MOVIES

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

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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A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain
Directed by J.C. Chandor

“A most violent year” isn’t so much about graphic violence as it is about a more invisible form of it. More specifically “Year” is a character study, a character study of the violence inflicted upon the integrity of a man who’s faced with the kinds of pressures that tempt him to abandon his principles. It is New York, 1981. Fuel supplier Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is about to close a real ... more >

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Inherent vice

Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Kathleen Waterston
Directed by P.T. Anderson

In college I wrote a paper on the subversion of the detective novel in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. I got an A, although the paper received its highest compliment in 2009. That’s when Pynchon finally lived up to my astonishing insight and published a detective novel, “Inherent vice.” This survey of Los Angeles weirdness circa 1970 is brought to the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson. The ... more >

effie gray review dakota

FIRST LOOK: Effie Gray

Country: U.K.

"Effie Gray" is a 2012 British biographical drama film directed by Richard Laxton, released in 2014 in the U.K. The film's release was delayed by several lawsuits that alleged that the script, written by Emma Thompson, was plagiarised from earlier dramatizations of the same story (Thompson won the suit). The subject of "Effie" is the love triangle involving Victorian art critic John Ruskin ... more >

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Song of the sea

David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson and Fionnula Flanagan
Directed by Tomm Moore

“Song of the sea” is a spectacular film that explores the Celtic myth of Selkies, a mystical being that can change form between human and seal, through a simply-told and heartwarming story about a brother and a sister. “Song,” a traditionally-animated film, is also a visual feat. And despite a few moments in which the visual eclipses the story “Song” is a successful continuation of animation ... more >

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Big Eyes

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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Under Angelina Jolie’s direction “Unbroken” plays out nice and slow but peters out

Jack O'Connell, Miyavi and Domhall Gleeson
Directed by Angelina Jolie

While watching "Unbroken," the World War II survival film directed by star-of-the-moment Angelina Jolie, one question stood out among the rest: How can such an extravagant, provocative personality turn in such a normal, even traditional film? Here is a woman who built her career on shock value. Where are the shocking moments in "Unbroken"? This isn't entirely a bad thing, as the classical, ... more >