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Retreat from the heat to the cinema this summer

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The summer blockbuster is dead — or at least, it has ceased to exist as a distinct entity. Four decades after “Jaws” set the template for mass-market Hollywood spectacle, the so-called event movie has expanded its turf so dramatically that July and August, once the most fiercely contested box-office battlegrounds, ...

Film academy invites 683 new members, including 13 Japanese

Jun 30, 2016

Film academy invites 683 new members, including 13 Japanese

Six months after announcing intentions to double the number of female and minority members in its ranks by 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited 683 new members to join the organization. The academy says its invitees are 46 percent ...

Pacquet-Brenner takes us through 'Dark Places'

Jun 29, 2016

Pacquet-Brenner takes us through 'Dark Places'

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Two years after the opening of the pervertedly female-empowering “Gone Girl” (based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel), I’m one of the people who still get chills when remembering Rosamund Pike’s monologue. “Gone Girl” officially put Flynn’s name on the map in more ways than ...

'The Program': Stephen Frears cycles round the edges

Jun 29, 2016

'The Program': Stephen Frears cycles round the edges

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From the NFL’s deflated footballs to the bribery allegations besmirching Tokyo’s Olympic bid, it can feel like the entire apparatus of professional sport has become hopelessly corrupt. But are the fans also complicit? In a memorable scene during “The Program,” a zippy account of ...

Werner Penzel's art therapy for the soul

| Jun 29, 2016

Werner Penzel's art therapy for the soul

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The documentary “While We Kiss the Sky” (Japanese title “Kofuku wa Hibi no Naka Ni”) opens nationwide this weekend, and it proffers a lot of hope and optimism for the future of Japanese society. Directed by German filmmaker Werner Penzel (“Step Across the Border”) ...

Keeping it real: Naomi Kawase on filmmaking

Jun 22, 2016

Keeping it real: Naomi Kawase on filmmaking

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Naomi Kawase has always been an outlier in the Japanese film world, if a very successful one. Born and raised in Nara Prefecture, the site of Japan’s ancient capital, she started making documentaries while a student at the Osaka School of Photography in the ...

'Extraction': Mourning the career of Bruce Willis

Jun 22, 2016

'Extraction': Mourning the career of Bruce Willis

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Will Bruce Willis ever make it back to the fold of respected Hollywood action stars? Judging from his antics in his latest outing, “Extraction,” the short answer to that is a huge “No.” The long answer involves a private eulogy to an illustrious action ...

| Jun 22, 2016

'Nina' is still worth watching

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The “politically correct”(PC) left is often no better than the Christian right when it comes to looking for ways to be offended by movies. The latest victim of PC backlash is “Nina,” the film based on legendary jazz and blues singer and civil-rights icon ...