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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 42.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

Funny American Reunion is the franchise's best so far

Thirteen years after the Weitz brothers forever defiled the Great American Apple Pie with sexual innuendo and jump-started the joys of camsex for a generation, American Reunion, the fourth film in the series (not counting four direct-to-DVD spinoffs) proves the best of the lot thus far. Part of this film's winning appeal may be the nostalgic and nearly complete return of American Pie's original cast. >More
 A man loses his sex appeal in The Salt of Life

Although it's told in a breezy fashion, The Salt of Life wishes to address dispiriting subject matter: an aging man's psychological trauma when he recognizes that he is no longer viewed as a sexual object by women. Yet director, co-writer and star Gianni Di Gregorio (Mid-August Lunch) barely scratches the subject's surface. >More
 Lasse Hallström goes Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Oh, but how a satirist like Chris Morris (Four Lions) or Armando Iannucci (In the Loop) might have made mincemeat of Paul Torday's 2007 comic novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and its enjoyably preposterous premise: a super-wealthy sheik hatches an implausible-seeming scheme to build a manmade river in Yemen and stock it with salmon flown in from the United Kingdom. >More
 Crazy Horse takes a backstage look at a Paris cabaret

Unlike most of the "gentlemen's clubs" in the U.S. (not that I've been to that many, but still...), Paris' famed Crazy Horse saloon has been an ongoing erotic attraction for tourists and locals alike since 1951. The place has been a rich and endlessly creative bastion of pure French showmanship, and it harbors a deep, Parisian reverence for all things female. >More
 The Hunger Games soars when it focuses on its heroine

With The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins mines familiar dystopian ground, building around the kind of public-spectacle blood-and-circuses concept that has fueled everything from Death Race 2000 to The Running Man. Yep, there's little new under the dome of the battle arena -- except the character at the center. >More
 A girl finds her way in Pariah

Pariah encompasses the personal and the universal with its emotionally engaging story about a Brooklyn teenager who struggles to find a place to fit in. The film is fresh yet familiar, raw yet polished, particular yet generic, and wholly original. >More
 Tales from Planet Earth is an eco-themed film festival

The Lorax may be a Hollywood ecology hit, but Madison is doing its own part with a weeklong environmental film festival starting Sunday, March 25. The event, named Tales from Planet Earth, will present more than 30 new and classic films at venues around the city. >More
 21 Jump Street takes an inspired approach to recycling

What do we really expect at this point from movies that cash in on nostalgia for old TV shows, cartoons, toys and board games? Every once in a while, a filmmaking team comes up with a quirky enough perspective that the revival of a title seems not just forgivable, but almost inspired. >More
 A man fumbles with the divine in Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Co-directors Mark and Jay Duplass filmed Jeff, Who Lives at Home in their native New Orleans and its surrounding areas, but they mostly abstain from framing more scenic places and promenades. Instead, they favor the lusterless, eyesore environs of contemporary American life: a chain motel, a Hooters bar, a chain-linked basketball court, the breakfast table of a limply appointed apartment. >More
 John Carter gives familiar sci-fi material a spark of energy

John Carter could tip the scales over to silly, but it somehow manages to stay just on the right side of fun. Adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel A Princess of Mars, director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and his co-screenwriters (including novelist Michael Chabon) introduce us to Capt. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a Confederate Civil War veteran whose death in 1881 brings his nephew Ned (erstwhile Spy Kid Daryl Sabara) to New York for a reading of his will. >More
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