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Film Review

Going, Going . . .

by Shawn Stone February 20, 2015

thumb_08cinpicALICE

  Julianne Moore’s performance in the title role is the only reason to see Still Alice, an often-wrenching drama about someone struck down in the prime of life by early onset Alzheimer’s. Her portrait of a ...

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Lust for Light

by Ann Morrow February 12, 2015

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  Mr. Turner, about the brilliant marine painter J. M.W. Turner, is a Mike Leigh film, and as such it focuses on social realism and the working class as much as on the Royal Academy, where ...

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Gray Areas

by Laura Leon February 5, 2015

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  Set in 1981 Manhattan, a time when crime in that city was at an all-time high, A Most Violent Year recalls the glory years of ’70s cinema, notably the films of Sydney Lumet and Alan ...

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Left Out in the Rain

by Laura Leon January 29, 2015

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  Jennifer Aniston’s quest to be taken seriously as a “real” actress continues with Cake, a movie about a profoundly scarred (both physically and emotionally) woman addicted to pain killers. I hate the use of air ...

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In Harm’s Way

by Laura Leon January 22, 2015

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  As I set out to write this review, the talking heads of the media are reveling in the war of words dispatched by Michael Moore, Seth Rogen and their ilk, re: the nature of anybody ...

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Hippie Noir

by Shawn Stone January 15, 2015

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  The likelihood of any novel by Thomas Pynchon being adapted for the big screen has always seemed remote, owing to the difficulties in adapting the material and the elusiveness of the author. Yet here is ...

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Righteous Might

by Shawn Stone January 15, 2015

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  In this drama about the 1965 showdown in Selma, Ala., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the movement he led attempted to force President Lyndon Johnson to move voting rights to the top of ...

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Nowhere Man

by Ann Morrow January 8, 2015

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  The Imitation Game is explained by Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a low-key scene that serves as a denouement, yet Turing’s puzzle-like explanation is the most beguiling example, onscreen, of his brilliant mind: Turing is ...

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Period Picture

by Shawn Stone January 8, 2015

thumb_02cinpicBIG

  Is “kitsch” art if the artist is sincere? Asked about Margaret Keane’s phenomenally successful art, which consisted of hauntingly strange paintings of sad-faced, poverty-stricken, bizarrely big-eyed waifs, Andy Warhol said, “It has to be good. ...

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Survivor

by Laura Leon January 8, 2015

thumb_02cinpicUNBROKEN

  I was so enthralled with the story behind Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken when I read an excerpt from it a few years back in Vanity Fair that I immediately bought the book, read it cover to ...

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Middling Earth

by Ann Morrow December 24, 2014

thumb_52cinpicHOBBIT

  There are things in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies—crass, silly, dragon-sickened things—that no fan of Tolkien’s The Hobbit (or The Lord of the Rings) should ever have to bear witness to. Among ...

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Warped Dreams

by Laura Leon December 24, 2014

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  Bring a warm scarf to Foxcatcher regardless of which theater you see it in, because it’s impossible not to develop a deep chill watching this strange, intense elegy about the darkness of the soul and ...

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Celebrity Savvy

by Laura Leon December 18, 2014

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  Chris Rock is in fine, albeit Woody Allen, form in Top Five, which he wrote, stars in and directs. He plays André Allen, once an Eddie Murphy-type talent whose meteoric rise to the top has ...

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Biblical Dud

by Ann Morrow December 18, 2014

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  There’s a reason why so many historical and biblical epics rely on actors’ speaking the King’s English, and to know why, try sitting through Exodus: Gods and Kings, where they don’t. Ridley Scott’s latest period ...

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Unsettling

by Laura Leon December 11, 2014

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  The fabled stories of the how the West was won are populated with images of hardscrabble pioneers and undaunted bravery, but rarely, save in instances dealing with capture by Indians, do we come across the ...

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The Melodrama Lingers On

by Ann Morrow December 4, 2014

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  There isn’t a Hunger Game in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which is actually part 3 of the franchise. It’s slower paced than it needs to be (undoubtedly a tactic to prolong the profitable ...

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Funny Enough

by Laura Leon December 4, 2014

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  As somebody who has experienced multiple viewings of Madagascar and its sequel, I can verify that the penguins of Madagascar are, really, the reason to see either film. The flightless little creatures are known as ...

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Family Time

by Shawn Stone November 26, 2014

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  Force Majeure is a comedy. It is a very dark comedy, and it’s likely that some people will be afraid to laugh. Don’t be. This upper-class Swedish family’s misery is very funny. The accidental force referred ...

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Whistleblower

by Shawn Stone November 26, 2014

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  If you’ve been following the Edward Snowden story closely, you’ll be surprised by how little new information there is in Laura Poitras’ compelling documentary Citizenfour. The problem, of course, is that not enough people have ...

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Measure of Success

by Laura Leon November 20, 2014

thumb_47cinemapicBEYOND

  This weekend there was a lot of brouhaha about the Lifetime biopic of the late singer Aaliyah, as well as reference made to the fact that Solange Knowles and her fiancé played the movie Mahogany ...

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Lone Wolf

by Ann Morrow November 13, 2014

thumb_46cinemapicNIGHT

  A nightcrawler is the photography equivalent of an ambulance chaser: They are the videographers who film car crashes, shootings, fires, violent arrests, or any disaster with a negative outcome. “If it bleeds, it leads,” says ...

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Giving the People What They Want

by Shawn Stone November 13, 2014

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  There’s a lot to like about Walt Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6. It’s unusually inventive. The setting, a mash-up of Tokyo and San Francisco called “San Fransokyo,” is a pleasing cultural collage that provides the ...

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Spaced

by Laura Leon November 13, 2014

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  Anybody knows that with a Christopher Nolan movie, however much we might leave the theater thinking “Wow, that was amazing,” the inevitable feelings of “WTF was that?” begin encroaching on one’s feelings of amazement. Interstellar ...

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Lighter Than Air

by Shawn Stone November 6, 2014

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  It’s an irresistible concept: Cast the star (Michael Keaton) of a 1990s blockbuster film franchise (Batman) in a movie about the midlife crisis of a star (the fictional Riggan Thomson) of a 1990s blockbuster film ...

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Action Man

by Laura Leon November 6, 2014

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  One might think that a movie starring Keanu Reeves and co-directed by his former stunt double, Chad Stahelski, might not be worth its weight in popcorn, but damn, if John Wick isn’t wildly entertaining. It’s ...

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