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Mr. Peabody and Sherman: A Rip-Roaring Space-Time Cartoon

By Sandra Olmsted

Just as quirky and puny as the original, director Rob Minkoff’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman has something for adults and kids — silliness and the same breakneck pace of the original Jay Ward produced and Ted Key created cartoon.

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Non-Stop: A Hitchcock Syle Thriller Up in the Air

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Jaume Collet-Serra and actor Liam Neeson, who made Unknown in 2011, reteam in Non-Stop, a thrill ride of a popcorn film which borrow heavily from Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock. Most of the action takes place in the confined space of an airliner over the Atlantic, and Bill Marks (Neeson), a depressed, alcoholic US Air Marshal, must save the plane, the crew, and the passengers while they all believe he is hijacking the plane.

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The Monuments Men: About Time

By Sandra Olmsted

Director George Clooney’s timely The Monument Men chronicles the real-life adventure of the American lead effort to save the cultural history of Europe as the Allied Forces pursued the retreating Nazi army across the continent. According to The Monuments Men Foundation website, the Monuments Men were a force of about 345 men and women representing thirteen nations who were mostly “museum directors, curators, art historians, artists, architects, and educators. Their job description was simple: to protect cultural treasures so far as war allowed.”

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Labor Day may be good Valentine film

The pie making scene in  Labor Day w with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, rivals that of the pot throwing scene in Ghost.

The pie making scene in Labor Day w with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, rivals that of the pot throwing scene in Ghost.

By Sandra Olmsted

In writer-director Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, the slowly unfolding story doles out romantic and dramatic tensions in digestible bites. Although told from the perspective of  13-year-old Henry (Gattlin Griffith), the story focuses on his mother Adele (Kate Winslet) heartbreak, depression, and withdrawal from society. At first, her wallowing in seems to be about being divorced from Henry’s father Gerald (Clark Gregg), but a deeper reason for Adele’s sadness drove the weak Gerald away. Although Hollywood rarely makes this once popular genre of film, the Woman’s Picture, Reitman may revive it with Labor Day.

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Nut Job: Fun, But Politically Uneven

By Sandra Olmsted

TNJ rat pge 7In director Peter Lepeniotis’ Nut Job, an ambitious extension of his 2005 animated short, “Surly Squirrel,” Surly (voice of Will Arnett), a lazy, reckless, and self-centered individual, lives in the idyllic-looking Liberty Park in the city of Oakton, which evokes late 1950s Americana.

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August: Osage County: No Fun in Their Dysfunction

By Sandra Olmsted

If George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) from director Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff? (1966) had had children, this would have been their family dynamic, and not since that battling couple has a film captured the dysfunction, pettiness, and conflict of family life as does director John Wells’ August: Osage County.

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