Movie Reviews

At The Movies, In Berlin

Movie Reviews
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Last Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Long before that barrier was erected, and in the 25 years since it came down, Berlin has been the setting for scores of motion pictures. But there are two movies that visual convey the sense of dread that East Berliners felt living […]

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On Location: Eqypt in California

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“Location, location, location!” If the place where the story is set is important, then the movie version of that story should be shot in that place or at least somewhere that looks like that place. For The Ten Commandments, the final film of his career, legendary Hollywood director Cecile B. DeMille took his cameras, cast […]

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Video Storytelling, Two Ways

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Recently the “Starz” network decided so sponsor an unusual movie-making contest: Give two directors the same script, allow them to produce two different films, show them both in theaters, and award a $250,000 prize to the one whose film gets the most votes via social media. This isn’t a new idea. Hollywood has been turning […]

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The Hobbit Battles Back (While Reminding You To Fasten Your Seatbelt)!

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There are times when I wonder if movie director Peter Jackson ever read more than these two books in his entire life: Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, both written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson’s “Lord” trilogy of films, released from 2001-2003, were a box office bonanza and also dramatically increased tourist travel to New […]

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“Omar” – A Pack of Liars

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Depending on how you calculate it, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has simmered along, occasionally boiling over, for almost 30 years, or since before the mid-mark of the 20th century. So it figures that a  movie whose story is set on both sides of the “Israeli West Bank barrier,” a 25-foot-plus high “security” wall, would focus on […]

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You Be The Movie Critic

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Professional critics who are paid to write movie reviews see far more films that most of us could bear to watch. For us, going to the movies is fun. For them, it’s work, work, work. Last week, I got to be a “movie critic” of sorts. I saw 15 films. In a single night. Actually, […]

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“All Is Lost” – “Gravity” on Earth

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Outer space. The vast ocean. What do they have in common? Neither is a place to be lost alone. And that’s why the movies Gravity (starring Sandra Bullock) and All Is Lost (Robert Redford’s latest film) are the same basic story set in two different hostile-to-humans-locales.

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“A Story for Tomorrow”

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A picture is worth a thousand words, more or less. While we often read stories about someone’s journey, watching it unfold and learning a lesson from it can be even more worth our while. This video from Gnarly Bay, a production company located in Westerly, Rhode Island, needs no introduction. It is beautiful and imaginatively […]

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At The Movies: Interiors, Exteriors

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It’s not unusual for a dramatic motion picture to have its exterior, or outdoor scenes, shot on location, but its interior scenes filmed elsewhere, such as on a sound stage. There usually is a harmony between the two. Everything “fits” visually, you have no doubt that every foot of film was shot were the story […]

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“Finding Vivian Maier”

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Admit it. You’ve got them. So do I. What have we got? Photos. Lots of photos. Too many photos. All tucked away in albums, envelopes full of negatives and prints from the drug store, trays of slides, boxes in drawers. Suppose during the days long before digital cameras had been invented you had taken just […]

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Getting “Under The Skin” of Mankind in Scotland

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Betsy Sharkey reviews ‘Under the Skin’ starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, and Lynsey Taylor Mackay.

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“The Noble Spirit” – Not Giving in to Death

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Dying. We’re all going to do it, but we really don’t want to think about it until our mortality catches up with us, forcing us to confront it. When someone dies we ask “From what?” A common enough question today, but as Kathryn Schulz’ story, Final Forms: What death certificates can tell us, and what […]

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“Nebraska” Isn’t Not About Nebraska

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Nebraska (the movie) isn’t about Nebraska (the state). Sure, it was filmed  in Nebraska, but also in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. So it could just have well have been named after one of those other states of the union, or Nemowyosod, a meaningless word made up from letters found in the names of all […]

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“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

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Kenneth Turan reviews ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

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“Non-Stop”: Thank God I’m Not On It!

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Do any of we passengers really enjoy flying on a commercial airliner today? Cramped seats, no food, no frills, no fun! But absent a flight cancellation, at least we are likely to reach our final destination. Eventually. That is, unless we’re on-board this non-stop New York-to-London flight during which someone, including a federal air marshal, […]

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Only in L.A.: “The Soloist”

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Los Angeles. El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles. “The town of the Queen of Angels.” Aka “City of Angels.” Call it what you will—and what the Spanish called it is in dispute—to tens of thousands of homeless people who live and die there, it’s the “City of Lost Angels.” Except for one of […]

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“The Square”: The Story Behind the Egyptian Revolution

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Egyptian activist Ramy Essam (R) in Jehane Noujaim’s documentary THE SQUARE. Courtesy of Noujaim Films. By Margaret Barthel At the heart of every nation there is always an iconic communal place –a symbolic and physical space where we define and…

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Speaking of Her”

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Expressing one’s emotions can be problematic. But not for Theodore Twombly. He works for a unique “communications” company that specializes in writing heart-felt letters on behalf of  “too-shy-to-say-it-myself” clients. And Theodore’s letters are such masterpieces that a major publishing house wants to turn a collection of them into a best-selling book. Despite his facility with […]

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“Gringo Trails” – Planetary Salvation or Destruction?

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“Are tourists destroying the planet–or saving it?” That’s the opening line of the Website for the documentary film, Gringo Trails. And here’s what the film is all about: “How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? GRINGO TRAILS, a new documentary film, offers answers—some heartbreaking, some hopeful. From the […]

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Defining The Movie “Gravity”

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Gravity is a Hollywood sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney which was released on October 4th and is still playing in many theaters. But what exactly does the word “gravity” mean in the context of that film? The answer turns out to be more complex than you might think.

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“Snakes on A Plane?” No. Kids see “Planes”on a Plane

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Disney knows a good thing when it sees it. Or rather, when moviegoers see it. It recently took its Cars films to new heights by making a flying version: Planes. I haven’t seen the film as yet, but I’m sure that it will get rave reviews from everyone in a group that attended a special […]

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