What’s playing in Madison theaters: Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2014


All week

Singalong Frozen” (Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema) — Your kids are walking around the house singing “Let It Go” anyway, so you might as well taken the back to the theater to see this new “Singalong” version, with full lyrics on the screen. Just follow the bouncing snowflake! Although, youngsters, I would like to solo on “In Summer,” okay?

Continue reading

Instant Gratification: “The Act of Killing” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant


Pick of the week: The Act of KillingMy full review is here. The best documentary of 2013 is Joshua Oppenheimer’s brutal and fascinating look at the perpetrators of atrocities in Indonesia, now happily living in late middle age. Oppenheimer invites the men to recreate their crimes as if they were characters in a movie, and the result is a chilling look at how individuals and nations process shameful memories.

Continue reading

“Dead Weight”: Wisconsin-made horror film is like a Wausau “Walking Dead”


If you’re looking to set your horror film in a bleak, unforgiving hellscape, Wisconsin in January should fit the bill nicely.

That’s what Wisconsin fimmakers Adam Bartlett and John Pata took advantage of in their zombie film “Dead Weight,” a low-key, low-budget movie that works effectively within its budgetary limitations, emphasizing character and tone over action and gore. I first saw “Dead Weight” a year ago on Wisconsin Public Television’s “Director’s Cut” — Horizon Movies just released it nationwide on DVD.

Continue reading

“Gimme Shelter”: I’ve made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby


Gimme Shelter” opens Friday at Point Cinemas. PG-13, 1;40, two stars out of  four.

It barely looks human, this feral creature in a gray hoodle. Look closer, the face tattooed, bruised and scratched, eyes red-rimmed, short, dirty hair falling everywhere, and you can tell it’s human, but can’t tell whether it’s male or female.

And then comes the biggest shock of all for an audience watching “Gimme Shelter” — not only is it a girl, but it’s a girl played by teen queen Vanessa Hudgens of “High School Musical” fame.

Continue reading

“Camille Claudel 1915”: They tell you how to behave, behave as their guest


“Camille Claudel 1915” has its only Madison screening at 7 p.m. Friday at the UW-Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave. Not rated, 1:37, three stars out of four.

At some point during the making of “Camille Claudel 1915,” writer-director Bruno Dumont surely must have considered featuring Juliette Binoche’s face in extreme close-up for the film’s entire running time. It’s a marvelously expressive, endlessly watchable face, and in the film’s many close-ups Binoche takes us from burning rage to crushing sadness to irrational joy. “Camille Claudel 1915” seems to be that rare film where there seems to be less happening on screen the more people we see.

Continue reading

Sundance Film Festival: David Cross delivers a flurry of “Hits” to fame-obsessed culture

The Frozen

“Hits,” “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross’ first film as a writer-director, plays like a feature-length episode of “Mr. Show.” And that’s a good thing. “Mr. Show” mixed inspired silliness and vicious satire in equal measure, and “Hits” sustains that formula for 90 gloriously nasty minutes.

Continue reading