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Saturday, September 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 66.0° F  Fair
The Daily

MOVIES

A man is haunted by visions in Take Shelter

In Take Shelter, Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) stands in his yard in Ohio, staring at the horizon and sensing that something is wrong. Storm clouds are massing in the distance, and when the rain begins to fall, it has the consistency of motor oil. It's just one of the many troubling sensations Curtis has recently noticed: Birds flock in strange patterns, his pet dog nearly bites off his arm and his living-room furniture levitates. >More
 Happy Feet Two is weird and incoherent

Late in the animated sequel Happy Feet Two, a penguin chick named Erik (Ava Acres) bursts into operatic voice at a moment when hope seems dim. "Nothing makes sense in this world," belts out young Erik. "It's all a big pile of crazy!" And that, friends, is about as pithy a summation as one could hope for. >More
 UW Cinematheque leads a growing downtown film scene

It's been a good year for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, and also for its first director of programming, Jim Healy. The organization has two gorgeous new venues, at the Chazen Museum of Art and Union South. Celebrated director Joe Dante just paid a three-day visit to screen Gremlins, as well as his personal favorites. Attendance for the summer series was up 70%. >More
 Too much timeline, not enough life in J. Edgar

Director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have as a subject one of American history's most enigmatic, polarizing figures in J. Edgar Hoover, and yet J. Edgar almost never offers the buzz of discovery. It's merely a 50-year kaleidoscope of American history, with the founder of the FBI serving as Forrest Gump. >More
 Higher Ground can't settle on a tone

It's a chilling Bible verse, Psalm 137:9: "Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rocks." Really? God says killing children could be associated with happiness -- or blessedness, as it's sometimes rendered? >More
 A building manager seeks revenge in Tower Heist

Alert to the righteous rage of the 99-percenters and canny about how to mine it for laughs, Tower Heist is like Ocean's Eleven meets class consciousness. Ben Stiller plays Josh Kovacs, the manager of a luxury condo building in Manhattan called the Tower. >More
 Same-sex romance Circumstance rises above sappy melodrama

Any film that employs Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to underline teenage Sapphic longings has one strike against it already. But the cookie-cutter clichés that plague Iranian director Maryam Keshavarz's debut feature, Circumstance, are leavened considerably by the fact that the teens in question reside in Tehran -- not a place where Bonnie Tyler has much of a following, one would think. >More
 Funny, messy The Rum Diary brings art-house Johnny Depp to the multiplexes

Johnny Depp spent years building the kind of résumé that keeps actors from being movie stars, roles featuring weird hair and silly voices. Then he changed exactly nothing in his approach and scored a few blockbusters. Now those same movies Depp was making years ago, instead of opening in art houses, are opening on 2,000 screens. >More
 Moving The Future brings fantasy elements to a brave drama

Watching The Future, I flashed back to the night in 1997 when I saw Breaking the Waves. As Lars von Trier's magic, tragic romance unfolded, I got impatient, then angry. But by the end I was weeping. Turned out I was watching something extraordinary. >More
 Margin Call is an anatomy of Wall Street greed

When the catastrophe on Wall Street began to unfold a few years back, I read and reread newspaper articles about it, trying to understand it. Much of what I knew about finance I'd learned from an old Leave It To Beaver episode in which Ward tries to get the boys into the stock market. So I had some catching up to do. >More
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