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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 53.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MOVIES

Smart People

Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid), a widowed professor of Victorian literature at Carnegie Mellon, is the central "smart person" in Smart People. He's a guy who would be able to spell "dysfunctional" with ease but never recognize the word as a description of himself and his family. Lawrence is acerbic and demanding, yet wholly uninterested in his students, family and career. He's remote toward his two nearly grown children, James (Ashton Holmes) and Vanessa (Ellen Page), a high school senior whose character traits are even worse than her old man's. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival: A perfect 10

Like the thawing of the lakes, the Wisconsin Film Festival has become an annual rite of spring around here. Having been cooped up all winter, we nevertheless consign ourselves to a few more hours of darkness in order to catch up with what's happening in the wide world of film beyond the multiplexes. >More
 Stop Loss: War without end

What if Johnny never comes marching home again? That's the tragic idea that runs throughout Stop Loss. What if you gave an endless war and no one ever got off the tour bus for longer than it takes to go AWOL, or go mad? Stop Loss takes its title from the military's term for its loophole policy that can require soldiers to serve multiple back-to-back tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. >More
 Sleepwalking

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 Run Fatboy Run

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 Horton Hears a Who!: Dust in the wind

Somewhere on the other side of Who-ville, Dr. Seuss must be spinning in his grave, because Hollywood can't seem to leave his stories alone and can't seem to get them right. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, and The Cat in the Hat, starring Mike Myers, were both so overproduced you felt like you'd landed in a theme park from hell. >More
 The Violin: Guns and music

"Calm down, boy, or you'll drop your taco," an elderly man says to his young grandson early on in The Violin, Francisco Vargas' movie set amidst the peasant uprisings in 1970s Mexico. It's one of those throwaway lines that, you realize later, sums up the movie's theme. >More
 Funny Games: Power plays

Part of the "fun" of watching Michael Haneke's movies is wondering exactly what he's up to. I just wrote about him a few weeks ago when the UW Cinematheque began a series called "Michael Haneke: A Cinema of Provocation." I called him "the thinking person's Hitchcock," by which I meant that he likes to take the kind of stories that Hitchcock used to tell - thrillers, basically - and deconstruct them a bit. >More
 Chicago 10: Days of infamy

"The whole world is watching," antiwar demonstrators shouted during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as Mayor Daley's shock troops sprayed them with tear gas and clubbed them like baby seals. And they were right, the whole world was watching, via television - a cataclysmic moment in the country's slide into rebellion and repression. >More
 Semi-Pro:Court of last resort

Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory and now Semi-Pro - Will Ferrell continues to take on the wide world of sports, always with the same okay-but-not-great results. In Semi-Pro, it's basketball season, and if I told you Ferrell can't dribble, pass or shoot worth a damn, you probably won't be disappointed. But if I told you he doesn't really show us anything we haven't seen before, would you? >More
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