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Arts

Thespians!

by Laura Leon January 16, 2014

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  August: Osage County is one of those movies you leave amazed at the performers’ collective ability to ingest ginormous chunks of dialogue and spit it out like so many verbal tacks. Then you remember that ...

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Ain’t That America

by Laura Leon January 8, 2014

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  I couldn’t wait to dislodge myself from a matinee showing of Nebraska. The theater was hot, and it was packed, and I’m notoriously claustrophobic. The film itself takes place across vast expanses of Middle America, ...

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Insatiable

by Ann Morrow January 2, 2014

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  It’s a Scorsese movie all the way. And perhaps because his sizzling storytelling, when it comes to crime, with its jacked-up characters, dizzying morality arcs, and stroke-of-genius pop soundtracks, has become an oft-copied formula (most ...

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Dream Small

by John Rodat January 2, 2014

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  I’m not certain to whom The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is meant most to appeal: James Thurber fans? That seems unlikely. Ben Stiller followers? I don’t think that’s a category unto itself. Arcade Fire ...

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A Spoonful of Sugar

by Laura Leon January 2, 2014

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  Most people of a certain age recall their first time seeing Mary Poppins, the Disney confection about a brisk and no-nonsense nanny who tightens up the Banks family ship before departing on a favorable wind ...

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Best Cinema 2013: Ann Morrow

by Ann Morrow December 24, 2013

thumb_52yearcinpicGRAVITY

    1. Gravity A heart-pounding and hauntingly meditative 21st-century adventure tale centered on the Sandra Bullock’s walled-off NASA engineer, and her reliance on George Clooney’s more experienced astronaut, as they maneuver through sensationally rendered outer-space catastrophes. The ...

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Best Cinema 2013: Shawn Stone

by Shawn Stone December 24, 2013

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    1. Gravity This lost-in-space story balances the human drama of a pair of astronauts (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney) with dazzling 3D special effects for the best 90 minutes of cinema this year. 2. Before Midnight Film number three ...

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Best Cinema 2013: Laura Leon

by Laura Leon December 24, 2013

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    1. Enough Said Poignant—and not just because costar James Gandolfini died suddenly prior to its release—warm, funny and wise, Enough Said is amazingly just like real life. 2. Dallas Buyers Club This is a wise and compelling story ...

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Best Cinema 2013: Ralph Hammann

by Ralph Hammann December 24, 2013

Tom Hanks stars in Columbia Pictures' "Captain Phillips."

  2013 was a particularly exciting year for women’s performances. Unfortunately, the list of best films does not pay tribute to all of the great work done by actresses. So, in addition to those cited therein, ...

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Best Theater 2013: James Yeara

by James Yeara December 24, 2013

  1. Stockholm Stageworks/Hudson Having its American premiere at Stageworks/Hudson, Stockholm was riveting. The play was a dash of Mamet, a pinch of Ruhl, a sweating of Pinter, a snap of LaBute, sprinklings of Albee, a zest of ...

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Best Blu-ray/DVD 2013: Shawn Stone

by Shawn Stone December 24, 2013

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1. The Big Parade A stunning presentation of King Vidor’s World War I epic. (Warner Home Video) 2. The Man Who Knew Too Much In one of the Blu-ray/DVD extras, Guillermo del Toro persuasively argues that this is ...

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Chutzpah

by Shawn Stone December 19, 2013

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  American Hustle is a twisty story of corruption and redemption. It’s a con inside a con; a duplicitous provocation that simultaneously fools the characters in the film and the audience in the theater. Most of ...

Cash Monster

by Ann Morrow December 19, 2013

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  Smaug the dragon is the fearsome evil in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, written before his Lord of the Rings epic and intended for a younger readership. Yet in The Desolation of Smaug, part two of ...

Holiday Gift Guide: Blu-ray/DVD

by Shawn Stone December 12, 2013

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  The drought of catalog titles on home video ended this year, as the studios either started issuing their own editions again or licensed them to boutique labels. Some did both: Fox issued a lovely Blu-ray ...

Holiday Gift Guide: Video Games

by David King December 12, 2013

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  Every so often during my childhood a video game company or two would release new game systems--and each year it was more a curse than a blessing. I would beg, plead and cajole my mother ...

Holiday Gift Guide: Locally Authored Books

by Erin Pihlaja December 12, 2013

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It’s that time of year again. The malls are chock full of specialty-item kiosks—puppy calendars, pillow pets, the weird As-Seen-on-TV gadgets. The mall is chaos. The other night I even watched a dogfight in the ...

A Perfect Trio

by B.A. Nilsson December 12, 2013

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  The sun was setting, the hall was warm, so I drifted into a kinda-conscious twilight in which the music became an emotionally laden dialogue, a passionate exchange between lovers. Words weren’t needed. Spoken communication requires ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Springtime at MoCA

by E.S. Cormac December 12, 2013

  MASS MoCA unveiled their spring schedule featuring a variety of new exhibits, musicians, performing artists and even new events for kids on Dec. 4 to a packed crowd in the Hunter Center at the museum’s ...

Hard Times

by Ann Morrow December 12, 2013

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  Out of the Furnace is titled after the historical novel Out of This Furnace, about steelworkers in Braddock, Pa., and the film undoubtedly gets its corrosive authenticity from that work. Yet the belching steel mills ...

A Matter of Faith

by Laura Leon December 5, 2013

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  Playing the decidedly dowdy title character, an old Irish lady, Judi Dench reminds us that she can do much more than what has become her standard, stereotypical commanding role, whether it is an English queen ...

The Action Man

by Shawn Stone December 5, 2013

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  Since this is a Jason Statham movie, Homefront begins with gunfire, a high-speed chase, a series of outrageous explosions and—of course—hand-to-hand combat. Broker (Statham, steady as ever) is an undercover DEA agent (with terrible hair) ...

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A Kinder, Gentler Nazism

by Ann Morrow December 5, 2013

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  Liesel (Sophie Nelisse), the light-fingered heroine of The Book Thief, doesn’t really steal books, she borrows them. The first book she filches is from a gravesite—during the burial of her younger brother. It’s 1938 Germany, ...

Art Beat

by Shawn Stone December 5, 2013

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  INTRODUCING THE SPEEDO SPRINT GALA  As you may already know, this Saturday (Dec. 7) will see the 8th Annual Santa Speedo Sprint on Lark Street. A benefit for the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS ...

All-American Hustle

by Laura Leon November 27, 2013

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  Am I a broken record or what, referring yet again to Matthew McConaughey as a tremendously gifted actor? Well, so be it. Traditionally, actors who change their appearances are bound to get Oscar recognition, and ...

Misplaced Focus

by John Rodat November 27, 2013

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  Given the difficulties of the process, an excess of passion is a good thing to have if you hope to get a film made. When the film in question is a biopic, that passion often ...