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‘The Sapphires’ do it for themselves


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


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


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’


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


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”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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”


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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The struggle begins “Any Day Now”


An unconventional gay couple fights the good fight  By T.T. Stern-Enzi Photo: Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming star in “Any Day Now”: R Grade B- What happens when a sassy drag queen and a buttoned-up lawyer seek to gain custody of a young man with Down’s syndrome who has been abandoned by his drug addicted mother? […]

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The St. Vincent de Paul relief mission continues


  Gateway Shelter for Women and Families on W. Apple St is ready to help 24-hours a day.  By Tim […]

Mulling the merits of Merit Grill


Wide variety compromised by some puzzling choices The Merit Grill’s Carne Asada substituted sirloin for skirt steak, but the salsa, […]

Bread Baking Demystified

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The secrets to a delicious loaf of bread are in the details The process of properly kneading bread dough includes […]

It’s happening in Troy


Jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin Music at The Troy-Hayner Center The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is welcoming the arrival of spring with […]

A tradition of storytelling

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Shannon McNally at Newport’s Southgate House Revival Singer-songwriter Shannon McNally By Dave Gil de Rubio Songwriting has always had a […]