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Film Review

The Thrill is Gone

by Laura Leon September 4, 2014

thumb_36cinemapicNOVEMBER

  I love thrillers in which you can’t tell who’s really the bad guy, and where there are suspenseful chase scenes, although, admittedly, my tastes kind of run the gamut from Charade to The Bank Job, ...

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Going His Way

by Shawn Stone August 28, 2014

thumb_35cinemapicCALVARY

  A guy walks into Father James’ confessional and tells him he’s going to kill him in a week’s time. The guy explains that, as a kid, he was a victim of brutal sexual abuse at ...

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Me Me Me

by Shawn Stone August 28, 2014

thumb_35cinpicIF

  Having never read the novel on which If I Stay is based, I can’t judge the merits of Gayle Forman’s book. But the film version, which tells the story of a talented teen named Mia ...

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And Then We Grow Up

by Laura Leon August 21, 2014

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  By now, anybody with a modicum of interest in cinema knows that Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was filmed over the course of a few days every year for 12 years. What seems rather gimmicky on the ...

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Nothing Up His Sleeve

by Ann Morrow August 21, 2014

thumb_34cinpicMAGIC

  In the sumptuous opening to Magic in the Moonlight, there is real magic, both on the stage—with a couple of grand illusions from a magic show—and in the film, which enchantingly captures the swank and ...

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Starship Enterprise

by Laura Leon August 7, 2014

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  When the first Star Wars came out—and by that, I mean the real first one with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill—my sister and her then-boyfriend insisted that I see it. “You’ll love it,” they exclaimed. ...

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Less Than Meets the Eye

by Ann Morrow August 7, 2014

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  The human eye: a window to the soul, inspiration for great poetry, evolutionary trump card and favored feature of advertising artists. In I Origins—yes, the title is used for all sorts of allegories—eyes are an ...

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Dude, Where’s My Brain?

by Shawn Stone July 31, 2014

thumb_31cinemapicLUCY

  It’s hard not to be impressed by Luc Besson’s audacity in his latest actioner, Lucy. The director and/or producer of such decade-spanning, high-octane entertainments as La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Transporter and Taken isn’t ...

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Popcorn Gods

by Ann Morrow July 31, 2014

thumb_31cinpic_Hercules

  The ancient Greece of Brett Ratner’s enjoyably silly Hercules is mostly backdrop for an action-packed tale of a wandering warrior and his merry band of followers, and as such, the classical world works well enough ...

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Shadows Enthrall

by Laura Leon July 31, 2014

thumb_31cinemapicMOST

  Out of the roiling murk of a river in Hamburg emerges Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a bearded mess of Chechen humanity seeking asylum. Through the kindness of a Turkish family, he is put in touch with ...

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Chimps Ahoy

by Shawn Stone July 17, 2014

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  When last we left the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, Caesar (Andy Serkis) had led his genetically enhanced ape friends into the forests north of San Francisco, and the genetically engineered drug that altered ...

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The Nihilism Express

by Ann Morrow July 10, 2014

thumb_28cinemapic

  Snowpiercer is a train, but it might as well be called the Ark, for it contains the only survivors of an environmental apocalypse. This near-future scenario, starting 17 years after the Earth’s surface froze over ...

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It’s My Life

by John Rodat July 3, 2014

thumb_27cinemapicOBVIOUS

  Chances are, Obvious Child will not be a particularly controversial movie. Few indie romantic comedies are; they just don’t have the visibility. (And, the armchair sociologist in me thinks, they tend to be screened at ...

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Robot Redux

by Rick Marshall July 3, 2014

thumb_27cinpicBOTS

  It’s worth noting up front that I hail from that portion of the moviegoing populace that generally enjoys Michael Bay’s Transformers films for the silly, escapist eye candy that they are. And perhaps that’s why ...

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Gonzo Artistry

by Rick Marshall June 26, 2014

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  It becomes clear early in For No Good Reason that the life of the film’s subject, British artist Ralph Steadman, is so inextricably linked to that of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson that ...

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Let’s Hang On

by John Rodat June 26, 2014

thumb_26cinemapicJERSEY

  The first hit for the Four Seasons, “Sherry,” was released in 1962. That’s 52 years ago. Fifty-two years before that, Thomas Edison was reluctantly abandoning his wax cylinder for the more popular platter-style recorded disc, ...

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Killers on the Road

by Laura Leon June 26, 2014

GUY PEARCE AND ROBERT PATTINSON,
STILL BY MATT NETTHEIM

  “Not everything has to be about something,” remarks Eric (Guy Pearce), a gaunt loner intent on recovering his stolen car amid the devastatingly bleak backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Australia. He’s speaking to Rey (Robert Pattinson), ...

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Let’s Do It Again

by Laura Leon June 19, 2014

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  “Nobody cared about the Jump Street reboot,” intones Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) to officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), but because it somehow worked, Dickson goes on to explain that the department has ...

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Dumbed Down

by John Rodat June 19, 2014

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche star in Words and Pictures.

  In Words and Pictures, two teachers at a Maine private high school square off over the issue of which of their disciplines is the more powerful: literature or visual art. Does this seem like a ...

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Bad Faith

by John Rodat June 19, 2014

thumb_25cinpicFAULT

  Look, I’m not heartless, OK? I cry at those seasonal McDonald’s commercials, just like everybody else; and that one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? I’m not a monster. But Precocious Kids With Cancer ...

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A Mild Chill

by Ann Morrow June 12, 2014

cold in july michael hall star movies grownups review

  Richard Dane is a dweeby frame-shop owner living in 1980s Texas. He’s a family man, probably a born-again Christian, and oddly meek considering his obvious manliness. And then one night he shoots and kills an ...

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Lost

by Shawn Stone June 12, 2014

thumb_24cinemapicIDA

  Rule of thumb: If a movie is in some way about the Holocaust, the filmmakers have failed if the audience walks out “inspired” or feeling uplifted in some way. Director and co-writer Pawel Pawlikowski has ...

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Do It Again

by Shawn Stone June 12, 2014

thumb_24cinpicEDGE

  Esteemed director Doug Liman finally figured out a way to make Tom Cruise, leading man, sympathetic: Have Emily Blunt shoot him in the head. Repeatedly. In the alien-invasion actioner Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise is an obnoxious ...

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Deficient

by Ann Morrow June 5, 2014

thumb_23cinpicMALEFICENT

  Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, the witch queen, and Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, the movie. Because without the delectable wickedness she gives to the embittered witch, the movie (adapted from Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty) ...

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The Hideous, the Bad and the Ugly

by John Rodat June 5, 2014

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  The plot summation for Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Western, A Million Ways to Die in the West, goes something like this: A cowardly rancher is forced into a showdown with murderous outlaw after he falls for ...

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