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

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

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’

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

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

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

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’

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’

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’

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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News of the weird: 03/24

By Chuck Shepherd Anatomy Class in Court “This will be upsetting,” cautioned Justice Robert Graesser, addressing jurors in February in […]

Chew on this: 03/24

Cooking techniques and skills for healthier lives By Jayne Powers Nutrition is more than being able to pick out healthful […]

Naturally inclined

Slimy, furry outdoor family fun at Brukner Nature Center By Andy Hertel Photo: Hands-on wildlie encounters are part of Brukner Nature […]

The Docket: 03/24

Dayton’s police blotter, reported verbatim By Researched and reported by Charles Grove Oh, the humanity Officers responded to a call […]

Advice Goddess: 3/24

By Amy Alkon The sociopath of least resistance My girlfriend has been hurt, cheated on and even ripped off in […]

News of the weird: 03/17

By Chuck Shepherd LEAD STORY – Fine points of the law Shooting “upskirt” photos of a 13-year-old girl is not […]