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Thursday, August 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Overcast

AUTHOR SEARCH RESULTS

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
 Philip Seymour Hoffman leads a German spy group in A Most Wanted Man

An espionage thriller adapted from John Le Carré's 2008 novel, A Most Wanted Man opens on a battered sea wall in Hamburg, Germany, a port city on high alert after Mohamed Atta and his co-conspirators plotted the Sept. 11 attacks there, undetected by German intelligence officers. >More
 Zach Braff reflects on the messiness of his 30s in Wish I Was Here

I'm not one of Garden State's belated haters. Zach Braff's portrait of generational anomie and mid-Aughties indie-film mores was on point when it was released in 2004. But a decade's gone by, and things change. Whether Braff has changed too is another matter. His latest film, Wish I Was Here, provides some clues. >More
 Melissa McCarthy sells herself short as an unapologetic buffoon in Tammy

It's rare for audiences -- so fickle, so prone to judge " to rally behind a single movie star for very long, but ever since Melissa McCarthy's coming-out party in 2011's Bridesmaids, she's basked in the benevolent glow of the people's goodwill. >More
 Cancer looms over two teenagers in The Fault in Our Stars

Teenagers are prone to hyperbole, but when 16-year-old Hazel calls herself a grenade in The Fault in Our Stars, she's not far off the mark. Diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in her early teens, she (Shailene Woodley) has gained a few years with the aid of an experimental drug, but she's still a terminal case. >More
 X-Men: Days of Future Past goes forward to move backward

Director Bryan Singer, reclaiming the X-Men film franchise he launched in 2000, means to establish from the first reel that X-Men: Days of Future Past is not messing around. Via voiceover, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) explains the catastrophic present, in which killing machines called Sentinels have wiped out most of the world's mutant population and many of their human defenders. >More
 In Le Week-end, a strained relationship gets tested in the City of Love

We hear Nick (Jim Broadbent) before we see him in Le Week-end. He makes a noise that sounds like a cross between a grunt and a sigh. It's a meaningful introduction to who he is. Meg (Lindsay Duncan), his fed-up wife of 30 years, has stopped seeing him as a human being with wants and emotions. You get the sense that, for her, he's just a collection of over-familiar tics, aches, complaints and smells. >More
 The Grand Budapest Hotel is both a sly crime caper and a charming ode to Old World culture

Wes Anderson doesn't give a damn about critics who ding his movies for their dollhouse aesthetic and affectless performances. Either you get it or you don't. With his latest effort, The Grand Budapest Hotel, the writer-director doubles down on everything that makes his pictures his own. The product is so enchanting that even the holdouts will be hard-pressed to resist it. >More
 Blue Is the Warmest Color

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 Tom Clancy's action hero visits yawn-worthy territory in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

All ticking time bombs are not made equal. When an action flick's hero starts a warning with, "Once I start the audit," blacking out from boredom is a clear and present danger. That's the kind of countdown only an IRS agent could love. >More
 The Nut Job crawls with furry villains but few species of good guys

The Nut Job is a head-scratcher. Kudos to writers Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis for pitching a curveball, though: a basic talking-animal cartoon with a parallel plot about 1950s gangsters. Unfortunately, the human characters' goon patois makes little sense next to the modern slang of the rodent protagonists in this Canadian and South Korean co-production. >More
 A timid daydreamer contemplates an overseas adventure in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a mild-mannered Life magazine photo editor capable of astonishing feats of derring-do " in his daydreams. In real life, he can hardly make eye contact with his crush (Kristen Wiig) or say boo to his bully of a boss (Adam Scott). When unadventurous, real-life Walter is tasked with finding a photo negative on the other side of the planet, he must decide if he's willing to take a chance and hit the road. >More
 A man comes to terms with his aging father during Nebraska's long car trip

Nebraska's central character, seventysomething Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), has the headfirst, quick-step dodder of a toddler, dangerously fast and ever on the edge of a tumble. And a tumble is surely coming. Woody has fixed all his hopes on a fantasy: winning a fortune in a Publisher's Clearing House-like scam. Is Woody addled by dementia or just clinging to a desperate dream at the end of his life? >More
 Blue Is the Warmest Color ignites controversy by using straight actresses for girl-on-girl sex scenes

An alert, inquisitive 17-year-old, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), hungers for fireworks and fate, the coup de foudre of the great literature she adores. She stumbles into just that, in a glancing encounter with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired art student in her 20s. >More
 Coworkers are hot for each other in Drinking Buddies

Joe Swanberg built his brand on the novelty of naked bodies doing unglamorous things like shaving pubic hair and masturbating in the shower. He's still making small-scale, experiential films, but in Drinking Buddies, his most polished film to date, his observational prowess has swerved away from shock value and sharpened considerably. Here, a side eye can speak volumes. >More
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