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Movie Review: Taken 3

There’s a scene early on in “Taken 3” where Liam Neeson drives a car down an elevator shaft. It’s far from the only outrageous moment in the movie and goes by so quickly, it’s almost a total throwaway. I suspect the only reason they filmed this scene was so Neeson can one-up Bruce Willis and demonstrate that he’s still got …

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Movie Review: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

The early scenes in this sequel to “The Women in Black” are promising and had me believing that, once again, the producers at the restored Hammer Film Productions had pulled it off. This time, the setting is London in 1941, as war is tearing the city apart. We may be watching a horror movie sequel, but the establishing scenes are …

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The Year in Film: 2014

The 2014 movie year began with the pretty-good, refreshingly different “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” and ended with Tim Burton’s fine return to character drama, “Big Eyes.” In between, there were a handful of great movies and lots of clutter. Being a film buff is no different than loving great literature or music: the popular stuff is occasionally great but …

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Movie Review: Ida

When we meet Anna, she’s in the final steps of becoming a nun and living alongside her sisters in a nunnery. She lives in a world of silence, prayer, servitude and religious meditation. There are final steps she must take, like saying crucial vows and making the ultimate choice to embrace the ways of the sisterhood. Yet, before Anna can …

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Movie Review: Citizenfour

Documentary filmmaking can be an act of righteous defiance. When the subject matter was once considered taboo, inaccessible or not permitted for public viewing, the film in question can be a testament to free speech and a cinematic form of rebellion against unseen figures, attempting to silence the artist. Previous documentaries, that were controversial, illuminating and essential, like “The Thin …

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Movie Review: The Interview

“They Hate Us Cause They Anus” The greatest thing about watching this movie was the idea that I may be sticking it to North Korea. Regardless of whether you believe North Korea was behind the attack, it did add a different element to watching the movie. “The Interview” opens up on the talk show Skylark Tonight, hosted by Dave Skylark …

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Movie Review: Unbroken

“If you can take it, you can make it.” This bit of advice is offered to Louis Zamperini early on in “Unbroken” and delivered in a way that’s meant to be remembered. Considering what Zamperini accomplished in his life, the statement barely taps into the kind of superhuman courage and willpower he demonstrated as both an Olympic runner and a …

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Movie Review: Big Eyes

An hour into “Big Eyes,” the new film from director Tim Burton, I began to wonder what drew him to the story of Margaret D.H. Keane and her legacy as a painter. The story is true and immediately involving, but initially seems to be out of character for Burton. Amy Adams stars as Keane, who we first meet as Margaret …

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Movie Review: Wild

Filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee has taken Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, “Wild,” and made the experience of long distance hiking and soul cleansing highly cinematic. This is easier said than done. It’s one thing to have a character “go find themselves,” embark on a film-length journey into the wild, and merge with the beauty and unforgiving qualities of nature. It’s another to …

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Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Paul Verhoeven, the flamboyant Dutch filmmaker, once wanted to make a movie called “Christ The Man,” in which Jesus would be portrayed not as the Son of God but a political figure who was followed, regarded with distrust, then crucified, end of story. Verhoeven’s uniquely atheistic view of Christ proved too controversial and the negative response to Martin Scorsese’ “The …

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