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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

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Articles tagged with 'Movies'


"Planes: Fire and Rescue" is an improvement, but only technically

Published July 21, 2014

Thankfully, "Fire and Rescue" is a step above its predecessor, if only because the movie was actually made for big screen consumption this time. Gone is the stiff, antiseptic joylessness of the first film, now upgraded to mere bland competence. If "Planes" was like eating cardboard, "Fire and Rescue" is slightly more digestible cardboard. So progress?


Sweet "Begin Again" attempts to make "Once" happen twice

Published July 12, 2014

It only makes sense that, after seven years and a few projects reaching no further past his home country's shores, John Carney would want to see if the magic of "Once" could happen twice with "Begin Again." His attempt at an encore comes cleaned up of the original's homemade, lo-fi authenticity and complete with a new starry sheen. The heart and charm are still there, though.


"Jersey Boys" ... Oh, what a blight

Published June 23, 2014

Joyful. Vibrant. Infectiously fun. Visually exciting and dynamic. These are the words I used to describe "Jersey Boys" back when I reviewed the stage production at the Marcus Center last fall. In a bold move, Clint Eastwood has captured the spirit of those adjectives and locked it in a cage somewhere far, far away from his film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning jukebox musical.


"The Fault in Our Stars" mixes sincerity with sobbing

Published June 12, 2014

I only welled up once (or twice ... or maybe three times) in "The Fault in Our Stars." But better yet, those moments - and the film in general - felt earned and sincere, not the result of a screenwriter's emotional rigging. It's a movie that mixes hurt, humanity and humor with surprisingly rewarding results.


Wisconsin serves as backdrop for new political doc "Citizen Koch"

Published June 8, 2014

Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin are partners in life, as well as behind the camera. Their first joint directorial feature, 2008's "Trouble the Water" about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, earned the duo an Oscar nomination. For their latest effort, "Citizen Koch," Deal and Lessin moved from a touchy political topic to touchy politics overall, namely the increasing role of money in elections. And at the center of the new doc is Wisconsin.


"Particle Fever" inspires some excitement of its own

Published June 2, 2014

A film about scientists questing through a world of classrooms and computer screens for an invisible theoretical particle and debating harder-than-diamond scientific theory sounds less destined for the big screen and more doomed for high school classrooms, playing to drowsy students on a pre-break half day. Yet Mark Levinson's documentary about the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 defies its educational film expectations.


"Pop-up park" swings back into action

Published May 30, 2014

Last fall, the park underneath the Holton Street bridge, often referred to as the "pop-up park," "swing park" or "marsupial swing park," was dismantled. Recently, one of the swings returned and soon the park will be completely back in action.


"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is pretty deadly in its own right

Published May 30, 2014

The imagination and creativity implied by the title "A Million Ways to Die in the West" doesn't extend far enough to come up with more than a handful of ways to make an audience laugh. Unfortunately, Seth MacFarlane's latest is less "Blazing Saddles" and more "Your Highness."


The Duke rides again in new biography

Published May 27, 2014

When author Scott Eyman was 21 years old, he spent 90 minutes with John Wayne in a dressing room at CBS. He asked him questions about Howard Hawks and John Ford and his early 1930s serial B-movies for Mascot Pictures Corporation. About 40 years later, Eyman had a hard time finding that man he met in 1972 in any of the books or biographies out in circulation. So he wrote his own.


"Million Dollar Arm" shortchanges charming cast, Indian characters

Published May 20, 2014

A relative unknown just less than a decade ago, Jon Hamm has quickly established himself as one of the most understatedly charismatic actors currently working. He's so innately charming and charismatic, in fact, that he manages to make his character in Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" - sports agent J.B. Bernstein - almost likable, possibly his most impressive feat yet.


"Godzilla" is more atomic breath-belching bark than bite

Published May 17, 2014

It takes a lot of effort to turn a legendary, destructive, roaring reptilian monolith into background noise, but that's exactly the trick director Gareth Edwards pulls off with his big, brooding "Godzilla" reboot.


"The New World Horror" takes on politics ... with zombies

Published May 14, 2014

The state of political discourse in the United States of America has had better days. Madison-based filmmaker Adam Schabow, however, thinks he might know exactly what this situation needs: zombies. Other assorted horror movie creatures are invited too, but mostly zombies.


Milwaukee one of five cities to premiere HBO's "The Normal Heart"

Published May 7, 2014

Two years ago, Milwaukee Film and HBO teamed up to bring the North American premiere of the Alex Gibney church sex scandal documentary "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" to the Milwaukee Film Festival. The film was terrific, but perhaps best of all, the 2012 collaboration seems to spawned an equally terrific relationship between the two organizations, one that's bringing yet another premiere to town.