“Eden”: A not-so-daft punk navigates the French electronica scene


“Eden” has its Madison premiere at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St. The screening is free for museum members and $7 for non-members. R, 2:11, three stars out of four.

Those expecting “Eden” to be a joyful paean to EDM and rave culture will be disappointed. Those expecting “Eden” to be a sensationalized cautionary tale of the toll that the drugs-and-sex culture surrounding dance culture will also be disappointed.

Instead, Mia Hansen-Love’s film finds a bittersweet middle path, following the gentle rise and fall of a moderately-successful French DJ. “Eden” was co-written by Hansen-Love’s brother Sven and based on his own life as a musician, and has the ring of authenticity in its portrayal of the practical side of creating killer beats.

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Sundance Screening Room extends into November with “Goodnight Mommy,” “The Amazing Nina Simone” and “Coming Home”


Sundance Cinemas will extend its fall Screening Room Calendar of independent, foreign and documentary films into mid-November, starting off with one of the most talked-about horror movies of 2015.

The current calendar finishes up with “Testament of Youth” opening this Friday. (And I should mention that I’m doing hosting a post-show talk after the 7 p.m. show on Tuesday — come by and chat!) Then the next one kicks in on Oct. 9, and it’s the Austrian horror film “Goodnight Mommy,” about a violent war of wills between a mother covered in bandages and her two young sons, who don’t believe she’s really their mother.

Here’s the remainder of the screening room calendar:

Oct. 16: “Meet the Patels” — In this affable personal documentary, a first-generation Indian-American man tries to find the woman of his dreams while still keeping his parents happy.

Oct. 23: “The Amazing Nina Simone” — The second documentary of 2015 about the enigmatic and tumultous jazz/soul singer (after “What Happened Miss Simone?“) looks at Simone’s life and legacy, with extensive interviews with friends and associates.

Jimmys Hall - Written by Paul Laverty, Directed by Ken Loach, Produced by Rebecca O'Brien

Jimmys Hall – Written by Paul Laverty, Directed by Ken Loach, Produced by Rebecca O’Brien

Oct. 30: “Jimmy’s Hall” — The great director Ken Loach makes another film about Ireland’s past, this time set in a 1921 dance hall that becomes a flashpoint of controversy from both local politicians and the Catholic Church.

Nov. 6: “Coming Home” — A Chinese man returns home after years in a forced labor camp, only to find his wife no longer remembers him in the latest from director Zhang Yimou (“Raise The Red Lantern”).

Nov. 13: “Labyrinth of Lies” — In 1960s Germany, a young prosecutor stirs the buried guilt of the nation when he prosecutes a former Auschwitz guard turned schoolteacher.



Gone in an Instant: Five great movies leaving Netflix at the end of September


I’ve been doing the Instant Gratification column for a while now, each week cluing you in to five new movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime or some other streaming service. Recently, somebody suggested to me that along with keeping track of what movies are arriving on Netflix, I should keep tabs on what movies are leaving as well.

The streaming site is constantly churning and updating its selections, as deals it’s made with movie studios and pay-cable services come and go. So, this is the first of a monthly “Gone in an Instant” column, running down the movies that you’d better cram in before the end of the month.

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“Pawn Sacrifice”: How chess master Bobby Fischer outmaneuvered himself

FILM STILL - PAWN SACRIFICE - Liev Schreiber (left) stars as Boris Spassky and Tobey Maguire (right) stars as Bobby Fischer in Edward Zwick's PAWN SACRIFICE, a Bleecker Street release. Date Added 8/4/2015 3:25:00 PM Addtl. Info Credit: Takashi Seida

FILM STILL – PAWN SACRIFICE – Liev Schreiber (left) stars as Boris Spassky and Tobey Maguire (right) stars as Bobby Fischer in Edward Zwick’s PAWN SACRIFICE, a Bleecker Street release. Date Added 8/4/2015 3:25:00 PM Addtl. Info Credit: Takashi Seida

“Pawn Sacrifice” is now playing at Sundance, Point and Palace Cinemas. PG-13, 1:54, three stars out of four.

Two guys in suits stare at a wooden board may not be the most cinematic of circumstances. So the “Pawn Sacrifice” makes the safe and smart decision to spend as little time on the chess pieces as possible, instead focusing on the minds of the players.

And, in the case of Bobby Fischer, there is plenty to focus on.

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MMOCA Spotlight Cinema brings world cinema heavyweights to Madison


Was it only a few weeks ago that the only new movies we had to choose from were “Sinister 2” and “American Ultra”? Now that fall is underway, it’s an embarrassment of riches for the movie lover in Madison, from the Sundance Cinemas Screening Room series to the UW-Cinematheque fall series to the WUD films at Union South. And the big Oscar contenders are just starting to hit theaters.

Add to the list the Spotlight Cinema series at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The series, programmed by Tom Yoshikami and Mike King, has been invaluable in bringing acclaimed new films to Madison that might not have gotten here by other means. This year’s eight-film series looks especially strong, including the new films by celebrated foreign directors Jafar Panahi, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

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Instant Gratification: “Moonrise Kingdom” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime


Pick of the week: “Moonrise Kingdom (Netflix) — Wes Anderson’s ode to young love is him at his Wes-est, for sure. But it’s also poignant and funny, as two adolescents who meet while summering on a vacation island run away together, a cadre of disillusioned middle-aged adults (including Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Edward Norton) in pursuit.

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“Grandma”: She’s not into baking cookies


“Grandma” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:22, three stars out of four.

“Time passes. That’s for sure.” The epigram from poet Eileen Myles opens writer-director Paul Weitz’s comic drama “Grandma,” and the film doesn’t get much more profound than that in exploring its themes of aging and regret. But Weitz (“About A Boy”) isn’t aiming for sweeping profundity, instead making a character study that’s small, sour and sweet — like one of those hard candies your grandma had in a bowl by the front door.

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