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My 2016 Oscar Picks

The Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will will hold their 88th award ceremony Sunday, February 28th. I will not be discussing the over indexing of whiteness among the nominees, except to say it is something that certainly needs to be addressed. My interest here lies in the films, filmmakers and artists that were nominated by the Academy. 2015 brought us a raft […]

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The Stakes are High in The Big Short

Adam McKay’s take on the bestseller by Michael Lewis is an investigative romp leading up to the financial meltdown that began in 2007. It’s full of colorful characters and even more colorful language. Mr. McKay uses voiceover and direct talking into an always moving, manic camera. He intercuts images, sounds and liberal use of the close-up […]

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“The Martian” and his Earthlings

Mars has long been the muse to writers, scientists and moviemakers. A wikipedia search for “films about Mars” will yield a page that lists 66 titles although many of them were television shows. The most common plot line that emerges when Mars and Earth are in the same script turns out to be mostly bad for Earthlings. We often […]

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The Walk

Robert Zemeckis has given us The Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away and Flight. These are formidable works that strike a cultural nerve and straddle past, present and future. Indeed, Mr. Zemeckis has a way of transporting us across the space-time continuum with flair and style. He weaves humanism into his stories of adventure, […]

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Decoding The Imitation Game: It Wasn’t Hard

The Movie The Imitation Game Delivers and Disappoints I was drawn to this film because of my keen interest in history and technology. During WWII Germany created The Enigma machine that coded and then uncoded messages to their military machine around the world via radio signals. The communications carried intelligence and war strategy directions, and […]

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Interstellar Extends Life as we Know it, Maybe

It takes a while to get into the flow of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s latest film odyssey. But that’s not a problem because with a running time of 2 hours and 49 minutes you don’t need to be in a hurry. Mr. Nolan combines a number of narratives and even more visuals into a celestial maze […]

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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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