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Oscar Movies: Articles


'Under the Volcano' Screening: Fearless Albert Finney

'Under the Volcano' screening: John Huston's 'quality' comeback starring daring Albert Finney As part of its John Huston film series, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will be presenting the 1984 drama Under the Volcano, starring Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, and Anthony Andrews, on July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at […]


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'Under the Volcano' Screening: Fearless Albert Finney



'Sully' Movie: Tom Hanks Is Latest Clint Eastwood 'All-American Hero'

Sully movie with Tom Hanks as US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger: Clint Eastwood homage to the “noble and decent American” threatened by a “heartless government.” 'Sully' movie review: 'Taut, straightforward' drama features Clint Eastwood's latest all-American hero When considering Sully, Clint Eastwood's taut, straightforward account of heroism on trial, it […]


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'Sully' Movie: Tom Hanks Is Latest Clint Eastwood 'All-American Hero'



'Rebecca' 1940: Alfred Hitchcock Oscar Winner Returns to Brazilian Screens

Rebecca 1940: Joan Fontaine as the “successor” and Judith Anderson as the creepy lesbian housekeeper, madly in love with her deceased mistress. 'Rebecca' 1940: Alfred Hitchcock Best Picture Oscar winner back on Brazilian screens Based on Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel, Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood movie, Rebecca (1940), has briefly […]


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'Rebecca' 1940: Alfred Hitchcock Oscar Winner Returns to Brazilian Screens



'Star Trek: Beyond' Review: Gay Sulu Problematic in 'Most Satisfying' New Series Entry

Star Trek: Beyond with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk: Will movie franchise reboot achieve “escape velocity”? 'Star Trek: Beyond' review: Movie franchise needs to boldly go where J.J. Abrams has never gone before We're never told what “beyond” refers to in Star Trek: Beyond, the 13th film in the venerated […]


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'Star Trek: Beyond' Review: Gay Sulu Problematic in 'Most Satisfying' New Series Entry



'The Aviator' Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett Miscast in Heavy-Handed Biopic

The Aviator movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes: Bizarre billionaire bloated biopic. 'The Aviator' movie review: Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent – but not as Howard Hughes Imagine Citizen Kane directed by the Steven Spielberg of The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan. The final result would […]


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'The Aviator' Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett Miscast in Heavy-Handed Biopic



TCM Presents 100% Not Gay John Nash & Passionate James Dean Bromance

TCM presents the life story of (a not gay) John Nash, starring Russell Crowe: In the phony 'A Beautiful Mind,' director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman wash the gay away. '31 Days of Oscar' on TCM: From fake biopic & passionate bromance to the deadly clash of civilizations Turner […]


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TCM Presents 100% Not Gay John Nash & Passionate James Dean Bromance



31 Days of Oscar: 'Ben-Hur' Proves Bigger Not Necessarily Better

'Ben-Hur' 1959 with Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston: TCM's '31 Days of Oscar.' '31 Days of Oscar': 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Ben-Hur' in, Paramount stars out Today, Feb. 1, '16, Turner Classic Movies is kicking off the 21st edition of its “31 Days of Oscar.” While the Academy of Motion […]


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31 Days of Oscar: 'Ben-Hur' Proves Bigger Not Necessarily Better



'The Fighter' Movie Review: Marketable Real-Life Inspired Drama

'The Fighter' movie stars Mark Wahlberg as boxer Micky Ward: Only key cast member not shortlisted for the Academy Awards. 'The Fighter' movie review: 'Smart' – i.e., 'marketable' – filmmaking David O. Russell's The Fighter is a smart film; smart in the way it's constructed and executed as a means […]


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'The Fighter' Movie Review: Marketable Real-Life Inspired Drama



'Black Swan' Movie Review: Natalie Portman 'Visceral' Downward Spiral

'Black Swan' movie with Natalie Portman: Distraught ballerina goes mad. 'Black Swan' movie review: Natalie Portman rises to challenge in 'most mature' Darren Aronofsky effort Darren Aronofsky has one of the most amazing talents for not only crafting impeccable works of fiction, but also for framing these works against the […]


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'Black Swan' Movie Review: Natalie Portman 'Visceral' Downward Spiral



'True Grit' 2010 Movie Review: Much Better Than 1969 John Wayne Western

'True Grit' 2010 movie: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in 'wonderful' Joel and Ethan Coen Western. 'True Grit' 2010 movie review: Joel and Ethan Coen version 'far Superior' to 1969 John Wayne Western I've gotten to the point with the Coen brothers where I just expect something wonderful every time […]


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'True Grit' 2010 Movie Review: Much Better Than 1969 John Wayne Western



'The Grandfather' Movie: Surprisingly Touching Oscar-Nominated Message of Tolerance

'The Grandfather': Fernando Fernán Gómez as the irascible 'abuelo' who discovers it's never too late to learn about tolerance and compassion. 'The Grandfather' movie review: Gorgeous, surprisingly effective message of tolerance with strong central performance The Grandfather / El abuelo is a film with a pedigree. It is based on […]


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'The Grandfather' Movie: Surprisingly Touching Oscar-Nominated Message of Tolerance



'Finding Neverland' Movie Review: Johnny Depp as James M. Barrie Disney Style

'Finding Neverland' movie: Johnny Depp as James M. Barrie a.k.a. J.M. Barrie, with the Llewelyn Davies family: Kate Winslet, Freddie Highmore, Joe Prospero, Nick Roud and Luke Spill. 'Finding Neverland' movie review: Losing reality Back in 2001, German-born director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, World War Z) brought a much […]


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'Finding Neverland' Movie Review: Johnny Depp as James M. Barrie Disney Style



'Crash' Movie Review: Several Excellent Performances in Contrived Ethnically Conscious Drama

'Crash' movie: Ryan Phillippe as a good white Los Angeles cop with subconscious 'racist side.' 'Crash' movie review: California tossin' and turnin' Screenwriter Paul Haggis' multiple award-winning directorial debut, Crash, is set in a Los Angeles that is part Quentin Tarantino, part Paul Thomas Anderson, part Spike Lee, part Bret […]


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'Crash' Movie Review: Several Excellent Performances in Contrived Ethnically Conscious Drama



'Closer' Film Review: Julia Roberts Shines in Perfect Dysfunctional Date Movie

'Closer' film: Julia Roberts in glib 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' redux. 'Closer' film review: The perfect dysfunctional date movie Mike Nichols' first feature film, an adaptation of Edward Albee's acclaimed play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is a harrowing dissection of two married couples whose inner demons are let […]


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'Closer' Film Review: Julia Roberts Shines in Perfect Dysfunctional Date Movie



'7 Faces of Dr. Lao': Tony Randall Brilliantly Shows Things Are Not As They Seem

'7 Faces of Dr. Lao' with Tony Randall delivering a 'bravura performance': Things are not as they seem. '7 Faces of Dr. Lao' movie: 'Things are not as they seem' Director George Pal's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao surprises on multiple levels: its witty screenplay by Twilight Zone writer Charles […]


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'7 Faces of Dr. Lao': Tony Randall Brilliantly Shows Things Are Not As They Seem



'Mildred Pierce' 1945: Joan Crawford 'Terrific' in Film Noir or Melodrama?

Joan Crawford in 'Mildred Pierce': Best Actress Oscar winner enjoyed a triumphant comeback. 'Mildred Pierce' 1945 movie review: Very entertaining 'soap opera' Time has a way of making some films seem grander than they really are. A good example is Mildred Pierce, the 1945 black-and-white melodrama directed by Casablanca's Michael […]


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'Mildred Pierce' 1945: Joan Crawford 'Terrific' in Film Noir or Melodrama?



'Room' Movie Review: Easy to Appreciate, Difficult to Like

'Room' movie with Brie Larson. 'Room' movie review: Easy to appreciate, difficult to like The film Room, adapted by Emma Donoghue from her own 2010 novel, has been the talk of Hollywood since well before it was actually made. Its distributor, A24 (fast becoming the Miramax of its generation), acquired […]


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'Room' Movie Review: Easy to Appreciate, Difficult to Like



'Steve Jobs' Movie: Michael Fassbender Career-Making Performance in 'Riveting' Biopic

'Steve Jobs' movie poster. 'Steve Jobs' movie: 'Riveting, high speed' biopic starring Michael Fassbender at his best On the outside, computers are clean, symmetrical slabs of molded polycarbonate; pleasant, or at least inoffensive, to look at. On the inside, however, the part most consumers don't see, is a bento box […]


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'Steve Jobs' Movie: Michael Fassbender Career-Making Performance in 'Riveting' Biopic



'Million Dollar Baby' Movie: Clint Eastwood Cliché-Ridden Boxing Melodrama

'Million Dollar Baby' movie with Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood. 'Million Dollar Baby' movie: Clint Eastwood contrived, overlong drama made (barely) watchable by first-rate central performance Fresh off the enthusiastically received – and insincere – Mystic River, Clint Eastwood went on to tackle the ups and downs of the boxing […]


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'Million Dollar Baby' Movie: Clint Eastwood Cliché-Ridden Boxing Melodrama



'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Lewis Carroll Travesty One of Worst Tim Burton Movies

'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. 'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Plenty of visuals, no substance In the interest of full disclosure, I should start this commentary on Alice in Wonderland by saying that I have never been a fan of Tim Burton's works. I've enjoyed a […]


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'Alice in Wonderland' 2010: Lewis Carroll Travesty One of Worst Tim Burton Movies



'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why…' Review: Barbara Harris Almost Makes One Care

'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?' with Dustin Hoffman. Long-titled movie 'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?': Messy filmmaking with one single bright spot To call Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He […]


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'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why…' Review: Barbara Harris Almost Makes One Care



'Music of the Heart' Movie: Meryl Streep Showcase in Goreless Wes Craven Effort

'Music of the Heart' cast: Meryl Streep, Gloria Estefan, Aidan Quinn and Angela Bassett. 'Music of the Heart': Unusually bloodless Wes Craven movie works as Meryl Streep showcase Wes Craven, the director of the Scream franchise and of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, is hardly the kind of […]


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'Music of the Heart' Movie: Meryl Streep Showcase in Goreless Wes Craven Effort



'Affliction' Movie: Nick Nolte-James Coburn Acting Duel in Dysfunctional Family Drama

'Affliction' movie: Nick Nolte as psychotic police officer Wade Whitehouse. 'Affliction' movie: Great-looking psychological drama fails to coalesce Set in a snowy New Hampshire town, Affliction could have been an excellent depiction of a dysfunctional family's cycle of violence and how that is accentuated by rapid, destabilizing socioeconomic changes. Unfortunately, […]


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'Affliction' Movie: Nick Nolte-James Coburn Acting Duel in Dysfunctional Family Drama



'The Sea Inside' Movie Review: Javier Bardem & the Right to Euthanasia

'The Sea Inside': Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Amenábar. 'The Sea Inside': Outstanding supporting cast help to lift flawed Right to Die drama Alejandro Amenábar's The Sea Inside often verges on melodrama, featuring as its centerpiece a showy performance by Javier Bardem as a tetraplegic man eager to end his […]


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'The Sea Inside' Movie Review: Javier Bardem & the Right to Euthanasia



'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl': Johnny Depp as Keith Richards/ZaSu Pitts

'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' with Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow. 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' review: Mostly an enjoyable romp Pirate movies were a Hollywood staple for about three decades, from the mid-'20s (The Sea Hawk, The Black […]


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'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl': Johnny Depp as Keith Richards/ZaSu Pitts



'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' Quiz Question: Is CGI (Enough) Magic?

'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' poster with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' quiz question: Does state of the art CGI equal movie magic? Alfonso Cuarón seems like an odd choice for director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of […]


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'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' Quiz Question: Is CGI (Enough) Magic?



Lenny Bruce Movie: Dustin Hoffman Miscast & Valerie Perrine Outstanding in Timid Biopic

Lenny Bruce: Dustin Hoffman in the 1974 Bob Fosse movie. Lenny Bruce movie review: Polemical stand-up comedian merited less timid biopic Bob Fosse's 1974 biopic Lenny has two chief assets: the ever relevant free speech issues it raises and the riveting presence of Valerie Perrine. The film itself, however, is […]


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Lenny Bruce Movie: Dustin Hoffman Miscast & Valerie Perrine Outstanding in Timid Biopic



'Yesterday' Movie Review: Memorable AIDS Drama in Zululand

'Yesterday' movie: South African AIDS drama with Leleti Khumalo and Lihle Mvelase. 'Yesterday' movie review: Fantastic central performance in South African AIDS drama To date, nowhere has the AIDS pandemic been felt more strongly than in Sub-Saharan Africa, home to approximately 16 percent of the world's population and 70 percent […]


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'Yesterday' Movie Review: Memorable AIDS Drama in Zululand



'The Contender' Movie: Joan Allen Outstanding in Controversial Political Drama

'The Contender' movie hero: Joan Allen as the virtuous Sen. Laine Hanson. 'The Contender' movie: Exceptional Joan Allen in intriguing but ultimately wimpy political drama “Principles only mean anything when we stick by them when they're inconvenient,” says Senator Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen in Rod Lurie's The Contender. […]


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'The Contender' Movie: Joan Allen Outstanding in Controversial Political Drama



'Sleepless in Seattle' Review: Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan Endless Romantic Yearning

'Sleepless in Seattle' with Meg Ryan as the romantic Annie. 'Sleepless in Seattle' review: Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in an affair to forget In Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Red, the last installment of his “Three Colors” trilogy, the word “magic” is never bandied about. No need to. Magic is […]


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'Sleepless in Seattle' Review: Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan Endless Romantic Yearning



'Mad Max: Fury Road' Review: Max as Ass-Kicking Heroine's Sidekick

'Mad Max: Fury Road' poster with Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' review: 'A good movie on its own terms' Mad Max, the first feature film of director George Miller and the second for the then 23-year-old Mel Gibson, premiered in North America in Feb. 1980. I […]


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'Mad Max: Fury Road' Review: Max as Ass-Kicking Heroine's Sidekick



'JFK' Movie Review: Oliver Stone Flawed But Riveting Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Paranoia

'JFK' movie with Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison. 'JFK' assassination movie: Gripping political drama gives added meaning to 'Rewriting History' If it's an Oliver Stone film, it must be bombastic, sentimental, clunky, and controversial. With the exception of “clunky,” JFK is all of the above. It is also riveting, earnest, […]


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'JFK' Movie Review: Oliver Stone Flawed But Riveting Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Paranoia



'The Insider' Movie Review: Corporate Greed Is Bad for Your Health

'The Insider' movie: Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. 'The Insider' movie review: CBS news exposé barks, but doesn't bite Michael Mann's 1999 movie The Insider quote exchange: “It's old news. … We'll be ok,” says Don Hewitt (Philip Baker Hall), the creator of the CBS news show 60 Minutes. “These […]


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'The Insider' Movie Review: Corporate Greed Is Bad for Your Health



'Cast Away' Movie Review: Tom Hanks Excellent in Populist Existential Drama

'Cast Away' Movie with Tom Hanks stranded on a deserted island: 'The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe' reboot. 'Cast Away' Movie review: Tom Hanks excellent in high-concept Hollywood flick disguised as existential adventure drama Most people will see Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away as a celebration of the Triumph of the Human […]


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'Cast Away' Movie Review: Tom Hanks Excellent in Populist Existential Drama



'The Fixer' Movie: Preachy & Simple-Minded Drama About the Politics of Anti-Semitism

'The Fixer' movie cast: Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde and Ian Holm (background left) in political drama about the persecution of Jews in Czarist Russia. 'The Fixer' movie review: 1968 anti-Semitism political drama wrecked by cast, direction and its own good intentions In 1969, director John Frankenheimer declared that he felt […]


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'The Fixer' Movie: Preachy & Simple-Minded Drama About the Politics of Anti-Semitism



'About a Boy' Movie Review: Hugh Grant Tragically Discovers His Inner Family Man

'About a Boy' movie with Hugh Grant and Baby: 'No man has the right to be an island' message. 'About a Boy' movie review: Some men should remain islands On the surface, Chris and Paul Weitz's 2002 movie About a Boy has a profound, affecting premise. No man is an […]


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'About a Boy' Movie Review: Hugh Grant Tragically Discovers His Inner Family Man



'A Hatful of Rain' Movie: Script and Hammy Acting Spoil Drug Addiction Drama

'A Hatful of Rain' movie with Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint. 'A Hatful of Rain' movie script fails to find cinematic voice as most of the cast hams it up Based on a play by Michael V. Gazzo, A Hatful of Rain is an interesting attempt at injecting “adult” […]


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'A Hatful of Rain' Movie: Script and Hammy Acting Spoil Drug Addiction Drama



'The Devil Strikes at Night' Review: Serial Killers vs Mass Murderers

'The Devil Strikes at Night,' with Mario Adorf as World War II era serial killer Bruno Lüdke. 'The Devil Strikes at Night' movie review: Serial killing vs. mass murder in unsubtle but intriguing World War II political drama After more than a decade in Hollywood, German director Robert Siodmak (Academy […]


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'The Devil Strikes at Night' Review: Serial Killers vs Mass Murderers



'Being Julia' Movie Review: Annette Bening Bette Davis-ish Showcase

'Being Julia' movie: Annette Bening and Shaun Evans: 'All About Eve' with a London setting. 'Being Julia' movie review: Annette Bening showcase tells us a little about Avice Being Julia movie antecedents: In Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1950 Oscar-winning classic All About Eve, Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, a major Broadway […]


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'Being Julia' Movie Review: Annette Bening Bette Davis-ish Showcase



'Downfall' Movie Review: Iconic Bruno Ganz Hitler Portrayal

'Downfall' movie with Bruno Ganz: Iconic Adolf Hitler. 'Downfall' movie: Overlong and overwrought World War II drama lifted by several memorable performances Oliver Hirschbiegel's German box office hit Downfall / Der Untergang is a generally engrossing psychological-historical drama whose emotional charge is diluted by excessive length, an overabundance of characters, […]


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'Downfall' Movie Review: Iconic Bruno Ganz Hitler Portrayal



'Sideways' Movie: Days of Wine and Losers

'Sideways' movie: Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church enjoy days of wine and women. 'Sideways' movie review: California winery tour follows conventional road to male maturity With the 1999 Matthew Broderick-Reese Witherspoon vehicle Election, Alexander Payne displayed a flair for satirical comedy the likes of which would have turned Billy […]


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'Sideways' Movie: Days of Wine and Losers



'The Letter' 1940 Movie: Bette Davis' Outstanding Deadly Vixen

'The Letter' 1940, with Bette Davis. 'The Letter' 1940 movie: Bette Davis superb in masterful studio era production Directed by William Wyler and adapted by Howard Koch from W. Somerset Maugham's 1927 play, The Letter is one of the very best films made during the Golden Age of the Hollywood […]


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'The Letter' 1940 Movie: Bette Davis' Outstanding Deadly Vixen



'Fanny and Alexander' Review: Ingmar Bergman Brilliant & Disturbing Film

'Fanny and Alexander' movie: Ingmar Bergman brilliant classic with Bertil Guve as Alexander Ekdahl. 'Fanny and Alexander' movie review: Last Ingmar Bergman 'filmic film' Why Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander bears its appellation is a mystery – one of many in the director's final 'filmic film' […]


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'Fanny and Alexander' Review: Ingmar Bergman Brilliant & Disturbing Film



'To Each His Own' Movie Review: Oscar Winner Olivia de Havilland in Classic Tearjerker

'To Each His Own' movie with Olivia de Havilland and John Lund. 'To Each His Own' movie review: Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland stars in Mother Love tearjerker Olivia de Havilland, who had starred in the 1941 melodrama Hold Back the Dawn, returns to the wartime milieu in […]


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'To Each His Own' Movie Review: Oscar Winner Olivia de Havilland in Classic Tearjerker



'Nicholas and Alexandra' Movie Review: Lavish 1971 Political Epic Too Old-Fashioned

'Nicholas and Alexandra' 1971 movie with Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman. 'Nicholas and Alexandra' movie review: Opulent 1971 spectacle lacks emotional core Nicholas and Alexandra is surely one of the most sumptuous film productions ever made. Production designer John Box's elaborate sets, Yvonne Blake's equally elaborate costumes, Richard Rodney Bennett's […]


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'Nicholas and Alexandra' Movie Review: Lavish 1971 Political Epic Too Old-Fashioned



'Hold Back the Dawn' Movie Review: Olivia de Havilland Steals Spotlight

'Hold Back the Dawn.' Olivia de Havilland behind Charles Boyer and Paulette Goddard. 'Hold Back the Dawn' 1941 movie: Olivia de Havilland steals show as small-town teacher in love Olivia de Havilland shines in Mitchell Leisen's melodrama Hold Back the Dawn, a sort of opening bracket for the director's World […]


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'Hold Back the Dawn' Movie Review: Olivia de Havilland Steals Spotlight



'127 Hours' Movie Review: James Franco in Harrowing Real Life Story

'127 Hours' movie with James Franco: Between a rock and a hard place. '127 Hours' movie review: James Franco stars in harrowing real life-based story When I initially heard that Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning team behind Slumdog Millionaire, were adapting the real life story of Aron Ralston […]


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'127 Hours' Movie Review: James Franco in Harrowing Real Life Story



'Munich' 2005 Film: Deeply Flawed But Most Satisfying Steven Spielberg Effort in Decades

'Munich' 2005 film cover. 'Munich' 2005 film review: Steven Spielberg tackles political time-space continuum in wildly uneven but ultimately satisfying thriller Alternately intriguing and irritating, thought-provoking and banal, subtle and patronizing, the biggest surprise about Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) is that it – however grudgingly – works. The film, which […]


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'Munich' 2005 Film: Deeply Flawed But Most Satisfying Steven Spielberg Effort in Decades



'Selma' Movie Review: Politically Salient History in 'Beautiful' Film

'Selma' movie with David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. 'Selma' movie review: Politically salient in the early 21st century The title of director Ava DuVernay's historical drama Selma tells us what the film is about, while implying what it isn't about. In other words, Selma is not about the […]


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'Selma' Movie Review: Politically Salient History in 'Beautiful' Film



'Interstellar' Movie Review: Whole Less Than Sum of Ravishing Parts

'Interstellar' movie with Anne Hathaway. 'Interstellar' movie review: 'Ravishing, but overextended mind-bender' There are many intriguing questions raised in director Christopher Nolan's ravishing, overextended mind-bender Interstellar. One of the first: has a theoretical physicist ever received an executive producer credit on a nine-figure, studio movie? Probably not, but if 74-year […]


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'Interstellar' Movie Review: Whole Less Than Sum of Ravishing Parts



'Inside Llewyn Davis' Review: Effortless Oscar Isaac Is 'Last Folk Singer Who Didn't Make It'

Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaac as “the last folk singer who didn't make it.” Written and directed by veterans Joel and Ethan Coen (Blood Simple, Raising Arizona), Inside Llewyn Davis offers “their deepest dive into characterization since their inward-looking masterpiece A Serious Man.” 'Inside Llewyn Davis' review: Effortless Oscar […]


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'Inside Llewyn Davis' Review: Effortless Oscar Isaac Is 'Last Folk Singer Who Didn't Make It'



'Limelight': Charles Chaplin Classic 60th Anniversary Screening with Claire Bloom

'Limeligh' with Charles Chaplin and Claire Bloom. Charles Chaplin 'Limelight' screening to feature Claire Bloom Charles Chaplin's Limelight turns 60 this year. Honoring Chaplin's last US-made film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 60th anniversary screening of Limelight on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. […]


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'Limelight': Charles Chaplin Classic 60th Anniversary Screening with Claire Bloom



'Going My Way' Review: Bing Crosby & Barry Fitzgerald Sentimental Favorite

Barry Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Going My Way Director Leo McCarey and screenwriters Frank Butler and Frank Cavett poured a whole bottle of syrup into their sentimental comedy-drama Going My Way. The fact that this “inspirational” tale with religious overtones became the year's biggest blockbuster and the winner of seven Academy […]


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'Going My Way' Review: Bing Crosby & Barry Fitzgerald Sentimental Favorite



'The Letter' Movie: 'Murderess & Adulterer' Jeanne Eagels' Sole Extant Talkie

The Letter movie with Jeanne Eagels and Herbert Marshall Having watched William Wyler's masterful 1940 film adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1927 play The Letter and having read quite a bit about Broadway star Jeanne Eagels' remarkable talent, I was expecting to find at least a modicum of interest in […]


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'The Letter' Movie: 'Murderess & Adulterer' Jeanne Eagels' Sole Extant Talkie



'The Whales of August': Lillian Gish & Bette Davis in Powerful Drama

Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price and Ann Sothern in The Whales of August According to my math, the careers of the three leading ladies – Lillian Gish, Bette Davis, and Ann Sothern – in Lindsay Anderson's The Whales of August total 191 years. And that is without taking into […]


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'The Whales of August': Lillian Gish & Bette Davis in Powerful Drama



'Faces' Movie Review: John Cassavetes' Dysfunctional Marriage Mirror

Gena Rowlands and John Marley in Faces movie. After playing Mia Farrow's husband in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968), John Cassavetes reportedly threw the money he made as an actor into the finishing touches on Faces, a personal project he had begun filming in 1966. Cassavetes spent months (some sources […]


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'Faces' Movie Review: John Cassavetes' Dysfunctional Marriage Mirror



Janet Gaynor-Charles Farrell '7th Heaven,' Fragment of Lost Oscar Winner 'The Patriot'

Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, 7th Heaven Frank Borzage's 7th Heaven, starring late '20s lovebirds Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, was the 1927 Photoplay Magazine Medal of Honor winner and will thus be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Summer of Silents” series on Monday, […]


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Janet Gaynor-Charles Farrell '7th Heaven,' Fragment of Lost Oscar Winner 'The Patriot'



'Festival' of Legends: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez in Oscar-Nominated Folk Music Documentary

Bob Dylan: Young days in 'Festival': Classic music documentary. 'Festival' of Legends: Folk music fest featuring a young Bob Dylan, Joan Baez showcased in Oscar-nominated documentary Before Woodstock and Monterey Pop there was … Murray Lerner's Festival. Set at the annual Newport Folk Festival and featuring the likes of Bob […]


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'Festival' of Legends: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez in Oscar-Nominated Folk Music Documentary



'Ran': Akira Kurosawa Classic

Akira Kurosawa's Ran “Critical cribbing” is a term I coined in regard to the tendency of critics, in all fields, to not engage a work of art directly, but rather to fall back on lazily repeating claims that have been made by others about the work they are reviewing. Sometimes, […]


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'Ran': Akira Kurosawa Classic



'The Sweet Hereafter' Movie Review: Surprisingly Oscar-Nominated Atom Egoyan

Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, The Sweet Hereafter Some films are well crafted but lifeless. Others err by believing they can too readily make an audience care for a character just by having a traumatic situation beset him early on. Director and screenwriter Atom Egoyan's 1997 drama The Sweet Hereafter suffers […]


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'The Sweet Hereafter' Movie Review: Surprisingly Oscar-Nominated Atom Egoyan



'The War Game' Movie Review: Nuclear Holocaust in England

'The War Game.' For anyone who thinks that those 50-pack mega-DVD sets of public domain films put out by several different video companies are worthless, I would argue that the amount of films you get for the money is worth it, even if all were mediocre. I would also add […]


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'The War Game' Movie Review: Nuclear Holocaust in England



'All Quiet on the Western Front': Anti-War Masterpiece

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930) Dir.: Lewis Milestone Cast: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, Russell Gleason, John Wray, William Bakewell, Raymond Griffith, Beryl Mercer, Ben Alexander, Slim Summerville, Yola D'Avril Scr.: Maxwell Anderson, George Abbott, Del Andrews; from Erich Maria Remarque's novel Lew Ayres, All Quiet on the Western […]


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'All Quiet on the Western Front': Anti-War Masterpiece



'A Tale of Two Cities' Review: Ronald Colman Brilliant Charles Dickens Hero

Jack Conway's A Tale of Two Cities Although not as widely known as other Old Hollywood spectacles, David O. Selznick's film production of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, set during the time of the French Revolution, is far, far better than most of the other period dramas made […]


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'A Tale of Two Cities' Review: Ronald Colman Brilliant Charles Dickens Hero



'Casablanca': Humprey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman Classic 'Nowhere Near Greatness'

Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca About three years ago, I finally gave in to watch Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) for the first time. I had hesitated because of the five- and ten-minute snippets of the film I had seen, and for its reputation as a hokey Christmas […]


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'Casablanca': Humprey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman Classic 'Nowhere Near Greatness'



'Last Year at Marienbad' Review: Alain Resnais' Film Masterpiece

Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad: Intertextuality via cinematic 'touchstone.' Forget all prior claims you've read about Alain Resnais,” 90-minute, black-and-white effort L'année dernière à Marienbad / Last Year at Marienbad (1961) – from the bad to the good, from publicity nonsense which declaims the three main characters are named […]


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'Last Year at Marienbad' Review: Alain Resnais' Film Masterpiece



'No Country for Old Men' Review: Joel and Ethan Coen Actioner

Josh Brolin, No Country for Old Men Synopsis: West Texas, 1980: A hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon numerous dead bodies, a stash of heroin, and $2 million in cash lying about in the region's arid wasteland near the Rio Grande. He takes the money and runs, but is followed by […]


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'No Country for Old Men' Review: Joel and Ethan Coen Actioner



'Pan's Labyrinth' Review: Imagination vs. Mind Control

Pan's Labyrinth with Ivana Baquero “If you expect to get laid after this screening,” Guillermo del Toro told the midnight (actually, closer to 1 a.m.) audience at the AFI FEST Los Angeles 2007 premiere of Pan's Labyrinth, “it ain't gonna happen.” Indeed, del Toro's “adult fairytale” is hardly the sort […]


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'Pan's Labyrinth' Review: Imagination vs. Mind Control



'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' Review: Frank Capra Classic

Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Frank Capra There is a tendency among some to think that all the art produced by a great artist is great. This is false, but it gives cover for bad critics who just recycle old blurbs about said artist. Think of the fawning that goes on […]


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'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' Review: Frank Capra Classic



'It Happened One Night' Review: Frank Capra Directs Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert to Oscars

Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night It is a very rare thing when a light-hearted comedy, something that is quintessentially the stuff of a “good movie,” breaches into that territory where the term “good film” can also be applied, but Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), adapted […]


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'It Happened One Night' Review: Frank Capra Directs Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert to Oscars



'Little Children' Movie Review: Kate Winslet Is Suburban Madame Bovary

Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Little Children Synopsis: Suburbia, U.S.A.: A married man (Patrick Wilson) and a married woman (Kate Winslet) have an affair, while an unbalanced ex-cop (Noah Emmerich) continually harasses the local convicted sex offender (Jackie Earle Haley). [Note: Spoilers ahead.] The Pros: Little Children has an intriguing premise […]


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'Little Children' Movie Review: Kate Winslet Is Suburban Madame Bovary



'Amarcord' Review: Federico Fellini Classic

Federico Fellini's Amarcord has often been linked with Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander as films made by old men looking back on their youth. While this is true, Amarcord has a loose narrative structure in which the lives of many characters are detailed in comic vignettes, whereas Fanny and Alexander […]


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'Amarcord' Review: Federico Fellini Classic



'The Queen' Movie Review: Helen Mirren Showcase Goes Easy on Title Character

Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, The Queen A more sober tone would have made Stephen Frears' filmization of Peter Morgan's The Queen screenplay less appealing to a mass audience. However, it would also have made the film itself – and the people and events portrayed in it – more true to […]


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'The Queen' Movie Review: Helen Mirren Showcase Goes Easy on Title Character



'The Conversation': Francis Ford Coppola Paranoid Classic

Gene Hackman, The Conversation There are some works of art that are both obviously derivative and just as obviously inferior to the originals. Those simply ape the earlier work, tweak a few minor things, and try to pass off their theft as an “homage.” The Conversation (1974), written and directed […]


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'The Conversation': Francis Ford Coppola Paranoid Classic



'Umberto D.' Review: Vittorio De Sica and Indifference to Human Suffering

Flike, Carlo Battisti, Umberto D. Lost between the glare of The Bicycle Thief (1948) and his later films with Sophia Loren, Vittorio De Sica's 1952 drama Umberto D. stands as an almost forgotten masterpiece of Italian neorealism and one of the last films that could claim to be of that […]


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'Umberto D.' Review: Vittorio De Sica and Indifference to Human Suffering



'Inception' Movie: Christopher Nolan Summer Blockbuster with Brains & Heart

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception.' 'Inception' movie review: Summer blockbuster with brains & soul Christopher Nolan's Inception is a summer blockbuster that doesn't act like one. Unlike so many of the tedious, one-note Big Movies that get released year after year, Inception has not only brains, but a heart and a […]


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'Inception' Movie: Christopher Nolan Summer Blockbuster with Brains & Heart



'Red' Movie Review: Brilliant Film with Career-Capping Performance

'Red' movie: Jean-Louis Trintignant and Irène Jacob. 'Red' movie review: 'Brilliant' Krzysztof Kieslowski film The final film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors (“Trois couleurs”) trilogy, the 1994 release Three Colors: Red / Trois couleurs: Rouge, is almost universally acclaimed as the best of the three. For once, the general consensus […]


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'Red' Movie Review: Brilliant Film with Career-Capping Performance



'Seven Samurai' Analysis: Akira Kurosawa Classic Keeps Improving

'Seven Samurai' analysis: Akira Kurosawa movie gets better after repeated viewings (image: Toshiro Mifune in 'Seven Samurai') Some films get better after repeated viewings. Akira Kurosawa's 1954 black-and-white drama Seven Samurai / Shichinin no samurai is one of them. It fully deserved winning that year's Silver Lion at the Venice […]


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'Seven Samurai' Analysis: Akira Kurosawa Classic Keeps Improving



'The Devil Wears Prada' Review: Meryl Streep Steals Show

Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, The Devil Wears Prada There are two good reasons to watch the otherwise dismal film version of Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada, the story of a young, comely journalist wannabe who lands a job as secretary to a world-class bitch fashionista. The two […]


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'The Devil Wears Prada' Review: Meryl Streep Steals Show



'Half Nelson' Movie: Brilliant Ryan Gosling

Half Nelson with Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps Although Ryan Fleck's raw, edgy drama Half Nelson could use a little trimming, it is nevertheless a compelling drama rooted on Ryan Gosling's mesmerizing performance as Dan Dunne, a crack-addicted, inner-city high-school history teacher who resorts to drugs in spite of (or perhaps […]


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'Half Nelson' Movie: Brilliant Ryan Gosling



'The Black Dahlia' 2006 Review: Brian De Palma Misguided Film Noir Homage

'The Black Dahlia' 2006 with Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett. 'The Black Dahlia' 2006 movie review: Film noir homage is The Big Snooze (image: ) Stylized without being stylish, intricate without being intriguing, heavy without being dramatic. That pretty much sums up director Brian De Palma and screenwriter Josh Friedman's […]


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'The Black Dahlia' 2006 Review: Brian De Palma Misguided Film Noir Homage



'King Kong' Review: Naomi Watts Can't Save Overblown Peter Jackson Remake

Naomi Watts, King Kong The biggest disappointment about Peter Jackson's King Kong is that, despite all the p.r. regarding Jackson's fascination with the Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack 1933 horror classic, this latest remake is considerably closer in spirit – or lack thereof – to the 1976 Dino […]


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'King Kong' Review: Naomi Watts Can't Save Overblown Peter Jackson Remake



'Tsotsi': One Thug and a Baby in Socially Conscious South African Drama

Mostly spoken in Tsotsi Taal, or “gangster dialect,” Tsotsi is the tale of a Johannesburg shantytown hoodlum nicknamed Tsotsi, or “Thug,” who rediscovers his humanity after accidentally kidnapping an infant during a carjacking. The premise, of course, is totally absurd* (see below). Director-writer Gavin Hood's screenplay – based on Athol […]


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'Tsotsi': One Thug and a Baby in Socially Conscious South African Drama



'Mrs. Henderson Presents' Review: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins, Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents Directed by Stephen Frears from a screenplay by Martin Sherman, Mrs. Henderson Presents is an unabashedly old-fashioned star vehicle for Judi Dench, even if in a role made to order for Maggie Smith. Once I got past the fact that I was watching […]


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'Mrs. Henderson Presents' Review: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins



'The Barker': Sensational Dorothy Mackaill in Curious Talkie-Silent Hybrid

Dorothy Mackaill, Milton Sills, The Barker Directed by George Fitzmaurice, by then already a film veteran, The Barker is one of those strange hybrids made at the dawn of the sound era: some sequences feature dialogue, others have intertitles and musical accompaniment. The Barker, in fact, is perhaps stranger than […]


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'The Barker': Sensational Dorothy Mackaill in Curious Talkie-Silent Hybrid



'The Departed' Review: Jack Nicholson Nearly Capsizes Mob Thriller

Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed Best Picture Academy Award winner The Departed boasts a respectable pedigree: the cop thriller was directed by Martin Scorsese; edited by Thelma Schoonmaker; shot by Michael Ballhaus; accompanied by Howard Shore's music; adapted by William Monahan from the 2002 Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs; […]


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'The Departed' Review: Jack Nicholson Nearly Capsizes Mob Thriller



'The Little Foxes' Movie Review: Bette Davis Heads Superb Cast in Masterful Classic

The Hands That Bilked America: To not choose the revolutionary Citizen Kane as the Best Motion Picture of 1941 is to commit an unforgivable act of cinematic sacrilege. Courageously (or perhaps madly), I dare to choose another film: William Wyler's retelling of Lillian Hellman's scathing attack on American Family Values […]


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'The Little Foxes' Movie Review: Bette Davis Heads Superb Cast in Masterful Classic



'Ray' Movie Review: Ray Charles Biopic Takes Conventional Route

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, Ray Taylor Hackford's prosaic biopic Ray offers no more than a superficial look at the life and career of legendary singer and composer Ray Charles. I say “superficial” in that Ray may show Charles' stand against racism, in addition to his many women and drug […]


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'Ray' Movie Review: Ray Charles Biopic Takes Conventional Route



'The Hurricane' Movie: Denzel Washington Stars in Absurdly Contrived Biopic

The Hurricane movie: Denzel Washington as Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter. Like Stanley Kramer, Norman Jewison has often been dedicated to commercial filmmaking with a socially conscious edge: labor relations in F.I.S.T.; corruption in the U.S. justice system in …And Justice for All; religious fanaticism in Agnes of God; anti-Semitism in Fiddler […]


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'The Hurricane' Movie: Denzel Washington Stars in Absurdly Contrived Biopic



'Vera Drake' Review: Imelda Staunton Outstanding in Illegal Abortion Drama

Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Vera Drake Director Mike Leigh's touches are found everywhere in Vera Drake, from the film's drab, working-class social setting to the somewhat bizarre characters that inhabit that milieu (at least in Leigh's oeuvre). Even so, Vera Drake cannot quite be considered a “Mike Leigh Film.” This […]


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'Vera Drake' Review: Imelda Staunton Outstanding in Illegal Abortion Drama



'Gangs of New York' Review: Daniel Day-Lewis Shines in Riveting Sociopolitical Drama

Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York KEEP AWAY YOUR POOR, YOUR TIRED. . . Those who think that gangs and urban violence are a modern phenomenon should take a look at Martin Scorsese's ambitious Gangs of New York, a riveting tale of revenge, corruption, and power lust set in mid-1860s […]


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'Gangs of New York' Review: Daniel Day-Lewis Shines in Riveting Sociopolitical Drama



1939 Best Picture Oscar Nominees: 'Gone with the Wind,' 'Goodbye Mr. Chips' and 'Love Affair' on TCM

Hattie McDaniel in 'Gone with the Wind': 1939 Best Picture Oscar winner. 1939 Best Picture Oscar nominees on TCM Turner Classic Movies' homage to the 1939 Best Picture Oscar nominees continues this evening, Feb. 12, '11, with three more entries: Victor Fleming's Gone with the Wind. Sam Wood's Goodbye Mr. […]


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1939 Best Picture Oscar Nominees: 'Gone with the Wind,' 'Goodbye Mr. Chips' and 'Love Affair' on TCM



'The Trip to Bountiful' Review: Geraldine Page Best Actress

Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful Greatness in one medium does not assure greatness in another. One need only look at Peter Masterson's 1985 film version of Horton Foote's play The Trip to Bountiful to realize this. Yes, there are great elements to be found in the film's direction, acting, […]


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'The Trip to Bountiful' Review: Geraldine Page Best Actress



'Les Choristes' Review

Kad Merad, François Berléand, Gérard Jugnot, Les choristes / The Chorus A gigantic hit in France, Christophe Barratier's feature-film début, Les choristes / The Chorus, is the newest cinematic incarnation of that age-old theme: the teacher who, through firmness, kindness, and understanding – mostly kindness and understanding – tames the […]


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'Les Choristes' Review



'Cavalcade' Movie Review: Hail Britain!

CAVALCADE (1933) Dir.: Frank Lloyd Cast: Clive Brook, Diana Wynyard, Herbert Mundin, Una O'Connor, Beryl Mercer, Irene Browne, Merle Tottenham, Frank Lawton, Ursula Jeans, Margaret Lindsay Scr.: Reginald Berkeley, Sonya Levien; from Noel Coward's 1931 play Oscar Movies, Pre-Code Movies Herbert Mundin, Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor, Cavalcade Synopsis: […]


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'Cavalcade' Movie Review: Hail Britain!



'Monster's Ball' Review: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry

Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton, Monster's Ball In Monster's Ball – the title refers to the macabre partying held the night before the execution of a death-row inmate – first-time screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos join forces with third-time feature-film director Marc Forster to create a motion picture of […]


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'Monster's Ball' Review: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry



'Road to Perdition' Review: Tom Hanks and Paul Newman Acting Show

Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Road to Perdition British director Sam Mendes won an Academy Award for his first film, American Beauty, released in 1999. His second film, Road to Perdition, came out three years later. Mendes once again relied on the assistance of cinematographer Conrad L. Hall and composer Thomas […]


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'Road to Perdition' Review: Tom Hanks and Paul Newman Acting Show



'Wonder Boys' Review: Unusual Michael Douglas in Would-Be Screwball Comedy

Tobey Maguire, Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys A brilliant young writer (Tobey Maguire) who happens to be both a pathological liar – probably not a coincidence – and obsessed with celebrity suicides. A flamboyant bisexual literary editor (Robert Downey Jr.) who can't tell the difference between a ten-feet-tall transvestite and a […]


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'Wonder Boys' Review: Unusual Michael Douglas in Would-Be Screwball Comedy



'21 Grams' Movie Review: Sean Penn Excellent in Overreaching Drama

Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, 21 Grams Shot in documentary-style, 21 Grams is a bleak, unnecessarily convoluted, and surprisingly powerful drama about three individuals linked to both one another and the immediacy of death. (Note: This review contains spoilers.) Paul (Sean Penn) is a dying man in dire need of a […]


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'21 Grams' Movie Review: Sean Penn Excellent in Overreaching Drama



'Training Day' Movie Review - Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke

Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Training Day Every few years, the Los Angeles Police Department gets embroiled in one scandal or other. The public is then told that the problem has been caused by a few “bad apples”; the system itself remains spotlessly clean. We get to taste quite a few […]


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'Training Day' Movie Review - Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke



'Sounder' Movie Review: Paul Winfield & Cicely Tyson in Old South

Paul Winfield, Sounder, Kevin Hooks, Sounder Sounder probably features more extremely wide shots than any movie besides Lawrence of Arabia – and Martin Ritt's movie is only half as long. Time and again, humans become antish dots on the horizon, visually overwhelmed by the vast wilderness around them. That's Ritt's […]


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'Sounder' Movie Review: Paul Winfield & Cicely Tyson in Old South