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There is Still Time to Enjoy The St. Louis Film Festival

by Sandra Olmsted

Each year the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) bring an amazing array of film to the St. Louis public including some first run movies that haven’t opened yet, and some films which will never play in anywhere else in St. Louis. Because playing at SLIFF qualifies films for to be considered for a nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, many of the international films are the “official selections” of their country of origin. Thus they are consideration as Best Foreign Language Film, of which five will be nominated for an Oscar.

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Two Political Films: Truth and Our Brand Is Crisis

by Sandra Olmsted

Truth and Our Brand Is Crisis both raise questions about political power and our process political. Writer/director James Vanderbilt’s Truth recounts the events of “MemoGate” which took down Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) and changed investigative reporting, according to the film. Director David Gordon Green’s Our Brand Is Crisis sheds light on how campaign strategists spin their candidates for the ultimate goal of settling their own personal grudges. While Truth has Oscar-worthy performances and extremely high production values, Our Brand Is Crisis doesn’t live up to its potential, but still has a perspective that will hopefully make voters think twice about what they are hearing about and from candidates.

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Crimson Peak is Classic Gothic Tale, Beautifully Filmed But Still Terrifying

By Sandra Olmsted

Writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, Crimson Peak, wallows in the subgenre of Gothic horror by including the textbook tropes, such as an ancient, haunted castle with subterranean dungeons and secret passageways, mysterious deaths, supernatural happenings, bloody hands, moaning ghosts, and a damsel in distress,. Add in violent emotions related to terror, anguish, and love.

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‘Bridge of Spies’ Evokes the Past

   TOM HANKS in another rock-solid performance as lawyer who provides the defense in a  historic case about a Russian spy in Bridge of Spies

TOM HANKS in another rock-solid performance as lawyer who provides the defense in a historic case about a Russian spy in Bridge of Spies.

by Sandra Olmsted

The killer team of Director Steven Spielberg. Star Tom Hanks, aging nicely into “mature” roles, screenwriters Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel, and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski bring to dazzling life this true-life spy thriller Bridge of Spies.

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New ‘Pan’ is Really a Revisionist Peter Pan

By Sandra Olmsted

Even though James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan has a timeless quality, transporting the story to the WWII era raises serious questions regarding director Joe Wright’s film, Pan, ability to function as the prequel is it advertised to be. The story opens with a baby named Peter being left on the doorstep of an orphanage. Several years later, the orphans go hungry while Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke), a frighteningly cruel caregiver, grows fat. During the Blitz, Peter (Levi Miller) and his best friend, Nibs (Lewis MacDougall) decide to explore her office for evidence she is taking their food. Peter is also suspicious of why other boys in their dormitory are disappearing at night. Although told the boys have been evacuated to Canada for safety, Peter rightly doesn’t trust Barnabas.

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No Escape: High Tension, Low Concept, Great Acting from Some Big Name Cast

by Sandra Olmsted

Writer/director John Erick Dowdle’s No Escape delivers plenty of gripping, edge-of-the-seat suspense and action, but lacks character development and depth. Thankfully, the acting is topnotch! After his own business fails, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) takes a job with an American company contracted to build a water purification plant in an unnamed Southeast Asian country which borders Vietnam.

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