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John Wick is Laughable But Enjoyable at Same Time

By Sandra Olmsted

Although co-directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski’s over the top John Wick hypes up every troupe in the revenge-thriller genre, they make the film enjoyable because of its brazen, nearly tongue-in-cheek self-parody. The familiar basic plot, as in Death Wish, doesn’t offer many surprises, but John Wick has a certain verve. In a script too often on the nose, screenwriter Derek Kolstad’s main character might have been more appropriate named Fuse because he’s about to explode.

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Nightcrawler: The Dark Under Belly of TV News

By Sandra Olmsted

Just as Network and Broadcast News indicted news media of their day, Nightcrawler revels in the underbelly of news-ertainment and its desire to win rates over reporting and analyzing the events of the day.

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Men, Women & Children: Not So Smartphone Society

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children chronicles what changes smartphones and constant connections done ot not to modern life. However, the changes feel like the 1960s sex farce that attempted to negotiate the societal changes wrought by greater mobility and greater availability of telephones, such as Boeing, Boeing (1965), A Guide for the Married Man (1967) and The Facts of Life (1960).

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Fury Bring Big Action, Evokes Big Questions

By Sandra Olmsted

Historically, any war film serves a number of functions: inspire the home front, revisit past victories and times of national spirit, honor the sacrifice and the men, renegotiate the war’s rationale, teach history, and question the nature of war.

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‘Gone Girl’ is Deliciously Suspenseful

By Sandra Olmsted

(While fans of the book know what happens, I have done my best not to spoil the plot for those unfamiliar with the novel.)

The old joke about the first suspect being the murder victim’s husband or wife and that’s all you need to know about marriage forms the basic premise of director David Fincher adaptation of the novel by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay. The film opens on the morning of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) Dunne’s fifth anniversary, and Nick leave early for his lackluster job as a bar owner and chews the fat and his wife over coffee with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon). When Nick returns home, Amy is missing, and the house looks as though a crime has been staged there — at least to Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens). Meanwhile, Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) knows that Nick did it.

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The Good Lie: A Real Coming to America

By Sandra Olmsted

What Americans know about Africa is limited and skewed by films like Coming to America and now news reports of the ebola epidemic. Africa consists of 50 plus nations and spans climates of arid desert, tropical, rain forest, and subarctic on its highest peaks. Most of the continent’s population lives far below the first world standards and even farther below the imaginary Prince Akeem Eddie Murphy embodied in Coming to America. Ravaged by AIDS and other diseases the first world can cure or could cure and riddled with political strife and unrest — all orphan makers, Africa has only potential, and that is what director Philippe Falardeau shows in the world in The Good Lie. While not the story of real people, Margaret Nagle’s screenplay draws on and is “inspired by” the experiences of thousands of “Lost Boys of Sudan,” refugees of both genders who emigrated to the United States between the mid 80s and the post-911 terrorism fears, which halted the program.

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