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Thursday, July 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

MOVIES

In The Rover, Australia is a wasteland filled with bloodshed and mystery

A guy walks into a bar. Everything else that occurs in The Rover flows from this one happenstance. The guy is Eric (Guy Pearce) and the "everything else" is his bloody and protracted chase through the Australian Outback to retrieve his car, which was stolen while he was inside the bar having a drink. >More
 Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche steam up the screen as damaged prep-school instructors in Words and Pictures

Words and Pictures has a pretty creaky storyline, but who cares when actors Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche are so sublime together? Even though the film creates an artificial construct that rings hollow, the two central characters generate great heat and interest. Their presence is enough to keep the film's nattering foolishness at bay. >More
 Citizen Koch provides perspective on the 2011 Capitol protests and money's role in politics

The documentary Citizen Koch attempts to elucidate the relationships among the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the influence of billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch, the tea party and the epic protests that took place in Madison in February and March of 2011, after Gov. Scott Walker introduced the "budget repair bill" that stripped public employee unions of much of their power. >More
 Cancer looms over two teenagers in The Fault in Our Stars

Teenagers are prone to hyperbole, but when 16-year-old Hazel calls herself a grenade in The Fault in Our Stars, she's not far off the mark. Diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in her early teens, she (Shailene Woodley) has gained a few years with the aid of an experimental drug, but she's still a terminal case. >More
 In Edge of Tomorrow, a man discovers how to fight and love by reliving an alien invasion

Doug Liman, director of the terrific new sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow, is best known for propulsive action movies like Go and the original Bourne Identity. But what he really wants to be, it seems, is contemporary cinema's foremost chronicler of relationships under pressure. >More
 In Chef, an unemployed cook finds his calling in a food cart

A man goes back to the basics to rediscover his passion, reclaim his soul and reconnect with his 10-year-old son. This storyline may not be particularly fresh, but it works in Chef thanks to up-to-date elements like a food truck and Twitter. More importantly, the tale is served up with warmth and verve. >More
 In A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane unbridles irreverent jokes on the frontier

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the anarchic cartoon comedy Family Guy, is Hollywood's barbarian at the gate. Right now he's kicking down the barriers that have trapped him in television animation. In addition to directing, producing and cowriting the live-action feature A Million Ways to Die in the West, he cast himself in the lead role. It's the first of many overindulgences, but somehow, none of these missteps are grievous enough to scuttle the film. >More
 Rooftop Cinema avant-garde film series at MMoCA focuses on animation in 2014 season

With lush plants, modern sculpture and and a view of the Capitol, the rooftop of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is one of downtown's most beautiful hangouts during the summer. The surroundings are even more impressive on Rooftop Cinema nights, when the museum shows films on a large screen set against a starry night sky. >More
 X-Men: Days of Future Past goes forward to move backward

Director Bryan Singer, reclaiming the X-Men film franchise he launched in 2000, means to establish from the first reel that X-Men: Days of Future Past is not messing around. Via voiceover, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) explains the catastrophic present, in which killing machines called Sentinels have wiped out most of the world's mutant population and many of their human defenders. >More
 Gia Coppola's Palo Alto is a shattering tale about reckless suburban high schoolers

It's a storied tradition, the teenagers-in-trouble movie. One of my favorites is 1983's WarGames, which dates back to my own adolescence and concerns a teenager in trouble for bringing the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. The stakes aren't quite as high in Palo Alto, but it's an apocalyptic vision all the same. At chaotic parties, kids swig liquor, smoke weed and have sex. >More
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