December 2014

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      American Sniper

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      Directed by Clint Eastwood in what some may take as alarmingly short order following “Jersey Boys” (which was released only six months ago, for heaven’s sake), “American Sniper” proves the dictum “never count an...
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        The Gambler

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        “The Gambler” should have been called “Three Supporting Characters in Search of a Lead.” A gaunt Mark Wahlberg stares out from the poster, his name is above the title, and he’s in almost every frame of this remake,...
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          Big Eyes

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          In Woody Allen's "Sleeper," a hip party-goer 200 years in the future presents a print of a big-eyed waif child to hostess Luna (Diane Keaton), and Luna breathes in awe, as though it was an original Gaugain: "Oh, it's Keane! It's pure Keane!" The...
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            Leviathan

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            Though it takes place in a small town and involves only a handful of characters, the Russian drama “Leviathan” has a feeling of expansiveness, even grandeur. It opens with distant, monumental views of Russia’s north shore, where...
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              #242 December 24, 2014

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              Sheila writes: I wanted to share with you all this gorgeous video celebrating Ebertfest. Shot by the talented crew at Shatterglass Studios at Ebertfest 2014, it is a 14-minute video capturing the unique vibe at the film festival, its intimacy and...
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                Into the Woods

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                Like a parched soul left adrift on a desert isle where all Broadway show tunes have been banished, I now realize how thirsty I have been for movie musical refreshment. “Les Miserables” feels as if it came out ages ago and, as much as I...
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                  Unbroken

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                  Films like “Unbroken,” and the Laura Hillenbrand novel on which it’s based, capture something we all hope is true about ourselves—that we too are unbreakable. That when faced with horrendous, life-threatening situations, we...
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                    Selma

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                    In a perfect world, “Selma” would exist solely as a depiction of darker days long since past, an American history lesson that concludes with reassurances that its horrors will no longer be perpetrated, tolerated nor celebrated. Alas,...
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                      The Paradoxes of “Leviathan”: A Discussion with Andrei Zvyagintsev

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                      Andrei Zvyagintsev entered filmmaking relatively late in life, and to date has produced only four feature films. Yet he is arguably the most prominent Russian filmmaker working today, and his new film “Leviathan,” opening in limited...
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                        Two Days, One Night

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                        Marion Cotillard casts aside her movie-star persona and her glamorous looks to play a working-class heroine in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's “Two Days, One Night.”While the film is a real departure for the actress, who won an Oscar for...