Film Topics

Brutal true story behind 'Moby Dick'

Jan 13, 2016

Brutal true story behind 'Moby Dick'

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Finally we can start talking about something other than “the force” and how a guy in New York had his name legally changed to Darth Vader. “In the Heart of the Sea” is opening this weekend, and it’s an adventure story on a whole ...

The darker side of young adulthood

Jan 13, 2016

The darker side of young adulthood

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The opening shot of “Little Birds” tells us all we need to know about its heroine Lily, a 15-year-old stuck in a deader-than-dead-end town. As she lies in the bath, the camera pans across the pale white skin of her legs until it lands ...

Spielberg captures Cold War fears in 'Bridge of Spies'

Jan 6, 2016

Spielberg captures Cold War fears in 'Bridge of Spies'

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Mankind owes much to Steven Spielberg. Without him, many of us would never have known the existence of Oskar Schindler (“Schindler’s List”), become aware of the events behind the Munich Olympics in 1972 (“Munich”), seen the U.S. slave trade depicted in a major Hollywood ...

'It Follows' goes after misogynist slasher film cliches

Jan 6, 2016

'It Follows' goes after misogynist slasher film cliches

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In the heyday of slasher films, the fastest way for characters to get themselves killed was by having sex. For a few bloodthirsty years following the release of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” in 1978, audiences delighted in watching homicidal maniacs dispatch casts of copulating teens, ...

Del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' alluring but far from scary

Dec 30, 2015

Del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' alluring but far from scary

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Real estate, sexual passion and family secrets are crammed into the atmospheric thriller “Crimson Peak,” directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Pacific Rim”). I have an inkling Del Toro dislikes modern society and abhors modern notions of security. His films always unfold in ...

'Timbuktu' reflects on Malian lives touched by radical Islam

Dec 30, 2015

'Timbuktu' reflects on Malian lives touched by radical Islam

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It’s common for local distributors to resort to some dubious tactics when promoting foreign films in Japan: Worthy arthouse flicks are routinely saddled with tawdry Japanese titles, or slushy trailers more befitting of a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Yet there’s something particularly unfortunate about the ...

'Life' tears down the myth of James Dean

Dec 16, 2015

'Life' tears down the myth of James Dean

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If you’re reading this and not some rogue, jump-the-gun review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” it means you and I are friends forever. This is the day — 24 hours before the opening of the latest chapter in the “Star Wars” franchise — ...