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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Light Rain
The Daily

MOVIES

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
 UW Cinematheque's spring 2014 season features rarely screened noirs and new works from around the world

Here's one more reason to celebrate this holiday season: UW Cinematheque has released an impressive screening calendar for spring 2014. >More
 Anchorman 2 is a smarter jab at TV news than its predecessor

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is like a mash-up of movies released in 2013. It's got self-delusion in '70s New York, just like American Hustle. It's got a shark fight that rivals the one in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with poor Kristen Wiig playing nearly the same part she plays in that film. It's also got a strong black character fighting for her place in the world, similar to 12 Years a Slave. >More
 Saving Mr. Banks is a stark look at the story behind Mary Poppins

In Saving Mr. Banks, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the irascible author of Mary Poppins, bitterly complains that her story will lose its realistic edge in the hands of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). This is just one way director John Lee Hancock force-feeds us gritty realism when telling the story behind the magical nanny with the flying umbrella. >More
 Director Peter Jackson retools the Hobbit story in The Desolation of Smaug

It's easy to confuse Peter Jackson's Hobbit films with his Lord of the Rings films. He seems to be counting on it. That much was clear in An Unexpected Journey, the first part of his series based on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved novel The Hobbit. Jackson took a lot of liberties, adding an extended prologue and familiar faces from The Lord of the Rings to establish a connection with his original trilogy. >More
 A Touch of Sin shares tales of violence from modern China

"China is still changing rapidly," writer and director Jia Zhangke observes in the production notes for A Touch of Sin. "Violence is increasing." That's the starting point for this remarkable, Palme d'Or-nominated anthology film, which tells four stories of contemporary China, all of them involving hideous brutality. >More
 In Out of the Furnace, two brothers face steep obstacles in a blighted steel town

The Pennsylvania town where Scott Cooper's superb Out of the Furnace is set looks ready to collapse at any moment. Its steel mill is rusted, and chain-link fences lean at precarious angles, barely protecting the weedy ground behind them. >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
 In Philomena, a mother and a journalist search for a child the church stole

Be warned: Philomena will make you angry. This film takes place in the Magdalen laundries of Ireland, where the Catholic Church imprisoned young women for "crimes" like having sex, being raped, or even being too pretty. The last of these brutal places didn't close until 1996. >More
 In Frozen, Disney princesses solve problems instead of chasing boys

Frozen bears little resemblance to its supposed inspiration, Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. It sprang from the grand Disney tradition of animated, Broadway-style musicals. But unlike 2009's tired retread of The Princess and the Frog, it could very well be the start of a new era of fairy-tale films. >More
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