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Jackie – Portrait in Distress

The decision to make Jackie was a risky one. Millions of people have strongly engrained beliefs of that famous first lady, while millions more have little to no connection at all to her or what happened on November 22, 1963. But the topic of Camelot and Kennedy royalty cannot be visited enough, and so we […]

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Oliver Stone’s Snowden – There Are Many Ways to Serve Your Country

Traitor or Whistleblower? This question might cross the mind settling in for a screening of Oliver’s Stone’s first feature film in four years; Snowden. We are steered to a specific message, nothing unusual for Mr. Stone. He provides his usual dose of investigative dramatic filmmaking; a style he owns. In short order we become less obsessed […]

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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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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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My Annual Oscar Picks – 2014

It’s that time again. The Academy hands out their picks for best of every category. They can select 10 films for best picture, but apparently could find only nine worthy of the crown. The pictures span history, deep drama, AIDS, hijacking, swindle and a celestial exploration of the human spirit, untethered in space. Observations. Although […]

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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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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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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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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Film Review

It took me until about the third reel to fully appreciate Rooney Mara’s acidic portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. Ms. Mara inhabits the character with fearsome angst, throwing herself into the darkness of Lisbeth’s world. Literally, she has peered into the precipice to manifest this character. I hope she comes back. Mara has mastered the physical […]

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Hugo (3D) – Film Review

I had given up hope that Martin Scorsese would ever make a picture aimed at all ages. With his love of film and unsurpassed knowledge of the art form, I felt he was a natural. But with New York as your muse, there are more serious matters to attend to. Turns out, Scorsese was hit […]

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True Grit – Film Review

The Coens open True Grit at night with a slow zoom in on a slain man lying just off a softly lit porch, being blanketed by snowfall. The voice-over is Mattie Ross, speaking to the audience from nearly three decades in the future. She describes how her father was shot by Tom Chaney and fled […]

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The Soundtrack Stands Alone

Film composers are required to be extremely thoughtful and versatile artists. Strictly speaking films are two dimensional; vision + sound. The director has a lot of tools in the tool box when it comes to visuals; light, color, movement, pacing, costume, editing, etc. Sound has a much more limited palette; voice, sound effects and music. […]

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