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The Daily


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
 Charlize Theron is brilliantly prickly in Young Adult

Thirty-seven-year-old Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a beautiful, unhappy and dislikable narcissist. Add delusional, rude and alcoholic to the list. She's not the kind of person we generally want to spend time with in the movies or in real life. However, the attributes that make Mavis bad company are the very reasons you'll want to catch her in Young Adult. >More
 UW Cinematheque seeking donations in face of funding cuts

Despite its recent successes, the UW Cinematheque is faced with funding cuts. Programming director Jim Healy says he hopes the program can raise at least $30,000 in individual donations by the end of the year. >More
 A woman, and the Earth, face doom in Melancholia

The ghost of Irwin Allen must be smiling. He produced a run of disaster movies in the 1970s (The Poseidon Adventure, The Swarm), and in 2011 the genre staged a remarkable comeback. The difference is that the new offerings are thoughtful and gripping, as opposed to junky and Shelley-Winters-starring. >More
 The Skin I Live In is a loopy sex thriller

Let's take a moment to remember Ken Russell, the English director who died Nov. 27 at age 84. When I was a kid in the early 1980s, I came of age as a film fan with cable viewings of Russell films like Tommy and Altered States. What I learned from them is that crazed imagery, stupefying violence and intense psychosexual freakouts add up to memorable movies. >More
 A man woos his maid in The Women on the 6th Floor

The Women on the 6th Floor is a light French comedy that is pure bourgeois fantasy, but a genial fantasy nevertheless. Charming performances go a long way toward smoothing over the characters' perpetuation of class distinctions and patronizing attitudes. >More
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