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Thursday, July 10, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Fair
The Daily

MOVIES

A man cares for his terminally ill wife in Amour

Emmanuelle Riva is up for the Best Actress Oscar on the strength of her work in Amour, a painful, exquisite family drama. Her performance is remarkable. In the beginning her character, an elderly piano teacher named Anne, walks and talks. Then, because of a series of strokes, she is almost completely incapacitated. >More
 Warm Bodies is a zombie romantic comedy

What am I doing with myself? Why can't I connect with people? These are the sorts of questions that make humans sleepless and despairing. Warm Bodies posits that the same questions keep zombies up at night, too. >More
 In Tabu, a love affair springs from the moral decay of colonial Africa

In Tabu, a haunting new film by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, a human-rights activist named Pilar (Teresa Madruga) prays to Anthony of Lisbon, the patron saint of lost items and lost spirits. She's trying to help her elderly neighbor, Aurora (Laura Soveral), who has just lost all of her money at a casino and seems be losing her mind as well. >More
 Dramatic dead ends spoil Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet

You'd think that when a veteran actor steps behind the camera, the resulting movie would showcase performances rather than kinetic pacing or stylistic experiments. Actors would receive sustained scenes to show off their chops. In other words, you'd expect a play recorded on film. Quartet is the first feature Dustin Hoffman has directed. >More
 In Rust and Bone, romance springs from street fights and soul-crushing tragedies

Rust and Bone is not the first movie French filmmaker Jacques Audiard would be expected to make on the heels of A Prophet, his widely lauded 2009 film. A devastating story about race, class and power, A Prophet takes place within an all-male prison, far from the azure waters of Antibes, the Mediterranean resort town where Rust and Bone is set. >More
 Broken City's detective stumbles into a web of corruption

Broken City evokes the gallows humor of Menace II Society, the 1993 debut of twin-brother directors Allen and Albert Hughes, but it lacks a coherent plot. Allen went solo to direct this detective story, suggesting that Albert is the twin with the most talent. >More
 Zero Dark Thirty explores the human cost of hunting bin Laden

A lot of bright people have said a lot of dumb things about Zero Dark Thirty. Some have argued that it glorifies torture by showing that "enhanced interrogation methods" were needed to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Others have argued the exact opposite: that the movie illustrates how torture failed as an intelligence-gathering technique. >More
 Gangster Squad rips off The Untouchables

Early in Gangster Squad, 1950s Los Angeles crime kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) tells a Mafia rival that he's no longer beholden to the Italians in Chicago because he's got a new vision for doing business. It's kind of ironic since Gangster Squad ends up doing nearly everything "the Chicago way." >More
 In Promised Land, a gas-drilling project unearths an unsettling truth

Traveling salespeople swoop into small, dying towns and buy up the rights to drill for natural gas. They promise money and leave behind landscapes ruined by a technique known as fracking, which contaminates groundwater and makes residents sick. They feed on poverty and desperation, so they must be villains, right? >More
 A vacationing family battles a tsunami in The Impossible

There are some fair reasons to be frustrated with The Impossible, director Juan Antonio Bayona's fact-based account of a European family trying to survive the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in December 2004. But I'm not going to pretend I was thinking about these reasons during most of the film's first hour, which turned me into a gnarl of tension. >More
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