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Saturday, July 12, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Mostly Cloudy with Haze
The Daily

MOVIES

The Nut Job crawls with furry villains but few species of good guys

The Nut Job is a head-scratcher. Kudos to writers Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis for pitching a curveball, though: a basic talking-animal cartoon with a parallel plot about 1950s gangsters. Unfortunately, the human characters' goon patois makes little sense next to the modern slang of the rodent protagonists in this Canadian and South Korean co-production. >More
 An unwitting newlywed births Satan's spawn in Devil's Due

There are many lessons to be learned from Devil's Due, Hollywood's newest she's-having-Satan's-baby flick. Don't let taxi drivers take you someplace mysterious to celebrate the last night of your honeymoon. When you wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened, don't forget to check your camcorder, in case you left it running all night. And if you're going to do a found-footage movie, be sure it makes at least a little sense. >More
 Inside Llewyn Davis follows a struggling singer through New York's early-'60s folk scene

What was happening musically in 1961? Elvis' explosive debut was in the past, the Beatles' explosive debut was in the future, and for two weeks that February, the number-one single in the land was...Lawrence Welk's "Calcutta." The pop scene was experiencing a lull. >More
 A man falls for his computer's operating system in Her

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), the protagonist of Spike Jonze's prickly sci-fi romance Her, is a sensitive guy. He pens richly detailed letters for clients of his employer, BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com. He carefully reads the expressions of people he sees and hears the subtle inflections in their voices. >More
 Martin Scorsese likens finance-industry corruption to organized crime in The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese is a master at capturing the drama of a criminal's ascent to power while showing how far there is to fall. In The Wolf of Wall Street, he dives into a milieu he hasn't explored: the cutthroat, manic, excessive world of America's financial bigwigs. >More
 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is hero worship, but what a hero

The release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom could not be better timed. The worldwide face of the anti-Apartheid movement died earlier this month at age 95. He was laid to rest after a 10-day mourning period that coincided with the planned international rollout of this biopic. >More
 A timid daydreamer contemplates an overseas adventure in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a mild-mannered Life magazine photo editor capable of astonishing feats of derring-do " in his daydreams. In real life, he can hardly make eye contact with his crush (Kristen Wiig) or say boo to his bully of a boss (Adam Scott). When unadventurous, real-life Walter is tasked with finding a photo negative on the other side of the planet, he must decide if he's willing to take a chance and hit the road. >More
 UW Cinematheque's spring 2014 season features rarely screened noirs and new works from around the world

Here's one more reason to celebrate this holiday season: UW Cinematheque has released an impressive screening calendar for spring 2014. >More
 Anchorman 2 is a smarter jab at TV news than its predecessor

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is like a mash-up of movies released in 2013. It's got self-delusion in '70s New York, just like American Hustle. It's got a shark fight that rivals the one in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with poor Kristen Wiig playing nearly the same part she plays in that film. It's also got a strong black character fighting for her place in the world, similar to 12 Years a Slave. >More
 Saving Mr. Banks is a stark look at the story behind Mary Poppins

In Saving Mr. Banks, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the irascible author of Mary Poppins, bitterly complains that her story will lose its realistic edge in the hands of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). This is just one way director John Lee Hancock force-feeds us gritty realism when telling the story behind the magical nanny with the flying umbrella. >More
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