marvel superhero movie. Sci-fi elves from the distant past, led by a badass named Malekith. He's after something called the Aether, which can be used to rule the universe and was supposed to be destroyed way back when. And put some immortal Vikings on distant planets. >More
 Bollywood in Fitchburg

Many fans of blockbuster franchises have had Dec. 20 marked on their calendars for a long time. This isn't the debut of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It's the Indian release date for Dhoom 3, one of the most anticipated Bollywood films of 2013. You don't need to travel to a big city to see it, either. AMC Star Fitchburg 18 has recognized the growing appeal of big-budget Indian films as of late. >More
 In About Time, a man travels to the past to delete his dating blunders

Richard Curtis is known for romantic comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral, which he wrote, and Love Actually, which he wrote and directed. But science fiction and fantasy fans needn't fret just because he's drifting into their realm with the amusing, entertaining About Time, in which a man magically visits his past. >More
 MTV star turned moviemaker: Thomas Dolby narrates The Invisible Lighthouse in Madison

A man wanders into a mental institution. A psychiatrist assesses him as a sexy secretary gives him a come-hither stare. Outside, a patient crawls on the ground, making grotesque faces as he swings a croquet mallet. Another jogs in place while peering through a telescope. They're scientists who've gone mad, and the man must decide if he's crazy enough to join them. >More
 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
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