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Category Archives: TV & Movies

Escape to Victory: Soccer and War run the world

It is the middle of the night. A prisoner tries to escape from a World War 2 camp. He’s caught in barb wire. Sentry dogs bark as spotlights find him. Soldiers shoot him on sight. The drums and trumpets of Bill Conti’s soundtrack introduce the credits. Who could have imagined that the great John Huston…

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You Have to Be Smart to Survive: Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal on Blindspotting

I first saw Carlos López Estrada’s Sundance hit, “Blindspotting,” during the week ABC cancelled its highest-rated show, “Roseanne,” after racist statements were posted on Twitter by its leading lady. Not long before that, the “Yanny or Laurel” controversy had swept the nation, illuminating how sound frequencies could place our comprehension in an alternate reality. That…

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Fantasia 2018: Unfriended: Dark Web, Tales from the Hood 2, The Night Eats the World

Among its many major discoveries, the Fantasia International Film Festival can lay ownership to what can now be called the “Unfriended” franchise. In 2014, a horror movie called “Cyber National,” which took place all on one computer screen, was soon picked up for distribution, and retitled to “Unfriended.” Four years later, Fantasia had the international premiere of its sequel,…

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Fantasia 2018: Buffalo Boys, The Unity of Heroes, True Fiction

One small, consistent thrill about being in Montreal during the time of Fantasia is asking the locals what movies they’ll be seeing at the fest. The results often sound like mad-libs plot synopses, and further prove the creative stories that abound during this almost month-long movie bash. A zombie Christmas musical? Check (“Anna and the Apocalypse”). A…

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Casey Wilder Mott’s modern take on William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is comprised of roughly a million impure creative choices, but the most telling might be what he does to poor Nick Bottom. In the Bard’s play, the comic relief character is eventually given the head of a donkey. In this modern version, Bottom’s…

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Shock and Awe

“Shock and Awe,” a drama directed by and co-starring Rob Reiner, would have received only two stars from this reviewer but for something that happens in its last couple of minutes. As often occurs in movies based on real events, the filmmakers conclude their drama and then, under the end credits, show us news footage…

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