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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

MOVIES

The Avengers save the world in style

It's probably impossible for people who grew up loving the superhero comic books to separate that love from The Avengers, the film writer/director Joss Whedon has created. That's a vibe Whedon embraces unapologetically. >More
 Whit Stillman disappoints with Damsels in Distress

How big a Whit Stillman fan was I in the 1990s? I followed the short-lived ABC sitcom It's Like, You Know... only because its lead was Chris Eigeman, who was so indelible in the three films Stillman wrote, directed and produced that decade, Metropolitan (1990), Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days of Disco (1998). >More
 Wisconsin filmmaker makes gun-free gangster movie Secret Life, Secret Death

While the budget for even the most humble Hollywood movie runs into millions, an area artist has just completed her first feature film for $4,500. That includes post-production. The actual shooting cost was $1,700. The Madison premiere of the 84-minute film is at the Barrymore Theatre on May 2. >More
 The Pirates! delivers high-quality animated entertainment

Americans who fell for Nick Park's charming Wallace & Gromit shorts know that Aardman Animations, the little British studio that made its name in stop-motion Plasticine, isn't just some esoteric outfit. The wit and cinematic sensibility of these adventures could certainly translate into mainstream success. >More
 Norwegian Wood wallows in youthful tragedy

I admire the drama Norwegian Wood, but I didn't really enjoy watching it. Tran Anh Hung's film of Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel is handsomely photographed, and it is, yes, novelistic in the way it takes on so many intense themes, including tragic romance, mental illness and violent political turmoil. >More
 Kill List is a flabbergasting genre-bender

Viewers will find themselves well into the intriguing Kill List before they get a sense of what it's about and where it's going. And even then, they'll never correctly predict the film's outcome or foretell its bizarre ending. Kill List is thoroughly unpredictable and derives a great deal of its disquieting power from that very fact. >More
 Margaret: The annoying teenager

Eleven years ago, esteemed playwright Kenneth Lonergan's debut movie, You Can Count on Me, received many accolades and a couple of Oscar nominations. He shot his second film, Margaret, in 2005. It has taken years of reedits and backstage wrangling for it to reach the screen. As it stands now in a final two-and-a-half-hour cut, Margaret is an ungainly mess, full of interesting moments and top-tier actors but extremely scattered. >More
 The Lucky One: Follow the photo

Depending on your taste in romantic fare, you'll find The Lucky One, adapted from Nicholas Sparks' novel, toe-curlingly dreamy or ploddingly predictable. I fall into the latter camp. The film is shopworn. >More
 Ones to watch: Ten gems from the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival

The Wisconsin Film Festival had a shaky start this year, with online-ticketing glitches that provoked a flurry of consternation on Twitter. I suspect most of the unhappy tweeters won't hold on to their discontent, though. They just want to watch some films. What to watch? The schedule is, as always, overwhelming. I can't vouch for every single film that will be screened in the fest, which runs April 18-22 at various downtown venues and, for the first time, at Sundance Madison. But here are 10 I know you'll like. >More
 This Is Not a Film is an urgent act of defiance

The other day I used my cheap smartphone to shoot footage of a funny Flash ad on my computer screen. Is that clip a film? No. If I show it to someone else, is it a film then? I don't think so. What if I had previously been awarded prizes at Cannes, and what if the government had ordered me not to make films? Is it a film then? Hmm. >More
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