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The Counselor (Unrated and Extended Version) – Film Review

I first saw The Counselor when it was released in 2013. I was attracted to it because of the strong cast (Brad Pitt, Javier Bardhem, Cameron Diaz and Michael Fassbender), a solid director in Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy as the screenwriter. Mr. McCarthy has reached esteemed status as a novelist and his screen adaption […]

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The Wolf of Wall Street – Film Review

Once again we find Martin Scorsese taking serious inspiration from his lifelong muse, New York. So much has happened in this Metropolis and continues to happen, and the material just never seems to run out. He returns to the underworld but not gangsters. This time he delves beneath the underworld; Wall Street. Mean Streets, Wall Street, […]

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Inside Llewyn Davis – Film Review

The Coen’s never make it easy on the audience. They weave their stories from the inside out. The very inner circle is deep with details and rich in emotion and meaning. As the circles swirl outward the fidelity of the details is dialed back. Occasionally they circle back to the inside but then come right […]

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Parkland – Film Review

If you’ve studied the Kennedy assassination or even had a passing fascination with the events of that fateful day, you will instantly know what the subject matter of this film is by the title alone. Parkland refers to Parkland Memorial Hospital of Dallas. On November 22, 1963 the trauma team at this facility received a […]

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Rush – Film Review

Rush, Ron Howard’s latest film, explores the intense rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, two go for broke Formula 1 race car drivers who competed in the mid 1970′s. The filmmakers go to great lengths to seamlessly transport us back four decades, with careful crafting of  locations, costumes and hairstyles. There is attention paid […]

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World War Z – Film Review

Before I went to see World War Z, I asked a number of people what they thought of the picture. The replies varied greatly from, “It’s not a real Zombie movie, they move too fast,” to the standard, “Read the book, it’ s much better.”  The trailer intrigued me but what really did the trick […]

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Iron Man 3 – (3D) Film Review

Exactly when did we enter the film season of “Bleak House?” There’s Oblivion, White House Down, World War Z and even the latest Start Trek installment, Into Darkness which is well, dark. Apparently the screenwriters and studio heads in Hollywood need to double their anxiety meds. I know things are challenging in the real world, but […]

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Remembering Roger Ebert

Any lover of film my age was heavily influenced by what Roger Ebert wrote about the movies. He was not trained in film theory and started out his career as a journalist. You might say he was in the right place at the right time as the Chicago Sun-Times decided to anoint their first film […]

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Side Effects – Film Review

The release of the psychological thriller Side Effects brings with it good news and bad news. First the bad news. Director Steven Soderbergh has announced this is will be his last feature film. He’s retiring from moviemaking (I don’t believe it, or just refuse to believe it). Now the good news, we get the chance to see […]

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Skyfall – Film Review

As someone who has seen probably 90% of the Bond films in the theater, I’ve had a front row seat at the evolution of the character and series. I do not engage in the “Who’s the best Bond” discussions or even which is the “Best Bond film.” This franchise has been running almost continuously for […]

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Silver Linings Playbook – Film Review

As with so many films that examine mental illness through the lens of their characters, Silver Linings Playbook ends up like most, with the crazies saner than the non-crazies. I was hoping David O. Russell would push the envelope a bit and give us a fresh look, but the film plays it safe. Bradley Cooper […]

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Zero Dark Thirty – Film Review

2012 will be remembered as the year the movies took back their time slot. The year the industry remembered they have a super power; making big, ambitious, thought-provoking pictures and damn the running time or who might be protesting. Six major feature films released in the fall/winter season topped the two hour twenty minute mark. […]

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Arbitrage – Film Review

Ever since Bernie Madoff and the financial meltdown it’s fashionable to dislike the Wall Street uber-rich. In Arbitrage, Richard Gere’s portrayal of hedge-fund manager Robert Miller ushers in the next level; despising them. As the picture opens Miller is reflecting on his third stage of life and is looking to get out of business and […]

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Les Miserables Close-up

Les Misérables has been told countless times since Victor Hugo gave us his enormous novel. I uncovered over 50 small and large screen versions with only modest effort. Even Orson Welles tackled it on radio in 1937. Les Misérables is probably best known in contemporary times as a musical that began onstage in Paris in 1978. […]

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Lincoln – Film Review

Lincoln reminds us that there have always been troubling times and politics is a dirty business. Politics is about compromises struck by people with violently clashing differences. If there can be no compromise then we have the gridlock of nothingness. People suffer and die outside Washington everyday while inside the dome, maddening brinksmanship takes place. […]

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Life of Pi – Film Review

Life of Pi is an exquisite cinematic experience based on the immensely popular novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The director, Ang Lee, is arguably the most courageous and underrated contemporary director we have. He keeps two important regions found in the director’s mind active; versatility and boldness. Many directors stay in their comfort […]

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Flight – Film Review

Screenwriter John Gatins made an inspired choice when he settled on Flight as the title of his film. He has written a story that traces the flight path of its main character Whip Whitaker, played superbly by Denzel Washington. Flight is not about airplanes and only mildly touches on the airline business. Instead it’s a […]

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Argo – Film Review

Ben Afflack’s Argo gives us a window into a time not frequently explored by filmmakers these days, The 1970′S. Which I find interesting because so many great films were products of that decade. Mostly we get films set in the future (way in the future), or the present, or hundreds of years in the past. […]

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The Master – Film Review

There’s no mistaking a P.T. Anderson film when you see one. Vivid, sonic, provocative, weird and frequently unsatisfying. The Master is his latest foray into the deep regions of culture and individual human behavior. The picture opens on an active beach with Freddie Quell (Jauquin Phoenix) lying on freshly raked sand opening coconuts with a […]

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Prometheus – Film Review

There’s no question that Ridley Scott likes strong women in his films. Thelma and Louise, G. I. Jane and of course Ripley in Alien. Mr. Scott moves through the rich tapestry of the female mind and places them, physically, at the epicenter of danger and discovery. I have always loved Ripley’s spunk, but I gotta […]

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