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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Today @ the UWM Union Theatre - 7 p.m.

Sometimes the Coen brothers outdo even themselves, as with last year’s No Country For Old Men, a taut, violent thriller that earned the directors a sack of Oscars, including one for Best Picture. Like their best films (Blood Simple, Fargo), No Country is essentially a traditional film noir set in an unlikely locale, in this . . .
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Tonight @ the Oriental Theater - 7 p.m.

Though it’s difficult to consider a product as ubiquitous as beer an endangered resource, in their new documentary, 99 Bottles, a group of Milwaukee filmmakers argue that these are hard times for microbreweries, as ingredient shortages, stricter laws and numerous fees cut into the profits of small . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Tonight @ the Charles Allis Art Museum - 7:30 p.m.

After a long run producing hit musicals, MGM ran out of magic in the 1960s and squandered much of its reputation, but not before producing one last critical and commercial hit: 1958’s Gigi, a film so beloved by audiences at the time that it won a whooping nine Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture . . .
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008

Tonight @ the Times Cinema - Midnight

It wasn’t quite completely different, but Monty Python’s final film, 1983’s Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life was notably darker, more disturbing and explicit than anything the comedy team had filmed before. Life everything the troupe did, it has a fervent cult following, which makes it a logical choice for tonight’s . . .
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

Hitting the brick wall

In a little village in Bangladesh a wedding has been prepared for a couple that has never met. Nazneen's father has arranged her marriage to an older Bengali man living in London. Dressed in bridal finery, Nazneen is placed at the stern of a boat casting off from her birthplace. She looks out from under her veil with forlorn eyes at her unsmiling family watching her recede into the distance. It's a sad parting and the beginning of an uncertain future. Most of Nazneen's story, told in the sterling British production Brick Lane, takes place in a dreary London neighborhood crowded with Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants. Murmurs of English xenophobia against Muslims . . .
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008

Reaching Swing Voters

It's not hard to imagine: Frank Capra, who directed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life, would have made Swing Vote had he lived today. He might have made this civics lesson in American politics more concise and a bit sharper, but he would applaud the spirit, the message and the delivery. Swing Vote is a movie dramatizing the hopeful democratic idea that everyone's vote counts. Kevin Costner is no Jimmy Stewart but he's a plausible stand-in for Capra's other favorite actor, Gary Cooper. In Swing Vote, Costner's . . .
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

Surviving senior year

Warsaw, Ind., a little almost-all-white town on a flat stretch of Red State nowhere, is one of those fabled meridians of Middle America. The town, and especially its high school, is the setting for a documentary that was the talk of Sundance: American Teen. Directed by Nanette Burstein, whose rsum includes the amusing The Kid Stays in the Picture, American Teen is a polished film with beautiful swatches of cinematography, creative animated segments illustrating the fantasies of the principal actors and a breezy tone and pace. It tells a story of insiders and outsiders in that treacherous. . .
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008
For years, when students graduated from film school, true north seemed to lie west, in Los Angeles. The digital age, however, has freed filmmakers from relying on any one city to make their projects come alive. A group of UW-Milwaukee film school graduates pooled their resources and made their first feature film right here in Wisconsin.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The final X-File?

Mulder is hiding and Scully is a doctor in a Roman Catholic hospital. When an FBI agent goes missing and the only clues come from the visions of a disgraced Catholic priest, someone in the agency has the good sense to call the old team out of retirement. Scully knows where Mulder lives, and Mulder is the FBI’s only expert in the paranormal, even if they had succeeded in silencing him. That’s the premise of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, a disappointing coda to Chris Carter’s long-running television series. Believe isn’t overly long but sometimes seems that way. It rambles and lacks the tight drama of the show’s best episodes. An interesting idea or two stumble along with the movie as it zigzags down the icy back roads of West Virginia, where strange things are happening in the night.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brideshead is back

Evelyn Waugh’s meditation on faith and its absence, and the varieties of love and desire, found a new audience in the 1980s through a British television production of Brideshead Revisited. Readers of Waugh’s novel and fans of the 11-part miniseries alike will find some of their favorite bits missing from the new film adaptation. British director Julian Jarrold should be commended, however, for intelligently condensing an emotionally rich story spanning two decades into a two-hour movie. Some of my favorite lines were edited, it’s true, but the main themes and memorable scenes for the most part remain.

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