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Wednesday, December 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 35.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


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
 A White House servant watches the civil rights movement unfold in Lee Daniels' The Butler

Even if you're unfamiliar with Lee Daniels, it's easy to see why his name appears in the title of Lee Daniels' The Butler, a film based on the life of former White House butler Eugene Allen. >More
 A parking snafu unites two sad souls in Love Is All You Need

Every romantic comedy has its Meet Cute. I won't soon forget the one in Love Is All You Need. It's actually more of a Meet Awkward. The leads' first encounter is funny, moving and well observed, like the rest of this very good Danish film. It was directed by Susanne Bier, who made the Oscar-winning thriller In a Better World. >More
 Elysium examines immigration with lots of blood but little brainpower

Film genres that explore other worlds " whether future, alien or imaginary " help us explore our own world. J.R.R. Tolkien, Rod Serling and George Lucas all knew that we need to talk about heroism, injustice and our struggles to do the right thing in a way that makes those ideas feel bigger than any political ideology of the moment. >More
 Wisconsin native Jeremy Scahill uncovers military secrets in Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

It's been a long and winding path from I-94 to the dusty and rutted streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, for journalist Jeremy Scahill. Scahill, an award-winning author and correspondent for The Nation, is the subject of a new documentary based on his reporting on America's covert wars in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, opens at Sundance Cinemas on Friday, Aug. 9. >More
 2 Guns hits the mark with a gripping tale about two undercover agents

When a movie starts with two guns, you know it's going to have a complicated, multihanded standoff by the end. Following the hail of bullets to the fiery conclusion of 2 Guns proves to be an entertainingly escapist journey. >More
 The To Do List portrays a filthy female sexual awakening

Teenage boys losing it at the movies? Been there, done that. But girls' losing their virginity? That is a tale less told, at least in American mainstream cinema. When the topic does come up, it's usually treated as a cautionary tale or with kid gloves and soft-focus squishiness. The only thing going squish in The To Do List is sexual fluid in service of a punchline, with the jokes consistently hitting in this gyno-centric gross-out comedy. >More
 Fruitvale Station's heavy-handed script undermines noteworthy acting

On New Year's Day 2009, Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African American man, was shot and killed by a transit officer at Oakland's Fruitvale train station. The officer spent less than a year in prison. The incident bears a certain resemblance to the Trayvon Martin case, which makes Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler's award-winning movie about Grant, especially timely and urgent. >More
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