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Monday, March 2, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Fair
The Daily


Putting words in their mouths

"Did you hear about the dim-bulb actress who was up for a part? She slept with the scriptwriter." Yeah, it's an old joke, but I needed a lead, and they don't pay me extra for original material. Besides, is there a better way to describe the scriptwriter's place in the Hollywood food chain - well fed, often, but a very weak link when it comes to anything resembling actual influence? >More
 Teeth finds an unusual route to female empowerment

Perhaps the worst date movie of all time, Teeth would have Sigmund Freud himself screaming in horror. The teeth in question are what Freud referred to as vagina dentata -- teeth "down there," a myth shared by the male half of many cultures. Freud saw the myth as an expression of man's castration anxiety. Writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein has decided to see it as an expression of female empowerment. >More
 In Bruges: Stop, you're killing me

Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Mr. and Mrs. Smith - hit men have become so domesticated that it almost seems rude to ask them to go out there and, you know, kill somebody. That's what made the two hit men in Michael Clayton so refreshing. They just did their jobs. They didn't feel they had to explain or redeem themselves. The two hit men in Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, however, do feel the need. And I was prepared to write it off as an Analyze This or That retread, but writer-director McDonagh managed to hold my interest all the way through, thanks in part to some snappy dialogue but also to a tone that seems unique in the annals of crime movies. >More
 Oscar shorts: Mini series

Need help with your Oscar ballot? Well, now there's a way to help yourself. Just in the nick of time, Sundance Cinemas is screening this year's nominees for Best Animated Short and Best Live-Action Short Film. Some, if not all, of them are available on the Internet, but is YouTube really your idea of quality sound and image? I didn't think so. Culled from all over the world, these little gems deserve the finest presentation money can buy. And my hat's off to the Academy, Magnolia Pictures and Sundance for getting them to us in a timely fashion. >More
 Persepolis: Piercing the veil

"Nothing is more universal than one human being," Iranian-born-and-raised Marjane Satrapi has said, and she certainly proves that in Persepolis, her largely autobiographical account of having come of age during a particularly turbulent period in Iran's history. >More
 The Castle & Who Was Edgar Allan?: Control freak

I once called Michael Haneke "the thinking person's Hitchcock." I've also called him "the postmodern Hitchcock," which may be another way of saying the same thing. For Haneke, an Austrian/German director who often works in French with French actors, likes to take stories that Hitchcock might have told and intellectualize them. >More
 Rambo: Why he fights

Like it or not, Sylvester Stallone is going to go down in history as the creator of not one but two movie legends, Rocky and Rambo. Always slyer than he's let on - his nickname's Sly, for crissakes - Stallone is pretty smart at playing dumb. >More
 There will be blood: Massacre (The Musical) drinks your milkshake

The body count will be high, guts will be spilled, and songs will be sung. If you haven't already heard the news, consider yourself warned: Massacre (The Musical) is coming, and it aims to blow, or maybe just sing, all other horror musical comedies out of the water. At least, that's my opinion. Admittedly, I might be a little biased, as I had a hand in helping to create the movie. >More
 There Will Be Blood: With greed on our side

If movies were judged by their themes alone, There Will Be Blood would be a masterpiece. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, adapting a 1927 novel by The Jungle's Upton Sinclair, has brought together the two most powerful forces that shaped this country -- business and religion, profits and prophets -- and allowed them to duke it out in the California desert. >More
 Cloverfield: I 8 NY

To say that Cloverfield picks up where I Am Legend left off is to ignore the fact that New York City is always being destroyed in our movie-fed imaginations. Who knows, maybe the 9/11 hijackers watched King Kong to psych themselves up for their flights of destiny. What Cloverfield adds to the pile, to great effect, is the camcorder, that ubiquitous tool for documenting the YouTube generation's every move. >More
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