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Drama
 
Starlet2
Starlet2
Starlet2

Mourning Besedka Johnson: Breakout Star at 85

Today we were heart-broken to learn that Besedka Johnson had died at age 87, two years after she was discovered by a film producer and started acting for the first time. She graced the screen in only one film, Sean Baker’...
 
Science Fiction
 
Cloud8
Cloud8
Cloud8

Cloud Atlas: Hinduism for Fifth-Graders

Hinduism for fifth-graders. That’s how I’d describe “Cloud Atlas,” the new three-hour magnum opus from the directors of “The Matrix” trilogy. “Cloud Atlas” is not so much a bad fi...
 
Dramedy
 
hopesprings
hopesprings
hopesprings

Hope Springs: Enjoyable and Important, But Not Great

Television screenwriter Vanessa Taylor, who appears to be barely 30, writes her first movie, “Hope Springs,” and it’s about people her grandparents’ age. Unusual. I can appreciate that. She teams up with...

 
Drama
 
magic-mike1
magic-mike1
magic-mike1

Magic Mike: Mildly Charming

“Magic Mike” is mildly charming, but that’s about it. If you like seeing a lot of tight male buttocks, there’s plenty of that. Among the actors, Matthew McConaughey is the stand-out. He gives a strong, s...
 
Drama
 
LAWLESS
LAWLESS
LAWLESS

Lawless: Boring and Homophobic

John Hillcoat, Australian director of the powerfully bleak “The Road” (2009), has returned with “Lawless,” starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, set in rural Virginia during the Prohibition Era (1920s and...
 
Classic
 
Hunter1
Hunter1
Hunter1

Night of the Hunter: Troubling, Brutal Classic

“The Night of the Hunter” (1955), one of only two films that Charles Laughton directed, has plenty of weaknesses. Its atrocious editing, strangely arch style, and awful, jarring use of music weaken it constantly. Bu...

 
Drama
 
KeepLights
KeepLights
KeepLights

Keep the Lights On: Exploration of Troubled Relationship

Originally written October 2012 Think of “Keep the Lights On” as a companion piece to last year’s wondrous little film “Weekend” (which was on my Top 10 list of 2011). Gay men, who have played a ma...
 
Drama
 
Master2
Master2
Master2

The Master: Beautifully Filmed But Thin on Ideas

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” doesn’t just have a bland title; it’s also bland when it comes to ideas. Anderson is clearly interested in L. Ron Hubbard and the religion (if you can call it th...
 
Musical
 
sparkle
sparkle
sparkle

Sparkle: Whitney Houston is a Must-See

“Sparkle” is a good musical melodrama but not much more than that. It stars Jordin Sparks, in her acting debut. Ms. Sparks is certainly competent, but I don’t expect her to have a huge screen career. The stand-out is Whit...

 
Musical
 
newyorknewyork1
newyorknewyork1
newyorknewyork1

New York, New York (1977): Gutsy Effort by Scorsese, But a Misfire

Did you know that the song “New York, New York,” which Frank Sinatra made so famous, was originally written for the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same name and first performed in that film? I can’t believe ...