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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 29.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily

MOVIES

The Ides of March focuses on a cynical campaign staffer

Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling), the political media consultant at the center of The Ides of March, knows how to handle his business. Sure, he might believe that the man he's working for, Pennsylvania Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney), is the best candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. But he's also just fine with feeding a specious allegation about their opponent to the media, just so it will require the time spent to fight it off. >More
 Hot Coffee screening coincides with new round of 'tort reform' in Wisconsin legislature

Immunity for pharmaceutical industries that manufacture bad drugs and medical devices. Caps on trial attorney fees. More incentives to stall payment of judgments to injured people and consumers. Bills calling for all of these so-called "tort reform" proposals are promised features of Gov. Scott Walker's special session on jobs, which began Thursday. >More
 Four Star Video Heaven relocates to State Street

A favorite of downtown film buffs is moving. Four Star Video Heaven will reopen this week near the corner of State, Gilman and Broom streets. "The new space has a lot of advantages over the old, but the biggest factor is that it's less expensive," says owner Lisa Brennan. The store was at 315 N. Henry St. for more than 25 years. >More
 Entertaining 50/50 never commits to any one subplot

In the opening scene of the comedy-drama 50/50, 27-year-old Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) jogs through downtown Seattle. As he comes to a stoplight, another jogger trots past him across the street, ignoring the illuminated red hand. But Adam stays put. >More
 A man chases and is chased in Point Blank

Point Blank opens at a frantic pace. Unknown men run in a stairwell, spilling onto the street and into a tunnel. Random cars and motorcycles get involved, too. Then, but for a few brief establishing scenes, the film never lets up for the next 80 minutes. >More
 Moneyball thinks outside the batter's box

"Nobody reinvents this game," a baseball announcer smugly intones late in the deliciously entertaining Moneyball, and the same sentiment could apply to baseball movies. Hollywood keeps spitting out variations on James Earl Jones' swooning speech from Field of Dreams, even as the game itself has seen other sports trample it in true national-pastime popularity. >More
 Shut Up Little Man! disturbingly chronicles squabbling neighbors

The documentary Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure resembles Winnebago Man, the recent film about a volatile RV pitchman who became an unwitting Internet sensation. Both movies are about obnoxious people whose appalling behavior was recorded electronically, on videotape in Winnebago Man and on audiocassette in Shut Up Little Man! In both cases the clips were informally distributed and became the object of cultish, sniggering obsession. >More
 The documentary Shoah provokes strange reactions

Last January I spent a long Saturday at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center, where the newly rereleased Holocaust documentary Shoah was playing. Claude Lanzmann's landmark 1985 film is 10 hours long, and when it was over, I was exhausted. >More
 Rappers bicker in A Tribe Called Quest documentary

In the documentary Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, no one interviewed has any doubts about the musical importance of the titular hip-hop ensemble, famous for songs like "Can I Kick It." The same isn't quite true regarding the sartorial impact of the group, whose members now speak with wry ambivalence of the brightly colored, dashiki-inspired costumes they wore for a time in their 1990s heyday. >More
 A virus convulses the world in Contagion

With its dire scenario, all-star cast and multithreaded plot, Contagion resembles 1970s disaster flicks like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno (Henry Fonda as The Scientist! Helen Hayes as The Stowaway!). But those trashy old movies are enjoyable as camp and not much else. Contagion is a thoughtful, subtle film, a look at the global devastation wrought by a deadly virus people pick up from handshakes and subway rails. >More
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