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Walter Donado seeks road rage revenge in "Wild Tales," now playing.
Walter Donado seeks road rage revenge in "Wild Tales," now playing.

"Wild Tales" is a bitterly entertaining six-course meal of sweet revenge

The opening credits may prattle off stills of beasts in the wild – lions, zebras, cheetahs and the like – but they’ve got nothing on the deliciously devious Argentinean anthology (and 2015 Best Foreign Film nominee) "Wild Tales" and its cast of civilized animals, their claws all out and bloody for revenge. And as the famous phrase goes, revenge is a dish best served six times and mercilessly. Or something like that.

The prologue nicely sets the table for the feast of fun-size razor blade-filled candy bars to come. On a flight, two passengers – a music critic and a model – make tepidly flirtatious banter before they realize they both know the same guy: Pasternak. Another passenger chimes in; she knew this Pasternak fellow too. And so did the guy behind her and the guy behind him, and the chain reaction keeps going all the way to cockpit, where the black-hearted punch line sits.

Considering current headlines, the timing for a dark comedic short about a mentally unstable pilot could not be worse. But that’s not the movie’s fault (it’s been out nationwide since February, well before the Germanwings tragedy) and other than that, it’s a perfectly bitter pill of a segment, with writer-director Damian Szifron cleverly turning the mundane into murder on an unpredictable dime.

Szifron keeps that amusingly twisty and twisted sensibility going into "The Rats," where a slow night at a diner boils over when a waitress is forced to serve a condescending gangster-turned-politician from her tragic past. The short is probably the weakest of the bunch; the ending stumbles to the finish, writing itself into a bit of corner and escaping with the help of a chaotic bloody copout. That said, it’s still a funny and tense little number, with plenty of Szifron’s vicious barbed wire turns. 

The scathing hilarity picks up with "The Strongest," the most epic road rage battle this side of the "Mad Max" franchise. A wealthy guy flying down the highway runs into a slow …

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The much-ballyhooed nachos on a stick at Miller Park.
The much-ballyhooed nachos on a stick at Miller Park.

Taking a swing at the new Miller Park food: Day 1

Opening Day finally arrived this afternoon, much to the jubilation of baseball-starved fans. And for those at Miller Park with a more conventional hunger to satisfy, the Brewers’ stomping grounds added plenty of new offerings to their culinary lineup this year.

As OnMilwaukee.com’s resident culinary crash dummy, I took it upon myself to sample the new foods – much to the increasing concern of the woman sitting next to me. Here is part one of my findings.

Nachos on a Stick

What would a Wisconsin event be without some food deep fried and shoved onto a stick against all better judgment and doctor’s orders? And now the latest food to get stick-ified? Nachos. Kind of. The Inside The Park Nachos take a wad of taco meat, cover it in Doritos crumbs, introduce it to a skewer and toss it in the deep fryer. So really, it’s just a Doritos-flavored corn dog wad, about as close to actual nachos as Taco Bell is to resembling Mexican food.

But is it good? As much as it must pain my heart and my doctor to hear it, I did enjoy my meat sticks. In the pantheon of Doritos-dusted meat products, it makes for a quite tasty snack. There’s a nice mix of textures with the crispy crunch of the Doritos crust and the soft taco meat inside, and the meat even had some flavor – that flavor being whatever vague spices Doritos are supposed to taste like. It delivered just the base-level mindless consumption satisfaction I want from a snack food. My sticks disappeared into my stomach-y ether in barely a minute, and I’ll be pathetically honest: I was sad when they were gone.

Brat-chos

I had something similar to the brat-chos last year at the Texas Rangers' Globe Life Park in Arlington. Down there, it was called a chipper, a big bucket of potato chips slathered in various artery-crying toppings. I ordered a poutine one covered in gravy, cheese and pork. The heart palpitations haven’t stopped since.

Even so, I think I enjoyed the chipper a bit more than Miller Park’s new brat…

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Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have had many recent critical and box office hits. "Serena," now playing, is not one them.
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have had many recent critical and box office hits. "Serena," now playing, is not one them.

Timber! "Serena" cuts Lawrence and Cooper's star power down to Earth

There’s a movie out in theaters starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and nobody cares. This seems impossible.

In "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle," the duo shoutingly charmed themselves into Oscar races, $100 million grosses and America’s hearts. In just the last five years, Lawrence and Cooper have seven Oscar nominations and one win. For a while, the former was the star of the highest grossing movie in back-to-back years with "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay: Part 1," until she was passed by – you guessed it – Cooper and "American Sniper" (with "Guardians of the Galaxy" also close behind). So the fact that there’s a film starring this critical and financial dream team playing right now in near anonymity seems completely baffling.

And then I actually saw "Serena," and ooooooh, it all makes so much sense now. Now I get why the film is trying to tiptoe in and out of its few theaters (plus a VOD release) like an embarrassed one night stand the morning after. No wonder people don’t know or care about the Depression-era romantic drama; even its own stars don’t seem particularly interested. They resemble balsa cut-outs in a soapy Appalachian melodrama that’s just as stiff and wooden.

Yes, lumber is the star in "Serena" and not just thanks to the performances. Rocking an in-and-out JFK aristocrat vocal inflection, Cooper plays timber baron George Pemberton, reaping as much of the North Carolina woods as possible while providing his workers with dangerous labor and low wages – but work during the Depression nonetheless. On a trip up to Boston, he falls in love with Serena (Lawrence), a cheerful but damaged young lady with a tragic, fiery past. Even so, he insists the two marry – "I think we should be married" are literally his first words to her – and after an odd series of vague, wannabe passionate fade-to-black transitions, the two return to North Carolina together as one.

Things are not well, however, in the burly backwoo…

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The great 2014 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune" is showing at the UWM Union Theatre tonight at 7 p.m.
The great 2014 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune" is showing at the UWM Union Theatre tonight at 7 p.m.

"Jodorowsky's Dune" finds hope and success in a Hollywood failure

By most definitions, director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s "Dune" to the big screen in the mid-’70s was a failure.

The filmmaker’s furiously inventive and imaginative movie never made it to the big screen, partly because it was expensive and partly because its creativity was nightmare-inducingly terrifying for notoriously cautious studio heads. Even if it had though, it’s hard to say it would’ve all turned out. The epic scope and visual concepts he wanted to attempt – galaxy-spanning long takes, massively scaled action sequences – would be tough now, much less 40 years ago. Plus, some of the film was just plain insanity, featuring outlandish costumes, graphic torture sequences, pregnancy via blood insemination and a villainous Orson Welles ruling a planet scored by prog rockers Magma.

But man … what a trip it would’ve been, at least judging by Frank Pavich’s hypnotically fun and fascinating documentary "Jodorowsky’s Dune," showing tonight at 7 p.m. at the UWM Union Theatre. We may never get a chance to see Jodorowsky's movie, but at least we – and Hollywood, for that matter – wound up with a pretty awesome contact high.

Coming off a few critically acclaimed arthouse classics ("El Topo," "The Holy Mountain") in the early ’70s, the Chilean-French auteur was ready to take on his most audacious project yet: the beloved sci-fi epic "Dune." Regardless of the fact that he’d never read the book (a hilariously common theme among his team), Jodorowsky wrote up a screenplay and began finding the "spiritual warriors" that would help make his "prophet" of a film, one that he hoped would be the hallucinatory cinematic equivalent of LSD (I want to live in a world where "Dune" is my anti-drug).

On his quest, Jodorowsky assembled an actual dream team of trippy artistic visionaries. French artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud put together the vividly realized storyboards with legendary sci-fi book cover artist Chris Foss and the …

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