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Film Review

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

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  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

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  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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My Hero

by Laura Leon October 30, 2014

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  Like so many films before it, St. Vincent takes the plot of curmudgeonly coot regaining his humanity through contact with an innocent, and gallops away with it. The, er, title character (Bill Murray) is an ...

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The Battle Rages

by Laura Leon October 23, 2014

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  Shot in dim gradations of brown, gray and what can only be called “griege,” Fury depicts a World War II that is all but over, except for the furious, determined last-ditch efforts made by those ...

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Lacks Bite

by Ann Morrow October 16, 2014

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  Dracula Untold is about Vlad III, the Wallachian warlord who was immortalized by Bram Stoker in Dracula, though Stoker used only a few details about the bloodthirsty ruler in his vampire horror story. Now we ...

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Missing Pieces

by Laura Leon October 9, 2014

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  Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel Gone Girl was a big hit among many of my friends (and millions of others). I read it over the course of a soccer game and wasn’t overly impressed with the ...

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Kill for Peace

by Shawn Stone October 2, 2014

Denzel Washington Stars in The Equalizer

  When Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) tells Teri (Chlőe Grace Moretz) that his name is “Bob,” she doesn’t believe him. The Russian hooker with a heart of gold says, “You don’t look like a Bob. You ...

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Follow You Down

by Laura Leon October 2, 2014

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  Somewhere in L.A., a despondent Milo (Bill Hader) slits his wrists to a blaring backdrop of Blondie. Across the country, his estranged twin Maggie (Kristin Wiig) contemplates swallowing a handful of pills. The symbiotic cord that ...

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Are We Related?

by Laura Leon September 25, 2014

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  Based on the popular (or so I’m told) novel by screenwriter Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies whose preview has garnered a lot of buzz. I can’t tell ...

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Paris When It Drizzles

by Ann Morrow September 25, 2014

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  The old lady in My Old Lady is played by Maggie Smith, but don’t let the cast—which includes Kevin Kline and Kristen Scott-Thomas—lure you into this tepid-at-best family drama centered on a genteel apartment in ...

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Minimal Rescue

by Laura Leon September 18, 2014

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  Soaking in the atmosphere of old bars where the leather seats are taped over and there are decades-old ghost vapors of thousands of cigarettes smoked, The Drop transports screenwriter Dennis Lehane’s usual milieu to Brooklyn, ...

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The Thrill is Gone

by Laura Leon September 4, 2014

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  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

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  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

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  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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