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The Change-Up

Flip the switch on switched personality comedies, please By T.T. Stern-Enzi Charles Dickens was half-right in his imminently quotable introduction to “A Tale of Two Cities” because The Change-Up, the umpteenth cinematic switcheroo comedy, certainly offers compelling evidence for this being “the worst of times.” Director David Dobkin (Fred Claus, Wedding Crashers) now bears responsibility […]

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Captain America: The First Avenger

The rousing WWII origin of the leader of the earth’s Mightiest Heroes by T.T. Stern-Enzi For the uninitiated moviegoers out there who have enjoyed the two Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man installments with the ultra-hip and charismatic Robert Downey Jr. as the billionaire weapons manufacturer behind the invincible iron mask, next summer’s plan to assemble the […]

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Beginners

Confronting emotional scars sets a son on the path to real love By T.T. Stern-Enzi Oliver (Ewan McGregor) shares his story with us. His father Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out in his 70s, after 44 years of marriage, after the death of Oliver’s mother and soon discovers that he has terminal cancer, which also killed […]

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Buck

The inspiration behind The Horse Whisperer treats animals as more than mere actors or pets by t.t. stern-enzi In the preface to the 1975 edition of Animal Liberation, ethics philosopher Peter Singer shared the story of an evening dinner party where the hostess was a keen lover of animals and quite interested in discussing his […]

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay uses 3D to heighten the Michael Bay money shots in this finale by T.T. Stern-Enzi After being subjected to a scathing critical bashing for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (including harsh words from Megan Fox, one of the movie’s stars), Michael Bay apparently dedicated himself to cleaning up his act for the final […]

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Rubber and death tear up small screens

Late spring and early summer releases to challenge the tentpoles By T.T. Stern-Enzi To pull a quote from the poet laureate of Farmer’s Boulevard, L.L. Cool J, the DVD summer warm-up offers “destruction, terror and mayhem.” Death explodes, lurks in the shadows, leaves deep psychological cuts and makes killers of us all. After sampling this […]

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The Tree of Life

The poetics of nature vs. grace dominate Malick’s latest opus By  T.T.Stern-Enzi The film starts off with a bit of Scripture (Job 38:4, 7), which asks, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation … while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Where were we, indeed, […]

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Bicycle Dreams

An inspiring human Race Across America By  T.T.Stern-Enzi This year, 2011, marks the 30th anniversary run of the Race Across America (RAAM), a grueling bicycle endurance race that finds only the toughest and craziest cyclists eager to risk their physical health and their psychological stamina on this 3,000-mile trek from California to a destination somewhere […]

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Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen loves Jazz-Age Paris By  T.T.Stern-Enzi Back in 2002 during the junket for I Spy, Owen Wilson appeared distracted. As he fielded questions he took long pauses and the twinkle in his eyes hinted at unspoken responses, tales he could have told but knew better than to share because it was likely we jaded […]

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Non-bummer Summer picks

A discriminating preview of the summer of 2011 By T.T. Stern-Enzi Hollywood has been trying to convince audiences the summer movie season starts in late April/early May for years now, and the 2011 line-up definitely supports this not-so-clever box office stratagem. And that’s all it is – a power play to lure ticket buyers into […]

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The Beaver

Mel Gibson lets a puppet do all the talking in Jodie Foster’s latest outing By T.T. Stern-Enzi Mel Gibson is not a half-assed kind of guy. He’s all in. To paraphrase Mae West, “When he’s good, he’s very good,” but when he’s bad, he’s good and crazy. It seems this applies to both his life […]

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In a Better World

Susanne Bier’s Best Foreign Language winner examines life and how we live it By T.T. Stern-Enzi The very first essay in contemporary (and highly controversial) philosopher Peter Singer’s collection, Writings on an Ethical Life, questions the authority of “moral experts,” and as a layperson, I was struck by what seems to be the fundamental idea […]

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I Am

Ace Ventura director Tom Shadyac searches for the meaning of life By T.T. Stern-Enzi How do you go from directing Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor, Bruce Almighty (and its sequel Evan Almighty) to a documentary like I Am, which captures a spiritual and intellectual journey to find meaning in the world? If you […]

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‘Of Gods and Men’

Co-writer and director Xavier Beauvois explores the question of human brotherhood in crisis Rating: R Grade: A By T.T. Stern-Enzi In an impoverished Algerian community, a small group of Trappist monks, led by Brother Christian (Lambert Wilson), stare into the face of fundamentalist terror and begin to question both their mission and their faith. In […]

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Win Win

Comedy and drama generate a winning formula in Tom McCarthy’s latest project By T.T. Stern-Enzi Hollywood would like to convince us that stories fit into nice neat little genre boxes. There are comedies. There are dramas. They want to lead us like sheep into theaters, sell us overpriced concessions, and entertain us without challenging us […]

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Soul Surfer

The next wave of inspiring survivors rolls in By T.T. Stern-Enzi There are times as a critic when the criteria shifts, when the subjective nature of the job requires explanation because the grade given is based on more than whether or not the movie or the performances are “good” or “bad.” And sometimes it doesn’t […]

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