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by Jason Gargano 01.28.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Blue Valentine's Dedicated Duo

The recent double-barreled Robert De Niro developments of his Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes and the release of a 30-year anniversary Blu-ray edition of Raging Bull remind us how far the actor once went to portray his characters as authentically as humanly possible.

Few actors today go as deep as old-school De Niro in embodying their characters as Ryan Gosling (who just happens to be CityBeat's cover boy this week!).

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by Jason Gargano 11.18.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: 'Twilight' Mayhem Continues

Movies must be able to stand on their own two feet; they can't rely on their source material for viewers to understand what's happening onscreen, which is a sin the Twilight series continues to make over and over again. Of course, when millions of females — the overwhelming majority of whom make up its rabid fan base — the world over have read the books, I guess that's less of a concern than it would be otherwise.

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by Jason Gargano 03.19.2010
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Friday Movie Roundup: The Most Dangerous Man in America

The post-awards/pre-summer movie season trudges on with a curious collection of releases in a variety of genres: we’ve got another romantic comedy starring Jennifer "I Do Movies to Get a Boyfriend" Aniston (The Bounty Hunter), a futuristic thriller (Repo Men), a family-friendly teen thing (The Wimpy Kid Diaries) and even a 3-D IMAX documentary (Hubble).

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by John Hamilton 02.03.2015
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Forgotten Classics: Silverado

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

As planet Earth drew closer and closer to the new millennium, the American cinema scene started to see a decline in a genre that was born here: The Western. That’s not to say there haven’t been any new Western films released — there have been quite a few. Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven was a hit in 1992 and even won Best Picture at the Oscars that year. But before that, in 1985, Lawrence Kasdan directed, co-wrote and produced a Western that deserves to be viewed in celebration of its 30th anniversary. That movie is Silverado.

Some of you are probably tilting your head at the name Lawrence Kasdan and wondering who he is. Well, he is responsible for movies like The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist and for co-writing the screenplays for a couple films you might know of, like The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. He is also the co-writer of the upcoming seventh Star Wars film. Basically, this man’s work should be a delight for anyone to watch.

Silverado tells the story of four roaming misfits who come together to battle elements of each other’s past in the small Western town of — you guessed it — Silverado. There’s the mysterious gunslinger Paden (Kevin Kline) trying to escape his past; Mal (Danny Glover), a prodigal son trying to rebuild his family’s farm; and Emmett and Jake (Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner, respectively), two brothers who do what it takes to protect their loved ones from a cattle baron (Ray Baker) that’s avenging the death of his father at the hands of Emmett.

While each plotline works wonderfully and ties perfectly into one other, for me the strongest of them is the one involving Paden. While it doesn’t fully expose everything about Paden and his past, you get just the right amount of information to stay invested in him, and you want to continue with him and see where he goes.

When Paden is first introduced, he’s left for dead with nothing but his long johns. As the film progresses, you get clues to his past and what may have happened to him. The biggest hints are in the form of an acquaintance of Paden and Silverado’s corrupt Sheriff Cobb (Brian Dennehy). Cobb tries to lure Paden into joining his posse and every time he rejects or tries to stop the wrongdoing, Cobb knows what buttons to push. He continually makes threats regarding Paden’s new friend Stella (Linda Hunt), the owner of the local saloon.

Stella is also an incredibly strong aspect of the film. She’s a strong and fierce woman who helps Paden on his journey to redemption. One of her best moments is when she becomes fully aware of Cobb using her, and she hates it. “So good people are being hurt because of me,” she says. “That makes me mad. Some people think because they're stronger or meaner, that they can push you around. I've seen a lot of that. But it's only true if you let it be.”

This film is also a real spectacle when it comes technical aspects. It features marvelous cinematography with gives the audience shots that add so much more to the story and offer great symbolism. It also features a great music score by Bruce Broughton that is very reminiscent of the works of Elmer Bernstein and the stuff he composed for Westerns.

The film was only nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Original Score and Best Sound. The sound work done for the film is brilliant. The one thing that stands out is the sound design for the guns’ sound effects. Each gun is given a distinct sound that is only associated with that particular piece. Mal’s Henry rifle sounds booming and powerful over the regular rifles of the villains. And Jake’s dual nickel-plated pistol’s sound is quick and short to show how fast he is on the draw.

Silverado is a real treat full of great characters, great set pieces and a great sense of adventure. And if none of this sold you on the film, then maybe this will: Monty Python’s John Cleese plays a Western Sheriff. Yes, you read that correctly.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 04.16.2010
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Friday Movie Roundup: Movie Trailers, Yankee Wankers

Contemporary movie trailers suck. Not only are they — like most of the movies they pimp — typically lowest-common-denominator dumb but they also mislead viewers about a given movie’s true nature in an attempt to entice the broadest possible audience. (For example, check out the stupid, disjointed Inglourious Basterds’ trailer, which tried to sell Quentin Tarantino’s arty, longwinded, multilingual revenge epic as a straightforward Brad Pitt-centered World War II action flick.)

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by Jason Gargano 05.20.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Cannes Controversy

Cincinnati is a long way from Cannes. And, barring a merger with Conde Nast or a hefty donation from George Soros, CityBeat will not be sending me to cover the Cannes Film Festival anytime soon. Lucky for us, our fellow AAN peeps at Village Voice Media still take film criticism seriously enough to send its lead film critics, The Village Voice's J. Hoberman and LA Weekly's Karina Longworth, to the grandaddy of all film festivals, which wraps up this weekend.

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by Jason Gargano 03.12.2010
at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: All Hail, Kathryn Bigelow

We didn’t need the Academy Awards to tell us that Kathryn Bigelow is a really good director — she’s been that for more than 30 years.

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by Jason Gargano 03.18.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Short(s) But Sweet Edition

A heads up for those who want like to mix a little creativity into your cinematic fix: Cincinnati World Cinema's most popular event, the annual Oscar Shorts & More, still has one more screening at The Madison Theater in Covington 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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by Jason Gargano 06.24.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: 'Tree of Life' Edition

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Lifeis finally here.

Like everything the acclaimed 68-year-old filmmaker does, Malick's latest — just his fifth film in 38 years — has gone through a mysterious gestation, changing release dates and distributors numerous times (it was originally slated for a Dec. 25, 2009, release), all the while simultaneously revealing little about its contents. The film finally surfaced last month at the Cannes Film Festival, where it earned cheers, boos and the coveted Palme d'Or.

Now it finds its way into U.S. theaters.

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by Jason Gargano 12.11.2009
at 04:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood might be one of the most overrated directors currently making movies — don’t get me started on the heavy-handed melodramatics of 2004 Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby — but you can’t call him lazy. The 79-year-old has made five movies since 2006, all of which can be admired for their thematic ambition and steadfast technical economy if not their narrative clumsiness and overly earnest emoting.

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