Archive for December, 2014

Regular suspects top Milwaukee radio ratings for December

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The top five radio stations in Milwaukee last month, remained the top five in the latest A.C. Nielsen’survey.

Country music WMIL-FM (106.1) remained the most listened to Milwaukee radio station in the deceptively titled December ratings book – it runs from Nov. 6 through Dec. 3 – but took a .5 of a point dip to 10.2 share.

Second ranked news talk sports station WTMJ-AM (620) jumped a full 1.1 point to 9.9 share, perhaps thanks to the Green Bay Packers?

Oldies WRIT-FM (95.7) stayed at 6.1 share. Adult contemporary WMYX-FM (99.1) dropped .8 of a point to 5.1.

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WZTI switches to rhythmic oldies format called ‘The Party’

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WZTI-AM/FM introduced its third format in as many months at 5 p.m. Christmas Day. The former Martini Radio format station, which switched to Christmas music on Nov. 1, is now home to a rhythmic oldies format called “The Party.”

“Every song is familiar,” said Bill Hurwitz, vice president of the Milwaukee Radio Alliance. “Every song is something somebody can relate to. Every song is something you can sing along to”

The Party will feature songs from the 1970s through 1990s.

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POW’s spirit the only thing left “Unbroken”

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After surviving two crash landings during World War II, spending 45 days adrift at sea and being beaten and tortured while in a Japanese labor camp as a prisoner of war, the only thing left unbroken on Louie Zamperini was his spirit.

The message of “Unbroken,” based on his life and adapted from the best seller by Laura Hillenbrand, is to survive at all costs or die trying. There are no fancy speeches about endurance. Zamperini simply teaches by the example of his remarkable life.

With it director Angelina Jolie enters the Greatest Generation zone populated by Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw, Steven Spielberg and Brad Pitt.

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Cumbertach captures enigma of Turing in “Imitation Game”

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Before the invention of the computer there was Alan Turing, the math genius who helped win World War II.

Turing was leader of a team that broke the back of the German code machine named Enigma by building his own machine that spoke the same language and allowed the Allies to learn Nazi battle plans.

The title of “The Imitation Game,” the new film about his life and work, refers to whether one can tell if responses to questions are generated by a man or machine.

But it also refers to a deception Turing embodied.

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Oh, what “Big Eyes” Tim Burton has

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You have to be a certain age to know or care about the subject matter of “Big Eyes.”

However, the camp aesthetic being portrayed is as American as Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup cans.

“Big Eyes” may not seem like a Tim Burton film, but the lovingly recreated era – 1950s and 1960s – offers the oblique possibilities of “Edward Scissorhands” while narratively exploring the delusions common to many of his characters.

His literal approach, while portraying exceptional events, is a departure from the Burton of “Dark Shadows” and “Alice and Wonderland” and a return to the Burton of the simpler, straight-forward style of “Ed Wood,” by the same screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and to a lesser extent “Big Fish.”

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Two Wisconsin theaters to show “The Interview”

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On Tuesday Sony Pictures announced it would allow “The Interview” to be shown starting Christmas day.

And while no major exhibition chains are listed as showing it, the Grand Cinema Theatre in New London is among theaters that are. Also listing the film on its website for Dec. 25, is the Fond du Lac Theatre in Fond du Lac.

“We weighed the pros and cons and talked to local police and asked if they had any concerns,” said Sydni Williams, general manager of the Grand Cinema Theatre fourplex.

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Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” score goes where Disney fears to tread

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If “Into the Woods” was a fairy tale it would be “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Neither particularly cinematic nor theatrical it is,  however, musically “just right.”

It’s like “Glee” meets “Grimm” meets composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim whose score goes where Disney fears to tread.

“Into the Woods” opens Christmas Day.

Fairy tales are cautionary allegories chock full of subtext about sex and death that Disney has gelded for years and to which Sondheim’s twitchy score and James Lapine’s book were intended as an antidote.

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A North Korean comedy you can actually watch

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Unlike “The Interview,” which Sony Pictures pulled from theaters after hackers threatened 9-11 type violence, “Team America,” which Paramount refused to let theaters show as a protest, or an upcoming film with Steve Carell whose production was cancelled in the wake of the hack, here’s a North Korean comedy you can actually watch.

The 2010 film “The Red Chapel” is a bit of a hack itself. Its a mockumentary of sorts, following a (fake) Danish comedy troupe touring North Korea in a (fake) cultural exchange. The film, by Mads Bruger and produced by Lars von Trier, has been compared to “Borat.” It won best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

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“Foxcatcher” a painful reanimation of fact-based tale

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Few things are more pathetic than a rich person overcompensating for their problems by throwing a fortune around.

This sense of a spoiled child playing with a toy until it breaks permeates the unsettling fact-based “Foxcatcher.”

The child was millionaire John du Pont- heir to one of the largest chemical companies in the world and scion of one of America’s richest families – played by Steve Carell as a hunched gargoyle.

The toy was Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, whom du Pont took under his wing and corrupted.

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