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Monday, September 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 41.0° F  Fair

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Happy birthday, Ghostbusters

Nostalgia can seem self-indulgent to those witnessing it rather than experiencing it. But age does things to our relationship with memory. As Ghostbusters rolls into theaters for a one-week-only 30th anniversary re-release, I can't help but wax rhapsodic about the summer of 1984. It's the reason I'm writing about movies today. >More
 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
 A not-so-charming Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen. These are two of the most contentious words in contemporary movie-fan circles. From the scandals and accusations in his personal life to his homogenous character demographics, there is no neutral ground in conversations about the writer and director. >More
 Guardians of the Galaxy puts the 'comic' back in comic book characters

Heroes have been introduced to us in many ways since Marvel started to take over the multiplex over the last several years. They've been bad-asses and screw-ups and tormented scientists, but they've all more or less felt the way superheroes are supposed to feel. >More
 A tenderhearted woman tussles with an ornery widower in And So It Goes

In the opening moments of And So It Goes, Oren Little (Michael Douglas) visits the grave of his beloved wife, who has died of cancer. This scene is supposed to humanize Oren, who is horrible to most of the people he interacts with. Unfortunately, director Rob Reiner wants us to spend 90 more minutes figuring out that deep down, Oren's a sad guy, not a bad guy. >More
 A troubled record exec helps a shy musician find her voice in Begin Again

Back in 2007, there was a magical musical called Once. Set in Dublin, it was the tale of two emotionally damaged musicians whose lives intersected just enough for them to start healing through a collaborative project. >More
 The broken jukebox of Jersey Boys

In the opening credits of Jersey Boys, there's something unusual for a modern movie: an overture. And in the closing credits, the entire cast gathers in a curtain call. If you watched only these two moments, you might think director Clint Eastwood knows how to turn a Broadway musical into a movie, something few filmmakers have mastered. >More
 A young journalist contends with leukemia in Chasing Life

April (Italia Ricci) is an ambitious young reporter proving her mettle at a Boston newspaper. She has an eye on the publication's gorgeous, sensitive, super-cool arts-and-entertainment writer (Richard Brancatisano), and he seems to like her too. Given her talent and charm, it looks like April has it made. >More
 In Edge of Tomorrow, a man discovers how to fight and love by reliving an alien invasion

Doug Liman, director of the terrific new sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow, is best known for propulsive action movies like Go and the original Bourne Identity. But what he really wants to be, it seems, is contemporary cinema's foremost chronicler of relationships under pressure. >More
 Noisy frat boys and the parents of a newborn face off in Neighbors

Elise and Zoey Vargas may be the most adorable children ever captured on video. Jointly playing the baby of first-time parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) in Neighbors, the twins elicit an involuntary "awwwwww" every time they flash a four-toothed grin. Nobody was immune to the cuteness at the screening I attended: not critics, not hulking frat guys there for the gross-out comedy, nobody. >More
 Kevin Costner is in his element in the football laugh-fest Draft Day

Journey back with me 20 or so years, to the prime of Kevin Costner's movie career. He was the center of romances and heroic narratives like Dances With Wolves and JFK, representing integrity with a square jaw, steely stare and resolute seriousness. It really pissed me off. >More
 In Bad Words, a 40-year-old misanthrope competes in a spelling bee for middle-schoolers

Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman), the 40-year-old protagonist of Bad Words, is a wretched human being. He takes advantage of a loophole in the rules for a national spelling bee so he can compete against a bunch of middle-schoolers, but that's the least of his sins. A true misanthrope, he treats everyone around him like garbage, including the journalist (Kathryn Hahn) who's sponsoring him in exchange for an exclusive story about his perplexing quest. >More
 Captain Phillips

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 A man falls for his computer's operating system in Her

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), the protagonist of Spike Jonze's prickly sci-fi romance Her, is a sensitive guy. He pens richly detailed letters for clients of his employer, BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com. He carefully reads the expressions of people he sees and hears the subtle inflections in their voices. >More
 Martin Scorsese likens finance-industry corruption to organized crime in The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese is a master at capturing the drama of a criminal's ascent to power while showing how far there is to fall. In The Wolf of Wall Street, he dives into a milieu he hasn't explored: the cutthroat, manic, excessive world of America's financial bigwigs. >More
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