“Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case”: Portrait of the artist as a confined man


“Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case” has its Madison premiere on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at the Union South Marquee, 1208 W. Regent St., and plays again Saturday at 6 p.m. Not rated, 1:26, three stars out of four. FREE!

I highly enjoyed Alison Klayman’s 2012 documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” which followed the combative Chinese dissident artist as he traveled the world, thumbing his nose at the authorities and making art that exposed the government’s cruelty. But the film seemed to have one big gap — after daring the Chinese police to arrest him, they finally acquiesce, and Weiwei goes missing for months. When we see him again, now under house arrest, he looks chastened. “I can’t say anything,” says the man who seemingly will say everything.

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“Jealousy”: Love is anything but black and white


“Jealousy” plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St. Not rated, 1:16, three stars out of four. Tickets are FREE for museum members, $7 for all others.

Philippe Garrel’s “Jealousy” shows the moments between the moments in a relationship. People break up, people cheat on each other, people go to bed alone, but we rarely see those moments as they happen. Instead, we see the offhand moments, the build-up and the aftermath, and piece together the rest.

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Instant Gratification: “Liberal Arts” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant


Pick of the week: “Liberal ArtsMy full review is here. Josh Radnor wrote, directed and starred in this soulful comedy about a disenchanted college admissions officer who goes back to his alma mater and connects with a bright student (Elizabeth Olsen). Radnor deftly avoids the skeevier aspects of the May-December relationship, and with fine supporting turns by Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney, the film is a lovely ode to keeping that college curiosity about the world going well after graduation.

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The five movies you have to see in Madison: Oct. 17-23, 2014


1. “Fury” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance) — David Ayer is known for bruising L.A. cop movies like “End of Watch” and “Training Day,” but turns his attention to World War II with this “‘Saving Private Ryan’ in a tank” drama about a group of soldiers mopping up Germany at the end of the war. It looks great and is supposed to be brutally realistic — the question is whether Ayer can avoid the cliches in his screenplay.

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“The Best of Me”: The worst of Nicholas Sparks


“The Best of Me” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate and Star Cinemas. PG-13, 1:59, one star out of four.

I never thought a movie would make me long for the gritty realism of “The Notebook,” but “The Best of Me” certainly achieves that. It’s yet another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, which holds steady to a level of sugary mediocrity before taking a nosedive into the laughably bad in the final half hour.

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“Rudderless”: Searching for redemption at Open Mic Night


“Rudderless” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:45, three stars out of four.

As an actor, William H. Macy has never had much time for sentimentality on screen. In his first film as a director, “Rudderless,” he expresses a similar reticence to get mawkish, even when handling material that has such potential to get maudlin. Instead, “Rudderless” is a well-acted, sensitive, and surprisingly funny at times debut.

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