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Wednesday, December 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 21.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close avoids melodrama

Some look at the story elements in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and see rich dramatic possibilities: the 9/11 attacks; a grieving mother and son; a mysterious, mute neighbor; a quest to find the lock that fits a key. Others see a recipe for emotionally manipulative preciousness. You know which one you are. >More
 With Haywire, screenwriter Lem Dobbs completes a Steven Soderbergh 'trilogy'

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Madison filmgoers get a treat, an opportunity to see director Steven Soderbergh's new film, Haywire, before it opens Jan. 20. And that's not the only treat. In attendance at Sundance Cinemas Madison will be Lem Dobbs, who wrote the screenplay for the action thriller. >More
 The Iron Lady offers too little, despite Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep has become so predictably astonishing in her versatility that her name is practically a verb -- a way of describing a performer disappearing into a role. The opportunity to see America's answer to Shakespearean acting royalty play Margaret Thatcher, that quintessentially British figure, is the main reason for checking out The Iron Lady -- and, as it turns out, it's really the only reason. >More
 Joyful Noise is a mess, and that's the gospel truth

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton have built up much goodwill, and it carries them through the regrettable Joyful Noise. There are some appealing moments in writer and director Todd Graff's overlong backstage musical about a gospel choir, but the film collapses under too many dull characters and too many silly plot threads. >More
 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy understates the espionage

The modern movie spy has become defined by so much running and rappelling and cool seducing that it feels like a luxury to nestle in with the staid and resolutely unsuave George Smiley (Gary Oldman). A longtime operative in Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Smiley is forced into early retirement at the outset of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. >More
 The best films of 2011

Welcome to 2011 at the movies -- when the only thing certain about the best movies was their uncertainty. People, as a rule, don't particularly like ambiguity. A much-talked-about university study earlier this year suggested that "spoilers" are actually welcome to many people, which explains why average viewers get annoyed at pointy-headed movie critics embracing films in which it's not instantly clear what's going on, how things are going to end, or even why a film ends the way it does. >More
 Bruce Beresford to direct Frank Lloyd Wright movie

The life of Frank Lloyd Wright may be coming to the big screen. "We're in the very early stages of planning," says co-producer J. Todd Harris, of Branded Pictures Entertainment. "The current instinct is to base in Chicago with some potential location work in a few other sites, including Wisconsin." >More
 Spielberg searches for the humanity in War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin

At first, it might seem like an absurd question: Though he's been part of the American pop-culture consciousness for more than 35 years, and is arguably the most successful director in the history of the medium, do we really know who Steven Spielberg is as a filmmaker? >More
 A silent film star refuses to speak up in The Artist

The Artist is an irresistible comic gem that's as light on its feet as its protagonist. It's 1927, and silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the toast of Hollywood. He's a charming leading man, part Rudolph Valentino, part Douglas Fairbanks, and utterly convinced that those newfangled talking pictures are just a fad. >More
 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows improves on the franchise

When Sherlock Holmes raked in more than $200 million at the box office in 2009, it was only elementary that Hollywood would realize a sequel was inevitable. It was far from inevitable, however, that the sequel would improve the product. Never mind that Sherlock Holmes was kind of a mess, its last hour overloaded with fights, explosions and that fast-slow-fast visual style that has become so achingly trendy. You don't mess with (financial) success. >More
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