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The Academy Awards: Drawing 2013 to a golden close

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What will the next 12 years look like for some of the winners? By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” The latest Oscar telecast unfolded with somewhat muted fanfare – although the performance of Pharrell’s Best Original Song nominee “Happy” included spirited and carefree singing and dancing both onstage and in the […]

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Lovers of a certain age

Comparing the state of affairs of ‘Gloria’ and ‘The Great Beauty’ By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Paulina García in “Gloria” I fell in love with Gloria (Paulina García) during the screening of Sebastián Lelio’s “Gloria” at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but she was not exactly the easiest of characters to embrace. That realization speaks […]

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Henrique Couto explores the psychology of horror

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Local horror premiere presents a pathway to personal redemption By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: The world premiere of “Haunted House on Sorority Row” takes place on Feb. 21 at Englewood Cinema Embedded within the narrative DNA of most horror films is a strand of psychological coding, an essential mythos intent on surveying and explaining our common fears. […]

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Original take on the hereafter: ‘The Returned’

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French series explores the impact of the return of the dead By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to] Frédéric Pierrot and Pierre Perrier in the French series, “The Returned” The found footage phenomenon, kicked off with the seemingly now forgotten “The Blair Witch Project” back in 1999 and steamrolling along thanks to the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, has […]

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Philip Seymour Hoffman – ‘Be honest, and unmerciful’

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Projected memories of an actor’s actor By T.T. Stern-Enzi While I am generally not a fan of social media – I use Twitter for work-based purposes only and have refused, on principle, to ever join Facebook – I found myself appreciative of the outpouring of sentiment over the sudden and tragic loss of Academy Award-winning […]

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More than awkward: ‘That Awkward Moment’

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Two rising stars get played by the studio system game By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Zac Effron stumble through “That Awkward Moment” ; Rating: R Grade: D Romantic comedy screenwriters want us to believe love is full of cute challenges, inconsequential moments blown out of proportion, awaiting simple, […]

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‘The Invisible Woman’ creeps among the shadows

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Ralph Fiennes captures the scandalous love affair of Charles Dickens By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes star in “The Invisible Woman”; Rating: R Grade: B Remember the first time we saw Ralph Fiennes? For most of us, it was in “Schindler’s List” as Amon Goeth, the concentration camp commandant who […]

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Mama Meryl devours her own in ‘August: Osage County’

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Midwestern family drama takes dysfunction to surreal heights  By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Meryl Streep and Juliette Lewis in “August: Osage County”; Rating: R Grade: B+ Once again, playwright Tracy Letts (“Killer Joe” in conjunction with director William Friedkin and the resurgent Matthew McConaughey as the titular killer subject) adapts his own award-winning […]

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‘Lone Survivor’ succumbs to Hollywood hype

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Peter Berg ratchets up the action to sell true story By T.T. Stern-Enzi   Writer-director Peter Berg (“The Rundown” and “The Kingdom”) knows a thing or two about framing high-testosterone action sequences. The camera is always right in the middle of the live-action set pieces and he’s astute when it comes to presentation. For lightweight […]

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The not-so-secret vision of Ben Stiller

Multi-hyphenate unlocks a thoroughly modern take on inner life  By T.T. Stern-Enzi   Photo: [l to r] Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig star in “The Secret LIfe of Walter Mitty”; Rating: PG Grade: A The ever-unassuming Walter Mitty (director Ben Stiller, seemingly unable to choose just one side of the camera to focus on) frequently zones […]

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The wonderful Tom Hanks saves ‘Mr. Banks’

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Everyone’s favorite star has become the corporate face of Disney By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: [l to r] Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson seek common ground in “Saving Mr. Banks”; Rating: PG-13 Grade: B Poor PL Travers (Emma Thompson), she was such a cold woman. Full of that stiff upper lip game-facing that we’ve come to […]

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‘Kill Your Darlings’ unearths a buried secret

Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan on the set of their new movie "Kill Your Darlings" in Brooklyn, New York City

The Beat Poets as a drugged-out group of Hardy Boys  By T.T. Stern-Enzi   Photo: [l to r] Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe as Beats-to-be in “Kill Your Darlings”Rating: R Grade: C+ As literary advice, the notion that beleaguered writers must be willing to “kill your darlings” in order to find the truth in a passage […]

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‘The Book Thief’ steals an alternative historic view

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The Holocaust seen from the perspective of the daughter of a Communist By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: [l to r] Sophie Nélisse, Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush in “The Book Thief”; Rating: PG-13 Grade: B Sometimes, as a critic, you don’t have to go too far to find a way into a film. The seeds of comparison, […]

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‘Philomena’ teaches a profound lesson

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One woman’s quest exposes systemic wrongs and a personal truth  By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan search for understanding in “Philomena”; Rating: PG-13 Grade: B+ Stephen Frears seems to be tiptoeing a fine line with “Philomena,” which is based on BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 book, “The Lost Child […]

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The phenomenal hucksters behind ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

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Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto sell a placebo of a film  By T. T. Stern-Enzi   Photo: [l to r] Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey at the top of their games in “Dallas Buyers Club”; Rating: R Grade: B+ Press screenings at film festivals can be tough crowds. We’re generally a jaded bunch, casually capable of […]

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Discovery when it seems ‘All Is Lost’

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Robert Redford adrift on an Everyman’s journey By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: Robert Redford in ‘All Is Lost’  Rating: PG-13 Grade: A    Every so often, a film comes along that gives me serious critical pause, sending me back to a favorite philosophical mentor to reboot my sensibilities. “The Cornel West Reader,” as regular readers know, serves as […]

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The kids are alright…and the nannies and billies, too

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In this fast-paced world of immediate answers and non-stop connectivity, there is a real need for us to unplug and […]

Debate 5/22: Blurred lines create travel tensions

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Have you ever heard of an emotional support mouse? What about an emotional support hedgehog, or mini pig? (Can we […]

Pups on the run

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Did you know that the Humane Society of Greater Dayton (HSGD) has been “Finding Great Homes For Great Pets” since […]

Catfé society in St. Anne’s Hill

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Last spring I wrote a piece introducing readers to a Dayton first: The Gem City Catfé, which officially opened its […]

The new Splash Moraine?

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What happens when you have dogs leaping through the air, splashing into a pool and swimming frantically after a toy? […]