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THE IMITATION GAME, a bravura performance, an offering to the Oscars Gods

$7M: that's how much Weinstein paid for the rights to distribute the film
Alexandre Desplat composed the film's score in under three weeks
Directed by Morten Tydlum

Alan Turing was a complex man, a mathematical genius who broke the seemingly unbreakable Enigma code through which the Nazis conducted their war on Europe with encrypted messages. Before that he was a highly gifted student at a public school, years marked by endless bullying and the awakening of homosexual tendencies. At a very young age, he becomes a Fellow at Cambridge University where he ... more >

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Opportunities missed in Ava DuVernay’s retelling of “Selma” events

Equality may be the law, it's far from being the rule
David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson and Carmen Ejogo
Directed by Ava DuVernay

The public has been relatively kind to director Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” though this recounting of an extraordinary moment in our country’s march toward civil rights is bloated and inaccurate. Which may explain, rather than some anti African-American conspiracy, why it was spurned for the Academy Awards nomination. Martin Luther King, here played superbly by David Oyelowo, is the closest anyone ... more >

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Big Eyes

Women don't count for much--or so we're told
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz
Directed by Richard Burton

A no-fail winning combination in film would be great actors+great director+good story. You think ? Not necessarily. Hollywood dustbins are filled with disappointing films made according to this very combination. Still, Tim Burton bringing together Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in a true tale involving a kitsch painter and a charming con artist, with the backdrop of fifties and sixties San ... more >

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NIGHT CRAWLER, first film and this thriller is a massive success

It's ninja-style TV reporting
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Directed by Dan Gilroy

Dan Gilroy’s first feature film, “Night Crawler,” is a rare treat, a perfect thriller, a soufflé that rises as it should and keeps its superlatively fluffy texture from minute one to minute 117. But you stand warned, this film about a sleazy, nasty loser-drifter who has watched one too many TED talk about how to be wildly successful will not be as easy to digest. Jake Gyllenhaal, skinny, driven, ... more >

GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th

GONE GIRL beset by technical goofs

Film was co-produced by Reese Witherspoon
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Directed by David Fincher

It would be ungracious to deny that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” lengthy as it is, whizzes past, keeping us highly entertained throughout. I haven’t read the book on which it is based so I don’t know if the structural change that has apparently caused an uproar is for the better or not. Anyway, both book and screenplay are by the same author so she’s entitled to doing what she wants with ... more >

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THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

This marks Hossein Amini's directorial debut
Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Stewart
Directed by Hossein Amini

It’s always a nice surprise when a film panned by critics turns out to be quite enjoyable. Such is Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” both a crisp thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel and a period piece set in Athens and Crete in the sixties. The story is that of a wealthy American couple taking in the sights, people dull enough until we realize that Chester MacFarland (Viggo ... more >

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Jersey Boys

Bravo, Clint Eastwood!
John Lloyd Young and Erich Bergen
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Bravo, Clint Eastwood! With “Jersey Boys,” the director moves away from his sometimes schlocky and often manipulative movies such as “Invictus,” “Gran Torino,” or “Hereafter,” and gives us a biopic as moving as it is entertaining. Like the Broadway musical, it’s a story of greed, success, fall and redemption, none of it unpleasant as the protagonists are young, gifted, and for the most part ... more >