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Thursday, April 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

MOVIES

Casino Jack jazzes up the Jack Abramoff story

Casino Jack moves with such manic determination it all but reaches out from the screen and shakes you by the collar: "See, movies about lobbyists can be fun!" It's all so "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can" that eventually I just gave in -- from sheer exhaustion, really -- and mostly enjoyed the late George Hickenlooper's dramatization of the sensational rise and then super-splat of K-Street conman Jack Abramoff. >More
 Sundance 2010 Short Films includes tasty treats

Sundance 2010 Short Films, a 103-minute sampler platter, features nine shorts from the 2010 festival. It covers everything from documentary (Mr. Okra, profiling a New Orleans mobile produce vendor), to drama (The Six Dollar Fifty Man, a New Zealand entry about a troubled grade-school kid), to comedy (Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle in the self-explanatory Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln). >More
 The best films of 2010

If any concept connected many of the best films of 2010, it was "reality." Sometimes the films themselves addressed our tenuous connection to reality; sometimes external commentators questioned the films' connection to reality. But for all the puzzling out what was real and what wasn't, one reliable reality emerged: 2010 was a pretty good year to be challenged, delighted and flat-out impressed at the movies. >More
 True Grit is the Coen brothers' most deeply felt movie

Here's why I'm prepared to call the Coen brothers the greatest living American filmmakers: After 25 years, they not only continue to make great movies, but they keep finding new ways to surprise me. >More
 A hesitant monarch comes to power in The King's Speech

The King's Speech is a "keep calm, carry on" wartime melodrama of the first order, and stiff though it may be, it is never less than brilliantly done. This is no simple elocutionary lesson. It is, instead, a peerless period drama featuring a stammering, unsure and borderline ordinary (as ordinary as a duke can be) man forced into greatness by history. >More
 A dancer descends into madness in Black Swan

After 2008's conventionally plotted, overpraised The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky dives back into another competitive sport of sorts in the deliciously wackadoodle Black Swan. This drama-horror hybrid, set within a New York ballet company, strikes a tone more along the lines of the terrifying hallucinations of Aronofsky's breakout film, Requiem for a Dream, revisiting, too, favorite themes of monster mommies and female hysteria. >More
 Tron: Legacy creates a seamless virtual world

There's no shortage of stunning eye candy in Tron: Legacy, a spiffy, sexy, and frequently thrilling sequel to Disney's 1982 game-changer Tron. There is, however, a certain lack of connectivity between the audience and the digitally enhanced characters onscreen. >More
 Women Without Men explores the gender wars in Iran

At the heart of Women Without Men is a luminous orchard. It seems to have a will of its own, and in that regard it may remind you of the sentient sci-fi planet in Tarkovsky's Solaris, or even the forest of apple-throwing trees in The Wizard of Oz. The orchard is a place of visions, of strange encounters. It shelters, and it lashes out. At a climactic moment, a tree from it inexplicably crashes through a window of the house nearby. There had been no wind, someone observes. >More
 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader overdoes the effects

C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, one of the great children's book cycles, nearly drowns in the sea-storms of modern big special-effects 3D moviemaking in the third Narnia movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. >More
 Burlesque fails to entertain, or even titillate

Burlesque bumps and grinds. And then it continues to grind and grind and grind. This new musical leaves no cliché unturned as it struggles to find the heart of cabaret (that's cabaret with both a small and big "C" -- the stage genius of Bob Fosse is an evident if unfulfilled aspiration). >More
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