Movie Reviews

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Foxcatcher: Great Performances But Bleak and Long

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, which has already garnered prestigious accolates, mostly for acting, chronicles the true store of eccentric multimillionaire John du Pont’s (Steve Carell) descent into madness and murder.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is Thrilling Finale

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Peter Jackson’s final installment in his extended adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is definite the best of his three prequels to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which Jackson also directed. For The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Jackson pulls out every computer generated image and special effect trick he knows and uses them well to create his leanest, most thrilling film in his Hobbit trilogy. The film also resolves a number of subplots that have been swirling through Jackson’s artificially lengthened trilogy based on one thin novel.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: Computer Images Great, But Film Lacks Spiritual Grandeur

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings lacks the spiritual majesty and mystery of Cecil B. DeMille’s original Biblical epic, The Ten Commandments, and figuring out where the blame lies doesn’t provide much of a problem.

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The Homesman: Not a ‘Feminist Western’

By Sandra Olmsted

“People like to talk about death and taxes, but when it comes to crazy, they stay hushed up,” says a character in Tommy Lee Jones’ second foray into feature film directing. Like The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Homesman bends the Western genre. This time Jones, who also co-wrote and stars, explores the effects of the harsh frontier life on the gentler sex. When three neighbor ladies of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) loose their minds and suffer rejection from the men who brought them to the dangerous isolation of the Western frontier, Mary stoically takes the job of transporting them “East” to Iowa. Mary, a lonely 31-year-old spinster, refuses to be a tragic figure even when her neighbor rejects her offer of a marriage that is more a partnership. According to him, she’s “bossy” and “plain,” and he will go East to find a pretty wife. This statement resonates when one of the three husbands talks about how pretty his wife once was.

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The Best Picture Race

By Sandra Olmsted

With so many of the Oscar worthy films opening in December, filmgoers who yearn to see as all Oscar nominated films struggle with what to see. Since film is a collaborative art, the films in the race for Best Picture often also get nominations for Acting, Directing, and many of the creative/production Oscars, such as Screenplay, Score or Song, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, etc. The lists below focus on films that seem “sure things” for Best Picture nominations, films that are “hopeful” of nominations, and films that “maybe” will get nominations and provide information for what to catch this month, what opens in limited release in either NYC or LA to qualify for nomination and may open in St. Louis later, and what came out earlier this year and might be available elsewhere. Although there are always “red herring” films nominated, those fortunate enough to see all of these films will have many Oscar bases covered come the 87th annual Academy Awards on February 22.

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HOLIDAY FARE: Movies Fair, and Not-So-Fair

By Sandra Olmsted

While some highly anticipated films are opening in time for the Thanksgiving weekend, many more are slated for later in December. Here’s a heads up on what’s in theaters for those who will avoid shopping or have it done, and what’s coming out later in the holiday season.

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