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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 23.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Sweeney Todd Close shaves

It's tempting to say that, in making its way from the stage to the screen, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has been slashed to bits, ground into hamburger and served up as so many meat pies. >More
 The Golden Compass: Kinder, gentler heresy

"My books are about killing God," Philip Pullman has been quoted as saying, and you don't have to be the pope to view that as a rather provocative statement. Pullman's young-adult trilogy, His Dark Materials, which imagines a world much like our own, only with organized religion more organized than ever, is a thinly veiled attack on the Catholic Church's tendency to speak in the name of God. >More
 Out of the Blue: Senseless killing

It remains the deadliest rampage in New Zealand history. On Nov. 13, 1990, David Gray, a classic loner type in the remote village of Aramoana, went berserk and started shooting his neighbors. And by the time he was done, some 22 hours later, 14 of them were dead, three were wounded, and nobody who lived through the experience would ever be the same. >More
 Wrapping up a fifth year of Wis-Kino

There have been plenty of big changes for Wis-Kino over the last year. Madison's short filmmaking and screening organization has seen new leadership, has moved to a new home, and has celebrated its fifth birthday over the course of 2007. As always, though, the primary focus is the films, with another bumper crop shown over the course of 11 monthly screenings. For the final month, though, the group will present a retrospective showcasing nearly two dozen of its contributors' favorites. >More
 The Majestic Theatre embarks upon a second century

"I think people were a little skeptical of us because we were a couple of young guys from out of town," says Matt Gerding, "but in our first few months in business we brought some impressive acts to town, and we're pretty proud of it." The co-owner of the Majestic Theatre announced Tuesday that the downtown landmark is marking its 101st birthday on Saturday with a movie and some egg nog. There will be more flicks there in the New Year, moreover, with Gerding and Scott Leslie working to prepare the theater as a possible venue for the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival. >More
 Awake: Under the knife

I'm proud to say that I not only stayed awake during Awake, I even found myself on the edge of my seat a couple of times. The movie was withheld from critics, which is always a bad sign, and when they finally did get their hands on it, they took out their scalpels and started carving away. But having recently learned that I myself have a heart condition, I was especially susceptible to a story about a guy who, unbeknownst to the doctors operating on him, is fully awake, albeit paralyzed, during open-heart surgery. Actually, it gets worse: The doctors operating on him may be botching the operation on purpose in order to inherit the guy's fortune. Why would they stand to inherit his fortune? Well, it's complicated. >More
 What would Jesus buy?

Reverend Billy, a.k.a. Bill Talen, isn't really a reverend, but he plays one on TV or anywhere else he might attract a congregation ready to hear the good news about dropping shopping. And I'll say this for him, he walks the walk and talks the talk, with his bleached-blond pompadour and his singsong delivery. >More
 Ira and Abby: People person

Ira and Abby is such a blatant crowd-pleaser, so determined to entertain us, that I wanted to kick myself for not liking it more. Why wasn't I pleased? Well, it's got too many influences, for one thing, and they're all worn on its sleeve. >More
 For the Bible Tells Me So: God and gays

In the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, various men and women of the cloth say that the anti-gay Rev. Fred Phelps is wrong. A Baptist, an Episcopalian bishop, an adorable Lutheran pastor from Minnesota, an Orthodox rabbi, a professor of divinity from Harvard and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu systematically dismantle the idea that the Bible condemns homosexuality. "Biblical literalists" insist, they say, upon a reading of the Scriptures divorced from their historical and even intratextual context, only to use them as a weapon in the culture wars. >More
 Manda Bala

Kidnapping, corruption and frog farming find common ground in Manda Bala, the assured first film from Jason Kohn. The documentary's nominal subject is the kidnapping epidemic in Brazil's major cities, particularly So Paulo, where a handful of thriving industries cater to potential and actual victims. Bulletproofing cars is big business, and the city has the world's largest private helicopter fleet to help the wealthy avoid street-level attacks. Kohn interviews a surgeon who specializes in reconstructing ears, which kidnappers frequently sever as an inducement to the victim's families. >More
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