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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 19.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

MOVIES

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
 The Kids Are All Right tells a too-familiar story about gay marriage

"You're an interloper," says Nic (Annette Bening) to Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the recently discovered sperm donor for the two teenage children she shares with her partner Jules (Julianne Moore) in The Kids Are All Right. It's an interesting choice of words -- "interloper" -- but a surprising one coming from filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko. In fact, she's inordinately fond of the concept. >More
 Found Footage Festival screens adorably terrible Computer Beach Party

What's so alluring about bad movies? Village Voice critic J. Hoberman once wrote that "[a bad movie] is a philosopher's stone that converts the incompetent mistakes of nave dross into modernist gold." >More
 Inception goes deep into the dreamscape

Writer/director Christopher Nolan is a brainy filmmaker, no doubt about it, but I'm not sure he's a terribly philosophical one. Inception, Nolan's first film since the eye-rollingly overpraised The Dark Knight, is a mindbender bearing superficial resemblance to other question-reality manifestos like The Matrix and Synecdoche, New York, only minus the giddy pop psychology of the former and the me-myself-and-I self-seeking of the latter. >More
 Wisconsin Wednesdays series at Orpheum Theatre features Dairyland films

For moviegoers, the Wisconsin Film Festival has many rewards. One is that it lets them see films made right here in the state. So why confine that experience to the festival? "Right now you only have April, and it's slam-packed," says local filmmaker Nicholas Langholff, referring to the festival's frenetic spring run. His solution: Wisconsin Wednesdays, a monthly series devoted to films with Wisconsin ties. >More
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