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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 72.0° F  A Few Clouds
Movies

MOVIES

MOVIES

Kevin Smith's Tusk is a horror-comedy set in a creepy mansion

I'll begin with the ending. I don't like it. Of course I won't reveal any substantial details of the conclusion to Tusk, the horror-comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. I will say that I had developed mixed feelings by the time the finale rolled around, and my unhappiness with it tips this review into pan territory. But there are facets of the movie that I admire. >More
 Pilgrims journey to higher ground in Walking the Camino

Walking the Camino is, it seems, a good way to have a spiritual awakening while viewing incredible natural splendor and forming important human connections. And then there are the staggeringly huge blisters. >More

MOVIES

British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon show off their sharp wit in The Trip to Italy

They're back, and they're still doing Michael Caine impressions. In the picaresque 2010 comedy The Trip, British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon toured England's Lake District. Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, they ate fancy meals and engaged in very funny, apparently improvised conversations. >More
 James Gandolfini is a Mafia target, not a Mafioso, in the crime drama The Drop

James Gandolfini's wintry silences and bitter outbursts are just enough to merit seeing The Drop, director Michaël R. Roskam's slice of crime life set in Brooklyn. In a way, this is Tony Soprano's swan song, but there's one important difference: Here the late Gandolfini plays Cousin Marv, a beaten-down dive-bar owner who owes the local Chechen Mafia a lot of dough. >More

MOVIES


A prodigy must decide whether to live or die in If I Stay

If I Stay is an adaptation of Gayle Forman's young adult novel about Mia Hall, an 18-year-old cello prodigy who must decide whether to live or die following a car accident. In addition to telling a story, the movie begs an important question: When should a filmmaker stray from his source material? >More
 It's hard to tell the characters apart in the flawed football drama When the Game Stands Tall

As a teamwork training manual for young athletes, When the Game Stands Tall may be useful viewing, but as a gripping drama, it's dodgy at best. Loosely based on sportswriter Neil Hayes' book about high school football coach Bob Ladouceur, who led his De La Salle Spartans to a historic 151-game winning streak, the script (by Scott Marshall Smith) wisely includes the game that broke the streak. >More

MOVIES


A teen receives all of civilization's memories in The Giver

Teen dystopias are as hot as can be at the cineplex these days, as demonstrated by the massive popularity of the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises. The Giver certainly fits into the trend, but it's no latecomer to the party. The material on which it's based, Lois Lowry's Newbery Award-winning young-adult novel, has been celebrated and reviled since its release in 1993. >More
 Filmed over a 12-year period, Boyhood examines the small but essential details of growing up

With Boyhood, Richard Linklater has created the ultimate coming-of-age film. Many other movies in this genre present one big event as the kick-in-the-rear that propels a character toward maturation or a greater sense of the world beyond oneself. >More

TELEVISION

Hospitalized kids pull together in Red Band Society

Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Red Band Society is the first masterpiece of the fall TV season. Nevertheless, it features a premise that practically screams "don't watch this." A half-dozen very sick kids live together in a hospital. >More
 Ken Burns ruins yet another great American subject with The Roosevelts

Ken Burns, PBS's favorite documentarian, has long specialized in taking the fun out of great American subjects (jazz, baseball, Mark Twain). His latest, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is less a tribute to President Teddy Roosevelt, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt than to Burns himself. >More
 In Breathless, the sexual revolution comes to a 1960s London hospital

Critics have dutifully fallen in line for Cinemax's The Knick, an arty period hospital drama that makes its points with buckets of blood. I recommend a more enjoyable period hospital drama: Breathless on Masterpiece Mystery!. >More
 An ambitious miniseries gets inside Houdini's head

Houdini begins with a striking image of the escape artist Harry Houdini (Adrien Brody) perched on a bridge, shackled, as he works up the nerve to jump into the icy water below. The first sound we hear is a ghostly woman's voice whispering, "Harry, can you hear me?" We have no idea where the voice is coming from or what the words mean, but it immediately establishes a dreamlike quality for this ambitious miniseries. >More
 The 2014 Emmys prove it: We're in a golden age of TV

I was going to start talking about the overrated shows nominated for this year's Emmy Awards, as I don't understand why critics have fallen for Masters of Sex, Homeland and Boardwalk Empire. But I got sidetracked by the much bigger list of nominated shows that are among the wonders of the world. >More
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MOVIES

UW Cinematheque hosts four Madison premieres in fall 2014

With back-to-school season just around the corner, the UW Cinematheque has rolled out its fall 2014 film lineup. All Cinematheque events are free and take place at 4070 Vilas Hall, the Marquee Theater at Union South, and the Chazen Museum of Art. >More

WISCONSIN FILM FESTIVAL

Wisconsin Film Festival announces winners of 2014 audience awards

Ever since the final credits of the Wisconsin Film Festival rolled the night of April 10, workers have been tallying the results of the annual Steep & Brew Audience Award competition. Now it's time for a drumroll: The winners of this year's awards are American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, The Rocket and Vertigo. >More

GAMES

Inside the minds of Human Head Studios

Any seasoned gamer who's dodged missiles and firestorms in a multiplayer deathmatch knows there's a time when it's best to crouch behind cover for a few seconds, honing a careful strategy rather than charging in with CRB Vector-submachine guns blazing. It's often the difference between surviving and ending up a corpse in another player's killing spree. >More

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