Past Stories
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Romantic Delivery

Director Jason Reitman’s Labor Day offers more slices of intriguing American lives In the course of just five feature films director Jason Reitman has established himself as a timelessly talented filmmaker. From his wicked sa...


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Decline the Invitation

August: Osage County teams Streep and Roberts for a dinner party disaster It’s hard to believe, but until August: Osage County hit theaters, the two most popular actresses of our time—Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts—had ne...


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Shadow Shines Brightly

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit should have no problem luring viewers Just as the British have plowed through an array of dashing actors ranging from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig to portray their super agent James Bond, Hollywood kee...



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A Voice From Tomorrow

Her aptly illustrates the personal isolation of our mechanically interconnected world Emily Dickinson once famously wrote, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” That idea is put to an extreme test in the new movie Her, in...


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Cinematic sins

10 movies that filmmakers should atone for There are more than 400 movies released into theaters each year. As a professional film critic, I’m subjected to about 150 of them. I manage to avoid the dreck that emerges from Holl...


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A TALE OF SELF-DISCOVERY

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty offers a positive look at the American Dream The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is writer-director Ben Stiller’s take on the classic James Thurber short story of a nearly anonymous office drone an...



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KILLER COMBO

American Hustle and Anchorman 2 take risks and score big Everyone has a dream in life. And if they’re serious about it, they’ll do almost anything to make it happen. Two new movies follow people who use highly creative mean...


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A LITTLE TOO INSIDE

Inside Llewyn Davis is a well-made film about a guy too cold to care During the course of making 18 films over 30 years, writing and directing brothers Joel and Ethan Coen have introduced audiences to an array of imaginative&he...


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Blast of evil

Out of the Furnace provides a dark noir antidote to the cheery holiday season Woody Harrelson has made a career of playing both lovable nut jobs and diabolical psychopaths, taking the portrayal of evil to controversial new heig...



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Frightful fare

The holiday releases of well-made but violent Homefront and Oldboy make little sense Remember when Thanksgiving weekend marked a great time for the whole family to gather around the TV to watch a network broadcast of a classic ...


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KIDS DO THE DARNEDEST THINGS

Delivery Man supplies a solid mix of laughs and tears while Frozen is warmed-over Disney fare Even under the best of circumstances, learning you’re about to have a child is a surprise. Imagine if you were told that you had&he...


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Best of its kind

The Best Man Holiday transcends race to raise the bar on romantic comedies In 1999, a “dramedy” called The Best Man hit theaters starring some of the hottest young African-American actors in Hollywood while marking the writ...



(WEB)FILM

Precious Time

About Time and Dallas Buyers Club remind viewers to appreciate every moment Two new films out this week deal with the theme of time in intriguing and vastly different ways. About Time is the latest offering from romantic-comedy...


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WINNING BET

Old pros deliver big fun in Last Vegas From the moment the new film Last Vegas was first announced, it seemed like it was trying to be The Hangover for AARP members. After all, the four old stars—Michael Douglas, Robert DeNi...


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ABANDON SHIP

Only pretentious critics could enjoy Kill Your Darlings and All Is Lost It’s been a while since I’ve spanked a film with a bad review. But this week, two recently released movies—the Robert Redford vehicle All Is Lost and...



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Bound by Art

The 4th annual 909 Film Festival is back, and better than ever The area code 909 has become synonymous with the Inland Empire. With the relatively recent explosion of cell phones, the amount of differing area codes has also sig...


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Cool Hand Tom

Tom Hanks keeps his head to save the ship in Captain Phillips Over the course of his 30-year film career, Tom Hanks has battled AIDS, romanced a mermaid, uncovered the secrets of the Vatican and filled the shoes of a…


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LOVE’S PUSH AND PULL

Don Jon makes an insightfully funny case against porn Porn rakes in billions of dollars a year without anyone ever admitting to watching it. In Don Jon, his debut film as a writer and director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a sexu...



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Prisoners of conscience

The new thriller Prisoners raises harrowing moral questions What would you do if your young child disappeared and the police released the lead suspect due to lack of evidence? Would you simply be despondent and pray for your ch...


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Driving Forces

Enough Said and Rush offer entertaining yet thoroughly different looks at relationships Relationships are complicated, whether they’re romances or bromances. While there are vast differences between the feelings shared by lov...


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Instructions shows how it’s done

With his new film Instructions Not Included, Mexican movie star Eugenio Derbez schools Hollywood on how to make a comedy It’s rare that a movie can come along and become a truly unexpected phenomenon these days, with all the ...



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End of an Era

The World’s End puts a comedic sci-fi spin on middle-aged angst Anyone who sees a movie made by British writer-director Edgar Wright is likely to come away not only amused but thoroughly surprised and perhaps a bit baffled by...


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A “World” Unheard

In a World . . . shines a comedic spotlight on a woman’s battle to break into a Hollywood boy’s club Ever notice how every movie trailer you have ever seen seems to have the same voice or two behind…


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A Case of Mistaken Identity

Kick-Ass 2 is more crude than comedy Oh my God! What has happened to one of my favorite films? The original Kick-Ass was such a wonderful sleeper hit in 2010. Funny. Smart. Charming. So how did this poser end up…



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History Comes to Life

Lee Daniels’ The Butler tells the fascinating true story of the longest-serving butler in White House history You never know who could be the fly on the wall watching history in the making. That fact is brought to vivid life&...


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Mistaken identities

Blue Jasmine and We’re the Millers feature characters that create their own life stories Identity is a tricky thing, the summation of a lifetime of choices and random circumstances all adding up to create a narrative that we ...


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Splendid Moments

Spectacular Now ranks among the best American teen movies Most films that claim to have insights into the lives of teenagers aim to either portray them as vampires and werewolves, or debauched hell raisers, or super-earnest kid...



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Pacific Rim Specializes in Monster vs. Machine Fisticuffs

Guillermo del Toro’s movie scores with impressive scale but fails to translate human conflict Pacific Rim is a beautiful exercise in scale. From its man-made war titans—“Jaegers”—to the reptilian “Kaiju” that asc...