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Monday, November 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 39.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

Restrepo documents grueling warfare in Afghanistan

Restrepo is an example of photojournalism at its finest. The film chronicles the grueling 15-month deployment in Afghanistan of about a dozen U.S. soldiers of the Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade. >More
 Jennifer Aniston is a genre unto herself in The Switch

Hollywood's biological clock must be ticking something fierce. The Switch is the third artificial-insemination romantic comedy of the summer thus far, after The Back-up Plan and The Kids are All Right. Based on a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides, The Switch is amiable fluff that takes its time learning how to walk, talk and act like the kid-centric romantic comedy that it is. >More
 A fashion icon gets her man in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

Perhaps it's no surprise that French designer Coco Chanel, with her penchant for a dominant black-and-white color palette, would be attracted to Igor Stravinsky, a compositional master of the piano's black-and-white keyboard. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is the second movie about Chanel to be released in the last couple of years, following Coco Before Chanel, and is, by far, the less besotted of the two films. >More
 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World captures its source material's quirky energy

In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the visuals pop with jagged panel-break split-screens and straight-outta-Batman onscreen sound effects. Key lines of dialogue and every significant plot point are snatched precisely from the source material, Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series. >More
 Eat Pray Love mimics its heroine's identity crisis

When the script for Eat Pray Love landed in Richard Jenkins' inbox, one can imagine he must have twinkled at the pages-long monologue his character delivers in the film's midsection. >More
 Will Ferrell is back in his comfort zone with The Other Guys

Reeling himself back in from the career crash-zone territory of Land of the Lost, Will Ferrell returns to more familiar stomping grounds with The Other Guys, his fourth comedy pairing with director Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers). Again, Ferrell plays a big boob, although his Det. Allen Gamble in The Other Guys is not as clueless or as extreme a doofus as his characters in these previous movies. >More
 The Killer Inside Me is a vast miscalculation

The ridiculously prolific director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People) fouls out badly with his screen adaptation of Jim Thompson's 1952 crime novel The Killer Inside Me. Nearly everything about the film is off, although the primary offenders are the casting of reedy-voiced Casey Affleck in the title role and the misinterpretation of the term "pulp fiction" to mean something on the order of beating all women to bloody pulps. >More
 Winter's Bone evokes a land of poverty and meth labs

Watching Winter's Bone, I kept wondering: Is this an exploitation film? Certainly it's easy to imagine filmmakers -- and audiences -- condescending to this material. Filmed in Missouri, Winter's Bone is set in a milieu of devastating rural poverty, complete with destroyed families, grungy homes, ancient cars, casual mayhem and those deadly meth labs we keep hearing about. >More
 Disney makes a comeback in Waking Sleeping Beauty

It's hard to believe that 30 years ago the Walt Disney Company -- corporate colossus of film, television, music, theater, real estate -- was all but forgotten in the entertainment world. But after Walt Disney died in 1966, the company drifted, so that by the late 1970s, Disney's film output was largely reduced to shlocky kiddie entertainments like The Cat From Outer Space. >More
 The Girl Who Played With Fire fights dirty

What makes a well-crafted mystery story? The case needs to be interesting, of course, but at least as important is a fascinating investigator. We want to be engrossed by the crime-solving but perhaps even more engrossed by Holmes or Marlowe or Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, who turn out to be the biggest enigmas of all. >More
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