Instant Gratification: “Manhunter” and four other good movies to stream on Netflix Instant


Pick of the week:  “Manhunter” — Still shaking from Season 2 of “Hannibal”? Time to head back to Michael Mann’s 1986 adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel, with William Petersen as FBI profiler Will Graham and Brian Cox as the manipulative Hannibal Lecter.

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“Particle Fever”: They blinded us with science


“Particle Fever” is now streaming on Netflix. Not rated, 1:39, three and a half stars out of four.

I used to think “Real Genius” was just a silly broad comedy from the 1980s. Then I saw “Particle Fever.”

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The five movies you have to see in Madison: July 18-24, 2014


American Movie” (7 p.m. Friday, Union South Marquee) — What could have been a sneering look at Mark Borchardt, a suburban Milwaukee man trying to make what will assuredly be a terrible horror movie, instead becomes wildly funny, oddly poignant, and in the end kind of inspiring. That Borchardt refuses to give up on his dream despite his dire circumstances underscores that, as the old man says, “It’s all right, it’s okay, there’s something to live for!” FREE!

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“Vic + Flo Saw a Bear”: My, what sharp teeth you have


For the first half, French-Canadian director Denis Cote’s “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear” plays like a naturalistic drama about an older lesbian couple starting a new life on a farm in rural Quebec. I expected certain things to come to pass — suspicion from the locals, touching love scenes, and an overall affirmation of the enduring power of love.

Yeah. Yeah, no.

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Instant Gratification: “The Master” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant


Pick of the week: “The MasterMy full review is here. My favorite movie of 2012 was Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece that puts the lie to the American ideal of the “free-thinking, self-made man.” Anderson’s two men — a physically and emotionally damaged veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) and a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are deeply flawed, but find their flaws fit together in a charged, fascinating way.

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“The Battered Bastards of Baseball”: How the Portland Mavericks kept baseball weird



The Battered Bastards of Baseball” is now streaming on Netflix. R, 79 minutes, three stars out of four.

Bing Russell was never the guy at the center of the frame. A “plumber actor,” as his more famous son Kurt called him (not unkindly), Russell worked hard in the ’50s and ’60s in small parts in countless Hollywood Westerns, perhaps best known for playing Deputy Clem on 13 seasons of “Bonanza.” I didn’t know “Bonanza” had a “Deputy Clem” either.

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“Third Person”: Write what you know, unless it’s boring


“Third Person” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 2:17, one and a half stars out of four.

Man, it’s so hard to be a famous writer. Holed up in a swanky Parisian hotel suite, occasionally pecking away at the laptop, with only occasional visits from Olivia Wilde for company. Seriously, I don’t know how I do it.

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