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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


Australia: Marvelous Oz

Who says they don't make 'em like they used to? Australia, which stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman as the Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler of the Land Down Under, is a throwback to the glorious epics of yesteryear, when movies were as big as the whole outdoors. >More
 Synedoche, New York: Let's put on a show

Those of you who've spent your whole lives contemplating your deaths may get a big kick out of Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman's tragicomic slide down the rabbit hole of loneliness and despair. Kaufman, the writer of such Moëbius-strip curios as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the guy never meta-narrative he didn't like), has moved over to the director's chair. >More
 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: A child's view of Auschwitz

I'm not sure there was a big demand to see the Holocaust through the eyes of a child, but that's exactly what we get in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Mark Herman's faithful adaptation of John Boyne's heart-warming, bone-chilling young-adult novel. >More
 Westgate Cinemas fades to black

The first movie I ever saw in Madison was at Westgate Cinemas -- Torch Song Trilogy, with Harvey Fierstein festooned in drag, barking orders at everyone. This was February 1989, and I'd just arrived in town, partly to write about movies, and I was curious to see where I'd be spending a good deal of my time. >More
 Quantum of Solace: Daniel Craig revitalizes the Bond franchise

Forgive me, Sir Roger Moore, but I have forgotten you entirely. Shocking, I know. You used to be so persuasive, so cuttingly urbane, a veritable saint on His Majesty's Secret Service, doling out fisticuffs and dryly sexualized bons mots as though they were some special language all your own. >More
 Happy-Go-Lucky: Smiling at trouble

While recently suffering through the cheerful escapades of Pauline "Poppy" Cross (Sally Hawkins), the heroine of the new Mike Leigh film Happy-Go-Lucky, I couldn't help wondering, could this perpetually giggling, insanely positive girlish girl of a woman really have sprung from the same fevered mind that unleashed Johnny - the scabrous, antagonistic, misanthropic antihero of Naked - on the world? It seems unlikely, and yet there it is: Leigh's name above the title. >More
 Rachel Getting Married: A wedding story

You might assume, from the title, that Rachel Getting Married is about Rachel, the bride-to-be. And it is, eventually. But like all movie weddings, Rachel's doesn't go by without a hitch. On the contrary, there are shouting matches, an exchange of blows, even a car crash. And Rachel has trouble holding center stage as the stage crumbles around her. >More
 Changeling: Little boy lost

Oscar season is now under way with Changeling, a prestige film that goes fishing for awards with a vintage rod-and-reel. Clint Eastwood, having finally gotten World War II out of his system, directed this 1920s period piece about a Los Angeles single mom (Angelina Jolie) who gets put through the ringer for insisting that the boy returned to her by the LAPD is not her son, who mysteriously disappeared five months before. >More
 What Just Happened: Inside Hollywood

Robert De Niro plays a Hollywood producer who's desperately trying to hold it together in What Just Happened, which is also trying to hold it together, teetering and tottering between straight-ahead realism and once-over-lightly satire. >More
 Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Romantic smut

Ever since he pawned his comic-book collection to finance Clerks, Kevin Smith has been cultivating his fan base like an organic farmer spreading manure. He knows what they expect out of him -- potty-mouth sexual humor with a slight skateboard-punk edge. And in his own limited way, he knows how to deliver. >More
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