January 2007

This past Tuesday morning the Oscar nominations for movies released in 2006 were announced. Just one week after the triumphant “Dreamgirls” win for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes, it seemed that the Broadway-adapted musical was a shoo-in for a Best Picture nod. As Borat would say, “Not so much!” I [...]

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What is cool? Thirteen years ago, it was Quentin Tarantino’s self-conscious black comedy “Pulp Fiction.” Four years later, Guy Ritchie pumped up the body count and number of quirky hitmen in the adrenalized “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.” I may not be the all-knowing arbiter of what is cool and what’s not, but I [...]

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Forest Whitaker recently won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of unpredictable Ugandan President Idi Amin in the film “The Last King of Scotland.” Amin was a brutal dictator who reigned from 1971-79, and was responsible for the killing of as many as 500,000 Ugandans during his vicious and erratic rule of Uganda. Amin did, [...]

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A famous U.S. war propaganda film from 1945 depicted Japanese soldiers as a relentless mass of people with identical faces and a singular purpose. Called “Know Your Enemy- Japan,” it was directed by Frank Capra (“It’s A Wonderful Life”) and was withdrawn quickly when the fighting in the Pacific ceased. This opinion of the Japanese [...]

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OK. We all know awards shows are inherently stupid. Giving movie stars awards for doing their jobs really well is just silly. They are so huge now that they have become a part of the business. They get people to pay attention to movies that offer something more than a slight distraction while you’re eating [...]

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“Notes on a Scandal” has everything required of a great film – a smart and edgy script, competent, articulate direction and a story line that doesn’t give itself up inside of twenty minutes. But the thing that makes this film so memorable is the top notch work of Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, who give [...]

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In 2003, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines made a now-famous offhand comment about President Bush at a London concert. “We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” Coming just as the U.S. military was gearing up to attack Iraq, it was real bad timing. The country music lovers back home who [...]

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A rare blend of serious science fiction and pulse-pounding action, director Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men is the best film of the year. Despite a gloomy apocalyptic setting (that serves as a cautionary warning for us all today), it remains a movie about hope against all odds. The kicker is that this catastrophic future is [...]

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