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Friday, February 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Fair
The Daily


Saving the planet, one film festival at a time

Gregg Mitman thought Tales from Planet Earth would be a one-shot deal. The UW-Madison history of science professor and interim director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies was a principal organizer of the 2007 environmental film festival. "Opening night, there was a line two blocks long waiting to get into the Orpheum," he remembers. He had anticipated 500 people might show up the first night. Instead, more than twice that number turned out. By the end of the festival, total attendance was estimated at 3,500. >More
 The Men Who Stare at Goats: Psychic spies

The Men Who Stare at Goats is one odd duck. A title card reads "More of this is true than you would believe," but it's impossible to tell what's factual in this fictionalized take on Jon Ronson's book about Army experiments in the paranormal because it all sounds so deeply ludicrous. >More
 An elegy for Michael Jackson in This Is It

Ever see a dream moonwalking? Well, I did. Michael Jackson's posthumously released film about the preparations for his 50-concert comeback extravaganza is a strange creature indeed. >More
 Soul Power: Spotlight on James Brown

There are a lot of mind-blowing moments in Soul Power, the documentary about a 1974 music festival that brought James Brown, B.B. King and other greats to Zaire. >More
 Tales from Planet Earth 2009 film fest returns with broad community ambitions

This year's expanded edition of Tales from Planet Earth represents a significant leap in ambition. Driven by the strong attendance of two years ago, plans for the 2009 festival have grown to set almost double the number of films on a cornerstone theme of "Justice." Tales 2 also engages in close partnerships with nine community organizations. >More
 'The War at Home,' Part 2

Almost three decades after leaving Madison to chase his ambitions, Glenn Silber returns this week for a 30th anniversary screening of The War at Home and the world premiere of his new documentary, Labor Day. The film represents a return to the progressive roots Silber put down in Madison as a UW student and to his independence as a filmmaker. >More
 A Serious Man retells the Job story

Embrace paradox; accept life's mysteries. These are some of the things that serious men learn. God owes us bupkis in the way of answers. With A Serious Man, the Coen brothers have made one of their best and most personal movies. It is rich with ideas and packed with the sort of existential jokes that tickle the Coen boys so. >More
 Cold Souls: Life swap

In Cold Souls, an actor named Paul Giamatti smells different, and his skin feels somehow scaly to his wife, Claire. She wants to know what's wrong with him, why the man in bed next to her looks and sounds like her husband, but doesn't seem to have his spirit, his essential Paul-ness. >More
 Where the Wild Things Are not

Like any good myth, Where the Wild Things Are has lessons to teach, but also ambiguities. To his credit, director Spike Jonze retains ambiguities in his film version, which he wrote with Gen-X literary icon Dave Eggers. But given the book's austerity, the film has quite a few gaps to fill, even at a brief hour and 34 minutes. >More
 Bright Star chronicles a poetic romance

Bright Star is romantic. It is comic. And it is very sad. If you know anything about the tubercular John Keats, you can guess how this story ends. >More
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