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Year in Cinema 2014: Shawn Stone

by Shawn Stone January 2, 2015

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight

  Best of 2014 1. The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson did something special with this bittersweet, visually opulent memory film: He made a 1930s-style comedy that astutely incorporated the tragedies of 1930s Europe into its fabric—and was ...

Year in Cinema 2014: Laura Clark Leon

by Laura Leon January 2, 2015

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  Best of 2014 1. Guardians of the Galaxy Quite simply, the best conceived, written, executed and acted movie of the year. A real matineer that reminded me of the excitement I felt the first time, and every ...

Year in Cinema 2014: Ralph Hammann

by Ralph Hammann January 2, 2015

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  Best of 2014 1. Nightcrawler A wonderfully creepy black comedy that mashes up Taxi Driver and Network and succeeds in creating something original and timely—with what is truly Jake Gyllenhaal’s breakthrough performance as a believable and unforgettable ...

Best of Theater 2014

by James Yeara December 31, 2014

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  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare & Company Outgoing Artistic Director Tony Simotes ends his reign on a high note with his New Orleans-inspired A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s indestructible comedy finds new depths with the “acto-muso” ...

Best of Video 2014

by Shawn Stone December 31, 2014

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  1. Out of the Past Damn, this Blu-ray of Jacques Tourneur’s noir classic looks perfect. It has Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas and enough deceit for three dramas. 2. Why Be Good? This 1929 silent Colleen Moore ...

Middling Earth

by Ann Morrow December 24, 2014

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  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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Full Sail

by Ann Morrow December 18, 2014

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  He is The Most Interesting Jeweler in the World. Capt. Glen Edward von Wergers, who owns a jewelry studio in downtown Albany, is a former CIA mercenary, riverboat captain, adventure sailor, and mountain climber. He has ...

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 ...

Gift Guide: Blu-ray & DVD

by Shawn Stone December 11, 2014

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  The mad run-up to Christmas has begun, with a cornucopia of new Blu-ray and DVD releases this week. Just in time for Christmas, Disney has the year’s biggest film, the sci-fi smash Guardians of the ...

Holiday Gift Guide: Tech

by Rick Marshall December 11, 2014

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  Gifting great tech can be a daunting proposition any day, but it’s especially stressful during the holidays, when we’re flooded with a seemingly never-ending tide of next-generation widgets and slimmer, faster gadgets all claiming to ...

Gift Guide: Video Games

by David King December 11, 2014

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  This year the games industry was less defined by great games and more by growing pains brought on by the release of new systems, developers who are increasingly under the gun to meet corporate deadlines ...

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Gift Guide: Topical Non-Fiction

by Ann Morrow December 11, 2014

  It’s a cold, cruel world out there, and these new nonfiction releases help to explain why that is. Count your blessings, curl up, and read on. When Linda Tirado, a poverty-stricken working mother, responded in an ...

Gift Guide: Local Authors

by Ali Hibbs December 11, 2014

  For many New Yorkers, Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most beautiful, poignant and evocative. And Upstate New York has it all: the fir trees, the mountains, ...

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Gift Guide: Music Books

by David Greenberger December 11, 2014

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  If, like me, you think that people should both be reading more and listening more closely to music, well, here’s a feast of books about music! Starting with acts that that sprung from the ’60s and ...

Pure Magic

by James Yeara December 11, 2014

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  Spirits haunt Capital Rep’s current production of the Tony Award-winning The Secret Garden, and that’s a good thing. They are not the Ghosts of Xmas Past, Present, and Future, nor is it the malevolent spirit ...

Capital Repertory Theatre

South End Stories

by Ann Morrow December 11, 2014

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  “All these little people, the farmers, the businessmen, they were completely obliterated.” That’s how one former resident of Albany’s South End remembers the devastation of the building of the Empire State Plaza, which bulldozed 98 ...

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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 ...

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 ...

Holiday Inn

by Shawn Stone December 4, 2014

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  Michael Curtiz’ color and widescreen White Christmas may get more attention these days, but Mark Sandrich’s Holiday Inn, released a dozen years earlier in 1942, is the film in which Bing Crosby introduced Irving Berlin’s ...

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 ...

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 ...

Art Beat

by Shawn Stone November 26, 2014

  HOLIDAY IN ALBANY  If you’ve lived in Albany long enough, you probably remember fondly the annual Festival of Trees at the Albany Institute of History & Art (125 Washington Ave., Albany). That fest isn’t back, ...