Critic finds glee and bitterness in ‘The Trip’

There’s something uniquely fascinating about an actor playing a version of himself.  In 2010’s The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon do just that, and the effect is both hilarious and oddly touching.  Though it’s hard to say how much of themselves they put into their characters, there’s certainly enough that the final product feels intensely […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 4

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Sources say that 12 Years a Slave star Chiwitel Ejiofor is MGM and Sony’s top choice to play the villain in the next James Bond film.  The studios had no comment.  Daniel Craig is set to return as Bond with Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomie Harris slated to return as well.  Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes will again direct. […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 3

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Holly Hunter has joined the cast of Zack Snyder’s as-yet-untitled Superman/Batman film starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.  She will play a character newly created for the movie.  The feature also stars Jessie Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, and Diane Lane.  For more information on the project, click here. David Letterman has announced his plans […]

Critic takes a look back at a Disney classic

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After being wildly underwhelmed by Frozen, I thought it appropriate to take a look back into Disney’s catalogue to see what the newer film might have been missing.  I chose Mulan, a movie I loved as a child, and my suspicion was confirmed:  Disney used to be much, much better at the musical aspect of its movies. […]

Critic finds beauty and darkness in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

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Given the hubbub surrounding the new Broadway revival of Cabaret, I thought it fitting to take a look back into the career of its star, Michelle Williams.  I chose her 2011 film My Week With Marilyn, in which she tackles the role of iconic star Marilyn Monroe.  Though she may not seem the most obvious […]

Short film round-up

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If you don’t mind a bit of obtuse surrealism, check out This is Not a Time to Lie, a three-minute animated short from China’s Lei Lei that follows its main character on a trippy journey through a lush geometric landscape.  None of it, from the poetic narration to the almost frantic animation, has a discernible point, […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 30

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Twilight actor Patrick Brennan will join the cast of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for two upcoming episodes.  The actor, who played Liam in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, will play Blackout, a villain with the power to suck the energy from everything around him.  “It’s just rare to have a character that’s [this] interesting,” he told […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 27

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The Wu-Tang Clan plans to release only one copy of their secretly-recorded new double album The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.  The album is priced in the millions and will be presented in a handcrafted silver box designed by British Moroccan artist Yahya.  “By taking this step, we hope to re-enforce the weight […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 13

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Once Upon a Time actress Rose McIver has joined the cast of iZombie, a new zombie crime fighter from Veronica Mars scribes Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero.  She will play a medical student who eats brains and inherits the corpses’ memories, which she uses to solve homicide cases.  To read more on the series, click here. Cynthia Nixon […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 12

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90’s rom-com hit Pretty Woman is making its way to Broadway.  The film’s screenwriters, Marshall and J.F. Lawton, are set to pen the book of the musical, with Paula Wagner on board to produce.  The production does not yet have a composer, lyricist, or director.  For more information on the show, click here. Japan’s Tezuka Productions has […]

Critic touched and amazed by ‘The Wind Rises’

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I am appalled that The Wind Rises did not take home the Oscar for Best Animated Picture.  It makes Frozen look like a straight-to-DVD castoff.  A beautiful farewell from Hayao Miyazaki, it is utterly magical – and in a way that eschews Disney’s heavy-handedness in favor of a much gentler, realer approach. The film presents […]

Critic delights in Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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Given the recent success of Blue Jasmine – namely, Cate Blanchett’s Best Actress Oscar win – I decided to revisit another of Woody Allen’s films that features women in plum roles:  Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Released in 2008, it’s one of Allen’s best, with a light, fresh tone that still hits all the expected cynical notes. […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 11

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CBS will air an unprecedented number of original programming hours this summer.  The lineup will include seven total hours of original programming, three of which will air on Sunday.  The schedule consists of four dramas and thrice-weekly series Big Brother.  For more on CBS’ summer lineup, click here. Broadway actress Laura Benanti is slated to host […]

Short film round-up

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For anyone who plays video games (or, in my case, enjoys watching other people play video games), Let’s Play Nomad X is for you.  A three-minute short from Kristian Andrews, the film follows a “Let’s Play” reviewer who simultaneously reviews his favorite 90’s computer game and reveals the tale of how he lost his true […]

Entertainment news round up for March 8

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The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson is on board for an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch, which was published last fall and still ranks second on the New York Times bestseller list.  The story follows a boy who loses his mother in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and absconds with Fabritius’ painting “The […]

Critic deems ‘Brick’ a true modern classic

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Rian Johnson’s Brick is, to my mind, the very definition of a modern classic – not only because it’s fantastic, but also because it dares to combine the old and the new in a smart, sexy, and stylish way.  A neo-noir story dropped smack into a contemporary setting, Brick is an effortlessly engaging visual and aural delight. Released in […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 6

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Idris Elba is in final talks to join the cast of Disney’s animated The Jungle Book reboot, directed by Jon Favreau.  Elba would voice Shere Khan the tiger.  Elba has recently been seen in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom and Thor: The Dark World.  For more on The Jungle Book and on Elba’s other projects, click here. FX […]

Short film round-up

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For something a little off-kilter, take a look at Cockatoo, an 11-minute short from Australian filmmaker Matthew Jenkin that explores heartbreak and closure.  The film follows a man who makes a desperate attempt to get over his previous relationship by hiring an actress from the Reality Dreams agency to play his ex-girlfriend for a few hours. […]

’50/50′ treats difficult subject matter with humor and honesty

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Some movies make you laugh.  Others make you cry.  50/50 will make you do both in excess.  A marvelous little film that didn’t get quite as much attention as it deserved, it’s the perfect balance of light and dark, presented in the most honest way possible. Directed by Jonathan Levine, 50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as “Adam,” a 27-year-old […]

Short film round-up

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If you’re fond of twist endings, check out The Ride, a six-minute short from Timothy Melville that operates like a romantic drama until the very last minute.  Benjamin Rigby stars as a young man waiting on his road trip buddies who runs into his ex-girlfriend.  An awkward reconnection ensues, and he offers to take her home. […]

Critic revels in ‘The Raid: Redemption’

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The Raid: Redemption is gorgeous.  It’s one hour and 41 minutes of pure, unadulterated  violence.  I loved every blood-soaked second of it. Before I begin to wax too poetic about the film, I feel that it is my duty as a critic to make a few unfortunate admissions about it:  the plot is unimaginative, the dialogue […]

Entertainment news round-up for Feb. 28

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Platinum Dunes, Mandalay Pictures and Universal have selected Dutch filmmaker Diederik Van Rooijen to direct a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  Plot details for the remake have not yet been released.  Van Rooijen is best known for his film Taped.  For more information on the project, click here. The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes has signed on to direct […]

Entertainment news round-up for Feb. 27

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Netflix has acquired exclusive streaming rights to The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, an Oscar-nominated documentary short about pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer.  The film will be available April 1.  It’s subject, believed to have been the oldest-living Holocaust survivor, died on Sunday at the age of 110.  To read more on […]

Short film round-up

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For something that is at once charmingly fantastical and deeply relatable, check out I Am Tom Moody, a seven-minute animated short from Ainslie Henderson.  The film follows a young amateur entertainer struggling with the conflicting voices in his head, one plagued by insecurity and the other aggressively negative.  The stop-motion animation is masterfully done, and the […]

Critic delighted by ‘Frances Ha’

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While I frequently say that I want to be Greta Gerwig when I grow up, I certainly don’t aspire to be anything like the woman she portrays in Frances Ha – that is to say, a complete and utter mess.  It’s a testament to Gerwig’s abilities and charm that such a character is not only tolerable but downright […]

Entertainment news round-up for Feb. 22

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NBC has ordered 13 episodes of Shades of Blue, a crime drama starring and executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. Lopez will play a single mother and detective working undercover for the FBI’s anti-corruption task force.  The show will premiere during the 2015-16 TV season.  For more information on the project, click here. Academy Award-winning costume designer […]

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