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Oscars 2010: Cinematography and Editing Predictions

There are numerous elements in movies that simply go under-appreciated. I talked last week about costumes, makeup and art direction, which all contribute to creating the believable world of a film. But there are even more subtle elements in a film that if the person behind them wasn’t doing his or her job, you would […]

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Weekend Recap: Who says you can’t put a price on love?

As expected, what a weekend for movies. Valentine’s Day earned the biggest take for President’s Day weekend and the third highest February opening ever. Together it’s the biggest February weekend in history. Overall the box office jumped 90 percent this weekend.

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“Annie Hall” (1977) – 4/5 Stars

If “Annie Hall” had been a later Woody Allen film, you’d be ready to slap him by the end of the film’s opening monologue. But in 1977, the world was not full of Allen films filled with Allen humor and “Allenisms.” Thank goodness for that, because the film is truly one where his character can’t […]

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“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) – 4/5 Stars

Continuing my Best Picture winner archive reviews. Pardon this one’s shortness and lack of detail: it was one of my earlier imdb reviews. Few crime films seem to transcend their genre. “Silence of the Lambs” is one of them. With incredible characters and careful, thoughtful direction, it’s not a complete surprise that this film is […]

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10 Movies NOT to Watch on Valentine’s Day

My first thought as Valentine’s Day was approaching would be to rank romance films or something like that, but screw romance. That’s boring. So I decided to change things up a bit and choose a number of films that from my own watching experience or just what I’ve heard about them, would be an awful […]

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On DVD: Away We Go

Family comedy is a genre that garners a lot of rolling eyes these days. Families have been categorized and stereotyped. The kids are crazy. The parents fight. They make up. Even pregnancy movies are that way. Are they ready to have the baby? Will they keep? Will it keep them together or tear them apart. […]

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Valentine’s Weekend Preview (2.12.10)

Where’re all my single people at? Valetine’s Day weekend at the movies doesn’t have to suck for us, especially with offerings such as The Wolfman. Either way, the Valetine’s/Presidents weekend and the weekend before has slowly become a pretty hot spot on the release calendar for movies not confident they can compete with the big […]

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Oscars 2010: Art Direction, Costumes and Makeup

A director’s vision is nothing without the ability of other artistic minds to carry it out, or in some cases, create it entirely on their own. Art direction, costumes and makeup all add authenticity to a film or sometime give it that extra sparkle to become a sterling example of a visual story. Art direction […]

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On DVD: New York, I Love You

The second of a handful of planned city-themed vignette films about love, “New York, I Love You” aims to capture a city, its diverse population and theoretically how its people love. In 10 segments with some small transitional scenes, 10 directors attempt to capture a piece of the Big Apple — but the operative word […]

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“The Deer Hunter” (1978) – 4/5 Stars

The Vietnam War is not something filmmakers have shied away from, so the challenge for Michael Cimino right away was to make “The Deer Hunter” something different. He succeeds. “Deer Hunter” is a portrait of life for American soldiers before and after war. It’s goal is not to expose the horrors of the war or […]

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Oscars 2010: Best Sound and Visual Effects Predictions

The sound and visual effects aspects of a film are interesting in that they are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the movie-watching experience. In that way it makes their achievement categories for the Academy Awards a great place to start my Oscar predictions.

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“West Side Story” (1961) – 4/5 Stars

The fact that “West Side Story” is based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is one of those knowledge tidbits that people seem to pride themselves on, but the truth is that the classic tragedy of star-crossed lovers is most of what makes “West Side Story” strike a note with audiences. Add to that story an […]

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Weekend Recap: Dear John unseats Avatar

Wow did I underestimate you, ladies. Dear John had the biggest opening by far for a Nicholas Spark’s novel adaptation and probably one of the biggest opening weekends for a straight-up romance (no comedy) film. Not only did it take down Avatar finally, but it straight up dominated, making back its entire production budget and […]

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“Million Dollar Baby” (2004) – 4.5/5 Stars

Boxing, despite the sport’s decline in popularity since the ’80s, has managed to make for some of the best films. Starting with “Rocky” and then films such as “Raging Bull,” boxing has is one of those things that seems to best represent life’s journey and its struggles. There might not be a stronger visual metaphor […]

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“Ordinary People” (1980) – 4.5/5 Stars

With the Oscars now less than 30 days away, I’m dedicating a lot of my archive reviews to some of the big winners. Here’s a film I watched recently, 1981 (1980 calendar year) Best Picture winner Ordinary People. The way “Ordinary People” depicts the family is tough to swallow. Is the Jarrett family really ordinary? […]

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