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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Hair-metal musical: Rock of Ages head-bangs with style

We've seen the emphatic return of so many 1980s pop-culture touchstones, from tinny synthesizers to white sunglasses. But there's one Reagan-era institution young revivalists haven't really embraced: hair metal. There's a reason for that. It's terrible. >More
 Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding closes the generation gap

In Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, Jane Fonda isn't seen sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. But her performance as a war-protesting hippie still might give hives to Silent Majority types with long memories. Politics isn't really the Fonda character's main focus, though. >More
 Ridley Scott's Prometheus ponders big questions

Director Ridley Scott has played coy about whether his new science-fiction tale, Prometheus, is a prequel of sorts to his landmark 1979 horror-in-space film Alien. Stop reading now if you'd consider such information a spoiler. >More
 The Island President fights to save his country

At the very end, with a title, the documentary The Island President conveys what is probably the most important piece of information: The island president isn't the island president anymore. Mohamad Nasheed led the Maldives from 2008 until earlier this year, when he left office under disputed circumstances. >More
 Snow White and the Huntsman mines folklore's elemental urges

The hunger for fairy tales never wanes, but appetites refine. Snow White and the Huntsman -- ambitious, brutish, ruthlessly unromantic -- has the right idea casting its heroine as a Joan of Arc-type crusader. Its evil queen is a dissertation, albeit first draft, on beauty as the most direct path to power for the disenfranchised female. >More
 The Kid With a Bike is a sad story about foster care

I'm really moved by the work of first-time film actor Thomas Doret in The Kid With a Bike. He plays Cyril, a Belgian boy of about 11. Cyril lives with a lot of hurt, but he doesn't dare let on. Instead, he gets angry. He broods. He flinches violently when anyone gives him a comforting touch. >More
 A workplace romance unfolds in Delicacy

Watching the French romance Delicacy, I thought of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry can't follow a movie plot. Who's that guy? What just happened? There's a randomness to Delicacy that reminds me of irksome American indie comedies like Gigantic and The Good Heart, which ask us to laugh when characters drolly act in ways that don't resemble actual human behavior. That makes me antsy, and I was ready to give up on Delicacy. But I was smiling by the time it was over. >More
 Retirees make a home at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

In a fluid opening montage, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel introduces seven aging Brits who, for one reason or another, have decided to move to Jaipur, India, and take up residence in what is being advertised as a newly restored retirement home. The first of the film's many predictable surprises is that the hotel is a fixer-upper, a dilapidated shell of its former glory and hardly anything that qualifies to be called the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. >More
 With The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen goes beyond pranks

With The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen finds himself addressing a situation no entertainer wants to confront: What do you do when the shtick that was your bread-and-butter just can't work anymore? >More
 Bernie charts a bizarre May-December romance

If I hadn't already read Skip Hollandsworth's 1997 Texas Monthly article recounting the tragicomic tale of assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede, I'd swear this film adaptation was based on one of Joe R. Lansdale's East Texas gothics. As ever, truth proves itself stranger than fiction in this film by Richard Linklater, who co-scripted with Hollandsworth. >More
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