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Julianne Moore Deserving As Nominee for ‘Still Alice’

By Sandra Olmsted

According to the Oscar buzz, Still Alice, which is in theaters now, is bound for one Oscar, and it’s the only one it’s nominated for (Best Actress)

Julianne Moore’s performance as the title character is certainly an Oscar worthy performance. Still Alice chronicles middle-aged Alice Howland’s descent from a world renowned academic to a frightened woman struggling to hold on to her memories.

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‘Black or White’ Has A Retro Feel

By Sandra Olmsted

Writer/director Mike Binder’s Black or White, an absorbing look at race in America, opens with successful California attorney Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner) in the hallway of a hospital with flowers and balloons for his wife, who has died in a car accident. Having lost their only daughter when she was a teenager and now his wife, he has only his 7-year-old mixed-race granddaughter, Eloise (newcomer Jillian Estell) left to love and care for.

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American Sniper: Eastwood Returns to the War Zone, Cooper Carries Film

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Clint Eastwood again proves he know what war is all about in American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. Not only does Eastwood show his mastery of big action, but he explores the wages of violence and the toll it took on the Iraqi and Afghanistan soldiers who fought in a guerilla war where every local was considered hostile.

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Inherent Vice: Hallucinatory Journey to the End of an Era

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Paul Thomas Anderson adapts Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice and captures Pynchon’s love of movies and the transition from the decade of free love to Nixon era paranoia. Although the dying counterculture looks sad and stoned and the future looks depressingly scary and corporate, the film has innumerable movie references and cameos galore by star after star, who elevate the whole film with intense performances.

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Musical Opens Christmas Day

Into the Woods: A Tasty Treat For the Holidays

by Sandra Olmsted

With Into the Woods, an adaptation of the Broadway musical, director Rob Marshall whips up a tasty treat for the holiday. Dashes of wit and Brothers Grimm darkness complement the equal parts talented cast, solid musical source material, and, finally, imaginative staging for film.    The story combines several favorite fairy tales into a new story with interwoven threats between the stories, as through all these familiar characters live in the same community. At the center of the fairy-tale-based musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) long for a child, and then the neighborhood witch (Meryl Streep) informs them that she has cursed the Baker’s family for something his father stole from her garden and offers the couple a way to have child.

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WWII codebreaker film is Oscar material

The Imitation Game: There’s Nothing Fake about It

by Sandra Olmsted

Norwegian director Morten Tyldum makes his English language debut with The Imitation Game, the true story of Alan Turing (played smashingly by Benedict Cumberbatch), the man who broke the German code during WWII and created an early version of a computer in the process.    Also the tragic story of Turing’s demise because he was gay, and under the Victorian-era Labouchere Amendment (1885-1967), being gay was illegal.

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