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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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Keanu Reeves faces the ‘Man of Tai Chi’

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Underground martial arts fight club hits a wall By T.T. Stern-Enzi   Movie memories can certainly bring out the film geek in the best of us. The very idea of “Man of Tai Chi,” the new martial arts fight fest from director and star Keanu Reeves takes me back to the 1970s, when I was […]

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A relatable case of ‘Inequality for All’

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Robert Reich sells the real deal about the ongoing financial crisis By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: Robert Reich explains our current economic dilemmas in “Inequality for All”; Rating: PG Grade: A- As Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich was the lone voice raging against the madness of the economic machine. He knew the system was […]

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The virtue of ‘The Patience Stone’

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The mythic and the modern collide in this Middle Eastern tale By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: [l to r] Golshifteh Farahani and Hamid Djavadan struggle with identity in “The Patience Stone”; Rating: R Grade: A- The mythology of America lacks a spiritual or metaphysical component, separate and distinct from religion. America is a country of immigrants, each […]

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Crawling along towards ‘The World’s End’

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What celebrates beer more than a pub crawl? An apocalyptic pub crawl! By T. T. Stern-Enzi   Films about imbibing alcohol invariably take on the characteristics of the spirits in question. Wine maintains itself as the upscale choice, ensconced in the finery of vintage, the regionalism of the grapes, the aging process. Expense and exclusivity […]

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Looking for love in ‘Austenland’

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Paper-thin premise frays despite the elegant presence of Keri Russell By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Jennifer Coolidge, Keri Russell and Georgia King star in “Austenland” ; Rating: PG-13 Grade: C There is something sweet and wholesome about Keri Russell – who made a name for herself on the television series “Felicity” – that’s unique and […]

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Investigating the secrets of the ‘Closed Circuit’

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Steven Knight asks, ‘Who’s watching the watchers?’ By T.T. Stern-Enzi   Screenwriter Steven Knight has the narrative nose of an investigative journalist. His screenplays for films like “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Eastern Promises” took audiences down dark alleyways complete with noirish thrills and gritty kink that tapped into our desire for raw voyeuristic experiences beyond […]

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Do we need another teen fantasy franchise?

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‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ and presentism in cinema By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: The cast of “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” seeks to establish a strong franchise and storyline; Rating PG-13 I need to apologize up front for what will likely seem like a crazy rant from the geezer who refuses to keep up […]

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