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Sunday, September 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Fair
The Daily

MOVIES

A father investigates the disappearance himself in Prisoners

In earlier generations, extended riffs on totalitarian communism (Animal Farm) and the Red Scare (The Crucible) worked thanks to their literary merits. These days it's getting harder to find that sweet spot where an audience clearly understands what you're trying to say, yet doesn't feel bludgeoned by a Very Important Message About Society. >More
 Travel companions clash while procuring a psychedelic cactus in Crystal Fairy

The backpacker travel scene is amazing. All around the world, there are locales so stunning, so breathtaking, that young people will trek thousands of miles for the purpose of visiting them and " taking drugs. Couldn't they just take the drugs at home and save the money? >More
 Austenland lacks its namesake's brains and wit

For such a deft wit, Jane Austen sure has inspired some nitwitted entertainment. Actually, her influence in Austenland is negligible, save some thin ribbons of plot snipped from her catalog, including Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. >More
 Sarah Polley questions her family history in Stories We Tell

The further details recede into the past, the knottier the truth becomes. Reality is multifaceted, and a devil of a thing to pin down in a documentary. Acknowledging all this, Sarah Polley plunges ahead with Stories We Tell, a very personal and inventive inquiry into the true identity of her biological father. >More
 UW Cinematheque books Joe Swanberg premiere, Werner Herzog classics and Jill Soloway visit for fall 2013

Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the fall 2013 season at UW Cinematheque. As autumn transitions into winter, the university film society will screen four Madison premieres, as well as works by such masters as France's Jean-Pierre Melville, Germany's Werner Herzog, and Americans Emile de Antonio and Howard Hawks. >More
 An alien attack resembles a corporate takeover in The World's End

Many film critics get frustrated when a cinematic landscape feels overwhelmed by superheroes, giant robots and crashing spaceships, but that's still the kind of stuff that turned a lot of us into movie lovers. In other words, genre movies never need to be guilty pleasures. >More
 An escaped con makes his way home in Ain't Them Bodies Saints

We don't learn a lot about the characters in the stylish drama Ain't Them Bodies Saints. We know little more than what motivates them. Love. Money. Fear. In some cases, compassion. The story is simple. A man (Casey Affleck) breaks out of prison and tries to make his way home to his wife (Rooney Mara) and their young daughter. Does he make it? Ain't telling. >More
 Point Cinema gets ritzy "Take Five" lounge and other upgrades

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck died last year, but his band's recording of "Take Five" will be an emblem of cool for years to come. It already has been for more than 50 years. The song popped into my head during the Aug. 14 reception for Point Cinema's new Take Five Lounge. I wonder if this space can withstand the tides of cool, too. >More
 A shattered socialite tries to collect herself in Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen almost hit rock bottom in 1992, when his girlfriend, actress Mia Farrow, discovered he was romantically involved with her adopted daughter. His relationship with his own kids was decimated in the custody battle that followed. His power and prestige waned. I bristled at his insistence that "there was no scandal." Was he in denial, or having delusions of grandeur? Whatever the reason, he sounded awfully flip. >More
 Murderers present their crimes as movie scenes in The Act of Killing

There's more than one way to make a documentary about mass murder. Watching The Act of Killing, I kept thinking of Shoah, Claude Lanzmann's famous film about the Holocaust. Over 10 hours, Lanzmann examines the history of the extermination camps in excruciating detail. Watching, we sit with this evidence until it is unbearable. >More
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