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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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1. "Maleficent" puts an outstanding twist on original "Sleeping Beauty"
When "Maleficent" had its box office run, this live action adaptation re-imagined for the big screen brought in more than $700 million worldwide.
2. Art direction, classic characters drive storytelling in "Sleeping Beauty"
When I think of a true Disney movie, I think of "Sleeping Beauty." It is a pinnacle achievement from the animation studio's golden era.
3. "Guardians of the Galaxy" Blu-ray is simply stunning
"Guardians of the Galaxy," taking the same comic book universe of "The Avengers" to the stars, was a gamble for Marvel and Disney, but was one that was worth the effort as proven by its huge international box office take.
4. Marcus plans renovations for four Milwaukee theaters
This morning, Marcus Theatres announced renovations to made to several of its cinemas, including Milwaukee's South Shore, Southgate, Menomonee Falls and Majestic locations.
5. Taste flavor and soul in "The Hundred-Foot Journey"
When it hit the store shelves on Tuesday on Digital HD and Blu-ray, "The Hundred-Foot Journey" offers a perfectly-timed gift for those who enjoy great actors working on a film with only a couple of explosions.
6. Spoiling "The Walking Dead" and what TV shows should learn about social media
This past Sunday, AMC dropped a spoiler on social media that seemingly had the same affect as an atomic bomb. A lot of fans of the hit zombie show "The Walking Dead" found out the death of a main character in a way that sometimes cannot be avoided: social media. The fans didn't find out from a few comments on Facebook or a bunch of tweets on Twitter, they found out from the official Facebook account of the show itself.
7. Nordic Film Festival, "Snowpiercer" and more at UWM Union Theatre this month
It's that time of the year when the weather outside is certainly frightful and the chaos of the upcoming holiday is not delightful. There's no better way, however, to sit back, relax and warm up than catching a flick at UW-Milwaukee's Union Theater.
8. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer to play Friday at the Majestic
Bad news, Marcus Majestic employees; your Black Friday crowds are going to even bigger than usual this weekend. The Brookfield movie house is one of 30 theaters nationwide that will witness the power of a fully operational 88-second "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer.
9. Packers trade out their helmets for harmonies in "Pitch Perfect 2" trailer
The trailer for "Pitch Perfect 2" came out this morning. The original cast - Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, etc. - is all here, as well as a few new faces. Among those new faces, however, is one very familiar to sports fans: Packers linebacker Clay Matthews - flanked on both sides by fellow Packers TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, Don Barclay and David Bakhtiari.
10. "The Lost Missions" uncovered in new "Star Wars: Clone Wars" Blu-ray
"The Lost Missions" is considered Season 6 of the franchise, which aired on Disney XD and was available on iTunes. This two-disc collection is a great example why "The Clone Wars" won honors as an Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 2014.
11. Seth MacFarlane drops by Lucille's to perform a few songs
If you happened to be at Lucille's Piano Bar last Saturday night, you got more of a show that you were probably expecting, as Seth MacFarlane took a break from "Ted 2" and took the stage at Lucille's this past weekend to drink, do a little dance and perform a couple of classic songs.
12. Lena Dunham is not that kind of girl
I've accepted the fact that people love to hate Lena Dunham. Now, to add to this ever-so-growing list of relentlessness, you might've read this online in the past couple of days: Dunham is a sex offender. Yes, rub those eyes and read again. But, come on, is she really? Nope.
13. WISN surprises with an important piece that teaches real lessons
On occasion, a local television station does something that has such an impact and is so vivid that I have to tip my hat. This tip goes to Toya Washington and WISN-TV for a piece that aired Monday night amid all the hoo-rah about the next day's election.
14. Fox News' Mike Tobin covers Wisconsin race for national audience
Mike Tobin, a reporter with Fox News, touched down in Green Bay on Monday and traveled to Milwaukee on Tuesday to cover Wisconsin races for the national news outlet.
15. "One Starry Christmas" kicks off Hallmark countdown
One of the outlets that does Christmas well, is the Hallmark Channel, where the ratings have proven that many, many Americans tune in for the season. Part of that programing has been family-based programming, including the movies that are a part of the "Countdown to Christmas." Kicking off the season is "One Starry Christmas," that will air at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
16. Milwaukee-made "The Surface" sinks to the bottom
After many rewrites, "The Surface" moved into production last summer that was made up almost entirely of a Milwaukee-based crew and a cast who have certainly seen better gigs. The film, as it turns out, is one that should sink because of its absurdly inept screenplay that could've used a few more rewrites (and by rewrites, I don't mean a few kinks to sort out. I mean an entirely new screenplay altogether).
17. Fantasticon programs, panels educate fans
Part and parcel of a convention is the programs - panel discussions, lectures, question and answer sessions and other various presentations people sit though. This is true for business conferences as much as it is for comic cons. That held true at Fantasticon, the three-day event at the Crowne Plaza and the Ramada off of College Avenue.
18. First night of Fantasticon reflects MKE's greatest traits
When Fantasticon opened its doors officially at noon on Friday, it marked the first official comic-con in Milwaukee. And the first day of the con reminded me of what everything this city really is - cozy.
19. "The Pfister: History & Story" doc earns Emmy nomination
Today, Marcus Hotels & Resorts and The Pfister Hotel announced that its short documentary, "The Pfister: History & Story," has received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs - Historical.
20. The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival by the numbers
Anyone who went to a showing at the Milwaukee Film Festival in the past two weeks could tell you that the festival was having a good year in terms of attendance. When a documentary about genocide screening right in the middle of a Packers game still manages to draw an audience, it seems like things are going well. However, this morning, Milwaukee Film announced the numbers to prove it.
21. MPM's Sci-Fi Film Fest finds a way, roars to life with "Jurassic Park"
At the end of the month, the Milwaukee Public Museum will celebrate the fall - as well as its current "Alien Worlds and Androids" exhibit - with a Sci-Fi Film Fest. Every Thursday and Saturday (save for Thanksgiving) from Oct. 23 through Nov. 29, the museum will screen a sci-fi flick in the Dome Theater.
22. "The Skeleton Twins" finds the right balance of heartache and hilarity
It's a tough act to balance comedy and drama ... especially if you're balancing themes of suicide and familial estrangement with humor and heart. Director Craig Johnson ("True Adolescents") finds just the right balance for the dramedy "The Skeleton Twins," mixing heartache with hilarity, and giving "Saturday Night Live" alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader time to flex their dramatic muscles as estranged suicidal siblings who reunite and find commonality.
23. "We Are The Nobles" is a flimsy, predictable riches to rags tale
In the Mexican comedy "We Are The Nobles," there's a scheme at its center that forces riches, or in this case three spoiled rich 20-somethings, into working rags to prove a point that they'll hopefully learn from. It's a breezy foreign affair with a satirical nibble rather than a bite.
24. Teamwork, commitment and family are at the core of "Million Dollar Arm"
In "Million Dollar Arm," a Disney sports film that comes out on Blu-ray and digital copy today, a sports agent finds his heart on his journey to find the next Major League Baseball star.
25. "Wetlands" is a winning combination of heart and hemorrhoids
If the opening moment of "Wetlands" desperately pleads against its existence, the ensuing 109 minutes of youthfully exuberant gross-out comedy - currently showing at the Milwaukee Film Festival with a final showing Monday night at the Times Cinema at 10 p.m. - couldn't be a more enthusiastic endorsement for it.