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The Daily


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides buries its lead

In the abstract, I'm kind of giddy that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has reached its fourth installment, On Stranger Tides. Critics aren't supposed to think such things, because Hollywood franchising is killing our souls. But take a moment to contemplate a series of action blockbusters built around a protagonist who's vaguely effeminate, frequently cowardly and generally disreputable -- not just an antihero, but an anti-the-whole-idea-of-what-a-hero-can-be. >More
 Certified Copy is a romance that feels like homework

Made in France, Certified Copy is master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's first feature narrative to be filmed outside his homeland of Iran. The movie toys with ideas suggested by the title: why we assume that copies do not have the same value as the originals, and whether anything within the human purview can be truly original. >More
 Bridesmaids transfers the bromance formula to women

Bridesmaids is actually two movies, which may explain why it clocks in at a sprawling 125 minutes. It's a wedding farce à la Father of the Bride, and it's a romantic comedy that rigorously follows that genre's stations of the cross. >More
 Will Ferrell plays melancholic in Everything Must Go

Recall Adam Sandler's impressive dramatic turn in Punch-Drunk Love. Like that film, Everything Must Go is a drama starring a Saturday Night Live alumnus (Will Ferrell) in a role that's less funny than it is melancholic. There's an SNL-specific subgenre working itself out here: the dramatic farce. >More
 Sticking to formula, Thor provides a few satisfying twists

Movies based on Marvel characters are about as sure a thing as there is in the uncertain world of theatrical exhibition. But what separates the good ones (Iron Man) from the bad ones (Daredevil, Ghost Rider)? It comes down to tone and casting, and Thor shows that director Kenneth Branagh grasps this. He nails a unique tone, and he's got a lead actor who seems to understand how to play a god. >More
 Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune is a sad look at the folk star

If you're just getting acquainted with the music of Phil Ochs and you're not sure how important he is, you'll be struck by something Pete Seeger says in the documentary Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune. "Here I am with two of the greatest songwriters in the world," says Seeger, remembering a 1960s jam session. One of the songwriters was Ochs. The other was Bob Dylan. >More
 Sundance Madison announces Screening Room schedule for spring and summer 2011

If you're bummed by the prospect of more dreary pirates and superheroes at the multiplexes in the coming weeks, take heart. Sundance Madison has released its latest Screening Room schedule, and the foreign and indie flicks on it will get you through the first part of the summer. >More
 Arts Beat: Circus World Museum wagons in Water for Elephants

If you see Water for Elephants, keep an eye out for some stars from Wisconsin. Appearing alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are 15 vintage wagons from Baraboo's Circus World Museum. >More
 Arts Beat: Orpheum Theatre no longer screening movies regularly

Isthmus has no times for movies in general release at the Orpheum Theatre. >More
 Lame Queen of the Sun wonders where the bees went

The bees are disappearing. The phenomenon is called colony collapse disorder, and no one knows what's causing it. As the documentary Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? reports, five million honeybee colonies in the U.S. have been lost to it. At stake is, among other things, what we eat, because bees pollinate fruits and vegetables. No bees, no fruits and vegetables. >More
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