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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Fair
The Daily

MOVIES

Broken City's detective stumbles into a web of corruption

Broken City evokes the gallows humor of Menace II Society, the 1993 debut of twin-brother directors Allen and Albert Hughes, but it lacks a coherent plot. Allen went solo to direct this detective story, suggesting that Albert is the twin with the most talent. >More
 Zero Dark Thirty explores the human cost of hunting bin Laden

A lot of bright people have said a lot of dumb things about Zero Dark Thirty. Some have argued that it glorifies torture by showing that "enhanced interrogation methods" were needed to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Others have argued the exact opposite: that the movie illustrates how torture failed as an intelligence-gathering technique. >More
 Gangster Squad rips off The Untouchables

Early in Gangster Squad, 1950s Los Angeles crime kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) tells a Mafia rival that he's no longer beholden to the Italians in Chicago because he's got a new vision for doing business. It's kind of ironic since Gangster Squad ends up doing nearly everything "the Chicago way." >More
 In Promised Land, a gas-drilling project unearths an unsettling truth

Traveling salespeople swoop into small, dying towns and buy up the rights to drill for natural gas. They promise money and leave behind landscapes ruined by a technique known as fracking, which contaminates groundwater and makes residents sick. They feed on poverty and desperation, so they must be villains, right? >More
 A vacationing family battles a tsunami in The Impossible

There are some fair reasons to be frustrated with The Impossible, director Juan Antonio Bayona's fact-based account of a European family trying to survive the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in December 2004. But I'm not going to pretend I was thinking about these reasons during most of the film's first hour, which turned me into a gnarl of tension. >More
 Django Unchained takes historically inaccurate revenge on slaveholders

Quentin Tarantino is back with another wish-fulfillment history adventure. Like his last picture, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained creatively rewrites the past in favor of the victimized. The heroes this time may not accomplish anything as history-altering as bringing down the Third Reich, as they did in Basterds, but they do manage to obliterate one of the most perverse slave operations in the antebellum South. >More
 Les Misérables is a watered-down version of the Broadway smash

I adore the Schönberg-Boublil musical based on Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. I've seen multiple touring productions, and I've wept to "A Little Fall of Rain" more times than I can count. I'm pretty sure the theatrical production is impossible to turn into an equally powerful film. If there were a way to accomplish that task, Tom Hooper's new movie isn't it. >More
 Damaged souls attract in Silver Linings Playbook

Matthew Quick's 2008 novel The Silver Linings Playbook is a funny, unsettling account of a man trying to recover after a mental breakdown. Writer-director David O. Russell (The Fighter) turns it into something completely unexpected: one of the best romantic comedies in years. It's not as though Russell tore up the source material and started over from scratch. >More
 This Is 40 is funny but desperately needs an editor

I have a dream that, one of these days, Judd Apatow is going to make a 100-minute comedy so packed with hilarity that I'm not going to be able to breathe from the laughing. Luckily for my windpipe, this hasn't happened yet. From The 40 Year Old Virgin to Knocked Up to Funny People, Apatow knows how to deliver laughs. The thing is, he doesn't understand the concept of less is more. >More
 UW Cinematheque screens Studio Ghibli anime, new David Cronenberg film in spring 2013

UW Cinematheque will host the Madison premieres of several new films this winter at 4070 Vilas Hall. Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg's futuristic drama starring Twilight's Robert Pattinson, will hit the screen Saturday, Jan. 19, and The Loneliest Planet, a minimalist account of a backpacking trip starring Gael Garcia Bernal, will be shown Friday, Feb. 22. These are just a few of the films on Cinematheque's spring 2013 calendar, which will be unveiled today. >More
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