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A Critic's Guide to the Thought-Provoking Bests of the 2014 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 5, 2014
When the Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival kicks off Saturday at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with a screening of The Yellow Ticket, the event will signal an immersive merging of old and new...  

Bodice-Ripping Melodrama Spoils 'Labor Day'

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Whip-smart dark comedy has been a signature thus far in the career of writer-director Jason Reitman, who kicked things off by skewering the marketing/promotional efforts of the tobacco industry (and American society as a whole) in Thank You for Smoking.  

'Gimme Shelter' Offers Inspiring Look at a Secret War on the Home Front

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Imagine, if you will, living in a hellhole, deep, dank and dark. You’re a teen forced to turn tricks by your mother to pay your own way, while also knowing that your earnings are feeding her drug habit.  

The Lasting Legacy of Roger Ebert

Crowdfunded documentary captures legendary film critic's final days and enduring influence

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I am Life Itself community member #888. There are at least 1,656 others. All of us, although we may never know each other by name, are bound together by one of the most influential people film history has ever known: film critic Roger Ebert. 
  

Pawns Seize the Crown in ‘Life of a King’

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Games teach us life lessons, and so do movies. But movies can strip away all of the metaphor and hidden machinations, showing us the broad strokes of what happened, meaning we get the highlights and the outcome — the shorthand version of the message.  

Spike Jonze Binds the Artificial and the Human in 'Her'

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 8, 2014
In an undefined future-scape, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) drifts along, penning personal letters for those who have trouble expressing emotions, dictating them into a computer and then printing them out as “handwritten” hard copies to be forwarded to loved ones.  

Most Valuable Player of 2013: Forest Whitaker

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Do you recall the first time you recognized Forest Whitaker, when he was in the kind of role that made you take notice of his presence?  

Oscar Isaac Discusses His Great Performance in 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Fitting for a film about a musician, the songs in Inside Llewyn Davis, the new release from the Coen Brothers, sneak inside your head past the images and actions onscreen, which is surprising because those frames have a haunting quality of their own.  

Top Ten Favorite Film Memories of 2013

0 Comments · Monday, December 23, 2013
Around this time last year, I happened upon a copy of Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself and found in his narrative how movies have become, for me, fragments of experiences, some of the most precious minutes and hours of my life. And so, what else can I do but share a few of the best from 2013?  

The Legend of Will Ferrell Continues

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is back, but San Diego is in the rearview mirror this time. Burgundy and his lovely lady Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) have made a home in the Big Apple and the big-time big-boy anchor desk looms, as the mack daddy of news anchormen Mack Harken (Harrison Ford) prepares to make an offer that cannot be refused.   

A Duped Documentarian Seeks the Truth About the Power of a Lie

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Audiences will sit down to Alex Gibney’s new film, The Armstrong Lie, wanting to believe that thoroughly disgraced cyclist and athlete Lance Armstrong will come clean in a far more humbling fashion than he did with Oprah Winfrey.  

Sex, Lies, and 'Vinyl': VOD Debut for Sonja Kinski

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The turning of the calendar page to 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough Sex, Lies, and Videotape, so it is somewhat fitting to end 2013 with a review of a new video-on-demand release.  

The Marvel Universe Leaps Across Formats in a Single Bound

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A quiet revolution began back in 2003 with the release of The Animatrix, a collection of animated short films that explore the history of The Matrix universe. And in the case of shorts “Final Flight of the Osiris” and “Kid’s Story,” the collection dared to fill in key information that would impact the ongoing series, including the back-to-back sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
  

The Conventional Odds Favor 'Catching Fire'

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Right off the bat, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has her very own I Am Legend moment. She’s in the restricted area outside District 12 with her trusty bow, surveying the land. The turkeys gobble-gobbling along better beware because she’s about to head off for her victory tour, celebrating her “win” at the 74th Hunger Games, and she’s not looking forward to playing the celebrity role that’s going to be expected of her.
  

'Charlie Countryman' Finds Love and Trouble Abroad

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 13, 2013
What are we supposed to expect from a character named Charlie Countryman played by Shia LaBeouf? Sure, LaBeouf sports a ratty hipster beard and stringy, unwashed dark locks and displays the unfortunate penchant of baring his body at the drop of a hat, which means he’s wandering down a decidedly different and more unsavory path than when we last saw him leading the charge alongside the Autobots in the first Transformers trilogy from Michael Bay.