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Gazing upstream at wondrous color

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Shane Carruth’s latest film tests expectations By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Director Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz in “Upstream Color”; Rating: Not Rated Grade: A At this year’s San Francisco Film Festival, Steven Soderbergh delivered an intriguing address on the state of the film industry. What made it so fascinating may, in part, have been the timing. […]

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‘The Sapphires’ do it for themselves

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The somewhat-true story of an aboriginal girl group in the 1960s By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: An Aboriginal girl group seeks stardom during the late ’60s in “The Sapphires” Rating: PG-13 Grade: B+ There’s a crazy – yet delicious – alchemy to concocting a winning film premise. It’s like “X” meets “Y,” maybe with a touch of […]

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Michael Bay brings ‘Pain & Gain’ with each outing

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Is the director’s new release a career reboot? By T.T. Stern-Enzi photo: [l to r] Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie and Mark Wahlberg star in Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” “Pain & Gain” won the weekend box office race, earning the pole position with a smidge less than $20 million dollars. Not exactly a blistering opening weekend […]

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‘Mud’ in our eyes

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Jeff Nichols slings Matthew McConaughey at us and we can’t get enough of him By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland and Matthew McConaughey on the run in “Mud”; Rating: PG-13 Grade: B+ Every critic out there has been talking about the recent transformation of Matthew McConaughey; we simply can’t stop going on about the […]

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One day we’ll all wear ’42’

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But what does that teach us about our collective past our current selves? By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford star in the Jackie Robinson biopic, “42” Prior to attending the recent press screening of writer-director Brian Helgeland’s sports biopic, I experienced a low-level sense of dread, the same sensation that arises anytime there’s […]

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Slashing through, one frame at a time

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Local filmmaker Henrique Couto is ready to shoot his own close-up By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: “Babysitter Massacre” filmaker Henrique Couto [second from left] with his cast; photo credit: Alicia Lozier During a recent multiple screening day, I had the chance to catch the new Sam Raimi-produced “Evil Dead” followed by a first look at the latest […]

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The temptation of the Tyler Perry brand

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Assessing the state of Tyler Perry’s filmmaking By T. T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to] Kim Kardashian, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Vanessa Williams and Robbie Jones in “Tyler Perry’s Temptation” Rating: PG-13 Grade: D Tyler Perry has become a brand, with his name affixed to the titles of his releases and a loyal following, but he has been constantly […]

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‘The Gatekeepers’ of Israeli security speak

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Oscar-nominated documentary interviews former heads of Israel’s Shin Bet By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Director Dror Moreh looks at Israeli security in “The Gatekeepers” Rating: PG-13 Grade: A The commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War has re-introduced heated debate over the Bush Administration’s presentation of clearly false information regarding Iraq’s weapons […]

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Get stoked for “Stoker”

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Director Chan-wook Park’s sinister English language debut translates well By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode star in “Stoker” Rating: R Grade: A In dreamy bit of voiceover narration at the start, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) tells us, “we are not responsible for what we have come to be,” and […]

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“West of Memphis” travels down a long, dark road

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A masterful shortcut through a horrible travesty By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Henry Rollins and co-writer/director Amy Berg seek justice in “West of Memphis”; Rating: R Grade: A A monumental miscarriage of justice in the early 1990s leads to three young men – Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. – being […]

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“The Last Exorcism Part 2” as the last stand against evil

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Can a second “Exorcism” tame this demonic breakout?  By T.T. Stern-Enzi  Photo: David Jensen [left] and Ashley Bell [right] star in “The Last Exorcism Part 2” There’s a great, not-so-obvious hook in “The Last Exorcism 2,” which is the sequel to the successful 2010 found footage creeper feature about an evangelical exorcist named Cotton Marcus (Patrick […]

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A magical glimpse inside the mind of Roman Coppola

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A recent phone interview offers a brief guided tour  By T.T. Stern-Enzi Mere mention of the Coppola name brings to mind some of the greatest films of the 1970s – the first two installments of “The Godfather” saga, “The Conversation” and “Apocalypse Now” – and then a new generational phase with “The Virgin Suicides” and […]

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Mad about shorts

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Two directors with vastly different approaches to the short form By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Gabrielle Union and Alfre Woodard in the Miu Miu short by director Ava DuVernay, “The Door” Less than two years ago, I was a critic at odds with the declining state of our communal film experiences. Everything pointed to audience fragmentation, which […]

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A lovely and fitting curtain call

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As a director, Dustin Hoffman celebrates his fellow actors By T. T. Stern-Enzi Photo: [l to r] Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins star in “Quartet” Rating: PG-13 Grade: B+ I have been astonished at how little fanfare has accompanied the release of “Quartet” from Dustin Hoffman. As an actor, Hoffman has over […]

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“A Royal Affair” leads to enlightenment

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Denmark’s Best Foreign Language nominee offers contemporary reflection By T.T. Stern-Enzi photo: Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen in “A Royal Affair” Rating: R Grade: B Niels Arcel, best known in the U.S. as one of the screenwriters on the original “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” re-teams with Rasmus Heisterberg, his partner on the aforementioned film, to […]

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The twin core of “Rust and Bone”

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Jacques Audiard uncovers wounded souls in harsh conditions  By T.T. Stern-Enzi photo: [l to r] Armand Verdure and Matthias Schoenaerts in“Rust and Bone” Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) epitomizes what we – Westernized, sheltered, middle-class citizens – imagine when someone references brutes, bruisers or brutish behavior. Hip-hop has glamourized “thugs” and “the thug life,” but Ali comes from […]

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Law & Disorder: The Docket 9/19

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Major key Last weekend a local couple was watching TV in their living room, having a relaxing evening, when suddenly […]

Law & Disorder: The Docket 9/12

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Jesus take the wheel A local couple recently decided to visit their church on a particularly warm and muggy Sunday […]

Law & Disorder: The Docket 9/5

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Flightless In a local park, police were dispatched to the crime scene. A woman called the police when she realized […]

The Docket: 8/29

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Stolen in a nanosecond Just last week a woman visited her local sheriff’s office to place a tip on a […]

Law & Disorder: The Docket 8/22

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Totally secure knot …not In a local home a garage door was broken into. This garage door was perfectly secured […]